Asylum is under attack.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen mounting racist and xenophobic policies splinter away at asylum protections. Now the administration has proposed new regulations that would make it nearly impossible to obtain protection in the United States, including for survivors of gender-based violence. Women fleeing rape and severe domestic violence and those escaping other fatal gender-based harms will no longer be allowed to seek safety within U.S. borders. LGBTQIA+ individuals facing deadly attacks would encounter new challenges to asylum.
Gender is a fundamental part of our identity. No one should experience violence because of it. And if they do, they have a right to seek safety.
The international community created asylum as a pathway to safety for those who are experiencing violence due to a central part of their identity. The original guidelines established five grounds for seeking asylum: persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, and membership of a particular social group. While gender was not explicitly named as a protected ground, legal wins over the last 20 years have created a pathway for wider recognition of gender as a “particular social group,” giving survivors fleeing gender-based violence the ability to seek safety in the United States.
This progress is now under attack. People fleeing gender-based violence deserve access to safety, as well as individuals facing other types of harm. Gender inequality is pervasive around the world, and violence is both a cause and consequence of this inequality.
Gender-based violence can include female genital mutilation/cutting, intimate partner violence, “honor” violence, sexual assault and rape, forced marriage, and human trafficking. While many victims of gender-based violence are women and girls, any person who lives outside of deeply-rooted beliefs on sex, gender, and power can be victim to gender-based violence.
Hover over or click the images below to see statistics on gender-based violence.
At least 76 countries have laws that criminalize LGBTQ individuals
200 million women have experienced female genital mutilation or cutting
Worldwide, almost 3 in 5 women killed were killed by their partners or family in 2017
Globally, at least 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime
Over 3,300 transgender individuals are known to have been killed in the last decade in dozens of countries
Immigrant women in the U.S. are 2 times more likely to experience domestic violence than the general population
Sexual violence against men and boys has been reported in over 25 conflict-affected countries in the last decade
If the current trends continue, 150 million more children will be married before the age of 18 by 2030
The administration’s regulations would eliminate gender-based asylum, slamming the door shut to survivors seeking refuge.
We must act now to save gender-based asylum.
Click on the buttons below to see what you can do to defend asylum protections for survivors:
- Amnesty International, “The State of LGBT Human Rights Worldwide,” amnestyusa.org
- World Health Organization, “Female genital mutilation (FGM),” who.int.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Global Study on Homicide 2019”, unodc.org.
- World Health Organization, “Violence Against Women 2017,” who.int.
- Transgender Europe, “TMM Update Trans Day of Remembrance 2019,” transrespect.org.
- Aguilar Hass, Giselle; Ammar, Noel; and Orloff, Leslye, “Battered Immigrants and U.S. Citizen Spouses,” Legal Momentum, Academia. edu, last modified April 24, 2006.
- Overseas Development Institute, “Male gender-based violence: a silent crisis,” odi.org; Human Rights Watch, “Men Can Experience Sexual Violence in War Too,” hrw.org
- Girls Not Brides, “About Child Marriage,” GirlsNotBrides.org.