Contributor Perspectives

The U.S. Violence Against Women Act May Lapse. It Matters Geopolitically

Ian Morris
Board of Contributors
Feb 7, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Protesters hold pictures of Valeria Sosa, a 29-year-old dancer killed by her former partner, as they march to condemn violence against women in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Feb. 2, 2017.

Protesters in Montevideo, Uruguay, march to condemn violence against women on Feb. 2, 2017. They hold pictures of Valeria Sosa, a 29-year-old dancer killed by her former partner, a policeman.

(PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired four days before Christmas, one of the many consequences of the 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown. Congress first passed the act with strong bipartisan support in 1994. Coming in the wake of the 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the act aimed to strengthen the criminal justice system's responses to domestic and sexual violence and to improve services to victims. As well as being a domestic issue of major importance, suppressing violence against women is a geopolitical matter, one part of the soft power of the United States that has made so many nations willing (and sometimes even eager) to embrace American leadership of a democratic, liberal world order. But this leadership no longer seems guaranteed. American positions on a wide range of issues -- from climate change and welfare to nationalism and the use of force -- regularly...

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