Stopping Violence Against Women

This post first appeared on The Sisterhood blog at the Forward.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Representative Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois, recently sponsored a new bill aimed at curbing violence against women globally.

The International Violence Against Women Act of 2012, which was co-sponsored by 47 other Democratic members of Congress, would establish an Office of Global Women’s Issues within the State Department and provide funding for gender-based foreign assistance programs.

In particular, it would: require the U.S. to develop a comprehensive strategy for reducing and preventing violence against women and girls; coordinate existing assistance programs and make grants to non-governmental and community-based organizations; ensure accountability of the United States’ response to violence against women and girls internationally; enhance training of foreign military and police forces and judicial officials on violence against women and girls; and create educational and economic opportunities for women.

Schakowsky listed “staggering” statistics. One in three women worldwide (1 billion women) is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime. The U.N. reports that among women aged 15-44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. In some countries, 70% of women and girls are affected by violence.

Women living in areas of war and conflict are particularly vulnerable. Schakowsky cited a recent trip she made to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “where rape has been used for over a decade as a low tech, low cost and horrifically effective weapon of war.”

Click here to read more.

© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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