Violence Against Women Is A U.S. Problem, Too/ Amnesty International USA
By Lisa Schechtman, Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
NOTE: The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), seeks to improve the response to any incident of violence against women. Passed in 1994 and reauthorized twice since, VAWA brings together health, housing, criminal justice, and social services to prevent and respond to VAW and protect survivors. VAWA will soon be up for reauthorization again, which will give us the opportunity to advocate for legislation to address some of Ms. Manjoo’s recommendations.
In preparation for the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, recently released a report on her 2011 mission—conducted at the invitation of the U.S. Government—to the United States. This was the first visit of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women since 1998, and her findings suggest both progress and a call to action.
The report affirms that women in the United States experience violence. No surprise there, but it is a clear indication that violence against women (VAW) knows no national, political, ethnic, religious, or socio-economic boundaries; it happens here, it happens everywhere.
In 2008, approximately 500 women were raped every day in the U.S., according a National Crime Victimization Survey. Domestic violence was highlighted as “an extremely underreported crime.” When reported, it is rarely prosecuted and where investigated, has a low conviction rate. This is a global truism. In 2007, according to the report, 64% of female homicides in the U.S. were perpetrated by a family member or intimate partner. Again, global trends, localized.
Worldwide, one in three women experiences physical, sexual or emotional violence in her lifetime; one in five experiences rape or attempted rape. Yet, while every woman is at risk, some human rights violations make certain women more vulnerable. That holds true in the United States, too.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.