WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he has cosponsored the bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) to focus on reducing violence against women and girls around the world.
“Nearly one out of every three women around the world is a victim of violence, which contributes to political instability, stifles economic development and destabilizes communities,” said Senator Peters. “Not only is this violence a critical human rights issue, it is a national security issue, and the United States must lead the way to prevent violence and empower women and girls to have equal participation in their communities. I’m proud to cosponsor this important legislation to help put an end to the horrific violence women face and promote the human rights of women and girls around the world.”
The legislation would require the United States to develop a five-year global strategy to address and prevent violence against women and girls, promote gender equality and improve educational and economic opportunities for women around the world. The legislation also authorizes the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment to develop, implement and monitor the progress of programs to empower women and girls and reduce violence across the globe.
As many as one in three women around the world has been beaten, abused or coerced into sex, often at the hands of a family member or spouse. Women living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence, and a lack of economic opportunities often forces women into dangerous situations that make them susceptible to violence, such as human trafficking. Gender-based violence impacts the livelihoods of women and children around the world, and leaves long-term psychological and physical trauma on survivors.
Peters, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, previously cosponsored the International Violence Against Women Act as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Peters also joined with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to introduce the bipartisan Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015 to help train medical professionals to recognize the signs of human trafficking in victims seeking medical care. That provision was signed into law by President Obama as part of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act earlier this year.