Elections, Rape and the Voter Mandate on VAWA
Many analysts have commented on the impact that statements on the subjects of rape and abortion had on campaigns. Many such statements swayed voters to turn away from social conservative candidates in the elections.
This subject matter has resonated through Indian country during the long fight for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, which has proposals for safeguards to better protect Native women, who suffer disproportionately from rape and physical violence. (The statistics are staggering, as one in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and six in 10 will be physically assaulted.)
Key examples from last night of campaigns that tanked because of misguided comments were Republican Senatorial Candidates Richard Mourdock (Indiana) and Todd Akin (Missouri).
Their defeat, among others, have led political pundits such as Chris Stearns, a Navajo lawyer with Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker and supporter of the president to feel optimistic about the passage of VAWA. As Stearns told Indian Country Today Media Network Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief Rob Capriccioso, “Right off the bat, I’d say [Obama] has the political capital to demand that Congress pass the Senate’s VAWA bill. Speaker [John] Boehner will have to swallow that bitter pill.”
Stearns told ICTMN the President’s win translates to a “big win” for Indian country.
Stearns is not alone. We have already noticed similar comments on social media and the Twitterverse. On Facebook, there have been a series of memes that address this in a forceful and more visual manner, with the attached image in particular enjoying a nice viral run.