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Sen. Barack Obama Supports I-VAWA!

Senator Barack Obama may well become the next president of the United States. But in a recent letter to one of his constituents, he affirmed his support for the International Violence Against Women Act, and reiterated many of the half-truths and falsehoods of domestic violence – see complete letter below.

I-VAWA – Senate bill 2279 – is a dangerous bill that would break up families, harm women, and openly discriminate against male victims.

In India, domestic violence laws have become so harmful that they are commonly referred to as "legal terrorism"1. For more information on the Pandora’s Box of I-VAWA, see the RADAR analysis "I-VAWA: The Destruction of Families Worldwide"2.


Please contact Sen. Obama’s office today.

Telephone: 202-224-2854 – politely tell the receptionist your name, city, and state, and say, "I am asking Sen. Obama to withdraw his support from S. 2279, the International Violence Against Women Act. I-VAWA is anti-male and anti-family."

Or submit a message through his website – http://obama.senate.gov/contact – or send a fax – 202-228-4260 – politely emphasizing these points:

  1. According to the World Health Organization3, men are twice as likely as women to die from violence-related causes. Why is Sen. Obama ignoring the plight of men?
  2. According to a 32-country survey4, women are more likely to engage in domestic violence than men. Why is I-VAWA ignoring the plight of men?
  3. VAWA has had a devastating impact on African-American communities in the United States5.




3 World Health Organization. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva, Switzerland, 2002, http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/en/summary_en.pdf

4 Straus, Dominance And Symmetry In Partner Violence By Male And Female University Students In 32 Nations, Children and Youth Services Review, http://pubpages.unh.edu/%7Emas2/ID41-PR41-Dominance-symmetry-In-Press-07.pdf. Table 2, p. 260: Overall, 21.4% of any type of physical violence was female-perpetrator-only as compared to 9.9% male-only. Table 3, p. 261: Overall, 29.4% of severe physical violence was female-perpetrator-only as compared to 15.7% male-only.


Date: April 4, 2008

Dear         :

Thank you for sharing with me your concerns about support for international victims of domestic violence and S.2279, the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).

I am concerned with the suggestion that I-VAWA is anti-male and anti-family. Indeed, I recognize the importance of having our children grow up in stable and nurturing homes, preferably with both a father and mother as active parents. Our children need role models, both male and female, to help them reach their potential. Having said that, these homes must be safe and loving environments, not ones where a child lives in fear of abuse and neglect, or worries that a parent will be victim to abuse. I do not believe that I-VAWA lessens or belittles the significance of the two-parent family, but rather puts in place programs to support families when violence creates an unhealthy and unsafe home environment. Gender-based violence affects individuals from every walk of life, in every part of the world. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 3 of the women in the world will experience violence in her lifetime, with rates of up to 70 percent in some countries. The breadth of this problem is staggering, as we know many cases often go unreported. Women and children are often at greater risk of physical violence, exploitation and sexual abuse in crisis situations, such as in the wake of the Asian tsunami or in the Darfur region of Sudan.

I am deeply concerned about the escalation of sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the United Nations reported 27,000 sexual assaults against women and girls in the South Kivu province alone in 2006. Recently, I wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing my concerns about the growing number of systematic sexual assaults against women in the DRC, and asked a series of questions about what the United States is doing to help curb this violence against women. A copy of that letter is enclosed for your review.

We can and must do more to address this devastating human and moral problem, as well as to combat persisting forms of discrimination that women and girls from all walks of life face daily. On October 31, the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Biden (D-DE) and Senator Lugar (R-IN), respectively, introduced the International Violence Against Women Act of 2007 (S. 2279). This bill would establish key offices at the Department of State and the U.S. Agency of International Development tasked with addressing international women’s issues and integrating gender into relevant policies and programs. The bill would also ensure that adequate foreign assistance is directed at measures that prevent and respond to acts of violence against women. S. 2279 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a panel on which I serve. I hope this letter helps you understand why, as your U.S. Senator and the father of two young daughters, I hope the Senate will take to take swift action in considering this measure.

Thank you again for writing. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding this or other issues of concern to you.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Date of RADAR Release: April 28, 2008

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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org