This year, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women— which kicks off the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence—we remember that gender-based violence continues to impact millions of women, girls, and marginalized people around the world, particularly in areas of democratic backsliding, conflict, and instability. The United States will not stand by as they face pain and suffering. Today, we stand in solidarity with the women of Ukraine suffering Russia’s brutal and unjust war, where we are once more seeing rape used as a weapon. We stand with the women of Russia, against whom domestic violence was partially decriminalized in 2017. We stand with the women of Iran, who are facing down violence and oppression to demand their human rights and fundamental freedoms. And we stand with the estimated one in three women around the world who will experience physical violence, rape, or stalking at some point in their lifetimes.
For all our progress on this issue, these numbers remain an outrage. And, as is too often the case, women and girls from historically marginalized communities—including people of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQI+—are disproportionately affected. We must recommit ourselves to ending violence against women and girls in all their diversity—wherever and whenever it occurs. Ending this scourge is a moral imperative, and it is in our strategic interest to strengthen security and stability for us all. When women are safe and fully integrated into their societies, everyone does better.
Ending violence against women has been the cause of my life. As a Senator, I wrote and championed the first Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and then worked for decades to strengthen VAWA’s support to survivors and increase prevention efforts. This past March, as President, I had the honor of signing into law the strongest survivor protections to date through the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022. Under the leadership of the Gender Policy Council, my Administration is putting gender equality and equity at the heart of all that we do. And, over the last year, we’ve redoubled our efforts to address gender-based violence and abuse, including implementing historic military justice reform, taking targeted actions to support Native survivors and LGBTQI+ survivors, combatting technology-facilitated gender-based violence, advancing efforts to prevent domestic violence homicides and gun violence, and increasing support to address conflict-related sexual violence.
We still have more to do. No one should live under the threat of violence. No one should go through their life fearing violence, abuse, and persecution. That is our ultimate goal, and my Administration will continue to lead this work at home and around the world.