Written by Kayla Garnett
Behind every great man, there is a great woman, or so they say. Women make up 49.58% of the global population but yet, they remain in men’s proverbial shadow. The violence that women endure in today is egregious, and is unfortunately an issue our world leaders grapple with addressing.
In 1994, the world watched in awe as the Violence Against Women Act was born from Congress. Initiated by the World Conference on Human Right the previous year, this act was conceived to explicitly protect women from violence, a novel concept. Women do have the same opportunities as men to provide for themselves: access to schooling, employment, etc. but as with many marginalized groups, there are institutional and societal differences that set them at a disadvantage. Violence only exacerbates this difference, as it complicates women’s right to the pursuit of happiness, a fundamental part of the Constitution and what America stands for.
The American Civil Liberties Union sings praises to the VAWA, and stated in its July 27, 2005 'Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Regarding the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, S. 1197' that "VAWA is one of the most effective pieces of legislation enacted to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It has dramatically improved the law enforcement response to violence against women and has provided critical services necessary to support women in their struggle to overcome abusive situations.”
Naturally, The rest of the world wanted in on this groundbreaking policy as well. In the 1999 General Assembly, the United Nations decided to bring this fresh idea to the world stage. Instituting this day of observance for the whole world made all women feel seen, and set a standard for all countries about what treatment all women deserve to receive.
The significance of the Elimination of Violence against Women movement and the day of recognition it has resulted in cannot be understated. However, it is important to remind ourselves that movements have no structure and no purpose without people, so it is up to the people who care to invest their efforts into advocating for this message. On November 25th, consider donating your time to organizations that support women in violent situations. Try posting a simple message or telling a friend about the movement. No effort is too small or too grand to aid in making our world a safer, more equal place.
"ACLU Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Regarding the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, S. 1197". ACLU. July 27, 2005. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015.