Category Archives: Safe from Violence

ICRC: Remarks by Ambassador Hamamoto at Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Side Event

Venue CICG, Room 18
Geneva,
Thursday, December 10, 2015

First, I would like to recognize and thank Baroness Anelay for her leadership in gender equality and for her deep commitment to tackling sexual violence in conflict situations.

Last week, the UN’s State of the World Population Report emphasized that the health needs of women and girls must not be treated as an afterthought in times of crises, but instead must be placed at the center of any humanitarian response.

The same is true when it comes to protecting women and girls at the onset of an emergency, an area that’s been repeatedly identified as an especially weak link.  And needless to say, an area of increasing importance with the number of crises we are facing in the world today.

This is precisely why Secretary Kerry launched the Safe from the Start initiative with UNHCR and other partners two years ago — to focus on how to better address gender-based violence at the onset of an emergency.  And that’s also been one of the United States’ priorities when leading the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies this past year.

Leadership of this initiative will transition to Sweden next month, and the United States looks forward to continuing to work closely with Sweden — and with all Call to Action partners – in the coming year.

We now have a roadmap for the next five years, which outlines concrete actions all humanitarian stakeholders can take to change the policies, systems, and mechanisms used for emergency response.  And we’ve all agreed to hold each other accountable, a true achievement and an indispensable tool as we’ve heard from our panelists to measure progress in our efforts to stop gender-based violence.

Everybody in the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement has a role to play.  We encourage all of you to look at this roadmap, to identify what actions you can take to help promote these goals, and if you are not already a Call to Action partner, I urge you to consider joining the Call to Action.

We need a zero-tolerance policy toward gender-based violence against anyone — men, women, and children – and we need you to help make it happen.

Gender-based violence is insidious, affecting developed and developing countries alike.

Vice President Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act while in the Senate, has been a leader in efforts to end violence against women and girls for two decades.  And of course, under President Obama’s leadership, the United States released the first-ever U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally just over three years ago.

This is also a priority for me too.  Preventing and responding to gender-based violence is a central pillar of the U.S. Mission’s signature gender initiative – The Future She Deserves — an initiative that has been embraced by International Geneva and highlights what we can accomplish when we work together.  And I pledge to continue to make this a top priority in the coming year.

Together, I’m confident — as Secretary Kerry said just a few weeks ago at the Action Ministerial on Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Emergencies – he said I’m confident that together “we can be voices for people who don’t have a voice and provide protection for people who’ve never had the luxury of this kind of protection.”

So let’s work together, and work hard, to really make a difference in the lives of these victims and survivors.

Thank you.

Girl be Heard Perform at the Graduate Institute in Geneva

Opening Remarks by Ambassador Hamamoto at Girl Be Heard Performance

The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good evening!  Wow, what a great turnout!  Thank you all for coming to this special performance by the New York theater group Girl Be Heard!

A big thank you to our host, the Graduate Institute, and of course, to our performers.

Their ambition is simple yet powerful.  It is to empower young women to become brave, confident, and socially conscious leaders.

They have the ambition and the vision to create a world for young women to find strength, to realize their potential, and to rise above their circumstances and society’s expectations of them.

This is exactly what we at the U.S. Mission envisioned earlier this year when we launched a new, cross-cutting initiative called The Future She Deserves creating such a world.

And having you all here tonight is exactly what we envisioned when we started thinking about how through this initiative we could use what makes Geneva unique – its unique collection of diplomats, policy makers, specialists, business leaders, research institutes, and civil society – how to use what makes Geneva unique to foster innovative ways of collaborating that would unleash new opportunities for women and girls around the world.

That’s why we’re all here tonight.  For all the women who continue to face discrimination simply because of their gender.

And I’m happy to report that this International Geneva community is really coming together around these important gender issues.

In fact, inspired by the Future She Deserves, and in partnership with the US Mission, UNOG and Women@TheTable, just last month, almost 70 ambassadors and heads of international organizations signed on as Geneva Gender Champions, a new leadership network committed to promoting gender equality.

And already, these inaugural Gender Champions are driving real change in the way we engage on issues and in the support we provide to women in our organizations.

