GOP Sen. Who Blocked Violence Against Women Act Was Victim Of Domestic Violence
Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa made headlines in November when she blocked a vote on the Violence Against Women Act, arguing its provisions were partisan and unlikely to pass a GOP-controlled Senate, The Hill reported.
"Why on earth would we introduce a piece of legislation that will not make it through this body? Shouldn't we be working together to find a path forward? We should continue to work on that, and I sincerely hope that by the end of this year, we can come together,” Ernst argued on the Senate floor at the time, after Senator Diane Feinstein attempted to secure a vote on the legislation.
At issue with the VAWA bill was “a provision that eliminated the so-called boyfriend loophole by expanding a current ban on firearm purchases for spouses or formerly married partners convicted of abuse or under a restraining order to include dating partners who were never legally married.”
But according to a January 2019 report in USA Today, Ernst herself was a victim of domestic violence.
“Ernst said in court filings that she was assaulted by her husband of 26 years after she confronted him about his alleged affair with their daughter's babysitter,” USA Today reported. Her divorce was finalized in January 2019.
In court papers, the Iowa Republican said she suffered “verbal and mental abuse and a physical assault” at the hands of her now ex-husband.
"Gail has been very cruel," Ernst wrote. "This has been an extremely painful journey."
USA Today went on to note that “one in three teenagers say they know someone their age who has been hit, punched, choked or otherwise physically hurt by a partner,” further supporting the elimination of the “boyfriend loophole.”