Violence against women and girls is perhaps the most pervasive of all human rights violations. The United Nations estimates that at least one in every three women globally has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Daily, women endure physical, sexual and psychological violence, including domestic violence, rape, “honor” killings and human trafficking.
Each year from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, grass roots organizations and individual citizens join in an international campaign called 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence to raise awareness, demonstrate solidarity and create pressure to end such violence.
Americans can contribute to this campaign by urging Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act. This legislation would integrate efforts to prevent gender violence into U.S. foreign policy and aid programs. It would make the Office of Global Women’s Issues in our State Department permanent and implement our U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence in at least five countries where such violence is severe.
I-VAWA would provide health care and services for survivors of violence, promote access to education and jobs for women and girls, and address violence against them during armed conflict or disasters.
I-VAWA has been introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 3571 and Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill. Please call on Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to co-sponsor and introduce the International Violence Against Women Act in the Senate as well.