Maya Angelou — a famous civil rights activist and one of America’s most acclaimed poets – used to say that people will sometimes forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

I can guarantee that these young women will make you feel their vulnerabilities, the challenges they face, and even their despair.

But you will also feel their hope and dreams, their resilience and optimism, their energy and their power.

They’ve come together for different reasons and from different backgrounds.  And they represent different cultures, even if they are all uniquely American.

These young women are here to give a voice to all the women who too often are reduced to silence.

They are here to inspire us to break down barriers, to force us out of our comfort zone,to challenge us to re-double our efforts, and to motivate us to find solutions.

So sit back and listen closely, because these girls deserve to be heard!

Thank you and enjoy the performance!

Women Preventing Violent Extremism

Women who are leading efforts to combat violent extremism in their communities in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Central Asia are visiting the United States, June 6-21, to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program, “Women Preventing Violent Extremism.” This program is part of the State Department’s efforts to engage civil society and local communities in these efforts.

The 25 women leaders will begin the program by attending the Women and Extremism Summit in Washington D.C., co-hosted by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on June 8-9. The summit is focused on the roles that women play in extremism and counter-extremism.

Throughout the program, these women will further explore how counter-narratives and grassroots engagement can delegitimize radical ideology in vulnerable communities. Through meetings with local leaders, think tanks, U.S. government, and leading technology and communications companies in Washington D.C., New York City, and San Francisco, participants will examine ways to strengthen counterterrorism activities and associated programs. These women will also establish a global network for ongoing cooperation.

Participants are arriving from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Georgia, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Macedonia, the Maldives, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, and the United Kingdom.

For further information about this program, follow the hashtag #ChallengeExtremism. Interested media should contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at eca-press@state.gov.

US Strongly Supports ILO Focus on Gender-Based Violence

Statement of the United States Government

Agenda Item 2 on the Agenda of the International Labor Conference (2017-19)

March 26, 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

 The United States would like to voice its strong support for a standard-setting item on the issue of “Violence Against Women and Men in the World of Work.”

As the ILO has noted previously, gender based violence is “the most prevalent human rights violation in the world” and its existence is a “major challenge to the goal of equality between women and men.”

In the United States an estimated 2 million workers are victims of various forms of workplace violence each year.  The costs to businesses include the temporary or permanent absence of skilled employees, psychological damage to victims, productivity impediments, diversion of management resources, increased security costs, increased workers’ compensation costs, and increased personnel costs.

Women are often at increased risk and special attention must be given to those industries that are disproportionately female, such as the apparel industry, domestic work, health care and social services, and many of the lower paying jobs in the retail and hospitality sectors.  Additionally, there is insufficient attention given to how sexual violence pushes women out of their chosen fields, particularly in the sciences and technology.

The resources and expertise of this organization are uniquely suited to addressing the appalling abuses that millions of workers face everyday in the workplace.  We urge the Governing Body to place this item on the agenda of the International Labor Conference.

In an interview with Huffington Post, Melissa Fleming, Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), discusses the plight of women in refugee camps; the work of UNHCR around the world; TEDxPlaceDesNations which she organized, and much more.

Excerpt:

” UNHCR is deeply concerned about the safety and security of women and girl refugees. It is unacceptable that fear of sexual assault is a factor of refugee life. But unfortunately, sexual and gender based violence is one of the most widespread protection risks faced by forcibly displaced women and girls, and even for some men and boys. Conflict and displacement make refugees and the displaced more vulnerable to abuse, including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, survival sex and forced marriage.

UNHCR is grateful for funding from the United States for a three-year initiative called “Safe from the Start” to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies around the world. This allows us to dedicate staff at the start of an emergency to ensure our camp design and our education and health care programs are aimed to prevent sexual violence.”

Read the full interview with Melissa Fleming on Huffington Post.

The Role of Women and Girls in Countering Violent Extremism

“The current threat of violent extremism makes it even more pressing that we enlist and empower women and girls as agents of peace.”

