Lowey Cosponsors Bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act
Monday, 25 November 2013 13:51
Bill Makes Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Around World a Priority of U.S. Foreign Policy
Fellow New Yorkers Congressmen Engel, Hanna, and Gibson Also Cosponsors
Lowey: “We must pass IVAWA to take real and meaningful steps toward protecting women, reducing poverty, and promoting economic development and stability around the world.”
Article sponsored by Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers today introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which makes ending violence against women and girls a priority of American foreign policy.
Also cosponsoring the legislation were bill author Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and New York members Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY), Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY), and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Violence against women and girls remains prevalent worldwide; one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime, and in some countries up to 70% of women and girls are affected by violence. According to a 2006 UN report, at least 102 countries around the world have no specific laws on domestic violence, and those countries with laws in place often fail to implement or enforce them. According to Amnesty International, the toll of gender-based violence on women's health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.
To address this, IVAWA makes ending violence against women and girls around the world a priority of American foreign policy by requiring the State Department, in consultation with USAID, to develop and implement a comprehensive international strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally; updating humanitarian aid and mechanisms for responding to emergency outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad; and making permanent the Office for Global Women’s Issues in the State Department, led by the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
“Every day and in every nation, women are victims of violence. Today we say no more,” said Congresswoman Lowey.“Violence not only makes it harder for women to lead a healthy, safe, and productive life, this shameful scourge reverberates through every level of society and erodes stability, prosperity, and democracy. That is why addressing violence against women and girls must be a priority of the United States. We must pass IVAWA to take real and meaningful steps toward protecting women, reducing poverty, and promoting economic development and stability around the world.”
"Gender-based violence hurts women every day around the world,” said Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY). “Today, we send a message to people everywhere that it is unacceptable. One in three women currently suffer gender-based violence, and we cannot be silent in the fight to end such abuse and repression. I commend the work and accomplishments that have been achieved to date by the Department of State and USAID and I look forward to such work continuing as a permanent fixture of our nation’s diplomacy. There is still much work to be done, and as a beacon of freedom and opportunity for all people, the United States must continue to play a leading role in this effort."
“Violence against women is a humanitarian tragedy, a vicious crime, a global health catastrophe, a roadblock to social and economic development and a threat to national security,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “When I traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I learned how rape was used for over a decade as a low-cost, low-tech, and horrifically effective weapon of war. Sexual violence has been systematically used to destroy communities and to instill a sense of despair and hopelessness within a population. IVAWA would make ending violence against women a U.S. foreign policy priority, promote health programs and survivor services, civil and criminal legal protections, educational opportunities and promotion of economic opportunities for women and girls. Passage of IVAWA would give us critical tools in the fight against gender-based violence around the world.”
“Preventing violence against women and girls around the world should be an important U.S. foreign policy priority,” said Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “We are talking about an epidemic of violence – with one in three women around the world likely to be subject to some form of abuse during her life. It’s clear to me that we need a coherent strategy for ensuring that our diplomatic and development efforts are more focused on preventing gender-based violence. I hope that this legislation will provide such a roadmap -- and other tools – to help empower women and girls and prevent a new generation from becoming victims of abuse.”
“After several combat, peacekeeping, and humanitarian tours overseas while serving in the United States Army, including to Iraq, Kosovo, and Haiti, one of the most significant international human rights issues that I saw is the prevalence of violence and discrimination against women and girls,” said Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY). “I am confident that this good government bill will go a long way to streamlining and effectively coordinating all U.S. efforts to reduce violence, electoral suppression, abuse, and other discriminatory actions that disproportionately affect women and girls.”
“We know that one in three women will experience abuse in her lifetime, meaning -shockingly- that one billion women alive today have experienced abuse,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We must fight to liberate these women and girls from the shackles of bondage—both physical and figurative—that keep them from freedom. We must acknowledge that violence perpetrated against any woman, anywhere, impacts all women, everywhere. For women to be free, we must pass the International Violence Against Women Act and work tirelessly wherever we can to support global health, education, political participation, and women’s empowerment.”
Article sponsored by Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation