The American Jewish World Service announced Dec. 5 the launch of its global campaign to end violence against women, hate crimes against the LGBT community and forced marriages of underage girls.
As part of the new We Believe campaign, Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, called on the House of Representatives to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, which was introduced last month.
According to Messinger, one in three women in the world will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime and 10 million girls under 18 will enter into early and forced marriages. She also said during a conference call Thursday that homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment and, in some cases, by death in 76 countries.
Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) welcomed the AJWS as a partner to help pass IVAWA, noting that by ending violence against women, the world will be a more secure and stable place and more democracies can flourish.
Schakowsky said there was a need to protect women throughout the world and specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where “rape is used an effective weapon of war.”
Added Lowey, “Every day in every nation, women are victims of violence.”
“We cannot remain silent,” Messinger said.
Also participating in the call was Wangechi Wachira, executive director of the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness in Kenya, who said, “We need to tell the world this is a priority.”
— JTA News and Features