Violence against women is a human rights scandal. At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.
- In Europe, domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for women aged 16 to 44.
- In the United States, a woman is raped every 6 minutes; a woman is battered every 15 seconds.
- Rape of women is widespread in armed conflicts such as Colombia and Darfur.
- Trafficking of women has become a global phenomenon where victims are sexually exploited, forced into labor and subjected to abuse. Murders of women in Guatemala, Russia, India, and other countries often go uninvestigated and unpunished.
The experience or threat of violence affects the lives of women everywhere, cutting across boundaries of wealth, race and culture. In the home and in the community, in times of war and peace, women are beaten, raped, mutilated, and killed with impunity.
In 2004, Amnesty International launched its global Stop Violence Against Women Campaign to help break the silence around this scandal, stop the violence, and create a world where women and girls are afforded their basic human rights. Across the globe, Amnesty International members have united to work towards making women's human rights a reality; the campaign is intended as a contribution to the efforts of the women's rights movements around the world. With this campaign, Amnesty International will show that the right of women to be free from violence is integral to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As long as violence against women continues, the promise to humanity of the Universal Declaration cannot be fulfilled.How Amnesty International's Campaign Will Stop Violence Against Women
To acheive its goals in helping to end violence against women, Amnesty International is:
- Urging governments and armed groups to end impunity for violence against women during times of conflict and post-conflict
- Demanding that governments abolish discriminatory laws and practices that perpetrate violence against women in the family and in the community
- Calling for the adoption of new laws and policies to provide women protection from violence
We support women's human rights defenders, and we are urging governments to ratify the Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW) and its protocol without reservations.
In the US, we have worked in support of anti-violence legislation and other national initiatives to stop violence against women. We have worked to increase public awareness of violence against women as a global human rights issue and to contribute to efforts to challenge attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violence against women.
Amnesty International has used a human rights framework to guide its campaigning work to stop violence against women. By using a human rights framework to oppose violence against women, we help to change the perception of violence against women from a private matter to a public concern that requires action from recognized authorities. Use of the framework also enables Amnesty International to use international human rights standards and laws to cut across national boundaries, cultures and religions to protest violence against women in all its forms. And perhaps most importantly, it makes it possible to use international remedies to hold governments accountable if they fail to meet their obligations to protect women from violence, regardless of who commits it or where it's committed.
Amnesty International USA is the US section of AI - the international worldwide human rights organization with 1.8 million members in 100 countries. AIUSA has over 350,000 members organized into professional networks, and student and community chapters. You can find out which of our administrative regions you live in and contact our offices if you wish to join a local chapter visit www.amnestyusa.org. You can join the SVAW campaign, get our monthly women’s human rights online bulletin and join the Women's Human Rights Action Network by visiting www.amnestyusa.org/women. We look forward to working with you.