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Violence Against Women

CEDAW, IVAWA, and US: Where We Go From Here

Earlier this week, Senator Barbara Boxer’s “Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A Global Call to Action” hearing revisited the US’s failure to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women—colloquially known as CEDAW, because that’s a mouthful—and its failure to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). The immensely popular hearing (there was a line to get into the overflow room) included testimony from many female senators, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Patty Murray, and Tammy Baldwin, but it was the testimony of panelists directly involved in combating violence against women that held both the hearing room and overflow room in silence for the hour and a half-long hearing.

Five things to take away from the hearing: Read more »

Riot Grrrl’s Lasting Effect on Feminism

This week I attended the American Film Institute’s screening of The Punk Singer, a documentary about Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. An outspoken advocate for women, Hanna made pro-women, pro-choice music during the 1990s and she witnessed sexual assault and violence against women at punk shows and experienced extreme sexism in the media.

Hanna was one of the frontrunners of the Riot Grrrl movement, which originated in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Northwest. The movement stemmed from the sexism within the punk rock community, where women and girls were often physically injured and sexually assaulted at concerts, and many female fans didn’t feel safe participating in the things they loved. Read more »

5 Reasons Why We’re Part of the One Billion Rising in Protest Against Violence Against Women

As individuals willing to give voice to troubling problems and struggle towards difficult solutions, we rise on behalf of women.

As partners, advocates, family and friends, we rise in collaboration with survivors.

As a global community, we rise through women’s progress.

Rise for VAWA!These are the simple but fundamental truths V-day encourages us to reflect on. While it is often painful and uncomfortable to talk about the culture of violence and oppression that leads to 1 in 3 women being assaulted, beaten, or raped in her lifetime, the alternative is unthinkable. Silence is not an answer. Ignorance, as we’ve seen through the intense backlash against misguided statements related to assault, is not bliss. And the problem will not simply go away if we leave it alone.

However tattered, ugly, or shocking the truth may be, only by addressing facts rather than falling back on myths can we craft solutions (be they legislative, cultural or community-based) that truly improve people’s lives.

Myth 1: Violence against women is rare.

Truth: Violence toward women is extremely common. 1 in 3 women, approximately, 1 billion women, will experience violence in her lifetime. A perpetrator is more likely to be an intimate partner or family member than a stranger. In the U.S. a woman is beaten or assaulted every 9 seconds. Read more »

1 Billion Rising – Celebrate V-Day!

Valentine’s Day checklist: Flowers? Check. Chocolates? Check. Registered for a few rallies and a flashmob? Check.

Yes, you heard me. Today women across the globe will be participating in the “1 Billion Rising” campaign. For those of you who are new or unfamiliar to the crusade, 1 billion rising is a movement initiated by activist and Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler. The event is set for today, Valentine’s Day, and also marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day.

The “1 billion” notion comes from the 1 in 3 statistic: that one third of women will be a victim of violence in her lifetime, and as there are 6 billion people on this planet, approximately one billion women worldwide are raped, beaten, or violated. So what exactly are the participants going to do in honor of these victims of abuse? “We are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence,” says the 1 Billion Rising website. Women and men all over the world are encouraged to join the movement by signing this pledge, which acts as a sort of ‘e-promise’ to join the “global strike” and end violence against women. It also helps participants find 1 Billion events in their own communities. Here in DC, there are already plans underway for a 1000+ person dance party/flashmob.

Read more »