The Violence Against Women Act Isn’t Enough to Protect Women

Despite its seemingly good intentions, and the intentions of those working to bring it back, the act’s reauthorization actually harms the women it claims to be protecting — especially Black and brown women. In an essay for The Jacobin, writer Victoria Law details a strain of feminism coined “carceral feminism” which advocates for policies that will lead to further incarceration, policing, and surveillance and how that will only leave victims of interpersonal violence even more vulnerable to abuse. In her assessment of VAWA, Law notes the rise in dual arrests – a repercussion of the section of VAWA that requires compulsory arrests of accused abusers and even victims who are falsely accused by their abusers. Compulsory arrest was a measure intended to assure that anyone accused of abuse was immediately taken into custody, but as a result, abusers would lie and say that their victims were also abusing them/were the real abusers so in many cases, both parties would be taken into custody.

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