BALOG COLUMN: Violence Against Women Act renewal was essential for S.C.

What Timothy Fred Glines is accused of doing to his girlfriend is exactly the reason the Violence Against Women Act needed to be renewed.

Glines is accused of kidnapping and beating the mother of his 16-month-old child and forcing her to take money out of her account at an ATM.

To drive the point home, he threatened to kill her if she told the cops, according to the report.

And that's why it was so important that Congress finally renewed the Violence Against Women Act this week.

Well, at least Democrat Jim Clyburn thought it was important. He was the only one of our congressmen to vote in favor of the bill.

Republicans Joe Wilson, Trey Gowdy, Jeff Duncan, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice voted against it.

Duncan seems more focused on protecting our second amendment rights and encouraging offshore drilling, according to a letter on his website.

Gowdy spoke movingly on the House floor about the tragic death of a victim of a domestic homicide from his district, but then decried partisan politics and voted against the Senate version of the bill, calling it “constitutionally suspect.”

Well, that'll teach 'em.

Protection for all

The bill protects women, and men — who make up about 15 percent of domestic violence victims. And it provides equal rights in domestic abuse cases for gays and lesbians, immigrants and Native Americans.

Our politicians must know that we're the No. 2 state in the country for women killed by men, that our rate of domestic abuse and domestic homicide is a shameful blight on South Carolina.

Maybe they were just working so hard to compromise on the sequester that they didn't have time for anything else.

The fact that the law expired in 2011 is embarrassing enough. That our Republican leaders voted against it is inexplicable and inexcusable.

Education, prevention

The act improves services for victims. It gives law enforcement more tools to fight the problem. It provides for victim assistance. It calls for reducing rape kit backlogs.

It also provides for education. Members of the Tri-County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council heard an education program proposal from Marlvis “Butch” Kennedy with Project Unity at their February meeting.

Working with Project Real MAD — Real Men Against Domestic Violence — he has created a domestic violence education and prevention program that he says will help men get out of the “man box,” the place where men feel they have to dominate above all else. The program holds men accountable and works to change their mindset.

It includes the Real MAD Top 10, things like leading by example, challenging other men on their ways of thinking, and having the courage to look inward. “We feel that all men from (age) 10 to 100 can benefit from the program,” Kennedy told the group.

What Glines is accused of is a vicious, brutal, victimizing crime. That the woman had the courage to call police even after being threatened is remarkable.

The renewal of the bill can't change what happened. But hopefully it can help her make the eventual transition from victim to survivor.

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