Ask Congress to Protect Women and Children Against Violence

In Bangladesh, Sabiha, 11, takes a break from chopping kindling for her family,far from their shelter in a Balukhali makeshift settlement for Rohingya refugees.

Violence Against Women and Children

Now more than ever, girls and women deserve a chance to live a life free from violence. YOU CAN HELP by urging your Members of Congress to take a stand against gender-based violence by cosponsoring this important and bipartisan legislation.

The statistics are staggering: an estimated 1 in 3 women will face physical, mental, or sexual abuse in their lifetimes. Nearly 39,000 girls under the age 18 are married each day. Female genital cutting has impacted more than 200 million girls and women alive today. Violence against girls and women includes rape, domestic violence, acid burning, dowry deaths, so-called honor killings, human trafficking, and other harmful practices. Whatever the form of violence, it is an extreme human rights violation.

Violence against girls and women has a terrible impact on the lives of children – on girls who suffer from attacks, and on girls and boys who must cope with the effects of violence. That is why UNICEF works to address violence against girls and women, and the discrimination and disempowerment that they face throughout their lives.

The good news is that violence against girls and women is preventable. The world has made much progress over the past three decades to stop violence and discrimination such as:

  • Passing laws that fight violence against women and children,
  • Building child-friendly schools that help keep girls in school and protect them from violence,
  • Supporting services for survivors of violence,
  • Fostering economic development for women, and
  • Adopting international treaties against abusive child labor and trafficking.

The United States supports international programs that address violence against women and children. However, U.S. foreign assistance funding and policy in this area are not nearly as effective as they should be.

International Violence Against Women Act

That is why UNICEF USA welcomed the introduction of the bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) by Senators Shaheen (D-NH), Collins (R-ME), Menendez (D-NJ), and Isakson (R-GA) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). This hallmark bill addresses the violence that girls and women face daily – sometimes hourly – around the world and makes ending it a central U.S. foreign policy priority. So, what does IVAWA do?

IVAWA makes ending violence against girls and women a top diplomatic, development, and foreign assistance priority for the U.S. Government.

  • IVAWA ensures the U.S. Government has a strategy to efficiently and effectively coordinate existing cross-governmental efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally.
  • The bill empowers the U.S. to work with other countries to prevent and respond to gender-base violence and its effects on societies and economies.
  • IVAWA holds governments accountable for acting to end rampant violence while empowering women and girls to lift their voices against it.


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Take Action

Ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2120/H.R. 5034).