Domestic Violence Awareness Month

WASHINGTON, DC – To commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, the Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition is calling on Congress to swiftly reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), our nation’s most critical law that supports law enforcement training and services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.

One in four women in the United States has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime while nearly one in five has been raped in her lifetime. Since its passage in 1994, VAWA has transformed the national response to violence against women. More victims are coming forward than ever before to access lifesaving services and move from crisis to stability. Despite VAWA’s comprehensive and cost saving responses, Congress has failed to pass a final reauthorization bill that continues VAWA’s lifesaving programs while strengthening protections for vulnerable populations.

More after the jump.
 
“Domestic violence is a crisis of epidemic proportions that affects all of our diverse religious communities,” said Lori Weinstein, Executive Director of Jewish Women International. “As a Coalition, we are calling on Congress to work with the faith community to pass a final, inclusive Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that builds upon past successes and includes critical new protections for all victims.”

In times of crisis, victims of violence often turn to their clergy and houses of worship for guidance and support. Faith leaders are on the front lines each day identifying victims, providing refuge and support, referring victims and their families to VAWA programs and services, and serving as victim advocates in their communities.

“As faith leaders, we see the consequences of sexual and domestic violence every week. We count on our local partners, from shelters to advocates to law enforcement to the courts, to serve as resources in our communities, provide training to community stakeholders and support victims. And they count on VAWA to continue to do this lifesaving work. As a Coalition, we are calling on Congress to reauthorize VAWA now and avoid jeopardizing nearly 20 years of progress,” said Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, Founder of FaithTrust Institute.

“For many victims, faith is central to their identity, their decision making, and their healing,” said Rev. Dr. Anne Marie Hunter, Director of Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence. “It is imperative that service providers and faith communities build respectful, trusting collaborations that support victims and increase access to and effectiveness of services. The faith community is proud to stand strongly with our secular partners united by our commitment to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.”

“At the Peaceful Families Project, a national organization working to end abuse in the Muslim community, we believe that a better understanding of religious and cultural values can be used as a resource to prevent domestic violence, and that religion and culture should never be used to justify abuse. For 18 years, VAWA has played a key role in violence prevention and awareness. Congress must act quickly to reauthorize this critical legislation so that VAWA can continue to serve victims and expand education around this critical issue,” said Mona Malik, President of the Peaceful Families Project.

“For Christians, reauthorizing an effective and inclusive Violence Against Women Act isn’t a legislative issue, it’s a moral issue. VAWA save lives and needs to be reauthorized by Congress immediately,” said Amee Paparella, Director and Organizer for Women’s Advocacy of the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.

Jewish Women International convened the Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition in 2007 to unite the collective energies and visions of the faith communities to work together in promoting national domestic violence legislation to protect women and children. Comprised of 35 organizations, this growing coalition represents many faiths and denominations and millions of congregants spanning diverse faith communities. To learn more about the Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition, visit www.jwi.org/ic.

Ron Paul and the Republican Jewish Coalition Candidate Forum

The Republican Jewish Coalition invited all major Republican candidates to their Presidential Candidate 2012 Forum with the exception of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) because of Paul applies his libertarian world-view to U.S. policy in the Middle East. The National Jewish Democratic Committee organized a similar event in 2004, but they invited all candidates including Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) despite the NJDC’s differences of opinion with Rep. Kucinich. Kucinich’s views were not well received at the NJDC meeting and there were pointed questions raised during the Q&A, but Kucinich was politely received and given an opportunity to make his case.

In November 2007, Rep. Kucinich said that if he won the Democratic nomination he would consider Rep. Paul as his running mate.

Jack Hunter writes the “Paulitical Ticker”, and posted the following commentary on Paul being locked out of the RJC Forum.

Ron Paul: Israel “Our Best Friend”

There is far more discussion of the pros and cons of current American foreign policy toward Israel in Israel than there currently is in the United States. The Republican Jewish Coalition’s decision to exclude Ron Paul from their GOP presidential candidates forum yesterday was an attempt to make sure the conversation remains one-sided. In fact, this exclusion means the RJC believes there should be no conversation: Every other Republican presidential candidate already agrees with the foreign policy status quo-it is Paul who offers the only opportunity for a real dialogue.

Paul explains in the following interview how our current policies often undermine both Israel and our interests, how American foreign aid is a net negative for Israel, and how the United States’ habitual encroachment upon Israeli sovereignty consistently undermines that nation’s defense.

It should not surprise anyone that our greatest democratic ally in the Middle East would actually practice democracy, including free speech. Here, Paul explains foreign policy views that the Israelis themselves are exposed to on a regular basis and that many of them agree with, despite how rarely they might be heard in the United States.