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OCTOBER 23, 2003
1:39 PM
CONTACT: The Green Party of the United States 
Nancy Allen 207-326-4576
Scott McLarty 202-518-5624
Bush/Clinton Policies Increase Women's Vulnerability to Abuse
WASHINGTON - October 23 - Activists in the Green Party of the United States warned that, as rape and domestic violence programs remain underfunded, policies enacted by the Clinton and Bush administrations place women at greater risk of abuse.

"President Bush proclaimed October 'National Domestic Violence Awareness Month,' but his tax cuts, combined with a record deficit, will prevent necessary funding for many programs that support women at risk of violence," said Vivian Houghton, 2002 Green candidate for Delaware Attorney General and former president of NOW Delaware. "These include programs that combat violence, provide legal assistance for victims, and address domestic and sexual violence on college campuses. State deficits will further reduce essential funding."

Welfare reform laws signed by President Clinton and President Bush, especially the Parental Responsibility Act and Bush's initiative to push women into marriage, approved by the House last February, have left millions of women more financially dependent on partners and therefore more vulnerable to abuse, say Greens. Furthermore, Clinton's 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and Bush's marriage legislation place financially stable home lives further out of reach for many lesbians, pushing some into unwanted, unhappy, and potentially abusive marriages.

"In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Green Party members are participating in a series of 'Take Back the Night' events in conjunction with YWCA Week Without Violence," noted Annie Goeke, co-chair of the party's International Committee. The events take place throughout the week of October 19 to 25, with Wednesday, October 22 devoted to Confronting Violence Against Women.

Forcible rapes in the US increased by 4% in 2003. In 2002, women experienced an estimated 494,570 rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault victimizations at the hands of partners. Many more cases go unreported out of fear of retaliation and humiliation.

"Women and girls are at risk at home, at school, and in the street," said Jane Hunter, candidate for the New Jersey State Assembly and chair of the Green Party of New Jersey. "We need a real financial commitment from the Bush Administration to fund the necessary programs to protect us. Rape shield laws, confidentiality requirements, and restraining orders support women who press charges against their attackers, but these legal protections must be backed by funding for education, prevention, counseling, support and shelters."

"To walk wherever we want, say whatever we like, associate with anyone we wish, dress as we please -- these are the fundamental rights of a free person," said Ann Link, member of the State Committee of the Green Party of New York State."We demand a full financial commitment from Bush, not just empty words and a photo op."


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