Republican Senator invents Constitutional right to beat your wife

It wasn't even close. Today the Senate passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 68-31. Par for the course, all 'No' votes came from Republican men. One of those men, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, said this opposing the bill:
“Everyone agrees that [violence] against women is reprehensible,” Lee said. “The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization has the honorable goal of assisting victims of domestic violence but it oversteps the Constitution's rightful limits on federal power.

“It interferes with the flexibility of states and localities that they should have in tailoring programs to meet particular needs of individual communities,” he said. “And it fails to address problems of duplication and inefficiency.”
In other words, if a state or locality decides that you're allowed to beat your wife, the federal government should have nothing to say about it. After all, telling people that they can't physically or sexually abuse their dates, domestic partners or spouses is "overstepping the Constitution's rightful limits on federal power." If men want to beat their wives, it maybe reprehensible, but it's reprehensible the same way hate speech is reprehensible - bad, but Constitutionally protected.

This is a US Senator? I shouldn't be surprised, I guess, but I really feel dirty reading his comment. I feel like I have to shower. Every 9 seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the greatest country on earth. Every 2 minutes, someone is raped. This is not a Constitutional right, goddamnit. Domestic abuse, dating assault, and sexual abuse are not merely reprehensible, Senator. They are the things that join abuse, pain and suffering with shame, thanks to a social structure that turns the heat on the victims of sexual abuse. Am I at fault? Did I do something to deserve it? How do I tell anyone? Will anyone even believe me? Here are just a few facts on sexual assault from the Anti-Violence Project:
Fact: Most sexual assaults are planned and the majority occur in either the survivor’s or the assailant’s home. Often the offender is known to the victim: a relative, friend, neighbor or other acquaintance. [...]

Fact: Sexual assault does really happen to people you know. The majority of sexual assaults go unreported, because survivors fear that they will not be believed or that they might be blamed somehow. If a friend or loved one tells you that they have been assaulted – believe them. They need your support. [...]

Fact: People of all genders, from infants to senior citizens are survivors of sexual assault. No one is responsible for being sexually assaulted. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing or where you were. You have the right to a life free from sexualized violence. [...]
And we're supposed to rely on what, the graciousness of the states and localities where beating the wife is a badge of pride to prevent these assaults?

Let's get one thing straight. This whole argument that the matter of domestic and sexual violence should be left up to the states is nothing more than a euphemism for saying there ought to be no protections or resources for victims of rape, sexual assault, dating violence or domestic gender violence. Saying that American women (and men) do not deserve protections against violence unless they are in a state or city kind enough to pass their own laws is shameful.

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault do not need to be victimized yet again time by people entrusted to make national policy. Sen. Mike Lee owes every victim of domestic violence and rape an apology. He owes every woman an apology. He owes every decent thinking American an apology for verbally raping those who are already victims of terrible violence.