Remarks by
Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto
Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva

At a Roundtable on: “The Role of Women and Girls in Countering Violent Extremism”

Sponsored by the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), the Global Community Engagement Resilience Fund (GCERF) and the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Geneva,
February 13, 2015

First, let me extend a warm welcome to everyone and thank GCSP and the Global Community Engagement Resilience Fund for organizing this important discussion on the role of women and girls in countering violent extremism, or CVE. It is an honor to be here in the company of experts in the field, practitioners, and fellow diplomats to discuss such a timely and necessary topic.

The United States is pleased to co-sponsor this initiative—one that fosters dialogue on women in community engagement as well as the role of women in multi-sectoral approaches to CVE.

This discussion builds on the many great initiatives and work already taking place on CVE.  And yet, we are only just beginning to touch on the nuanced and pivotal role of women and girls in this area.  It is my hope that we can work together – with our Geneva-based partners, civil society, and UN bodies to advance the dialogue here in Geneva and brainstorm how nations, societies, individuals, businesses and organizations can better contribute to the international fight against terrorism.  In particular, let’s shine a spot light on the powerful potential of women in countering violent extremism.

Today’s discussion is especially important to me as it is an example of the kind of engagement I am advocating through our new initiative at the U.S. Mission, the Future She Deserves. Through this initiative we aim to harness the combined efforts of Geneva-based organizations and multilateral institutions to ensure that women and girls are empowered, safe from violence, and able to lead healthy lives. The initiative is grounded in the belief that all stakeholders can achieve more by building linkages and alliances across sectors; improving accountability; reducing girls’ vulnerabilities, and harnessing their capacity to lead and make change in their communities. Many of the fundamental pillars of our initiative are integral to the discussion we will have today.

 Growing Challenge of Foreign Fighters

So, let’s get specific on the topic at hand.  We are here today to address the growing challenge of foreign fighters and the role women and girls can play in countering violent extremism.  We are seeing the implications of violent extremism on our societies across the globe, from Paris to Nigeria to Syria. We are witnessing an unprecedented flow of fighters and facilitation networks fueling conflicts in the Horn of Africa, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. This trend has been particularly destructive in Iraq and Syria, with thousands of fighters joining terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or ISIL. While these terror organizations have been forced to further decentralize their recruitment efforts, advances in technology and globalization have made sharing their violent narratives easier.

And here is the challenge for us to discuss: Facts tell us that women are the targets of violence perpetrated by ISIL and ISIS; facts tell us that at the same time, many women flock to the ranks of ISIS – according to the New York Times, roughly 10 percent of its Western recruits are female; but, most crucially, common sense and past experience tells us that women wield significant influence in their families and can counter violent extremism.  If we can reach women – wives and mothers and daughters – we can support them in creating a new narrative, a narrative where empowered women can focus on the concerns of their families and neighbors – of their communities.

Holistic Approach Necessary

This is a multifaceted problem that requires a holistic response.  As part of our collective efforts to counter violent extremism, there need to be programs and funding available to reduce the pool of individuals susceptible to terrorist radicalization and recruitment to violence. For our efforts to be effective, they have to be driven by local knowledge and responsive to concerns of those local communities where violent extremism is a problem.

The United States is pleased to be working in partnership with GCERF, which is   the first global effort to support local, community-level initiatives aimed at strengthening resilience against violent extremist agendas.

GCERF’s work is just getting started, but it is already laying the foundation for its small grants program to local organizations, which will develop and implement programming serving specific audiences at risk of recruitment and radicalization to violence. The U.S. is a strong supporter of GCERF’s efforts, which are a key part of building the comprehensive international approach we need.

In the Unites States, we continue to refine and adapt our policies and programs in this area to be more comprehensive and proactive, in part by involving and incorporating women and civil society to the fullest extent possible.

Our National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security emphasizes the need to ensure that women’s perspectives are always part of the U.S. approach to peace processes, conflict prevention, the protection of civilians, and humanitarian assistance.

First, we are building women’s capacity in civil society and the security sector to counter the spread of violent extremism.  This includes enhancing the ability of local, national, and multinational women’s and peace groups committed to working against violent extremism to conduct effective public outreach and train women.

