Posted by: joshjasper | March 30, 2009

When does Rape become a priority?

Last year, the governor of Illinois threatened to remove all funding for rape crisis centers.  Fortunately, that crisis was averted but as an organization that provides services to 3 states, we find ourselves in a similar situation in Iowa.  Currently, the state of Iowa is threatening to eradicate ALL funding for rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.

Knowing that Iowa has a 6 BILLION dollar budget, finding 4 million dollars to save a state network that has been built over the last 30 years and that serves over 30,000 victims, responds to over 82,000 crisis calls, and provides over 100,000 nights of shelter surely should be a priority…right?  The reality of course is the same storyline played out year after year.  Our funding is threatened, we make calls to our legislators to beg for their support, and pray that the money is restored, or at least the reduction in funds will not be devastating.

Is this the way we are supposed to serve individuals that have been significantly traumatized?  Why is violence against women not a priority?  Even when women are raped that are close to decision makers, it only serves as a blip on the radar rather than a full blown change in procedures.  I often think about what would change if President Obama made men’s violence against women a priority in our country.  Violence would decrease immediately.  I remain hopeful though. Vice President Biden did write the Violence Against Women Act, and the White House stated this week that they are creating a “White House Council on Women and Girls,” whose mandate includes finding new ways to prevent violence against women.

For anyone wondering, violence prevention is priority number one.  What kind of success can a community, a country, or a society truly realize in any capacity if half of the population is afraid to leave the home after dark for fear of being raped?

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Responses

  1. Can we, just for a little bit, Imagine – really see – what our community looks like with no violence? I’ll start with a few, but let just keep it going. Keep it real, but keep dreaming too.

    Things we might notice in Dubuque if there was no violence:

    *We wouldn’t need weapons, at least not all of them.
    That would eliminate any possible accidental deaths from children playing with them.

    *Kids could concentrate in school better because they wouldn’t be afraid of bullies.

    *Probably have more two parent homes, fewer divorces.

    *We’d learn better communication skills because we would have to practice them frequently.

    *Medical attention(time) and investigative time could be used for other pressing matters or research.

    *Violence incites “fear”, which is the true opposite of “love.” If we are not worried or afraid as much, we would be more loving (and loveable)

    *I’d have to get a new job helping kids learn to read!


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