During emergencies like disasters, armed conflicts, and even pandemics, violence against women and girls rises dramatically.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, domestic violence has risen around the world and countries like Somalia are experiencing an increase in female genital mutilation and cutting. Our own report predicts millions more child marriages will occur globally due to the increased financial strain caused by COVID-19.

Indeed, during emergencies like disasters, armed conflict, and even pandemics, there is a dramatic rise in incidents of gender-based violence (GBV), including:

  • Child marriage
  • Intimate-partner violence
  • Rape as a tactic of war
  • Trafficking
  • Sexual assault or exploitation
  • Female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C)

Too often, gender-based violence isn’t recognized at the start of an emergency, and humanitarian responders are underequipped to address it.

But together, we can make sure the safety of women and girls isn’t an afterthought. Join us in showing God’s love and justice to those most at risk of violence during crises by advocating for the Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Act, S. 765 and the Safe from the Start Act, H.R. 571.

Since 2013, the U.S. has been a leader in global efforts to address gender-based violence during emergencies through Safe from the Start, a State Department and USAID program. The Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Act, led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and its companion bill, the Safe from the Start Act, led by Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and other bipartisan original cosponsors, would expand this important work and ensure it continues during future global conflicts and crises.

These bills would strengthen coordination among humanitarian responders, provide survivor-centered services, and empower girls to be leaders in helping their communities return to normalcy. Ask your Senators and Representatives to become cosponsors of this legislation in the 117th Congress.

Read more about the Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Act.

Senate: S. 765
Date Introduced: 03/16/2021

Number of Cosponsors: 13

Date Passed: --

House: H.R. 571
Date Introduced: Feb. 3, 2021
Number of Cosponsors: 55

Date Passed: --

(Last Updated 6/1/21)

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