Document 3A: Opening Statement of Orrin G. Hatch, U.S. Senator, Utah Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 103rd Congress, First Session on The Problems of Violence Against Women in Utah and Current Remedies, Salt Lake City, Utah. Serial No. J-103-11.

Introduction

        Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Republican presidential hopeful. Hatch expressed his support for the VAWA in both his opening and prepared statements (see Document 3B) before the Senate in 1993. These documents show that the legislation had the support of powerful figures on the political right.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

__________

TUESDAY APRIL 13, 1993

                                                        U.S. SENATE,
                                                COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
                                                                                Salt Lake City, UT.

       The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10a.m., at the YWCA, 322 East Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT, Hon. Orrin Hatch presiding.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ORRIN HATCH, A U.S.
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF UTAH

       Senator HATCH. Good morning. I want to welcome all of you to this hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee of which I am the ranking Republican. The topic of this hearing is Violent Crimes Against Women. Today we will be trying to find some answers to the following questions: How serious a problem is violence against women in Utah, have our Federal and State criminal justice systems adequately focused on this problem, and are current remedies and protections adequate? I believe this morning's hearing is an important hearing for all of us to become better informed on these issues, and I want to thank the YWCA for making these facilities avaliable to us to hold these hearings. I deeply appreciate the efforts and enthusiasm shown by so many Utahns who have participated in putting this session together.

       In this regard, I would like to especially thank my Women's Advisory Group and Special Study Group chaired by M. Karla Henman, which has been working with my office on this and other important issues. Also, I would like to thank the Senate Judiciary Committee's Chairman, Senator Joe Biden, who has sent his top staff here for this important hearing.

       Now, violent crimes against women continue to be among the most underreported. The numbers are nonetheless staggering, and both Senator Biden and myself are very concerned about this, and there are a number of other members of the Judiciary Committee, and if I don't miss my bet all of them are equally concerned. A study by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year extrapolating a national figure from data maintained by certain States estimates that 1.3 million women in this country are victims of reported domestic violence each year, 1.3 million women. Accoding to the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, the number of reported rapes had increased from 331 in 1984 to 788 in 1991. FBI figures points that number at 808, a 24-percent increase from 1990.

       Now, many attribute this increase to a greater awareness in the community in reporting rapes. However, we're sure that that does not include all the actual rapes which occur. According to FBI statistics, a Salt Lake women stands a greater chance of being raped, that is 53.5 per 100,000, than someone in the District of Columbia, 38.8 per 100,000 or New York City, 35.7 per 100,000. Remember, ours was 53.5 per 100,000. The people in Utah don't realize this, and that's one reason why we're holding these hearings. Our rate statewide is 45.6 per 100,000, which exceeds the national average. Nationally there were over 100,000 rapes reported in 1991, almost a 4-percent increase over 1990, and this translates into one rape every 5 minutes in this country.

       As horrifying as all these numbers are, statistics alone hardly tell the whole story. They do not convey the feeling of fear and vulnerability that millions of women in our State and across this country must face on our streets and all too often in their own homes. The true human cost of this violence to the victims, to their children, and to society as a whole are imeasureable, and rather than victims, I would use the word survivors. But even just the immediate and mesaurable costs in terms of medical expenses, law enforcement and lost productivity, clearly we see the cost of early and effective intervention. As we in Washington, DC, struggle with how to allocate scarce resources, that fact needs to be kept in mind. Effective intervention in the area of domestice violence requires coordinated efforts by police, prosecutors, courts, and counseling. It demands a major commitment by government at all levels, Federal, State and local.

       Last, but certainly not least, it demands a commitment by each of us as individual citizens and as members of the community. It demands that parents instill within their children some basic values of decency and self-control that will be carried into adulthood. Each and every one of us must begin to wake up to the fact that no man has a right to strike a woman simply because they share a house or apartment, nor does any women have the right to strike a man, though that problem is less common. We must recognize that millionss of women live in fear every day of their life that they are going to be violently assaulted by their companions. Now, all violent crimes against women must be recognized as such. Rape, sexual assault, and attacks by spouses and others all leave the same emotional as well as physical scars. Every rape, assault or other violent act against women affects the lives of all women in that particular community.

       Now, I have the privlege of chairing this Judiciary Committee hearing today as Utah's senior Senator. I am here to listen to you and to compile a record to take back with me to Washington as the 103rd Congress considers major legislation dealing with a wide array of issues related to violent crimes against women. I want that record to reflect the specific concerns and suggestions of my fellow Utahns. But I'm also here as a concerned member of this community committed, as are so many in this room and across this State, to combating this crisis, this epidemic which exists in the home and in the streets, so I welcome all of the witnesses who will be with us here this morning. They come with a wide array of perspectives, expertise, experience, experiences and ideas. I especially want to thank those witnesses who courageously and unselfishly will come forward to recount their own experiences, the survivors of this type of treatment. Doing so must be extremely difficult and painful, but please know that your testimonies will make a difference. They will make a difference for other women and other families. The number of actual witnesses is limited because of time constraints. However, we have invited all interested persons who wish to do so to submit written statements of reasonable length to be included in the offical record, and we will include them, so those of you who feel you can add to the hearing record, please do so and we will include your statements in the record.

       As we will hear from the witnesses, many across this State, in the public and private sector, have worked long and hard to combat this crisis, but we have a long way to go and there is much educating to be done, and thus, in addition to providing specific input to the committee relative to Federal legislation, I hope that this hearing will help to focus public attention on this issue. I also hope it will facilitate what is already an ongoing battle among so many committed citizens of this State on what more can possibly be done. The thousands of women at risk in this State require and deserve our utmost attention, and for these reasons I look forward to today's testimony.

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