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November 18, 2010

ccf_1676_sueelseNNEDV's president, Sue Else, submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law in support of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Here is the testimony in full:

Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Coburn and all members of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, thank you for convening a hearing on the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) submits this written testimony in support of CEDAW.  NNEDV, a social change organization, is dedicated to creating a social, political and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists.  We represent the 56 State and Territorial coalitions against domestic violence, their 2,000 member domestic violence service programs and the millions of victims they serve. 

In addition to our national work, NNEDV is an active participant in global efforts to end violence against women.  Specifically, we are a founding member of the Global Network of Women Shelter (GNWS), we train professionals across the globe on violence against women issues, and we support federal policies that promote practices to end violence against women worldwide, including the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).  Our international efforts have deepened our understanding of the universal struggle to end violence against women and the need for the U.S. to ratify CEDAW.     

The United States is a recognized world leader in efforts to end violence against women.  In 1994, Congress passed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and each subsequent reauthorization has received overwhelming bipartisan support.  VAWA has transformed our nation’s response to domestic and sexual violence – helping millions of victims find safety and holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes.  Despite the progress, there are still significant challenges to ending violence against women.  In fact, one in four women face violence in their lifetimes and three women (on average) are killed a week by a current or former intimate partner in the United States.     

Our nation should take the essential next step and ratify CEDAW, an international treaty that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women.  CEDAW recognizes women’s rights are human rights, and it seeks to end violence against women, prohibit forced marriage and child marriage, trafficking and exploitation.  It aims to expand girls’ access to education and fight poverty among women and girls.  CEDAW sets a universal standard which will play a critical role in improving the lives of women and girls, not only internationally, but also in the United States.   

Let us join the 186 countries that have ratified CEDAW and affirm our national commitment to end violence against women.  Let us demonstrate our leadership role in the global fight to end violence against women.  Let us make the statement – women have the right to live free from the threat of violence.   

On behalf of our 56 member state and territorial domestic violence coalitions and the millions of victims they represent, we thank you for your continued commitment and work to improve the lives of women and girls.