In 1990, then-Senator Joe Biden from Delaware drafted and introduced VAWA in Congress. VAWA is a part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (“Crime Bill”). The Act provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave un-prosecuted. The Act also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice.
Violence against women is wrong and needs to end. While VAWA’s intent is to protect women from being victims of domestic violence, it has also created victims in wrongfully accused men and those exonerated of allegations brought under VAWA prosecutions. The gender specific nature of VAWA only looks at men as perpetrators and does not consider men can also be victims of domestic violence and of false allegations of domestic violence. Additionally, transgenders and other groups are not protected under VAWA’s gender specific focus.
Those accused of abuse under VAWA prosecutions are not afforded due process and their lives are left in shambles even if they were falsely accused and exonerated. The result, is that a law meant to protect, has now created a class of men who are deemed guilty even after being exonerated of false allegations.
Steve Chang and Gordon Smith are two such men from Delaware that were falsely accused under VAWA and had their lives destroyed. Steve reported domestic abuse by his ex-wife but under VAWA was viewed as the perpetrator because of false allegations and because he is male. Gordon was wrongfully accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife who was eventually charged with filing false policy reports against him. These false allegations had a profound impact on Steve and Gordon lives including curtailing employment opportunities and limiting time with their children.
In 2014 Steve and Gordon met and shared their horrendous experiences under the discriminatory power of VAWA. For decades VAWA enforcement has removed due process protection, ignored the equal protection of the laws, and brought about widespread disintegration of American families with hundreds of thousands of American children growing up fatherless.
Steve and Gordon also support a strong policy to combat sexual assaults and domestic violence. Concurrently Steve and Gordon believe that VAWA and the administration of VAWA must be done in a non-discriminatory manner and pursuant to the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.
In 2014, Steve and Gordon pledged to each other and other similarly injured Americans that they will put up a constitutional challenge of this overtly discriminatory federal law. On April 29, 2019, they filed the lawsuit to change VAWA. Steve and Gordon have since retained legal representation and are proceeding with the class action while determining which members of the class to include in the litigation. (Case 1:19-cv-01241-TSC)
The purpose of the litigation is threefold:
1) The Commerce Clause of the Constitution prohibits federal intrusion upon local crimes such as possession of a firearm at a school zone, sexual assaults, and domestic violence, no matter how heinous these local crimes are. In two landmark cases, U.S. versus Lopez and U.S. versus Morrison, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Commerce Clause. Therefore Congress has no authority to enact VAWA. 2) Ensure that VAWA is not administered in discriminatory manner and that men, women, gay, transgender and all people are protected from domestic abuse. 3) Ensure those prosecuted under VAWA are afforded Due Process and Equal Protection under 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits any government from depriving any person of the equal protection of the laws.
Today, VAWA has institutionalized guilty-until-proven-innocent prosecutions of many innocent men on college campuses, in family courts, and in other venues nationwide. Well-publicized cases include Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh, Emma Sulkowicz vs. Paul Nungesser (Columbia University), Jane Doe vs. John Doe (Purdue University), Nikki Yovino vs. Bradley/St. Hilaire (Sacred Heart University), and Tiffany Smith vs. Gordon Smith. If you are a heterosexual man in a heterosexual relationship, dating or marital, you are subject to the full force of VAWA solely because of your gender.
If you are a taxpaying law-abiding male but have faced false allegations and thereafter prosecutions by VAWA sponsored organizations, and if you had to spend your own money to defend your good name, you may be a member of the Class in this court action.
Class action litigations are very expensive. Steve so far has spent $25,000 of his personal funds to cover the attorney fees and court costs. Your donation will help sustain this Class Action to change this discriminatory law. Due to the nature of the case, it may go to the Supreme Court of the United States, which will require a tremendous amount of legal resources to sustain. Funds raised are intended to and will be used to cover attorney fees and court costs ONLY.
Please donate and forward this post to others to help change the lives of those falsely accused of domestic violence under VAWA and restore due process protection and the equal protection of the laws for every American.