We believe that ending violence against women and children is essential to development, health and prosperity in nations and communities around the globe. One out of every three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime—with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries. This type of violence can take on many forms, from rape to domestic violence, to child marriage and human trafficking. In an effort to end this scourge on women and girls worldwide, FUTURES engages in advocacy, education and programming efforts and helps develop innovative policy solutions which call for sustained support and continued leadership.
Representative Maria Salazar (R-FL 27) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA 2) introduced the Strengthening Efforts to End Violence Against Children Act or the SEEVAC Act this week in the House.
Every seven minutes a child dies as a result of violence and half of all children globally (1 billion) are victims of violence each year. The Strengthening Efforts to End Violence Against Children Act (SEEVAC) will update and strengthen existing U.S. Government efforts to end violence against children, improve interagency coordination in addressing violence, and promote the use of evidence-based strategies and information gathering capabilities.
Additionally, SEEVAC would:
- Align current interventions for vulnerable children with USAID’s Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity (APCCA) Strategy and evidence-based interventions such as the INSPIRE strategies and Violence Against Children Surveys.
- Elevate the USAID Special Advisor for Assistance to Orphans and Vulnerable Children and require the Special Advisor to advise USAID offices, bureaus, and field missions and other U.S. government agencies to address violence against children through the current whole-of-government strategy.
- Update USAID reporting requirements to identify how U.S. agencies are utilizing the INSPIRE strategies and findings from Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys, including in response to the effects of COVID-19.
Armed conflict, natural disasters and climate change often have the greatest impact on the poorest countries, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable, including women and girls. Global estimates indicate that nearly 70 million people are currently displaced around the world, and we are experiencing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted women and girls worldwide, putting those who are displaced at unique risk of harm.
Conditions in refugee camps and other displacement settings often expose women and girls to greater security risks including sexual exploitation.
Despite the acute impacts that emergencies have on women and girls, they are often excluded from leadership and decision-making roles when it comes to humanitarian response.
Safe from the Start Act — A Policy Solution to Address Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Emergencies
The Safe from the Start Act will formalize and expand on a vital program to make it even more effective.
Specifically, the Safe from Start Act will:
- Formalize the State Department’s and USAID’s existing Safe from the Start program, thus ensuring continuous attention and resources for the issue of GBV in humanitarian emergencies;
- Update the objectives of Safe from the Start, including goals related to protection and empowerment of women and girls in emergencies, and broad partnerships to improve and scale-up NGO and local capacity;
- Establish a Congressional reporting requirement to ensure accountability towards the goals and objectives of the Safe from the Start initiative; and
- Recognize that the U.S. Government should provide assistance and protection where needed, but also build the capacity of women and women-led local organizations to act as first responders, community leaders and drivers of sustainable change.
Girls LEAD Act
Supporting Girls Leadership, Engagement, Agency, And Development
This legislation aims to promote girls’ leadership and participation in civic and political processes through U.S. foreign assistance.
The Girls LEAD Act will improve the effectiveness of U.S.-led democracy and governance initiatives, as well as increase girls’ ability to engage in decision-making processes affecting their lives and their communities, ultimately fostering new generations of empowered women leaders.
LEARN WHY GIRLS’ CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IS CRITICAL TO A STRONG FUTURE
The Keeping Girls in School Act would direct the U.S. government to leverage its resources and partnerships with private institutions, NGOs and federal agencies to create solutions that address the obstacles facing adolescent girls. The bill would also require the development of a U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls to ensure that the United States remains committed to adolescent girls as a critical demographic in the growth of every nation, especially in developing nations.
One out of every three women worldwide will be abused during her lifetime. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, a public health epidemic, and a barrier to solving global challenges such as extreme poverty, HIV and AIDS, and violent conflict. It devastates the lives of millions of women and girls-in peacetime and in conflict–and knows no national or cultural barriers. Most importantly, it must end.
The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) calls for a comprehensive U.S. response to end violence against women and girls globally. Passage of this crucial piece of legislation would represent a big step forward in the U.S. government’s commitment to ensuring that every woman and girl can live a life free from violence and fulfill her basic human rights. It would also make gender equality a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.
FUTURES is a leading proponent of the bill, as co-chair of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally, working closely with lawmakers, advocates, partner organizations, survivors, and more to support its passage. IVAWA demonstrates that the prevention of global gender-based violence is a universal issue that transcends political beliefs.
From Nigeria to India, we must do our part to put an end to the devastating events across the world. Urge Congress to act now to prevent gross human rights violations–from child and forced marriage to domestic violence—and promote global stability and security.
In December of 2019 FUTURES was invited to partner with Women Win, US Embassy Pakistan, and Right to Play Pakistan to help explore the topic of gender-based violence (GBV) within the context of Pakistan and better understand the landscape of actors and stakeholders working on issues related to GBV and sport for social change, adolescent girls and engaging boys and men, and to share U.S. and global best practices around using sport to address gender-based violence, working with adolescent girls and engaging boys and men
In April of 2022, the Attorneys General Association and Basketball Africa League / NBA (BAL4HER) invited FUTURES to the BAL tournament taking place in Cairo, Egypt, to introduce the vital tenets of advancing allyship of professional athletes towards women and girls in their communities.
Budgets & Appropriations
Issues & Advocacy
At FUTURES we believe in the power of data and the importance of exploring and amplifying new learnings that add to our collective understanding of what contributes to patterns and behaviors that perpetuate inequality and inequity. We also recognize and welcome opportunities to collaborate with and learn from like-minded organizations in pursuit of advancing justice and equality. Some of our more recent publications and collaborative exchanges can be found here:
Recent headlines have reported on the issue of sexual violence during war time. FUTURES condemns all forms of violence against women and girls, everywhere.
In March, USAID released the Safe from the Start ReVisioned. Futures Without Violence has long advocated for a gender-transformative approach in humanitarian response that promotes women’s leadership, prioritizes support and advocacy for gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and survivor-centered response programming, and shifts funding, influence, and decision-making power to women and girls, in all their diversity, within humanitarian response systems.
In December, the U.S. Department of State releases the updated United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. Futures Without Violence worked hard with partners to heavily influence the strategy to advance equity, support comprehensive approaches to address violence, and strengthen the commitment and work of the U.S. Government.