Gender-based violence is a problem of epidemic proportions that has far-reaching consequences. Violence against women is linked to some of the world's greatest development and human rights challenges, including poverty, conflict, HIV and global health.
Violence against women is a human rights violation that has devastating impacts on the health of women and impedes a woman's right to equality, development, security and peace.
The terms "violence against women" and "gender-based violence" are used to refer to a range of abuses committed against women that stem from gender inequality and women's subordinate status in society relative to men. In 1993, the U.N. Vienna Declaration and Program of Action defined "violence against women" as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
Throughout the world, violence against women and girls is perpetrated within marriage and families by husbands, intimate partners and relatives; within communities by strangers and traditional leaders; in the workplace; across international borders as women are trafficked for sex and labor; and as a tool of war by military forces.
As a global leader, the United States must continue to invest in a world where women feel safe in their homes, on the streets and at their jobs. This will enable them to build better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Countries can take critical steps in ending violence against women by improving women's status in society, enforcing laws to protect women and prosecute perpetrators, and offering treatment for women. The United States can take critical steps in ending violence against women by:
- Increasing women's economic empowerment and education
- Increasing women's access to health care
- Improving security in humanitarian and crisis situations
- Promoting legal reforms and social norms to better address gender-based violence
Please tell your congresspersons you support the International Violence Against Women Act and ask them to do the same when it comes up for vote in the coming weeks.