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The End of Violence Against Women

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Mallika Dutt

Our time is now.

I was 18 when I arrived at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts as a foreign student from Kolkata, India. One of the first books I read was The Feminine Mystique. Friedan challenged the domestication of women and created a firestorm that linked the personal and political. More than three decades later, I am happy to report that women — whether in South Hadley or New Delhi — remain on the front lines of change.

In 1985, women had to fight for the United Nations to adopt its first ever resolution using the term “domestic violence.” In a few days from now, an unprecedented 6,000 advocates, representing more than 150 countries, will converge on New York City to participate in the upcoming 57th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, the focus of which is the elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls. And this time around, women are demanding that governments make tangible and concrete commitments to stop the violence.

I believe these asks are going to be realized. Because 50 years post-Friedan, the global pandemic of violence against women has finally reached a tipping point. From the demonstrations on the streets of New Delhi to the protests against the sexual violence in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, women — and, importantly, their allies — are making the connections and saying enough is enough. On February 12, a version of the Violence Against Women Act that included protections for immigrant women, Native American women, and members of the LGBT community passed with a resounding majority in the Senate. Today, if the House votes the right way on this inclusive version of the bill, we will continue on a path to ensure that women — all women– be protected from violence.

Women have made it abundantly clear that any hope for a peaceful and just world needs to start with them. And this time around, it looks like men are listening, and standing — and marching — with them. That’s why I believe that this generation will see the beginning of the end of the violence.


Mallika Dutt is founder, president and CEO of global human rights organization Breakthrough, which focuses on critical global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, immigrant rights and racial justice.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Steins/100000426109905 Susan Steins

    Thank you Mallika..That was a wonderful piece…

  • relentles99

    Here’s a list of Republicans that voted against us: their own wives, daughters, mothers…

    Aderholt
    Amash
    Bachmann
    Barton
    Bentivolio
    Bilirakis
    Bishop (UT)
    Black
    Blackburn
    Bonner
    Brady (TX)
    Bridenstine
    Brooks (AL)
    Broun (GA)
    Burgess
    Campbell
    Cantor
    Carter
    Cassidy
    Chabot
    Chaffetz
    Collins (GA)
    Conaway
    Cotton
    Crawford
    Culberson
    DeSantis
    DesJarlais
    Duncan (SC)
    Duncan (TN)
    Ellmers
    Fincher
    Fleischmann
    Fleming
    Flores
    Forbes
    Fortenberry
    Foxx
    Franks (AZ)
    Garrett
    Gingrey (GA)
    Gohmert
    Goodlatte
    Gosar
    Gowdy
    Graves (GA)
    Graves (MO)
    Griffin (AR)
    Griffith (VA)
    Guthrie
    Hall
    Harris
    Hartzler
    Hastings (WA)
    Hensarling
    Holding
    Hudson
    Huelskamp
    Huizenga (MI)
    Hultgren
    Hurt
    Johnson (OH)
    Jones
    Jordan
    Kelly
    King (IA)
    Kingston
    Labrador
    LaMalfa
    Lamborn
    Lankford
    Latta
    Long
    Lucas
    Luetkemeyer
    Lummis
    Marchant
    Marino
    Massie
    McCaul
    McClintock
    Meadows
    Mica
    Miller (FL)
    Mullin
    Mulvaney
    Murphy (PA)
    Neugebauer
    Noem
    Nunnelee
    Olson
    Palazzo
    Perry
    Petri
    Pittenger
    Pitts
    Pompeo
    Posey
    Price (GA)
    Radel
    Ribble
    Rice (SC)
    Roby
    Roe (TN)
    Rogers (AL)
    Rogers (KY)
    Rohrabacher
    Rooney
    Roskam
    Ross
    Rothfus
    Salmon
    Scalise
    Schweikert
    Scott, Austin
    Sensenbrenner
    Sessions
    Smith (NE)
    Smith (NJ)
    Smith (TX)
    Southerland
    Stewart
    Stockman
    Stutzman
    Thornberry
    Wagner
    Walberg
    Weber (TX)
    Wenstrup
    Westmoreland
    Whitfield
    Williams
    Wilson (SC)
    Wittman
    Wolf
    Womack
    Woodall
    Yoho

  • Anonymous

    Mallika Dutt, I read your Bill Moyers article, The End of Violence Against Women. I agree, the TIME is now!

