The effects of the shutdown are far and wide: Head Start and other publicly funded education programs lost funding as of October 4. 400 National Parks, museums, galleries, and attractions—including the Statue of Liberty—are closed to the public, leading to a loss of revenue for the surrounding area and of course, the suffering of employees and their families. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will not investigate on-the-job discrimination complaints.
While there is certainly too much to list here, another awful effect of the American Taliban’s hostage-taking of America is felt: the victims of domestic violence might have no place to turn for help.
On Thursday, a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s who runs a Domestic Violence and rape crisis center shared a letter from the Office of Justice Programs:
[box type=”shadow”]“Office of Justice Programs (OJP) have sufficient resources to remain operational through Friday, October 4, 2013. This means that OJP staff will be available to assist grantees and OJP payment systems and services will be available through October 4, 2013. Should funding not be restored by October 4, 2013, OJP will cease all operations and California will not be able to draw down funds and reimburse your invoices.”[/box]
That’s right—federal funding has been cut off for programs to help victims of a crime that is the leading cause of injury and homelessness in women.
The GOPhadists have a long history of crimes against women: the Right’s strong opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, the war on women’s reproductive rights, “fetal personhood laws,” mandatory ultrasounds—the list goes on and on. According to Department of Justice statistics, 1.3 million women will be physically assaulted by their partners this year. Every 9 seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten, and domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. Of course, this does not matter to the Grand Old Party. The primary concern here is the Affordable Healthcare Act. If it’s not defunded soon, then we might accidentally provide affordable healthcare to the 36% of low-income women in America who are uninsured!
Domestic violence programs were already reeling from the Sequestration. According to Think Progress, before the sequester, 80% of shelters reported receiving less government funding with 43% saying they could have to cut back on services. The Sequester added an additional $20m in cuts to funding or, more importantly, over 70,000 victims not having access to recovery programs and shelters.
There is no reasonable way to gauge the impact the shutdown will have on victims of domestic violence, but one thing is for certain: if it goes on for much longer, many shelters will close, an untold number of women—75% of whom may stay with their abuser longer for economic reasons– will be deprived of shelter and help, all in the name of making sure that the uninsured stay uninsured. It will once again be reinforced that the GOP, ideologically, regards women as…nonessential. As Ted Cruz said, it’s just a ”partial temporary suspension of non-essential government functions,” right? Nonessential–like educating our children…or ensuring that victims of violent crimes receive the help they need?