Late At Night… Dear House

A poem in response to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) re-authorization debate in Congress.

Eighteen years ago, this week, VAWA was signed into law. In April 2012, the Senate approved a version of VAWA that extends services and protections to battered undocumented immigrants and to gay, lesbian, and transgender victims. In May 2012, the House of Representatives passed the alternative Republican version, explicitly avoiding any extension of protection to LGBT, Native Americans, and undocumented immigrant women. Reconciliation of the two versions remains to be seen. Historically, Congress has renewed VAWA without controversy, but this debate came at a time when women’s rights, particularly to their bodies, are being systematically challenged in the political arena.

Take action and learn more with the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, and on September 25, participate in an Orange Day.

Late At Night… dear House
By Kathryn Krastin

The TV murmurs with redundant sounds,
but nothing else be it abounds.
The world around me seems to sleep
yet I know there is another world which
works while our sleep is deep.

Know this to be true as I have worked it myself
just like Santa’s best elf.
The phone would ring with a new crisis
for this advocate to have no biases
and help the victim in tears
to ward off their fears.

Each call would be different
each call would be afferent.
A lifeline beats fast at one end of the phone
and dependent upon the advocate alone
for guidance and suggestions of hope to help them be safe and as strong as one.

Resources facing funding issues
and more victims than the shelters can uphold.
Where are the tissues
for those lost among the fold?

More funding is needed
as folks in the House pleaded
in 2012; the House ante up their votes
with a reworded Bill 4970 in hopes that no one would notice
while they honed in upon not protecting certain folks and all that it denotes.

Why leave out groups like the Native Americans
and immigrants who would like to be someday Americans?
Who is to say that one victim isn’t worthy to be protected
or that another deserves more detected?

When is it really going to be about the human being as a victim
so that they never need feel alone
and so that they can learn to trust once again
and believe that we are truly one
Nation interested in the dictum
of our judicial system?

Late at night,
I’m sitting in my chair
whilst the hum of the TV is the only noise I hear
and hoping that the House takes heart
and reconsider leaving out that part
which makes us Nations among Nations
and no longer rings as one.

It’s about the everyone,
dear House, all for all, and all for one.

Sign Kathryn’s petition, asking President Obama to approve the Senate’s version of VAWA


kathryn krastinKathryn Krastin, a member of Hope Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX, has served as a children’s advocate with CASA and as a GAL, a radio host on Beyond Words Live (allowing survivors to tell their story in their own words), a volunteer at a DV shelter in Round Rock, a Victim’s Advocate with the Cedar Park Police Department, a family law paralegal, and an Advisory Board Member of Survive2Thrive Foundation. She has answered crisis calls at National Domestic Violence Hotline and is compiling a Domestic Violence Voices Anthologies book with survivors’ creative works to be published in October 2012. She is looking forward to becoming more actively involved in leadership roles with the Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network. In the past, she has had Deacon and Mission Delegate roles in the Presbyterian (U.S.A.) family.
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