By Lara Pukatch
Senior Global Development Manager, Women Thrive Worldwide
It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed when you realize that one in three women worldwide will experience violence at some point during her lifetime. Or to feel powerless when you hear about the use of rape as a tool of control and humiliation in the Syrian civil war or the consistent violence against young girls living as child slaves in Haiti.
But these horrifying statistics and anecdotes are only one side of the story – the other side is one of resounding hope.
Around the world, inspiring activists and organizations are doing incredible work to address violence in their own communities.
We’ve worked with countless inspiring advocates, from Humaira, activist and former legislator of Parliament in Pakistan, to Upali, an activist focused on women’s issues in Sri Lanka, to end violence against women and girls.
These brave women and men are providing safe shelter for survivors, educating teachers and parents about violence in schools, engaging men and boys to change attitudes about violence, and advocating to their local governments to create or improve laws that will protect women and girls.
One of the most important things we can do to end violence against women is to support these efforts. And the best part about it is it doesn’t require much time or effort.
We don’t have to feel paralyzed because we don’t have to start from scratch.
There are already women and men all over the world who are experts in the violence that’s plaguing their families and communities. They know why violence is happening and what works to prevent it.
This is why Women Thrive Worldwide has been working for years to raise the voices of women and men around the world and to ensure that our government prioritizes ending violence against women and girls internationally.
Violence is pervasive, but it’s also preventable.
Here’s how you can help support the efforts of Humaira and Upali and other dedicated activists working to make the world a safer, more equal world for women and girls:
- Urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor the Women, Peace, and Security Act – this bill ensures that women have a say in the conflict prevention and response and peace-building efforts going on in their country, including those related to violence against women and girls.
- Sign our Petition and urge Secretary of State John Kerry to make ending gender-based violence a foreign policy priority.
- Raise your voice on social media! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for daily updates on ways to share information and take action to reduce violence against women and girls.
- Tweet fast facts on how others can reduce violence against women:
— Women Thrive (@WomenThrive) October 14, 2013
FACT: In some countries, as many as 30 percent of women report that their first sexual experience was coerced or forced….
— Women Thrive (@WomenThrive) October 11, 2013
— Women Thrive (@WomenThrive) October 1, 2013
Lara joined Women Thrive Worldwide in February 2008. As Global Development Policy Senior Manager, Lara works on foreign assistance reform, gender-based violence, and women’s economic opportunity. She also previously managed Thrive’s portfolio on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Lara holds a M.A. in International Affairs and Development from George Washington University, a certificate in International Human Rights Law from GW Law School/Oxford University, and has B.A. degrees in both Sociology and Spanish (honors) from Vanderbilt University.