Letters to the Editor: Aug. 3

August 3, 2012 

Stall on Violence Against Women Act just shameful

I know most Kentuckians share my dream to one day see a Kentucky free of all forms of violence. Over 20 percent of women in Kentucky have been raped, and over 47 percent have been victims of other sexual violence.

Nationally, one in five women have been raped, and one in four have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Despite these unsettling statistics, efforts to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act have faltered. Since the law's passage, the number of women killed by an intimate partner decreased 34 percent, and by 57 percent for men. VAWA helps fund multiple rape-crisis and domestic violence-programs in Kentucky. It helped fund prevention education to over 10,000 Kentucky students and has allowed survivors of sexual violence to receive support during hospital exams, legal proceedings, crisis counseling and long-term therapy.

It is time for Congress to work together to pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate version of the act (the House version undermines efforts to hold perpetrators accountable and is exclusionary to underserved survivors).

Congress has the opportunity to significantly impact the safety and well-being of Kentuckians. Real people, real faces — they could be your own neighbor, co-worker or family member — will suffer greatly without the law's protection. We simply can't afford to do nothing.

Mae Suramek

Executive director, Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center

Lexington


Enough is enough. The American people struggle to find jobs, yet those in Congress are refusing to do theirs. Even in dealing with legislation that has previously passed without anyone batting an eye, the philosophies of obstruction and gridlock rule the day.

I am referring to the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Originally passed in 1994, it has since been reauthorized by Congress twice — and generally without drama. Yet, now we have one version stalled in the House and one in the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame.

No one benefits from this gridlock. One in five women will be the victim of violence. Were it to happen to one of our loved ones — a wife, mother, sister, girlfriend — our outrage would be both personal and intense. Yet when the fight to ensure necessary protections is as distant as it is in Washington, we are deafeningly silent. When Congress fails to act on these matters, and leaves our loved ones in danger, the failure is not solely theirs. It is ours, as well, for we have failed to make them hear us and to hold them accountable.

As someone who has worked directly with victims, both as an attorney and a victim advocate, I can vouch for the necessity of the protections in VAWA.

Look at the women you love in your life and say that this is not your problem. I sincerely doubt that would be possible. Let Congress know you support the reauthorization of VAWA.

Colin O'Brien

Lexington


Success on our own

President Barack Obama states that business owners are not entirely responsible for their success.

Tell my hairdresser, who stated how much it meant that she and her husband worked to be where they are.

Tell my late husband, who on his own as a young man fought for our country, got his bachelor's in physics at the University of Michigan, master's in electrical engineering at the University of Florida, Phi Beta Kappa.

He got his education to encourage his students to continue their educations.

God gifts each and everyone of us. It is what we do with it that counts. Not the government.

Susan Washburn

Grayson


Police violence common

The police in California have killed another unarmed man who was not involved in any crime. The Anaheim police shot him twice in the head because he ran as they approached. The public attempted to protest the shooting but were themselves shot with rubber bullets and attacked by police dogs.

This was just one of the most recent in a near-daily wave of police killings.

Orange County, Calif., police beat unarmed Kelly Thomas to death while he was on the ground writhing in pain. In Detroit, police shot a 7-year-old girl to death during a raid on her home. In Missouri, police used a stun gun on a teenage boy 19 times until he was in a coma. In Florida, police mistakenly went to the wrong house and shot to death Andrew Scott when he opened the door.

This paper does not even bother to print these stories, so I thought I would let readers know what is happening.

Ellen McGrady

Lexington

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