Congresswoman Lowey Cosponsors International Violence Against Women Act

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Nita Lowey
Nita Lowey

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-New York), the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) last week, which makes ending violence against women and girls a priority of American foreign policy.

Also cosponsoring the legislation were bill author Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-New York), Congressman Chris Gibson (R-New York), and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-New York), the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

According to the media statement released by Lowey’s office, violence against women and girls remains prevalent worldwide; one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime, and in some countries up to 70 percent of women and girls are affected by violence.

According to a 2006 United Nations report, at least 102 countries around the world have no specific laws on domestic violence, and those countries with laws in place often fail to implement or enforce them. According to Amnesty International, the toll of gender-based violence on women’s health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.

To address this problem, IVAWA makes ending violence against women and girls around the world a priority of American foreign policy by requiring the State Department, in consultation with USAID, to develop and implement a comprehensive international strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally; updating humanitarian aid and mechanisms for responding to emergency outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad; and making permanent the Office for Global Women’s Issues in the State Department, led by the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.

“Every day and in every nation, women are victims of violence. Today we say no more,” said Congresswoman Lowey in a prepared statement. “Violence not only makes it harder for women to lead a healthy, safe, and productive life, this shameful scourge reverberates through every level of society and erodes stability, prosperity, and democracy.  That is why addressing violence against women and girls must be a priority of the United States. We must pass IVAWA to take real and meaningful steps toward protecting women, reducing poverty, and promoting economic development and stability around the world.”



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