Standing Together for the International Violence Against Women Act
Posted on August 03, 2012, by Futures Without Violence
Nagesh Thakur is a cricket coach in India who cares about more than just winning matches. He teaches his young male athletes that violence never equals strength and the importance of respect for women and girls through a project called Parivartan that operates in 46 schools and two slum communities in Mumbai. Parivartan (meaning “change” in Hindi), is an adaptation of the Futures Without Violence program Coaching Boys Into Men and is funded by the Nike Foundation.
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) leads implementation on the ground and conducts evaluation with Dr. Elizabeth Miller. Not only are coaches engaged as positive role models, but they’re also trained to deliver crucial messages on building healthy, nonviolent relationships. “This is something that I feel every man in India needs to know,” says Coach Thakur. “A program like this one can reshape our behavior both on and off the field.”
A cricket coach in Parivartan trains his team members to treat women and girls with respect.
In India, where one in three young married females will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse, this program really shakes things up. It introduces boys to new definitions of manhood, encourages them to intervene when witnessing violence against women and teaches them that violence never equals strength.
Engaging men and boys as allies in the battle against gender-based violence is not only a priority for our organization, but a key tenant of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), critical legislation that was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 7, 2012. I-VAWA would fund local community-based organizations and programs such as Parivartan that are working to end violence in their own nations.
Leaders like Coach Thakur inspire us to speak out against political inequities, dangerous social norms, and laws which discriminate against women. But it’s ultimately victims of violence all over the world who have motivated Futures Without Violence to help organize a coalition of more than 200 organizations in support of I-VAWA.
Headquartered in our new Global Center for Leadership and Action in San Francisco, with offices in D.C. and Boston, we’re committed to helping activists and communities around the world get the help they need to develop new policies and social reforms, obtain funding and enact new laws to protect women and children from devastating violence.
That’s why we need the U.S. Congress to exercise leadership and stand with all of us who are working to end violence. I-VAWA calls for a comprehensive U.S. response to end violence against women and girls globally by:
- Directing the Department of State and USAID to develop a comprehensive multi-sectoral strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence so that post-disaster zones such as Haiti can provide healthcare that heals and supports victims of sexual assault.
- Calling for the integration of efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls as part of U.S. foreign assistance programs including health, education, economic growth, legal reform, political participation, social norm change and foreign security training, among others so that female genital mutilation (FGM), endemic in some parts of Ethiopia, may come to an end.
- Addressing violence against women and girls in humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, conflict and post-conflict settings so that 10 year-old-girls do not become rape victims and weapons of war in the Sudan.
- Supporting overseas non-governmental and community-based organizations working to end violence against women and girls so that young men in India are exposed to programs that educate them on how to treat women and girls with respect.
Help us keep these issues at the top of the United States’ foreign policy agenda.
We’re grateful to the Obama administration and numerous departments of the U.S. government that have championed efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls globally.
Passing the I-VAWA would ensure institutionalization of these efforts across government. Please take action and urge your members of Congress to cosponsor and pass I-VAWA today! Visit Futures Without Violence and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information.