This article was first published in our July -August Newsletter
Updated and posted on Sep 15, 2010
Approximately one third of all women worldwide have been or will become victims of physical or sexual abuse in their lifetimes. In some countries, the rate is as high as 70 percent. Violence against women poses a global health crisis, a severe impediment to development, and above all an entirely unacceptable human rights violation.
On April 19, AFJN members and friends participated in a Lobby Day on the Hill, visiting more than 30 congressional offices to discuss and promote the bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). As of now we have 32 co-sponsors of the IVAWA in the Senate and 132 in the House of Representatives, though many more are needed for the bill to advance further. To see a list of these co-sponsors, as well as a summary and full-text of the IVAWA, visit www.thomas.gov and search “International Violence Against Women Act ” or H.R 4594 or S.2982 The IVAWA would make ending violence against women a diplomatic priority for the first time in our nation’s history and would require the U.S. government to respond promptly to critical outbreaks of gender-based violence in armed conflict. A recent poll of voters demonstrated that well over half of US citizens from all demographic groups and partisan lines believe that ending violence against women should be a top foreign policy priority. If passed, the IVAWA would incorporate violence prevention and survivor assistance into all existing U.S. assistance programs, providing women and girls with healthcare, education, and economic opportunity as well as promoting legal reform and social change. Most importantly, the IVAWA would invest in local women’s organizations which are already successfully working to reduce violence in their communities overseas and are therefore in the best position
to help end the global epidemic of violence.
Despite this bill’s incredible potential, as well as the considerable progress made since our Lobby Day, your voice is essential to push this bill towards passage. If you missed Lobby Day, it is not too late to help support the IVAWA! For advocacy tips and suggestions, talking points, and more, check out our Lobby Day materials at www.afjn.org!
By Katie Wittigen, AFJN intern