A bipartisan group of senators reintroduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) today. Amnesty International USA urged lawmakers to support the bill and push for its quick passage, reaffirming the United States’ role as an important ally for millions of women worldwide whose right to live free from violence is under daily threat.
“Congress has the opportunity to say that when it comes to the global epidemic of violence against women, enough is enough,” said Tarah Demant, director of the Gender, Identity, and Discrimination program at Amnesty International USA. “Violence against women is unacceptable. This legislation is critical to helping stop violence from occurring in the first place and ensuring that women have access to justice and equality before the law when it does. This act must be passed quickly to help ensure women’s efforts to claim their rights.”
While recognizing the United States has much work to do to address violence against women within its borders, IVAWA is international in scope and would ensure the U.S. government continues to have a coordinated strategy in place to make gender-based violence prevention and response across the world a top U.S. diplomatic and foreign assistance priority.
One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. Despite the horrific attacks against women and girls in South Sudan, and against refugee women already fleeing violence in Myanmar, Syria, North Africa and elsewhere that have recently captured the world’s attention, Congress has yet to pass comprehensive legislation to help put an end to the many forms of violence taking place every day against women and girls in every corner of the globe.
The bill was reintroduced in the Senate under the leadership of Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-VT) along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
The separate U.S.-focused Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was last reauthorized in 2013 and is up for reauthorization again next year.