Violence Against Women
1 in 5 women
have been raped at some time in their lives*
1 in 71 men have been raped at some time in their lives*
Sexual violence is the most under-reported violent crime:
Only 25% of rapes were reported to police in 2018*
*National Sexual Violence Resource Center
An ERA would give a mandate to law enforcement and the courts to fully prosecute crimes against women.
Without federal legislation and constitutional protection, sexual violence laws vary from state to state. Prosecution and enforcement vary by municipality and by police department. High rates of domestic violence and sexual assault and low rates of prosecution and enforcement show a system that isn’t working.
The Violence Against Women Act (1994) was intended to be the first federal law prohibiting crimes of sexual violence. However, portions of the Act were quickly deemed unconstitutional (United States v. Morrison) when the Supreme Court ruled that a law about crimes of sexual violence could not rely on the Commerce Clause for its constitutional basis.
Why the Commerce Clause? The Act is based in the Commerce Clause because there is no other constitutional basis to prosecute violent crimes of sex discrimination.
That’s where the ERA comes in. With an ERA in force, laws prohibiting sexual violence, and all sex discrimination, would have a clear constitutional basis.
Those laws would no longer be subject to reauthorization by Congress, as the Violence Against Women Act is, each session battling partisan bias. Across the nation, women would feel that their individual rights and freedom from violence are upheld by the United States and by their home state.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Statistics about Sexual Violence.