Urge Congress to Pass the International Violence Against Women Act

“We [The United Methodist Church] recognize that family violence and abuse in all its forms — verbal, psychological, physical, sexual — is detrimental to the covenant of the human community. We encourage the Church to provide a safe environment, counsel and support for the victim. While we deplore the action of the abuser, we affirm that person to be in need of God’s redeeming love” (Social Principles ¶161G, Book of Discipline).

One out of three women worldwide will experience physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse during her lifetime. Human Trafficking is a $32 billion industry. The United Nations estimates that 2.4 million people are enslaved for labor and/or sex at any time. 

The United Methodist Church “…affirm[s] with Scripture the common humanity of male and female, both having equal worth in the eyes of God” (Social Principles. ¶161E.)

United Methodists understand that violence impacts every aspect of women and girls’ lives. The UMC calls for “…the prevention of further abuse by addressing the societal roots and not merely the symptoms of violence and abuse.” (Book of Resolutions #3423)

The bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 3571/S.2307), also known as IVAWA, makes ending violence against women and girls a top diplomatic and foreign assistance priority by codifying, implementing and giving congressional oversight to the ongoing U.S. Strategy to Prevent & Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. IVAWA will streamline and better coordinate anti-gender-based violence (GBV) programming across various U.S. government agencies, making this a cornerstone of U.S. development and foreign policy. Because the goal of this legislation is to coordinate and integrate existing programs, no new funding is required.

IVAWA focuses on:

  • Preventing violence through community-based solutions to transform social norms that condone and/or encourage violence against girls and women, as well as boys and men;
  • Increasing legal and judicial protection to address gender-based violence;
  • Increasing health-sector capacity by integrating programs to address gender-based violence into already existing health programs focused on child survival, health and HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment; and,
  • Improving the economic status and educational opportunities for women and girls thus reducing their vulnerability to violence.

As people of faith, we must work to change cultural, economic, legal and political systems that dehumanize, exploit and abuse women and girls.

Contact your members of Congress and urge them to act now!