I am a bit late on posting this but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently recklessly terminated California’s entire domestic violence budget. Yup, all of it. There’s not a single penny left in the state budget for addressing and dealing with domestic violence. This is deeply disturbing and infuriating. As V-Day founder Eve Ensler has said:
What same governor does this as the state economy is plummeting and violence is escalating? When the STAND Hotline, that serves Contra Costa County, fielded more than 12,500 calls for help in the first seven months of 2009, triple the number in a normal year (if violence is ever normal)? In a state where over the past six months at least five men, desperate from losing their jobs, have murdered their families and themselves? What other governor is willing to sacrifice the lives of his constituent daughters and mothers in order to protect oil corporations from paying taxes on their multi-billion-dollar profits – fair taxes that could easily fund these same programs?
Here again we see “women’s issues” being sidelined and shoved off the table because they are not deemed worthy enough for our attention and recognition. As feminists have argued and demonstrated for so long, domestic violence is not merely a “women’s issue”. It is a serious matter that affects the entire community. Victims of domestic violence are not limited to just women. States and institutions need to take domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence or relationship violence) seriously.
Fortunately in New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson (also a Tufts alum!) has preserved funding for domestic violence programs and has expressed a deep and sincere commitment to ending violence against women in New Mexico. But it is completely unacceptable that Governor Scwarzenegger has chosen to eliminate all funding for domestic violence programs in California. He needs to get his priorities in order.