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I-VAWA: Why it would open Pandora’s box

International Violence Against Women Act: Analysis

Bill Numbers:
Senate: S. 2982
House: H.R. 4594
The full text of the bill can be read here:

General Critique:

The proposed International Violence Against Women Act represents a naked power grab to impose a radical gender perspective on U.S. foreign policy, export an anti-family agenda, and satisfy a favored political constituency – at a $1 billion expense to U.S. taxpayers.

Research shows persons who are in a stable, married relationship are at far lower risk of experiencing domestic violence. But I-VAWA provides a $1 billion blueprint to destabilize the family, the most important social and economic institution to women, men, and children around the world. This is particularly true in low-income countries that have weak social service programs, no retirement system, and no state-funded unemployment insurance.

I-VAWA would promote social disintegration by defining “violence” in the broadest possible terms, advancing the shibboleth that only men are abusive in partner relationships, providing incentives to women to make accusations of abuse, breaking up the family, and eventually forcing persons to become dependent on the welfare state.

In addition, I-VAWA would serve to trample on internationally-recognized civil liberties, including those enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by undermining due process for the accused, discriminating against male victims, and providing a pretext for heavy-handed state intervention into family matters.

Detailed Analysis:
1. Makes the breath-taking assumption that violence against men is unworthy of concern. (According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 million men and 500,000 women die of violence-related causes each year. )

2. Stereotypes and vilifies men as abusers. (Research shows men and women are equally likely to engage in partner violence, and at least half of all partner violence is mutual. )

3. Ignores the fact that female-initiated violence (e.g, a slap or punch) has been found to be the leading cause of female domestic violence injury.

4. Presents a series of Findings that are one-sided, unverifiable, false, or flatly Orwellian.

5. Presents a Statement of Policy using vague language that is easily susceptible to ideological interpretation, e.g., “female empowerment” and “gender integration”

6. Expansively defines domestic violence to include “psychological harm,” which in practice encompasses any marital tiff or lover’s quarrel.

7. Defines violence to encompass “violence perpetrated or condoned by the government” – a phrase that opens the door to require governments to fund abortion on demand (feminists often claim that lack of access to abortion services represents “violence against women”).

8. Provides sweeping powers to the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, powers that are likely to be used to usurp normal foreign policy-making procedures.

9. Advocates that programs “shall consider the safety of women and girls as a primary concern in deciding how to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs.” (Section 112). In practice, this serves as a pretext to diminish due process protections for persons falsely accused.

10. Promotes law enforcement approaches such as restraining orders, which are known to be ineffective in stopping violence and routinely violate the civil liberties of the accused.

11. Funds training efforts to change “social norms” and “community attitudes.” Experience proves such programs are highly biased in their content and ideological in their purpose.


World Health Organization. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: 2001. Table A.2.

Straus MA.Dominance and Symmetry in Partner Violence by Male and Female University Students in 32 Nations. Presented May 23, 2006 at New York University. Table 3.

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