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Equality Now supports the International Violence Against Women Act (HR 4594/S 2982) in order to achieve a more comprehensive, multi-sectoral, and coordinated response to violence against women that is not only more efficient, but also a wise investment. The I-VAWA would:
• Create high-level offices at the State Department and USAID responsible for developing and implementing programs to end violence against women and girls.
• Direct the office at the State Department to create a comprehensive 5-year strategy to reduce violence against women and girls beginning with 5-20 countries.
• Fund comprehensive programs in these countries that address violence in a coordinated way, through legal and health sector reform, by changing social norms and attitudes that condone rape and abuse, and improving education and economic opportunities for women and girls.
• Specifically target a portion of the funding to overseas women’s organizations to develop their capacity to work independently of U.S. support.
• Urge the U.S. government to act in cases of extreme outbreaks of violence against women and girls, for example, to address the horrific levels of rape experienced by women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Current U.S. efforts to address violence against women are well intentioned but fragmented, piecemeal and uncoordinated. Please write to your Senator and Congressperson to support the I-VAWA.