AJWS Calls on Congress to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls Worldwide

Leading Jewish Human Rights Organization Applauds Introduction of the International Violence Against Women Act in the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, DC — American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish international human rights and development organization, released the following statement today after the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Democratic Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Eliot Engel (NY-16) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and Republican Representatives Richard Hanna (NY-22) and Chris Gibson (NY-19).

“One in three women worldwide is abused, beaten or raped during their lifetime, and we cannot stand idly by as mere witnesses to this widespread violence,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. “While the Obama Administration has made great strides in protecting women and girls worldwide from violence, we need this crucial piece of legislation to continue this progress and push our government to do even more to stop violence against women and girls.

“I applaud Representatives Schakowsky, Lowey, Wasserman Schultz, Engel, Gibson and Hanna for introducing this important legislation that will require the United States to stand up against violence against women and girls worldwide. We look forward to working with her to pass this crucial bill and ensure that the U.S. government does all it can so that every girl and woman can live free of violence and fear.”

If passed, I-VAWA would:

  • Direct the U.S. government to implement its strategy to reduce violence against women and girls in at least five countries
  • Make ending violence against women and girls a top diplomatic priority, and make the Office of Global Women’s Issues in the State Department permanent
  • Promote legal protection for women and girls who survive violence
  • Increase the capacity of the health care sector worldwide to address violence against women and girls by integrating such care into existing health programs
  • Promote public awareness campaigns to change the attitudes that perpetuate violence against women and girls
  • Support programs to reduce women and girls’ vulnerability to violence by improving their economic status and educational opportunities

About AJWS and its Grantees Focused on Women and Girls
AJWS supports social justice organizations in 19 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean that promote equality and work to end discrimination and violence against women and girls so that they can access the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety and dignity. AJWS is the 11th largest funder worldwide of women and girls’ rights. It is the largest in the Caribbean, fourth largest in Sub-Saharan Africa and fifth largest in Asia.

Here are three examples of the work of AJWS’s grantees:

In Kenya, Fortress of Hope helps girls develop leadership skills and implement their own strategies to stop violence. It works to help them stay in school, avoid domestic abuse and prevent unwanted pregnancy or infection with HIV.

In India, Awaaz-e-Niswaan provides a haven where girls can meet peers and learn to understand and defend their rights. It also provides girls with college scholarships, vocational training and assistance in finding jobs to help them gain financial independence. This enables them to have greater choice in whether or not to marry and to leave abusive situations.

In Haiti, Gwoup Apui pou Devlopman Depatman Sid works to end violence against women and girls by raising awareness, educating activists about human rights and building their capacity, and supporting survivors of violence.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.