    From the first I wrote and responded to Eusebius McKaiser’s article on the
    South African Rape Issue (Daily Beast), something I have to say I intended to
    do once, without trying I’ve run into more & more articles that followed the
    Daily Beast, in the Huffington Post and New Yorker Magazine, and other people
    and movements working on these issues like Bianca Jaggers ONE WORLD and now I’m learning of your organization Breakthrough, Mallika!

    In addition to Eve Ensler’s ONE Billion Rising global campaign and her global event to END RAPE on February 14, Democracy NOW featured the Filmmakers Director Cecilia Peck and Producer Inbal Lessner of “Brave Miss World” who chronicle the rape survivor and life of Miss World 98 Linor Abargil of Israel! She takes 10 years to heal but comes back a FIERCE activist. She speaks to other survivors, one of which is the girls in the Teddy Bear Clinic in South Africa! A young South African girl articulates the tabu and myths around Rape; she says, “men think if they rape a virgin like me it will heal them of their HIV/AIDS.” She says, “Here at the Clinic they tell us we cry too much.” Linor told the girl, “next time SAY “YES and if you don’t give me support I will cry even LOUDER!” In Brave Miss World, Linor talks with every kind of Rape survivor: Celebrity women, ordinary women, college student women. They even have a video from CNN of a Fraternity at Yale during initiation chanting as they passed by the Freshman Girl Dorms, “NO means YES, and YES mean Anal.” It shakes you to the core! Especially since it’s well documented that Universities under report rape occurrences to protect their repuations and endowments! These Rape survivors at the Soweto Teddy Bear Clinic and Universities could be anyone’s 12 year-old or college student daughter anywhere.

    It seems to me what is LACKING in our passionate approaches is collective
    strength. Bringing TOGETHER the many voices: The UN, Activists, Filmmakers,
    Media allowing articles on this topic, SURVIVORS from Italy, South Africa, CONGO,
    Haiti, ASIA, America. Not only to retell the story but to layout AN AGENDA, an ENOUGH AGENDA! All of the articles I read say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. One Billion Rising definitely has that message. The silence around the issues is due to Isolation. If ALL these elements can be brought OUT of Isolation as a unified VOICE, using collective resources of Film/media/political outreach all that will matter is ending Rape of Women/Girls (Boys).

    The good news is that the Senate Committee passed to extend The International
    Violence Against Women Act. So there’s political will. The ENOUGH AGENDA has to be like the UN AGENDA for their newly appointed Special Representative of the
    Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainabb Bangura! Her agenda is
    1. END impunity for conflict-related sexual violence 2. EMPOWER women to seek
    redress 3. MOBILIZE political ownership 4. INCREASE recognition of Rape where
    it’s happening 5. HARMONIZE the UN’s response. The ENOUGH AGENDA needs a
    powerful mandate of action too. For Example: 1. END Rape of Women/Girls and
    Boys. 2. EVERY Police Department must Hire/Retain a RAPE Forensics/DNA Specialist. This Rape Specialist will collect the Rape Sample and process the Sample for DNA. 3. EMPOWER Survivors of all ages to seek redress 4. END the
    culture/practice of the Prosecutor badgering the Victim in Court; and 5. President
    OBAMA in a Press Conference will read & enforce the ENOUGH AGENDA
    (Prosecutors, State Police Chief and Senior Detectives and others to be Invited
    to encourage a top down approach in changing the culture, especially those who
    have a culture of silence around Rape).

    ALL of us who speak out and care about this are fierce passionate people that are
    saying like you ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Perhaps you’ll like the idea I presented to Linor. The message is we’re NOT doing RAPE the same way anymore. So, I’d like to know what you think about this. PEACE!

  • Cecilia Peck

    YawehKnows, just read your post. Thanks for citing Brave Miss World. We’re screening in festivals now and will be in release in Dec. Our film is available for screening to any group who wants to raise the dialogue around this issue. Need to add to the agenda that all colleges need to comply with the Clery Act and Title IX. Hope you keep speaking out.