Kick off the 16 Days and Take Action to End Violence Against Women

Posted: November 24, 2010

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Posted by: Kiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and it also marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. From now until December 10, International Human Rights Day, people around the world who want to stop violence against women and girls will take action to raise awareness about this pandemic.

They will say that no refugee should be raped while trying to find food to feed her children, or be forced to trade sex for clean water.

No bride should be killed because her family decides she dishonored them or didn’t fetch a high enough price.

No woman should die because her country has no shelters or supports for victims of brutal domestic violence.

Vice President Biden today echoed that sentiment. He said today, “For every woman who has been beaten in her own home, for the millions of women who have been raped as a weapon of war, for every girl who has been attacked on her way to school, for all of the children - girls and boys - who have witnessed this brutality, we must do better.”

He is right. Violence is a huge worldwide problem. The United Nations reports that one in three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women and girls is a gross human rights violation and a moral outrage.

This year, the 16 Days begin on Thanksgiving, when most of us take a break from our hectic lives to enjoy some time with our families. As we give thanks, it’s a good time to remember the women around the world who aren’t safe in their own homes, on the streets or in their schools.

Let’s urge Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (HR 4594/S 2982) which would, for the first time, apply the force of U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance to preventing gender-based violence.

Members of Congress are home enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday too this week, but then they will return to Washington, D.C. to wrap-up work for the 111th Congress. I hope you will take a few minutes during the next 16 Days to email your Members of Congress to ask them to prioritize passing the International Violence Against Women Act this year.

Taking action only takes a moment, but it will make such a difference in the lives of women and children around the world.

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