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March 16, 2012 – Critical Juncture for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)  Take action today.  Many people experience false allegations of abuse as a tactic used to gain advantage in a divorce case.  Legal literature is full of commentary on the difficulty of achieving fair and equitable outcomes in a custody case once an allegation of abuse has been made.  In some states mere allegations are sufficient to disqualify a parent from receiving joint custody of their children.  Such is the devastating nature of a false allegation of abuse.  What remains unchallenged fact is that the safest place for women and children is a married intact family.

As we continue to state, true victims of abuse deserve protection.  Unfortunately the issue of domestic violence today is mired in politics.  At the core of the current political debate is the federal Violence Against Women Act, up for reauthorization this year.  VAWA funding and programs dictate the domestic violence agenda nationwide.   A blurb in Capitol Hill newspaper Politico appeared yesterday illustrating exactly how this issue is being politicized.  From the article:  

SCHUMER SCHEMES - Senate Democrats will hit Republicans on several fronts in the coming weeks. POLITICO's Manu Raju catches up with Democrats' top tactician, Chuck Schumer, and lays out the strategy: "New York Sen. Chuck Schumer believes he has found a political weapon in the unlikeliest of places: the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans have several objections to the legislation, but instead of making changes, Schumer wants to fast track the bill to the floor, let the GOP block it, then allow Democrats to accuse Republicans of waging a 'war against women.' It's fodder for a campaign ad, and it's not the only potential 30-second spot ready to spring from Senate leadership these days…

 VAWA has serious deficiencies.  Rather than addressing the issues legislators see an opportunity to create a wedge, several wedges actually, in order to gain a perceived political advantage.  Never mind that this legislation is so bad, that not one Republican voted for its passage out of the judiciary committee.  Never mind that Concerned Women for America, the largest women’s organization in America, with over 500,000 members has come out against it.  Never mind that Phyllis Schlafly, a woman Time magazine named as one of the 100 most influential women of the 20th century is against the bill.  Forget about fixing a bad bill, in this case it’s all about politics.  The simple fact is a vote for VAWA is a vote against women.

So here’s what you can do to help.  Call your two United States Senators and tell them to vote no on S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Act.  All you have to do is call the Senate switchboard at 202 224-3121, ask to be connected to your Senator’s office and deliver the message.  It’s that simple and will take less than five minutes to make both calls.  Find your Senators and direct office phone numbers at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm .

Dr. Jayne Major Passes

Friends of Shared Parenting and the family law reform movement have lost a great advocate for children.  Dr. Jayne Major, founder of Breakthrough Parenting, http://www.majorfamilyservices.com/ passed away March 14 after battling cancer for many years.  For decades Jayne worked with the family courts of Los Angeles offering service to parents in conflict.  She was dedicated to reducing hostility in divorce and assuring children were able to have full relationships with both parents.  Jayne was keenly aware of the effects of parental alienation on children and worked tirelessly to help families and the courts recognize the devastating impact of alienation.  We will miss your dedication, compassion and enduring commitment to making this world a better place for the children of divorce.  Rest in Peace Jayne.