Second, we are encouraging more women’s participation and feedback from women as we develop and implement our countering violent extremism programs, or our anti-terrorism assistance.

Third, we are reviewing how our policies and programs on stemming extremism affect women.  This includes ensuring we discuss with partner governments how to protect civilians, including women and girls.

Finally, we are working to encourage the inclusion of women in counter-extremism and counterterrorism dialogues with governments and civil society, to elevate and amplify their voices.

In conclusion, the current threat of violent extremism makes it even more pressing that we enlist and empower women and girls as agents of peace.  Women can be critical actors in local CVE efforts due to their potential for identifying signs of radicalization, discouraging its occurrence, and serving as “force multipliers” to raise awareness among other women. Female voices are an essential part of coming to terms with the past by investing in a shared future that rejects conflict and promotes dignity.

I want to thank you all again for being here and welcome the distinguished panel here today. I will turn the floor back to our Chair, Ms. Penny Williams and look forward to a productive dialogue during today’s event.

Thank you.

Press Release: Launch of The Future She Deserves Initiative

U.S. Mission Launches The Future She Deserves

Thursday, 5 February 2015 – The U.S. Mission to the United Nations launched The Future She Deserves – an initiative to leverage Geneva-based institutional mechanisms and multilateral fora so that women and girls have the opportunities they deserve to fulfill their promise, both as individuals and as members of society.  The event was attended by some 200 invited guests, including diplomats, UN officials, NGO activists, journalists, and academics.

The brainchild of Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, The Future She Deserves is a ‘call to action’ to seize Geneva’s unique multilateral advantage to protect vulnerable populations and unleash opportunities for women and girls.

“I believe we have a critical role to play here in Geneva.  In fact we don’t just have a role, we have a responsibility. Ambassador Hamamoto said.  “Let’s stop doing ‘business as usual’ when we know we can do better. “

The Future She Deserves initiative is grounded in the belief that progress in achieving economic, social, and political equality between men and women can more effectively be realized by building alliances across sectors and implementing strategic cooperation, here, among the institutions of International Geneva; improving accountability to ensure their efforts are effective and sustainable; being proactive on reducing adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities; and harnessing the capacity of women and girls to take charge of their own lives.

Despite substantial progress made in the past generation, today women  still own only 1% of the world’s wealth, have only a 10% share of global income, and occupy only 14% of leadership positions in the public and private sectors.  In addition, far too many women and girls around the world face violence each and every day. One in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.

The four conceptual and operational pillars of The Future She Deserves are: 1) ensuring adolescent girls’ access to health services, 2) preventing and responding to gender-based violence, 3) empowering women and girls economically, and 4) promoting leadership opportunities.

For further information about The Future She Deserves and its four pillars, please take a look at the web site futureshedeserves.net.

Ambassador Hamamoto: Remarks at the Launch of The Future She Deserves

Launch of The Future She DeservesAmbassador Pamela Hamamoto
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva

Remarks at the Launch of
The Future She Deserves
 

This year, we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the First World Conference on Women in Mexico City, and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

In 1975, the First World Conference was convened to unite the international community, as discrimination against women continued to be a persistent problem in much of the world.  Goals were set, and action plans were developed, focusing on full gender equality, full participation of women in development, and increased contribution by women in the strengthening of world peace.

While international efforts over the next 20 years helped to improve women’s conditions, the basic structure of inequality between men and women remained in place. Fortunately, due to a massive outpouring of engagement, the 1995 Beijing conference sparked a renewed global commitment to the empowerment of women, and the re-evaluation of the entire structure of society.

Fast forward again.  We’ve made real progress over the past twenty years, and many of you here are responsible for that progress.  Women are better represented in parliaments and boardrooms around the world.  More girls are enrolled in primary and secondary school than ever before. The range of health services available to women has increased substantially. The international community has combined its resources – largely through UN agencies – to support countless innovative approaches to supporting women and girls around the world.

In 2000, the UN Security Council passed a landmark Resolution on Women, Peace and Security.   Ten years later, UN Women was created.  Last year, it launched the HeForShe Initiative as a direct call to action for men to support gender equality.

