Human Rights Watch reports on a new US bill, the International Violence against Women Act. This proposed bill could help women and violence survivors around the world gain access to medical services, victim’s support, relief, justice, and hope. Read more:
“Violence against women is a worldwide crisis, and a bill scheduled to come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, the International Violence against Women Act, would improve the way US foreign assistance is provided to address such violence. The US Violence against Women Act and several reauthorizations created critical funding, strategies, and structures to prevent violence against women and girls and to support survivors. While this law has been immensely helpful in the United States, foreign assistance to combat violence against women in other countries has been patchy, meager, and uncoordinated.
The International Violence against Women Act presents a comprehensive plan for US foreign assistance to prevent and remedy violence against women and girls. A structure would be created to support more coordinated and intensified local efforts in up to 20 countries to improve the full range of services that survivors need. It would promote jobs and other economic support for women, and strengthen efforts to change social attitudes that condone violence against women.
The bill has important provisions for addressing violence against women during and after armed conflict. It would support trauma counseling, medical assistance, legal services, and economic opportunity programs for women in countries affected by conflict.
After each gut-wrenching interview with a sexual violence survivor that we do as researchers into human rights violations, we walk away feeling angry and sad, but also hopeful. Hopeful because of the resilience of these survivors, and their determination to speak out to stop these crimes. Hopeful because at least some will reach organizations that can help them mend their health and their lives. Hopeful because we know we can do something to support their efforts. Passing this bill is an important step in that direction.”
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