VIOLENCE FORUM: Things to do Now to Stop Violence against Women

December 16, 2008 posted by admin If Vice-President-elect Joe Biden called me up seeking my input on how to build support for initiatives to end violence against women, I’d first thank him for wanting to hear from a young American woman, and a survivor of abuse, because it’s often women’s lack of political voice that enables violence to continue.  Acknowledging Biden’s longtime advocacy on this issue, most notably, his drafting of the Violence Against Women Act (1994), I’d say, Joe, if you want to build support for this important law, and make sure it truly is the “greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades” (NOW), it’s time to break through the military code of silence surrounding servicewomen survivors of sexual assault, and realize that to really end violence towards women, we must end war.  As we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this week, People magazine released the story of three enlisted women who were brutally murdered at Ft. Bragg, NC.  One in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military.  And in Iraq the Army may be covering up the rape and murder of dozens of women soldiers. 

Meanwhile, Iraqi women struggle to provide their children with adequate access to food, water, electricity, safety, and schools, even after five years of US military occupation and billions of US dollars allegedly funneled into rebuilding their country.  While General Petraeus said last spring that the presence of the U.S. military helps reduce violence, 71 percent of Iraqi women say they do not feel protected by U.S. soldiers and 65 percent report that US soldiers are only making security worse.  The Iraqi parliament reports over 1.5 million widows, with an additional hundreds of thousands of families whose male breadwinners have either been arrested or have disappeared. This situation has created millions of households where daily subsistence is at best precarious.   Dahr Jamail wrote, “Once one of the best countries for women's rights in the Middle East, Iraq has now become a place where women fear for their lives in an increasingly fundamentalist environment.”  Joe, if you’re committed to ending violence towards women, then upon taking office as Vice President, you’ll work to fulfill Obama’s campaign promise to withdraw US troops from Iraq in 16 months, as well as commit funding to Iraqi refugees and to Iraqi institutions capable of rebuilding their own country.  Additionally, you’ll take up the issue of the rapes and deaths of women in the military by encouraging Congressional hearings and working to see justice in the military. Voters proclaimed that “War is So Over” by electing you and Obama and we’re counting on you to lead us out of violence and into a more vivacious, thriving world for women and all citizens in 2009!    --Rae Abileah is a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace.  She lives in San Francisco, California.  This post is part of a forum


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Comments

Very insightful comments and many thanks for the action steps.
Violence against WOMEN as universal phenomen Violence causes untold misery, harms families across generations and impoverishes communities. It stops women from fulfilling their potential, restricts economic growth, and undermines development. Violence is an extremely diffuse and complex phenomenon with biological, psychological, social and environmental roots. The World Health Organization defines violence: use of physical force of power, threatened another person that either results a high likelihood of resulting in injury, psychological harm or deprivation. An efforts could be to reach consensus and set universal standards of behavior through the elaboration of human rights in order to protect human life and dignity in our fast changing World. The human cost is grief and pain, of course, can’t be calculated. The impact of violence – lives lost and health harmed. Many of victims are weak, scare or young to protect themselves… More violence occurs out of sight in homes, workplaces and even in the medical and social institutions, set up to care for people. Many acts of violence are never recorded because they do not come to the attention of authorities. Since then a wide range of public health researchers in the United States and around the world have set themselves the task of understanding violence and finding ways to prevent it. From analysis to action to raise efforts of visibility of violence against women: individual, relations, community efforts etc. Many different sectors and agencies should be involved in prevention activities and evaluation should be an integral part of all programs: - Create, implement and monitor a national action plan for violence prevention; - Enhance capacity for collecting data of violence; - Increase collaboration and exchange of information on prevention, etc. It is time to take these efforts to the next level. Violence against women has been recognized as a human rights violence. We must play a stronger, better coordinated and more visible leadership role. Member States can do more to implement legal and policy framework to which they have committed themselves. And all of us must form strong and effective partnerships with civil society, which has such a crucial role to play on this issue at every level. Consequences of violent behavior could not be ignored in the effort to improve the nation’s health and made tackling the roots of violence a top priority for the health community. Together, we must work to create an environment where violence against women is not tolerated. Let all of us -- men and women alike -- join forces in this mission. Noema Chaplin Member of the National Committee Board Member UNA/USA Board Member CCC/UN Representative United States Servas, Inc. to the United Nations Political and Economic Scientist Member of the Planning Committee of the 57,58,59,60,61 DPI/NGO conferences, New York e-mail: noemachaplin@yahoo.com
As a 29 year veteran of the US Army and Army Reserves who retired as a Colonel, I want to thank Rae for underscoring these horrific criminal acts against women members of our military. A few more tragic deaths of women in our military to consider: A fourth military woman was murdered this year in the state of North Carolina, besides the three listed in the article. Marine Corporal Maria Lauderbach was murdered by a fellow Marine in earlier in 2008 near the huge Marine Base -- Camp Lejeune , NC Other military women have been murdered on military bases include US Air Force senior airwoman Blanca Luna who was murdered in March, 2008 at Shepherd Air Force Base, TX Questions about the deaths of military women in Iraq and Afghanistan abound. OF the 102 military women killed in Iraq, 42 were killed in “non-combat related” incidents. 8 women soldiers from Fort Hood , Texas (six from the Fourth Infantry Division and two from the 1st Armored Cavalry Division) have died of "non-combat related injuries" on the same base in Iraq-Camp Taji- and three were raped before their deaths. Two were raped immediately before their deaths and another raped prior to arriving in Iraq . Two military women have died of suspicious "non-combat related injuries" on Balad base, and one was raped before she died. Four deaths have been classified as "suicides." For more information on the deaths and alleged suicides of women in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, please see: Is the US Military Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ Suicides? www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080826_us_military_keeping_secrets_ about_female_soldiers_suicides/ Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel (retired)
[...] to do Now to Stop Violence against Women Posted in December 17th, 2008 by in Uncategorized VIOLENCE FORUM: Things to do Now to Stop Violence against Women If Vice-President-elect Joe Biden called me up seeking my input on how to build support for [...]
Rae, This is an excellent assessment of the breadth of violence against women. Thanks for sharing. Karen Larson