Men have been always regarded as creatures with bigger physical power in comparison to women. Due to it, the issue of domestic violence against females has disturbed the society from the ancient times. Especially, it has been sharp concerning the aggressive attitude of men towards pregnant women as, in this case, the conflict is marked by gender confrontation and puts the existence of humanity under threat. People have tried to solve this problem with the help of moral or religious laws that make people treat pregnancy as the gift from heaven. However, not all people have perceived it as the ultimate truth. That is why the protection of pregnant women from violence has become the domain of law. Violence against Women Act (VAWA) is an example of legal document, which with the help of such mechanisms as the improvement of professional legislative and community institutions and training courses helps to make the life of pregnant women safer.
Violence against Women Act (VAWA) passed in 1994 was the first systematic attempt to legally address the problem of domestic violence. The main goals of it were to prevent domestic violence and help the victimized females to recover from physical and psychological injuries. In addition, its objective was to protect the female immigrants from aggressive attitude of their husbands. Congress has found that it is a common issue in American families that permanent resident spouses abuse their battered spouses and children because of the lack of lawful protection of immigrants (Congress, 2005, p. 124). These goals have been partially achieved. Since the adoption of VAWA, the number of women killed by their intimate spouses has decreased by 34%, and the rate of non-fatal violence against women has decreased by 53% (Finley, 2013, p. 535).
The first mechanism, which helps Violence against Women Act (VAWA) to be effective in the sphere of women’s protection against aggressive attitude of their husbands, is the creation of a coordinated community response against domestic violence. On the one hand, it contributes to the improvement of police system. For example, it supports increased police personnel, extended victim services, higher levels of prosecution, and more harsh punishments for offenders. On the other hand, it empowers the community to stand against domestic violence. VAWA encourages the stakeholders, victim advocates, police officers, judges, correction officials, health care workers, and leaders of faith community to combine their efforts to combat domestic violence (Finley, 2013, p. 535).
Secondly, VAWA uses education as an effective tool in the fight against domestic violence. It provides families with special trainings, which help them to understand the threat of aggression. For example, from January 2005 to June 2009, more than 1 161 000 people took up domestic violence courses (Finley, 2013, p. 535). In addition, VAWA improves the education of legislative forces. From January 2005 to June 2009, 191 330 law enforcement officers, 32 265 cont personnel, and 21 649 prosecutors held special training courses about domestic violence (Finley, 2013, p. 535).
On the other hand, VAWA has faced some difficulties. The biggest one of them was the debates around the status of unborn children. Many legislatures do not regard the fetus as an actual person but only possible realization of it. Due to it, they did not support the point in VAWA that aggression against pregnant women should be punished two times greater as two persons (mother and child) suffer from it (Schroedel, 2000, p. 173).
To sum up, Violence against Women Act (VAWA) helps to protect women, especially pregnant ones from domestic violence. The main tools for it are the improvement of professional legislative and community institutions and training courses on domestic violence. Nevertheless, as there is no clear opinion in the society concerning the treatment of fetus (whether it is a person or not), some legislatures oppose the development of this act.