Dear President Obama, Please pass the International Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 4594, S. 2982)
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I cannot tell you just how much it means to see world leaders becoming more involved in the movement to end violence against women and to see them take positive action.
Violence against women takes places under so many guises in Africa and indeed all over the world. From the woman whose life is lost in childbirth because her family believes she should “bear” a difficult birth rather than saving her life through surgery to the woman who has to work late at night at the video store only to be attacked on her way home.
From the young girl who isn’t given a chance to go to school because culturally it is considered a waste of time and resources to the woman who is accused of killing her own husband and is subjected to unthinkable and detestable acts to “prove” she didn’t kill him.
From the young and qualified woman who can’t get a job because she refuses to lower her moral standards and principles to the professional who keeps getting bypassed for a promotion because she is a woman.
From the mother who was stabbed by her 13 year old son to the female police recruit who was dismissed because she
was living with AIDS.
From the young woman serving her country far from home who was raped and killed to the working woman who was beaten and stripped in broad daylight by a uniformed officer.
What about the discrimination in schools, in land matters, at police stations, ministries and law making institutions? With social and cultural norms perpetuating violence against women, how do we break this endless cycle?
In a country where over 70% of the total illiterate population are women, what chance do women have of overcoming this without the help and support of leaders like you?
Passing the International Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 4594, S. 2982) will help us address this vital issue not only in your country but around the world. With world leaders like yourself taking a definite step, you will be sending a strong message to leaders everywhere, you will be giving us a tool to change things locally and you will be making a real difference in our communities and nations.
This cannot be ignored any longer Sir.
Secretary Clinton, with your continued tireless efforts at ensuring a world of equity and with your continued example of what women can achieve, please lend your support to the passing of this act. With our collective efforts at local, national and international levels, we can change things for women all over the world.
For me, passing this act would further empower me to keep working to make a difference in women’s lives and give me a more enabling environment to work towards the empowerment and enlightenment of women. This act would provide more opportunities for me at work and in my community and would help me advocate for similar laws in my country.
Violence against women has caused us to lose our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunties and friends. With your help, this can and will stop. Please pass the International Violence Against Women Act and give women a fighting chance. Thank you.
Safiya Ibn Garba