*re-issued November 2010 for passage this year*
Equality Now supports the International Violence Against Women Act (HR 4594/S 2982) in order to achieve a more comprehensive, multi-sectoral, and coordinated response to violence against women that is not only more efficient, but also a wise investment. The I-VAWA would:
- Create high-level offices at the State Department and USAID responsible for developing and implementing programs to end violence against women and girls.
- Direct the office at the State Department to create a comprehensive 5-year strategy to reduce violence against women and girls beginning with 5-20 countries.
- Fund comprehensive programs in these countries that address violence in a coordinated way, through legal and health sector reform, by changing social norms and attitudes that condone rape and abuse, and improving education and economic opportunities for women and girls.
- Specifically target a portion of the funding to overseas women’s organizations to develop their capacity to work independently of U.S. support.
- Urge the U.S. government to act in cases of extreme outbreaks of violence against women and girls, for example, to address the horrific levels of rape experienced by women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Current U.S. efforts to address violence against women are well intentioned but fragmented, piecemeal and uncoordinated. Please write to your Senator and Congressperson to support the I-VAWA.
I am writing to voice my support for the International Violence Against Women Act (HR 4594/ S 2982).
Globally, it is estimated that one out of every three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime, with rates of domestic violence reaching up to 71% in some countries. Somewhere a woman is raped, beaten, killed by her husband, trafficked or forced to trade sex for food every day.
I believe that efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls should be a top priority in U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance programs. Not only is violence against women and girls a gross human rights violation, it is also a public health epidemic and a barrier to solving global challenges such as extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and terrorism.
The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) supports innovative programs, which have been shown to effectively decrease acts of violence and support survivors. Many of these programs help women and girls do things we so often take for granted: go to school, earn an income to take care of their families, collect food or water without fear of rape and bring perpetrators of abuse to justice. I-VAWA will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing U.S. foreign policy to end and respond to violence against women and girls around the world.
When implemented, I-VAWA would help put an end to the fear, pain and suffering experienced by countless women and girls globally. Please use your leadership role to help facilitate the progress of this important legislation through Congress.
I thank you for your attention.