The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) would have a powerful impact on the suffering of millions of women worldwide who face horrific abuses such as rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, human trafficking, and female genital mutilation. This bi-partisan legislation would direct the U.S. government to create a coordinated, comprehensive, and concerted strategy to reduce global violence against women and girls.
I-VAWA would streamline and better coordinate existing U.S. government programs to end gender-based violence and would make addressing this human rights abuse a cornerstone of U.S. development and foreign policy. The bill does not require the appropriation of additional funding because its focus is on strengthening existing programs.
Importantly, I-VAWA recognizes that social norms need to change so that gender-based violence is not acceptable, and it would support activities that raise awareness of the issue. Through I-VAWA, the United States would also have a greater ability to work with and support other countries to one day end discrimination and violence against women and girls.
I-VAWA was first introduced in 2007 during the 110th Congress and has been reintroduced each year since. The time for Congress to act on this critical measure is past due!