Date: 4 February 2010
Washington, DC — In a decisive move to combat violence against women globally, the International Violence against Women Act (IVAWA) was today introduced in both Houses of the United States Congress. The bipartisan bill represents an unprecedented commitment by the US Government to create a comprehensive strategy to reduce violence in a number of countries worldwide.
Based on country data, it is estimated that up to 70 percent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime. The bill has strong bipartisan support and makes combating violence against women and girls a strategic priority for the Government. It further enables the administration to work with countries with significant levels of violence against women in developing targeted gender-based violence prevention programmes.
Applauding the introduction of this groundbreaking bill, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman said: “Violence against women and girls is perhaps the most systematic, widespread human rights violation in the world. I believe that IVAWA, when passed, will be a beacon, lighting the way forward in other countries. I commend the efforts that have gone into the drafting of IVAWA, and in particular appreciate the consultations with the real actors and the real beneficiaries to incorporate best practices and effective approaches.”
To amplify the voices of the women she has met through her work with UNIFEM and to share their stories of finding solutions to ending violence against women, Kidman had earlier testified at the October 2009 Congressional Hearing in Washington, DC. She had spoken to members of the US House of Representatives Sub-Committee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, and strongly emphasized the urgency to invest in women, partner locally and provide resources for effective programmes in developing countries.