2012-07-12 13:00:54

Nikki Haley vetoes funding for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention in South Carolina

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Nikki Haley is just the worst. She’s not a fan of the health of people with uteri, ladies or girls. Just last month she vetoed a bill that would give parents information on the side effects of HPV and how the vaccine could help. But not only does she hate information or saving people from cancer, Haley goes a step further this week vetoing half a million dollars slated for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. You know, because that market is already just flooding with resources.

Think Progress tells us via the Charlston City Paper that Haley felt this money was “distracting” the Department of Health from protecting public health. Wait, what?

Haley explained these vetoes in the Department of Health and Environmental Control budget by writing, “Each of these lines attempts to serve a portion of our population for which we extend our sympathy and encouragement, but nevertheless, it is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused. Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”

Also according to Think Progress, South Carolina has had a sexual assault rate higher than the national average since 1982 and ranks 7th in female homicides at the hands of men. And that’s what’s actually been reported, so the percentage is probably disastrously higher. Cutting funding for important preventative and crisis programs denies the existence of survivors, it shrinks the possibility of getting help and drives home the point that you probably don’t need or deserve help if you have been sexually assaulted.

I sit on the board of not-for-profit that works in the South Asian community (Sakhi) to end domestic violence and I can tell you first hand how difficult fundraising for violence prevention has become. State funds are drying up, people are broke and can’t donate as much, while wing-nut politicians are trying to take away the little bit of funding we do have. The money we do have is used in direct services and crisis management, but the larger issue of how to end domestic violence and sexual assault as a cultural fact, goes unanswered.

And based on what? The fundamental belief that domestic violence and sexual assault are private matters that shouldn’t need public support or, even worse, that women should stop acting out so their husbands don’t have to…well, you get the picture. The ideology behind cutting this kind of funding is much deeper than superficial arguments about cost effectiveness.

This decision on behalf of Nikki Haley and the other politicians that have made cuts to rape crisis centers and anti-domestic violence work is inhumanely cruel. Domestic violence and sexual assault prevention are issues of public health (take a look at some of the health, social and physical consequences that Nikki Haley believes are a distraction from having a healthy society). Even if you don’t give a shit about people at risk of or have survived sexual assault and domestic violence, recognize that all these people will clog the system in other ways whether through social services, police case loads or at the hospital. It’s not just woman-hate, it’s also bad governance.

Here are some places you can donate to in South Carolina, if you have any additional suggestions, please leave them in comments.

Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition

South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

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