Help Stop Violence Against Women Worldwide


Feb. 10, 2010

Each day, women and girls are raped, beaten, burned, trafficked and subjected to other forms of horrendous violence. Approximately one out of three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime, and in some countries 70 percent of women have been victims of domestic violence. No country is immune – the violence crosses all borders and affects women of all ages, social groups, religions and classes. 
The United States Congress now has an opportunity to address these horrifying abuses. On February 4, Senators Boxer (D-MA), Collins (R-Maine), Kerry (D-MA) and Snowe (R-Maine) and Representatives Delahunt (D-MA) and Poe (R-TX) reintroduced the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), a comprehensive piece of legislation with bipartisan support that will integrate violence prevention in U.S. foreign policy. 

(Women Thrive Worldwide took video and pictures of the reintroduction event, which featured comments from I-VAWA's sponsors and activists from Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Video can be found at and pictures can be found at
The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) will support innovative programs that have been shown to effectively reduce acts of violence. These include programs that create economic and educational opportunities for women, challenge public attitudes that permit violence, improve health services for survivors and bring perpetrators of violence to justice. 
Working through the international assistance that the U.S. already provides, this new bipartisan bill will support best practices against violence aimed at women and girls. It would expand our government's ability to help prevent violence against women caught in conflict, support non-governmental organizations that are combating violence on the ground, and put the U.S. unequivocally on the record with countries around the world in saying that ending violence against women and girls is a national priority.
I-VAWA is especially important because it incorporates training, protection and services for women across a range of situations, from the fight against HIV-AIDS, to schools and health clinics, to court systems, to refugee camps. It also emphasizes long-term prevention efforts like increasing women's economic security and expanding access to good jobs.
In a world where tensions and violence within communities can jeopardize national and international security, it is critical that the United States takes action to end atrocities committed against women and girls in their homes and in their communities, during times of peace and times of conflict.
Violence takes the lives of millions of women and girls, and denies countless others their dignity and chance to live safe, productive lives. Constituents now have the opportunity to let lawmakers know they want more to be done to address violence against women globally, they can take action to end the suffering by urging their Members of Congress to co-sponsor I-VAWA.

You can send a letter to Congress in support of I-VAWA, or take other actions through the activist toolkit available online at:
(Anugraha Palan is the Vice President of Communications and Outreach at Women Thrive Worldwide, a non-profit that advocates for U.S. policies that support women living in poverty worldwide. Women Thrive has been one of the lead organizations advocating for the passage of I-VAWA.)