Support The International Violence Against Women Act

Susan notes: received August 18, 2009, from Amnesty International.

Dear Susan,

Right now, young girls are being sold into unwanted marriages to pay their fathers' debts. Their sisters are raped by rebel bands as a tool of war. And their mothers are beaten by husbands in retribution for daring to seek basic education such as the ability to read.

The United States could be doing more to combat rape in conflict, high rates of domestic violence around the world, human trafficking, and other forms of violence against women.

But the comprehensive legislation that would make fighting violence against women a priority for US foreign policy and give the State Department Office for Global Women's Issues the force of law is still missing.

Help us add 5,000 signatures to our petition urging President Obama and Vice President Biden to actively support the re-introduction and passage of I-VAWA this fall.

We've been working with Senators Kerry and Lugar, who have promised to lead I-VAWA through the Senate.

And the Obama Administration has already taken historic measures this year to raise the issue of violence against women by:
  • Creating a State Department Office for Global Women's Issues
  • Appointing a White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, and
  • Creating the White House Council on Women and Girls
But the bottom line is I-VAWA has still not been reintroduced.

A little pressure from the top can go a long way in advancing this important legislation when Congress returns in September. President Obama and Vice President Biden championed I-VAWA as Senators. So we know that their support is there.

Given the long list of priorities that Congress has to tackle this fall, we can't allow women's human rights to be pushed to the back-burner once again.

We were so close last year, but the opportunity slipped through our hands. Even with all of the bi-partisan support we generated, I-VAWA never reached the Senate floor for a vote.

But this year, we're determined to make it happen.

We need at least 5,000 signatures on our petition to the President and Vice President to show strong grassroots support for a coordinated U.S. government effort to stop the global crisis of violence against women and girls.

If we really want to stop violence against women, then we'll need to start protecting women's human rights.

Sign our petition and share it with someone who supports women's human rights.

In Solidarity,

Betsy Wright Hawkings
Deputy Executive Director, Research & Policy
Amnesty International USA