Addressing Gender-Based Violence A Cornerstone Of US Administration Efforts
As the world marks “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,” the United States of America today underlined its commitment in promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality around the world.
In her testimony in Washington DC, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine M. Russell said addressing gender-based violence is a cornerstone of the Administration’s efforts.
Ms. Russell pointed out that she spearheaded an interagency effort to develop the “U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, which the Administration launched in August 2012.”
The strategy is expected to make a significant difference in efforts to ensure that all persons can live free from violence.
Addressing Needs Of Women, Children At Onset Of Emergencies
Ms. Russel estimated women and children make up more than 75 percent of displaced populations worldwide.
The US addressed the issue of the needs of displaced women during emergencies by the implementation of the “Safe from the Start.” The initiative prioritizes the needs of women and children at the onset of emergencies.
The initial funding commitment of $10 million helps the new State-USAID initiative assess and address the needs of women and girls in emergencies.
The US is also working closely with other donor countries around the world, including the UK, to advance this policy priority. The policy is advanced through coordination with the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and through Secretary Kerry’s recent announcement that the U.S. will chair the “Call to Action to Address Violence Against Women and Girls in Emergencies” in the coming year.
Stemming The Tide Of Violence
According to Ms. Russell, the US responds to the link between violence and HIV/AIDS as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), stemming the tide of trafficking in persons, responding to humanitarian crises, providing training to law enforcement and judges, or engaging with civil society, we factor in the concerns of women and seek ways to provide support to survivors and activists working to address violence.
In addition, the State Department supports efforts to help local governments investigate and prosecute crimes of gender-based violence; provide legal and psychological services to survivors; support prevention efforts by educating communities and engaging with critical stakeholders including men, boys and religious leaders; and support capacity-building to enhance the ability of the media and civil society to address these issues.
Investing In Education
The US also works with the private sector to identify creative and innovative programs to prevent and respond to gender based violence.
The US works to create opportunities through investing in education to entrepreneurship that will help women and girls overcome barriers and empower them to be less vulnerable to violence, exploitation, brutality, and abuse.
“I am personally committed to this effort and will use all the resources at my disposal to make a difference. “ – Ms. Russell
She asserted that all around the world, governments and people are beginning to recognize that global stability, peace, and prosperity depend on protecting and advancing the rights of women and girls.
When a girl has the chance to go to school, has access to health care, and is kept safe from violence, she will marry later, have healthier children, and earn an income that she will invest back into her family and community – breaking the cycle of poverty. We’ve seen that integrating women’s perspectives int, she added.
“We know that empowering women and protecting them from violence will lead to stronger families, stronger communities, and stronger nations.” – Ms. Russell
Violence Against Women And Girls A Global Epidemic
Ms. Russell pointed out that violence against women and girls is a global issue. The problem crosses every social and economic class, ethnicity, race, religion, and education level, and transcends international borders.
In addition, the violences can be a form of early and forced marriages, sexual violence, and traditional harmful practices, among others.
“Violence occurs both inside and outside the home, and often increases with instability.” – Ms. Russell
Girls Still Vulnerable In Society
When many of the world’s 850 million girls go to sleep every night, they will dream about futures that sadly and tragically are nearly impossible for them to achieve.
In too many countries, the promise of the next generation of girls is at risk.
In addition, in some communities the contributions of girls are not valued, their well-being is not protected, and their aspirations are not taken seriously.