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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BENTIVOLIO. Madam Speaker, legislation that is passed here needs to be more than just a title that sounds good in the press. I understand that when most in this country hear the ``Violence Against Women Act,'' they think, ``of course I don't support violence against women. This must be a great bill.'' When I was a high school teacher I used to tell my English students that you can't judge a book by its cover. Well, maybe we should learn here in Congress that you can't judge a bill by its title.

The gruesome and oftentimes cruel experience of domestic violence should not happen to anyone. It shouldn't matter what race or ethnicity you are. It shouldn't matter your religion, your sexual orientation, age, immigration status or economic standing. And it shouldn't matter your gender. No one should feel unsafe at home.

Unfortunately, this bill doesn't do that. This bill segregates people into groups, making gendered designations that assume a feminization of victimhood. We live in a fallen world in which all kinds of people are capable horrid, violent behavior, every victim of domestic violence should receive protection and support regardless of their circumstances. I wish this bill simply dealt with domestic violence instead of gender stereotypes.

Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment exists and we can't ignore it. Each State already has criminal statues targeting domestic violence. If more laws are needed, there is no reason why each state can't pass stronger laws. I understand that there are cases where Washington can help, that's why I support the SAFE Act, which will end the needless backlog of rape kits, leaving too many sexual predators still at large. I wish we were voting on that today and I hope we can do so as soon as possible.

Laws should be passed that don't place people into groups. My constituents sent me to Washington to vote for sound policy, not for titles that just sound good in the media. For these reasons, I cannot support this bill.


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