BUT, despite twenty years of progress, women still own only 1% of the world’s wealth, have only a 10% share of global income, and occupy only 14% of leadership positions in the public and private sectors.

In addition, the unfortunate reality is that far too many women and girls around the world still face violence each and every day.  One in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.  One in 20, more than 12 million women, in the EU have been raped.  In the U.S., statistics show that the incidence of rape is equally high and equally shocking…on average, one woman in the United States is sexually assaulted every two minutes.  Stop and think – dozens of lives have been shattered by sexual violence in the U.S. in the short time we have been in this room together.

Adolescent girls in particular face the most serious inequalities and are uniquely at risk to deplorable practices, including child marriage, human trafficking, and female genital mutilation.  Every year, 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school.

I think you will agree…it’s time for another spark.  Let’s commit to igniting that spark.  Right here and right now!.

I have invited you here today to help us launch a new initiative focused on protecting and empowering Women and Girls…it’s called The Future She Deserves.  Women and girls around the world DESERVE better treatment, better opportunities, and a better future.

I believe we have a critical role to play here in Geneva. In fact, we don’t just have a role…we have a responsibility.  Geneva is a unique multilateral arena, where organizations with diverse mandates work in parallel, with similar goals of improving lives and promoting the economic and social advancement of all people. Time and again, research and experience has shown that holistic, multi-sector responses lead to better outcomes for women and girls, and therefore for their families and for their communities.

We must seize Geneva’s unique multilateral advantage, and push ourselves to think innovatively – to envision creative ways for collaboration that will unleash new opportunities for women and girls, and new means of protecting these especially vulnerable populations.

I know this concept isn’t groundbreaking. Last year, I attended the Third WMO Gender Conference – which brought together experts from WMO, WHO, UN Women, UNESCO and UNFCCC – to address the “Gender Dimension of Weather and Climate Services” with the tagline “The Benefits of Working Together.”  Well, I believe these benefits are many, and this type of collaboration will be at the heart of The Future She Deserves.

For example:

Why not bring the ILO, ITU, CERN and UNCTAD together to truly break down the barriers that cause women and girls to remain terribly underrepresented in STEM education and in science and technology fields?

Or why not bring together UNHCR, ITU and the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers or Forum of Young Global Leaders to put a cell phone in the hands of millions of women refugees, so that they have better access to much needed social and financial services?

These are just two ideas, but if we put our minds to it, the possibilities for cross-cutting collaboration are endless.

Over the past few months, we hosted a series of consultations with diplomatic and international partners, in fact we spoke with many of you, to better understand current initiatives, gaps and opportunities for engagement across different sectors and entities.  These discussions identified four key areas where we believe we can have a significant positive impact.  Our four pillars are:

  • To ensure adolescent girls have access to the full range of appropriate health services.  With the far-reaching work of UNAIDS and WHO, and because the World Health Assembly brings together hundreds of health ministry officials from around the world, we have an opportunity to change the nature of care for girls at local and global levels.
  • To enhance opportunities to prevent and respond to gender-based violence against women and girls.  Ending violence against women is everyone’s responsibility, not just the gender experts.  In our multilateral work, whenever and wherever we see gender-based violence, we all need to do whatever it takes to stop it!  It’s that simple.
  •  To economically empower women and girls, including through improved access to trade and entrepreneurship.  For every marginal dollar a woman earns, she invests 90 cents back into her family.  And when you empower women and girls – through access to education, technology and capital, you unlock the full potential of entire societies.
  • To develop and promote gender-equal leadership opportunities, including gender parity within the UN.  Organizations need to overhaul strategies and policies for recruitment, promotion, and retention to better meet the needs of women and families.  Women need more opportunities to build networks and greater access to female leaders who can serve as mentors and role models.

You will have the opportunity to learn more about the specifics of these pillars at each of the four stations in the room.

