International Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced and Time is Ticking!

March 9, 2015

Violence devastates the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide every year (Photo Credit: Mahmud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images)
Violence devastates the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide every year (Photo Credit: Mahmud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s little doubt that you’ve repeatedly heard about the incessant global epidemic of violence against women and girls; I am certain you’ve seen one too many horrific headlines highlighting unthinkable instances of gender-based violence around the world.

Like me, you’re also undoubtedly distressed by the violence and simultaneously weary of the struggle to end it. It is overwhelming and daunting to grasp how we can work to effectively end this widespread human rights abuse.

But we cannot give up on our efforts. With every day that passes, violence continues to devastate the lives of countless more women and girls in every part of the world. We must continue to push for a solution.

As Amnesty activists, you’ve certainly heard about the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). Amnesty has been at the forefront of efforts to push this important bill since its inception several years ago. I can understand that you might be tired of advocating for IVAWA, but there is a reason why we keep pushing this bill and asking for your help in doing so: we know that IVAWA is an important part of the solution to ending violence against women and girls around the world. We just need Members of Congress to get the message.

As we observed International Women’s Day yesterday, a dedicated group of bipartisan lawmakers in the House of Representatives reintroduced IVAWA into the new session of Congress, with reintroduction in the Senate planned for this week. IVAWA will improve existing U.S. efforts to address gender-based violence by ensuring the U.S. has a comprehensive diplomatic and foreign assistance strategy to help secure the safety and rights of women and girls across the world.

IVAWA’s introduction couldn’t have come soon enough. The U.S. government currently has a strategy in place like the one IVAWA is calling for, however it is set to expire this summer. This could mean a disastrous end to a critical mechanism that has been the lifeline for numerous women and girls around the world… unless Congress acts.

Your lawmakers need to know just how important and timely IVAWA is. Will you take action with me on IVAWA to keep the clock from running out on these crucial anti-violence efforts? 

In reflecting on International Women’s Day, I wish more than anything that violence against women and girls didn’t affect one out of every three women worldwide, crossing all borders and cultures, impacting the ability of women and girls to access the full spectrum of their human rights. And I really wish Congress would help us do something about it.

We cannot let the clock run out on the critical initiatives in place to end the global scourge of violence against women. It is more important than ever before to pass IVAWA and ensure continued progress on ending this human rights abuse around the world.