On Sunday, March 20, a Miami woman was going about her shopping at Walmart when a man attacked her. The attempted rapist was thankfully taken down by good Samaritans, and he was arrested.
The second crime happened in court: The man is now out on bond, ordered not to go near the victim or go back to Walmart. So now, he is free to go to shop for other victims at any other store.
How many women have to be thrown in front of trains, or kicked down flights of cement stairs, or pummeled unmercifully while trying to get into their homes, or have feces shoved into their faces, or be sexually assaulted before district attorneys make protecting victims, not criminals, the priority?
Women used to feel safer in public before the most violent were routinely and increasingly set free. The revolving door of recidivists disproportionately hurts women, especially poor, minority, and elderly women.
Unfortunately, current hate crime statistics obfuscate the threats women face. FBI data shows hate crime statistics based on victims’ other demographics, such as race, but it is not apparent if race and gender factor into a person being targeted. For example, if an Asian-American woman is assaulted in New York both because of bias against her race and because of the perception that a woman is a weaker victim, just her race will be counted.
Even worse, current data only goes up to 2020. The FBI just announced that due to a lack of participation by police departments, nationwide quarterly crime data for 2021 will not be released. (Nearly half of police departments withheld their statistics from last year.)
What we do know is that a preliminary report from Cal State San Bernardino found a 44% jump in hate crimes in major U.S. cities last year. The Miami-Dade Police Department did release data for both 2021 and 2022 and found a more than 19% jump in reported rapes in the first quarter of this year over last.
Feminists for Life was the only pro-life group to work in coalition with women’s groups on the original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was meant to fund resources and support, not pet projects. Recently, Congress passed another VAWA, but sadly, it is filled with programs that have nothing to do with protecting women and serving victims. How many women have been murdered by an estranged spouse with a history of stalking and violent behavior, sometimes along with their children, because of a useless protection order?
Instead of focusing on the widespread and serious problems we face, the government is now spending millions on unrelated projects, like fixing a column of a historic building in wealthy Fairfax County, Virginia. The bill is sadly filled with pork, rather than 100% perp prevention and support for survivors.
And as we mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month, legislators, judges, and district attorneys must understand this in order to prevent the next wave of increasing assaults. It is their job. If not, they are culpable, too. Stop giving women lip service. If the DA or judge won’t keep the most violent offenders off the streets, then they should move on.
Remember this when next you vote in a primary or general election, especially if DAs in your jurisdiction are elected officials. Make sure to know her or his policies and record first. Meanwhile, speak out!
Whether the perpetrator needs to be held in jail or an institution for the violently mentally ill, women must be protected. Women deserve better.
Because women — and girls — deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster
Feminists for Life of America
Women Deserve Better
& The American Feminist
P.S. If you have not yet contacted your representative to tell her or him to co-sponsor the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act of 2022 (H.R.7294), sponsored by Rep. Ashley Hinson, please do so today! Call the United States Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or find her or him online at www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative. Thank you!