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This article was originally published on December 11, 2008.

Violence against women is a worldwide pandemic. At least one out of every three women worldwide is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

You can join Tahirih and take part in the international campaign against gender violence by urging your representative in Congress to cosponsor the International Violence Against Women Act. I-VAWA is groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that for the first time places a U.S. foreign policy priority on ending violence against women globally.

Some of you may have seen the powerful recent New York Times op-ed by Nicholas Kristof, “Terrorism That’s Personal.” His op-ed is about acid attacks and wife burnings, common tactics used in parts of the world to subjugate women and girls. The passage of I-VAWA would mean so much to women like Naeema Azar—about whom Kristof wrote. This mother of three survived an acid attack at the hands of her husband. It was his response to her plea for a divorce. The hope that I-VAWA would offer women like Naeema and others around the world includes:

  • Increased efforts to prevent violence against women during conflict and in humanitarian settings
  • Increased pressure and capacity-building to find perpetrators and bring them to justice
  • Support of vital services for survivors
  • Increased economic and educational opportunities that would reduce the vulnerability of women at risk of violence

Stronger bipartisan support and momentum needs to be built for when I-VAWA is reintroduced in the newly-elected Congress in 2009. Please begin reaching out to your Representatives now to take action and help transform the lives of women and girls around the world.

I-VAWA was developed by Women Thrive Worldwide, Amnesty International USA, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, and members of Congress with the help of organizational partners. It was drafted in consultation with more than 150 groups, including U.S.-based NGOs such as Tahirih, UN agencies, and 40 women’s groups across the globe.

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