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Recognizing Violence Against Women


Washington, DC
October 1, 2007

Office of International Women's Issues
October 1, 2007

The United States recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Additionally, the United Nations recognizes November 25th, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. These designations provide an opportunity to highlight the U.S. government's efforts to combat this problem around the world. Violence against women (VAW) exists in epidemic proportions, whether it occurs in the form of domestic abuse; honor-related crimes; sex trafficking; harmful cultural practices; or in the context of war and conflict. This violence has devastating repercussions affecting women's personal health, the family, and the community. Women must be free from this threat in order to fully enjoy their rights and to effectively participate in society.

Eliminating violence against women has long been a goal of the United States and requires a multifaceted strategy that incorporates a variety of legal, educational, health, and infrastructural reforms. The State Department has instituted bilateral and broad-based programs to address such problems. Secretary Rice recently urged embassies to recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and to participate in the 16 days of activism by engaging host country governments, civil society and media in the prevention violence against women. The Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues (G/IWI) is working with offices throughout the State Department and with embassies around the world, to offer support, guidance, and appropriate engagement on strategies to raise awareness about gender based violence such as:

  • Promoting more rapid economic development by safeguarding the ability of women to participate fully in it. 
  • Protecting women from violence by passing and enforcing legislation. 
  • Encouraging community leaders to publicly condemn violence against women. 
  • Providing shelters for victims, so they have a safe place from which to plan new lives. 
  • Promoting the de-stigmatization of criminal complaints of rape, including the possibility of preventing HIV infection through strengthening availability of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

For more information on those offices and their programs please click on the links below.

Proclamation by the President
Population Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
International Organizations (I/O)
Democracy Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP)
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
Office of Violence Against Women, Department of Justice


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