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Palin Plays Politics with Dangerous Analogy

December 22, 2015



On Saturday, former Governor Sarah Palin criticized Republican lawmakers and GOP congressional leaders by comparing them to domestic abusers battering their wives, who, in her offensive analogy, are the nation’s conservative voters. Their heinous offense? Backing the recent federal budget bill.

“Sarah Palin’s disturbing remarks minimize the horror experienced by real victims, and she treats their suffering as part of a political game. Ironically, this budget bill funds badly needed services to survivors of abuse who are seeking help,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “Her comments are dangerous and show a deep misunderstanding of the dynamic of abuse.”

The analogy diminishes the gravity of domestic violence, with Palin suggesting, “we can’t hide the black eyes any more. The whole neighborhood knows … But like a battered wife, we keep going back because every four years they bring us flowers, beg our forgiveness, and swear they’ll never hit us again.” [1]

It is crucial for individuals in leadership positions to exercise care when discussing domestic and sexual violence, as their statements help shape public opinion and awareness.

“Comments such as those made by Sarah Palin make these appalling crimes seem inconsequential. Using domestic violence as a metaphor is an outrage to the victims who endure these crimes – especially those who have died from them – and their families,” said Gandy.

Impact of Funding Bill on Domestic Violence Services

The most recent omnibus Fiscal Year (FY) 2106 funding bill provides record investments in programs that address and help prevent domestic and sexual violence. [2]

Domestic violence shelters and service programs cite lack of funding as the biggest challenge they face in meeting the needs of survivors. NNEDV’s annual census of domestic violence programs found that in just one 24-hour period in 2014, almost 11,000 requests for services were unmet because service providers did not have the capacity or funding to meet the need in their community. [3]

NNEDV and victim advocates nationwide applaud the leadership and support of appropriators and all Members of Congress who fought for these important increases in funding to the field. These shared successes are paramount in the fight to end domestic and sexual violence. Domestic abuse should not be cited frivolously or used to make political hay.

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[1] Lydia O’Conner, Sarah Palin Compares Grassroots Conservatives to Battered Women

[2] NNEDV, FY 2016 Funding Bull Includes Record Investment to Address Violence Against Women

[3] NNEDV, 9th annual Domestic Violence Counts report