Recently, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which includes robust language on addressing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence internationally including in crises like the famine in the Horn of Africa. The Senate will vote on the 2012 foreign assistance budget this week!
In this fiscal climate, all government agencies face the challenging task of cutting back programs to reduce spending. Ending violence against women and girls, however, is an investment in a stronger and healthier global community. When women and girls are able to live free of violence, rates of HIV and AIDS and child and maternal mortality are lower and they are more capable of contributing their talents to society, help economies become more prosperous, and increase political participation and democratic governance.
Futures Without Violence has advocated for the new provision which would require the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator to develop a multi-year strategy to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in countries where such violence is common. This strategy is a key component of the original International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) and a critical step towards ensuring U.S. leadership on this important issue.
If the proposed cuts are passed, we won't be able to address the epidemic of violence against women and girls in the Horn of Africa, or prevent others.
Call - Dial the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators' offices. Tell them that you oppose any cuts to international assistance programs and that you vote!