Last week Caroline Anning of the Lebanese Daily Star reported that although many Lebanese women face physical and mental abuse in their homes, domestic violence remains hidden in the shadow of tradition
. Women’s groups receive daily reports of domestic violence from women from all sectors of society, across religious and economics divides and although there are no official figures for gender violence, it is estimated that there is approximately one honor killing a week in Lebanon. The Al-Raida, the journal of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World reports, “in Lebanon violence against women, especially related to sex and domestic battery, remains highly linked to honor.”
The good news is that violence against women is preventable and that there are solutions proven to succeed. The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), if passed, would incorporate these solutions into existing U.S. foreign assistance programs. It would support local women's organizations overseas that are working to end violence against women in their countries. The I-VAWA, expected to be introduced into the Senate this Fall, was developed by the Women's Edge Coalition (Edge), Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), and members of Congress with the help of organizational partners. It is the result of extensive research on what works: it was drafted in consultation with more than 150 groups including U.S.-based NGOs, U.N. agencies and 40 women’s groups across the globe. Please take a second to sign the petition in support of this important piece of legislation.