September 1997 Home   Newsletters

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January 1998

Annual General Membership Program Planning Meeting
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Bonnie Campbell 4th Violence Forum (Excerpt from her speech) (Bonnie Campbell)
State Economic Task Force Makes Tax Recommendations (Astrid Monson)
Holiday Food Drive
Spread the Word
Public Forum on Gambling
Special League Mailings (Grace Furukawa)
Membership (Annie Kim)

Bonnie Campbell 4th Violence Forum
(Excerpt from her speech)

Suzanne Meisenzahl, League Violence Prevention Committee Chair; Bonnie Campbell, Director Violence Against Women Office, U.S. Justice Dept.; Ina Percival, Director, Hawaii Commission on Status of Women & Alana Bowman, City Deputy Attorney, Los Angeles

There is a connection between violence against women and an ability to participate fully in a democracy – certainly an issue that both these entities have been focused on forever. Abused women and their children are completely disenfranchised from our society because of the power of violence and the fear of violence. And so it is, all around the world today.

The Violence Against Women Act, despite its title, is gender neutral. But, as stated by noted authority Gavin DeBecker, "it may be politically correct to speak in terms of gender neutrality about violence against people, but it is statistically incorrect". Most of the time, the victims are women and the perpetrators are men. The Violence Against Women Act really speaks to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Violence Against Women Act created 5 new Federal funds, Mann Act and subsequent legislation. It is now a federal crime to cross a state line in furtherance of domestic violence assault or to cross a state line if you are subject to, or in violation of a restraining order, or to stalk someone across a state line. The remaining two federal offenses relate to guns. It is a federal crime to possess a firearm or ammunition if you have ever been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. this is a very powerful tool called the Lawtonberg amendment. Although typically, domestic violence crimes, sexual assault and stalking are investigated, prosecuted and heard at the state level, these federal crimes are meant to close loopholes that exist in a highly transient society.

A key provision in the Violence Against Women Act is a civil provision that requires that all states give Full Faith in Credit to the protective orders of other states. Enormous attention, resources and energies are dedicated to make everyone understand how vital it is to provide the ability to get a protective order enforced across state lines to the jurisdiction in which the safety and well being of the victim lie.

The President and congress committed well over two billion dollars in fighting crimes against women and forming the justice system specifically over six years. $2.4 million was committed to Hawaii.

Fundamentally, we believe that the justice system has to have three very specific goals. One, to keep the victims safer. Two, to hold the abuser accountable. Three, prevent and stop the violence.

There are many myths about battered women. About who they are, and who the batterers are. An important goal is to educate the public about facts from fiction, myth from reality, right from wrong, crime from something not criminal.

We are unkind to battered women. The two most asked questions are: I] why do men batter? The answer is because they can. They can batter, it gets them what they want, and there are no consequences. 2] why don't those women leave? There are so many reasons it is hard to recount them. But the most obvious one is they don't want to assure their own assassination.

There is a special set of victims that we have to consider – and those are the children who live in these homes. We have an absolute moral obligation to intervene in the lives of these children at the earliest opportunity.

(The full text of Ms. Campbell's address is available upon request)

Bonnie Campbell

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