But first, now that you have a better basic understanding of The Future She Deserves, I’d like to make a personal Call to Action:  As I’ve mentioned, Geneva presents a unique platform – leading international organizations, an engaged diplomatic community, technical expertise, scientific data, an active NGO community – all of which we intend to capitalize on.  Let’s stop doing “business as usual” when we know we can do better.  This initiative is meant to provide the platform, to expand on existing programs and relationships, so that we all can engage on a higher level.  Our goals are aspirational and actionable, and we will be focusing on measurable results throughout the year. But for this initiative to truly succeed, we need you to share your innovative ideas with us, we need you to help us identify partnership opportunities, to reach back to your capitals, to reach out to your networks, to commit your organizations, but most importantly, to make a personal commitment – that you will do whatever you can to help each and every woman and girl achieve The Future She Deserves.

As I look out across the room I am pleased to see several men – such as DG Swing (IOM), Secretary General Sy (IFRC),  and so many of my male Ambassador colleagues, and of course my own DCM Peter Mulrean – who have made strong personal commitments to be champions for the rights, equality, protection and empowerment of women and girls in the work they do.  Because without a doubt, we need the commitment of both men and women in order to succeed in this endeavor. So thank you, gentlemen, for being here today and for your ongoing support.

Recognizing that one or more of the four pillars I outlined may be of particular interest to you, we have arranged the room so that conversations can be grouped by theme. Please grab another drink, then I encourage you to visit the various tables – identified by their colorful banners – to speak with our experts about specific objectives and to learn more about the events we have planned and how you can engage most effectively.

Gender equality, gender gaps, gender parity, gender lens, gender mainstreaming….isn’t it time “gender” stops being a side event?  Isn’t it time every woman and every girl has the opportunity to follow a clear path to The Future She Deserves?  With your commitment, together, we can make that Future a reality.

Strengthening Health System Response to Violence Against Women

Intl. Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto participated in a World Health Organization sponsored dialogue on how health systems can be strengthened to respond to the needs of women and girls who have been subjected to violence and what we can do to accelerate efforts towards ending violence against women.

 

Text of the Ambassador’s remarks: geneva.usmission.gov/2014/11/25/addressing-the-global-cha…

 

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 25, 2014

 

Today, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Over the next two weeks, U.S. embassies and missions around the world will all be working to raise awareness of the irreparable harm caused by gender-based violence.

This issue is seared into me. As a young prosecutor, I saw women and young girls whose lives and families were ripped apart by violence. I will never forget seeing women in dark glasses and long-sleeved shirts worn to cover up the black eyes and bruises of abuse. I couldn’t help but think about them as my two daughters went out into the world. As a Senator, working with Joe Biden and Cathy Russell, long before any of us were in the Administration, I helped pass the Violence Against Women Act.

In recent years, I’ve seen firsthand how much work remains to be done all across the globe, not just here at home. I saw it as a Senator, and I’ve seen it even more as Secretary. On my latest visit to Africa, while in Kinshasa, I toured a fistula clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I spoke with doctors and activists alike who have devoted their life’s work to healing the scars left by sexual violence. And I listened to young women tell heartbreaking stories of their pain and ongoing recovery from the physical and emotional wounds left by their brutal assaults. These women were brave; they were extraordinarily strong. I came away inspired by their determination to make sure that no woman goes through the same ordeal as they did ever again.

Simply put, we must all do more to end violence against women in all its forms, wherever and whenever it occurs, and it starts by acknowledging it. There can be no conspiracy of silence.

The sad truth is that one in three women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. This violence knows no class, religious, or racial boundaries. And it comes at a terrible cost – not only for the woman or girl, but for families, communities, and entire countries. Preventing it is the only way to achieve a future of peace, stability, and prosperity.

Over the past year, the United States has worked to up our game battling gender-based violence across the globe. Through our Gender-based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative, we help meet the immediate security needs of survivors. The Safe from the Start initiative is sending experts into the field to prevent gender-based violence in conflict zones and regions devastated by natural disasters. We are also working to address the scourge of early and forced marriage, most recently launching a program in Benin. And this past summer, I was proud to launch our partnership with Together for Girls to collect data on the consequences of sexual violence against children and provide a foundation to mobilize responses to new outbreaks of violence.

We will not turn away in the face of evil and brutality. We stand up, and we reaffirm that sexual violence will be not be tolerated. Not now, not ever.