(WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) in introducing the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) of 2019 with 120 additional House cosponsors. Congresswoman Schakowsky first introduced this legislation in 2012. The bill leverages existing U.S. resources to combat and respond to gender-based violence, a critical step toward promoting the human rights and dignity of all individuals as well as regional and global stability. November 25, 2019, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, kicking off 16 days of activism that will conclude on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

“The United States must lead in advancing progress toward a future with less gender-based violence and greater equality around the world. The International Violence Against Women Act would guarantee we have a Gender-Based Violence Strategy that puts victims and survivors first,”said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “By integrating the work of the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, this bill would make the eradication of violence against women a central piece of the U.S. foreign policy agenda and ensure that gender-based violence prevention and response are included in all our humanitarian efforts around the globe. The historic number of original cosponsors of this legislation indicates that our new Democratic Majority understands we must take action to prevent and respond to outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad.”

IVAWA codifies a comprehensive plan for U.S. efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence around the world. The bill:

  • Permanently establishes the Office of Global Women’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State to develop and implement a cohesive, cross-agency effort to advance the status of women and girls globally. The Office does this by offering guidance in diplomacy; providing support and resources for programs that advance the status of women and girls globally; and serving as a subject-matter expert through policy guidance.
  • Codifies the Obama Administration’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy to ensure that victims and survivors of gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices around the world have better access to services, protection, and the justice they deserve.
  • Updates and enhances emergency response mechanisms for outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad.
  • Ensures that gender-based violence prevention and response are included in all U.S. humanitarian efforts.
  • Does not authorize new spending and instead focuses current resources more efficiently and effectively.

Violence against women is a global epidemic. According the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women around the world has experienced physical and/or sexual violence during her life. There are no social, geographic, economic, religious, or cultural boundaries to violence against women and girls. Addressing violence against women and girls improves not only their health and wellbeing but also social and economic outcomes. Furthermore, the United Nations estimates that 132 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2019 as a result of conflict and natural disasters. Gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls, is greatly exacerbated in humanitarian emergencies; the Trump Administration’s efforts to gut foreign assistance and humanitarian aid around the world have only made matters worse.

Congresswoman Schakowsky was joined by 120 of her colleagues in introducing this legislation: Representatives Eliot Engel, Nita M. Lowey, James P. McGovern, Jackie Speier, John Garamendi, Val Butler Demings, Rick Larsen, Salud Carbajal, Frank Pallone, Jr., Donald M. Payne, Jr., Gwen Moore, Grace Meng, Barbara Lee, Theodore E. Deutch, Dina Titus, Nydia Velázquez, Seth Moulton, Alan Lowenthal, Betty McCollum, Alcee L. Hastings, Bobby L. Rush, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ro Khanna, Juan Vargas, Jamie Raskin, Gerald Connolly, Julia Brownley, Mark Pocan, Jim Cooper, Thomas R. Suozzi, Pramila Jayapal, Sean Patrick Maloney, Cedric Richmond, Chellie Pingree, Grace F. Napolitano, Earl Blumenauer, Mark Takano, Adam Schiff, David N. Cicilline, Diana DeGette, Matt Cartwright, Kathleen Rice, Peter A. DeFazio, Brad Schneider, Jimmy Gomez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Lois Frankel, Chrissy Houlahan, Adam Smith, Ben Ray Luján, Raúl M. Grijalva, Suzan K. DelBene, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Darren Soto, Derek Kilmer, Brad Sherman, Danny K. Davis, Joyce Beatty, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Peter Welch, Ted Lieu, Tom O'Halleran, Ann McLane Kuster, Kathy Castor, Anna G. Eshoo, Ron Kind, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Susan Wild, John B. Larson, Jahana Hayes, Wm. Lacy Clay, Bill Foster, Steve Cohen, Sean Casten, Yvette D. Clarke, Debbie Dingell, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Jose E. Serrano, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, David E. Price, Jared Huffman, Brenda L. Lawrence, Marcia L. Fudge, Zoe Lofgren, Ayanna Pressley, Andy Levin, Carolyn Maloney, David Scott, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Jennifer Wexton, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Ami Bera, John Yarmuth, TJ Cox, A. Donald McEachin, Anthony G. Brown, Rashida Tlaib, Jim Costa, Elaine G. Luria, Chris Pappas, James R. Langevin, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Dwight Evans, Cheri Bustos, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Robin L. Kelly, Paul Tonko, Gregory Meeks, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Deb Haaland, Henry Cuellar, Stephen Lynch, David Trone, Tom Malinowski, Adriano Espaillat, Tony Cardenas, Al Lawson, Ilhan Omar and Alma Adams.

IVAWA is supported by over 50 civil society organizations: Amnesty International USA; CARE; Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities; Center for Victims of Torture; ChildFund International; Clearinghouse on Women's Issues; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces; Dining for Women; Equality Now; Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Futures Without Violence; Gender Action; Global Rights for Women; Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation; Guttmacher Institute; Heartland Alliance International; International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law; International Center for Research on Women (ICRW); International Women's Health Coalition; Islamic Relief USA; Jewish Women International; Jewish World Watch; League of Women Voters of the United States; Mercy Corps; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; National Association of Social Workers; National Democratic Institute For International Affairs; National Organization for Women; North American MenEngage Network; Oxfam; PAI; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Population Institute; Population Media Center; Presbyterian Church (USA); Project Concern International (PCI); Promundo-US; Shadhika; Sierra Club; Smash Strategies; The Hunger Project; Too Young to Wed; Union for Reform Judaism; Vital Voices Global Partnership; Women for Afghan Women; Women for Women International; Women Graduates USA; Women of Reform Judaism; Women Watch Afrika Inc.; Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO); YWCA USA.

The bill text is available HERE.