CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Most men never would hurt a woman -- but a few do, and it's horrible.
The tragic story of Teresa Wilson of Beckley was recounted Friday by reporter Lori Kersey. The woman tried to break free from her brutal boyfriend, and her sister coached her about escape options, but the boyfriend vowed to kill her if she went to police.
Finally, he beat her to death, and drew a 20-year prison term. Her sister, Tonia Thomas, tries to save other women as a team coordinator for the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Terrible tales like this abound in West Virginia. Repeatedly, news reports tell of a raging man who kills his mate, then often kills himself. It's a senseless waste of lives. West Virginia has passed numerous domestic violence protective laws, but the death toll persists.
Monday, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on restoring the federal Violence Against Women Act. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has been a longtime champion of the law. But Republican opposition caused it to die temporarily.
"Last year, most Senate Republicans voted against it, and House Republicans remain deeply skeptical," MSNBC reported.
Far-right fundamentalist groups such as the Family Research Council are demanding that Congress kill the law again -- perhaps because it would protect victims in same-sex couples.
"The Family Research Council is taking VAWA opposition so seriously that it told congressional Republicans that this vote will be scored -- if they want to maintain a high rating on religious right scorecards, they'll have to vote against reauthorization," MSNBC added. "Among extreme House Republicans, the religious right's opposition may still carry weight."
This is nutty. It's hard to believe that anyone can oppose a law to protect victims of family beatings and killings. We agree with Rockefeller, who said VAWA "should absolutely be continued." During a Martinsburg assembly Friday, he pointed out more than 1,300 women and children currently are housed in 14 domestic violence shelters around West Virginia, and the federal law is needed to aid such refuges.
Thomas, whose sister was beaten to death, told the Martinsburg meeting: "The Violence Against Women Act is monumental legislation that provides critical services to women and children experiencing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking."
"Everyone deserves to be safe from abuse. We should provide victims of domestic violence with every protection the law can provide."