AI Devises New Approach to Ending a Worldwide Epidemic
Violence against women is a global phenomenon that includes rape, domestic violence, female genital cutting, forced and child marriage, "honor" killings, dowry-related violence, human trafficking, and sexual violence during armed conflicts or in refugee settings. According to the World Health Organization, one in three of the world's women will experience violence in her lifetime, with rates in some countries reaching 70 percent. Globally, one woman in five will be the victim of rape or attempted rape.
In addition to the toll taken on individual lives, violence against women and girls has a profound impact on public health and development. It impedes economic development by preventing girls from going to school and precluding women from holding jobs or inheriting property, and it blocks access to critical health care. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to brutality and exposure to the HIV virus in humanitarian crises, war and post-conflict operations.
Amnesty International USA has joined with the Family Violence Prevention Fund and Women Thrive Worldwide (formerly Women's Edge Coalition) to draft the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), groundbreaking federal legislation introduced in October 2007 by Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). I-VAWA calls for:
- The creation of a comprehensive U.S. federal strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women on a global level
- More than $1 billion over five years to support new assistance programs in 10 to 20 countries and expanded assistance to local groups working to stop violence against women.
- Development of emergency measures that will enable the United States to respond to large-scale outbreaks of violence against women, such as mass rape during armed conflict, and the development of mechanisms for bringing perpetrators to justice.
It is now up to local Amnesty International USA members to urge their senators to sign I-VAWA as cosponsors (at least five Republican senators are needed). AIUSA is focusing its efforts on these key states: Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Your advocacy will help AIUSA make the most of this historic opportunity to raise the issue of violence against women in U.S. diplomatic work and boost funding to organizations that help millions of women and girls around the world.