Every day, women and girls around the world are subject to physical and sexual violence. Gender-based violence knows no physical or cultural boundaries, occurring in times of war and peace and in every single country around the world. Shockingly, rates are as high as 70% in some countries.
But this is a problem with a solution.
The U.S. government has a critical role to play in preventing and ending gender-based violence worldwide. And Members of Congress have a unique opportunity in this important effort.
Passing the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) is one of the best ways the U.S. can help. This new bill – introduced by Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and soon to be introduced in the Senate, represents a crucial step in sticking up for and empowering women and girls worldwide. The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) integrates violence prevention and response into U.S. foreign policy and supports proven programs that can reduce violence against women and girls.
On any given day, horrifying news stories about such violence appears across the news: The systematic rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Increasing assaults on the women and girls standing up for their rights in Afghanistan. Violence against women and girls in Haiti whose lives are already devastated by the earthquake. Sadly, the list could go on for days. These horrific instances of gender-based violence are not isolated to a few women in a few places- they are just the stories that make headlines.
Incidents of violence against women internationally can seem distant and incomprehensible. But the women affected share many of the same dreams and aspirations as our sisters, our daughters, our friends and lovers, and our neighbors. Violence takes the lives of millions of women and girls, and denies countless others their dignity and the chance to live safe, productive lives. And, in a world where tensions and violence within communities can jeopardize national and international security, it is vital that the United States take action.
We cannot turn away. We must end atrocities committed against women and girls in their homes and in their communities, during times of peace and times of conflict.
The United States Congress can help address these horrifying abuses. Lawmakers should move quickly to pass IVAWA and signal the United States’ commitment to stopping violence against women and girls worldwide.
You, your family, and your neighbors now can let lawmakers know you want more to be done to address violence against women globally. And you can do it right now.
Let your Member of Congress know that ending violence against women and girls is important to you. Send a message urging him or her to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.
To learn more, go to “Let’s Pass I-VAWA!”