RADAR ALERT: Now is the time to contact your legislator

Started by RADAR, Aug 15, 2005, 07:38 AM

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RADAR ALERT: Now is the time to contact your legislator

Congress reconvenes after Labor Day, a mere three weeks from now.  Since the Violence Against Women Act expires September 30th, it's likely that the 2005 reauthorization bill will be one of the first things to be considered by Congress once they're back in session.

During the coming three weeks our lobbyists will be meeting with congressional staffmembers, working to convince them to remove the gender-bias from the bill.  But those who want the discrimination to continue will be lobbying hard as well.

So we need you to do your part.  The next three weeks, while our legislators are back in their home districts, are a critical time to make sure our legislators hear our message that basic concepts of fairness and justice, not to mention the Fourteenth Amendment's "equal protection" clause, require that neither battered men nor battered women be revictimized by discriminatory legislation.

If you have not yet made an appointment to meet with your legislator, please call immediately.  If it's too late to get an appointment to meet with your legislator directly, arrange an appointment with the overall Legislative Director or a staff Legislative Assistant who deals with VAWA.  If they cannot schedule a face-to-face meeting, then arrange a telephone meeting.  When you meet, emphasize the following points:

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  • VAWA must have language added that clearly states that services focusing on male victims qualify for funding.  Many legislators mistakenly believe that VAWA-funded women's shelters are required to help abused men who seek help from them.  So it's important that VAWA have specific language added that unequivocally requires that services primarily focusing on male victims qualify for funding.
  • Equitable distribution of VAWA funding means that 36% of the funds for victim services must go to programs that focus on male victims.  This is not a randomly selected number.  The Federal government's own "National Violence Against Women Survey" found 835,000 men and 1.5 million women are physically assault by an intimate partner annually.  Men constitute 36% of all victims.  [See p.7, exhibit 7 of http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/172837.pdf]  It's not unusual for DV legislation to specify percentage allocations.  The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) specifies that 40% of funds are designated for family violence programs.
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    If you haven't scheduled an appointment already, do it today:
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  • Get the phone number of the Washington office of your Representative (available at http://www.house.gov)
  • Call your Representative's office and request to speak with the Scheduler.
  • When you speak to the Scheduler, state that you are a constituent and you wish to meet with the Representative during the August recess.

    • If it is too late to schedule a meeting with the Representative, ask to meet with the overall Legislative Director or a staff Legislative Assistant who deals with VAWA.
    • If they cannot schedule a face-to-face meeting, then arrange a telephone meeting.

  • If you are asked what organization you are with, state "RADAR" (or any other appropriate group you are involved with).
  • The Scheduler may ask you to fax a written request indicating the topic you want to discuss, along with a couple of preferred meeting dates.  Simply state that you want to discuss "making the VAWA reauthorization bill gender-inclusive".
  • Make a note of the Scheduler's name, in case you need to follow-up.
  • Try to find 1-2 other interested persons from your District to join you at the meeting.
  • If you're feeling ambitious, do the same for your two Senators!  You can find their phone numbers at http://www.senate.gov.
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    Time is short!  Do it today!

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    Be ready for Shock and Awe, Phase II, coming September 6!

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    Date of RADAR Release: August 14, 2005

    To track the current status of VAWA, go to http://thomas.loc.gov and enter the bill number: Senate bill S. 1197; House of Representatives bill H.R. 3402.

    To receive RADAR Alerts, press releases, and other special announcements, sign up for the RADAR E-lert. You can sign up for the E-lert on the RADAR home page at http://www.mediaradar.org. Your e-mail address will be kept confidential, and will not be shared with any outside organization. It's fast, easy, and keeps you in the loop.

    Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR) is a coalition of men and women working to assure media balance and accuracy in coverage of the domestic violence issue.

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