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International Violence Against Women Act


We need IVAWA now more than ever.

Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience sexual or physical violence in her lifetime. And this number goes up during humanitarian emergencies. Whether it is war or natural disaster, rates of violence increase dramatically during a humanitarian crisis – 7 in 10 women will experience sexual or physical violence during these times.

Multiple factors contribute to this alarming number. When a crisis hits, in the form of an armed conflict, natural disaster, or humanitarian emergency, community and family protections are weakened and society’s ability to protect women and girls from violence is significantly compromised. Vulnerabilities increase and support and services decrease.

Last Congress, the International Violence Against Women Act was introduced by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and it’s time to get this vital bill passed.

It needs to be re-introduced because women and girls around the world can’t wait. 

The bill leverages existing U.S. resources to combat and respond to gender-based violence, a critical step toward promoting the human rights and dignity of all individuals as well as regional and global stability. Congresswoman Schakowsky first introduced this legislation in 2012.

Additionally, the bill would:

  • Permanently establish the Office of Global Women’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State to develop and implement a cohesive, cross-agency effort to advance the status of women and girls globally.
  • Codify the Obama administration’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy to ensure that victims and survivors of gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices around the world have better access to services, protection, and the justice they deserve.
  • Update and enhance emergency response mechanisms for outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad.
  • Ensure that gender-based violence prevention and response are included in all U.S. humanitarian efforts.
  • Focus current resources more efficiently and effectively.
African Woman Empowered


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.