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Female Senators Turn Attention to Global Violence Against Women

Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:06:34 +0000

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- In a sign of solidarity with women around the world, seven Democratic female senators sat before a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday to raise awareness about the violence and discrimination confronting women throughout the world.

“Too many women and girls are victims of gender based violence and discrimination as weapons of intimidation, coercion and power. The United States must be committed to protecting the rights of women and girls, committed to combating violence and discrimination against women across the globe,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said. “Investing in women and girls means investing in a future that is more prosperous, secure, just and peaceful for all and it's time for Congress to carry this fight forward.”

“We have to address this problem not only from a human rights standpoint, but from a national security standpoint because if we stabilize the situation, if we're able to provide for women and children in every corner of the world, we will have a much more stable, much more gracious and I think a much better world,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said.

Also testifying at the hearing were Sens. Maize Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash. The women shared stories of women and children who have been victims of violence and discrimination in countries like Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The hearing was chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues.

“We're here today because we all share the same goal -- to eliminate violence and discrimination against women everywhere,” Boxer said. “Tragically, even in the year 2014, the state of women around the world remains precarious. Every day women and girls endure horrific acts of violence in their homes and communities. Women are raped, beaten, disfigured by acid, forcibly married, trafficked and sold as slaves. They're denied basic rights such as the opportunity to get an education, see a doctor, try to make a living outside the home, simply because of their gender.”

“We have to do more than make our speeches and call for the end of violence. We have to act,” she added.

Hauwa Ibrahim, a Nigerian human rights lawyer, also testified before the committee about the kidnapped Nigerian school girls.

“We are still living in disbelief that it has happened. our only hope let me say is that the assistance that the united states and other international community have been pouring in to help us, especially with technologies will yield results,” Ibrahim said. “We cannot rest until we find them.”

“I hope the message goes out, whoever's holding those girls. You're not living up to your manhood. let those girls go,” Boxer said.

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