To the Editor:
Currently our focus has been related to COVID-19, political activity, racism, police activity, wearing masks or not, and the list could be extended. A hidden activity because of such problems takes our attention away from gender-based-violence that raises its ugly head during times of crisis or humanitarian emergencies. This is violence against women and girls! During such times, women and girls are often faced with extreme violence, including:
• Rape and sexual assault.
• Domestic and intimate partner assault.
• Child, early and forced marriage.
• Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.
• Harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation or cutting.
• Harassment, exploitation, and abuse by humanitarian personnel.
A bill in the U.S. Senate, S.4003, Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start of 2020 attempts to stop this violence and needs our support and action to overcome these acts of violence. The policy objectives are:
• To prevent, mitigate and respond to gender-based-violence in humanitarian emergencies around the world.
• To promote respect for basic human rights and gender equality.
• To support economic growth, improved public health, peace and stability around the world.
Please contact both of our senators asking them to vote for S.4003 to reduce the violence and assault women and girls face. Senator Charles Grassley’s website address is www.grassley.senate.gov and Senator Joni Ernst’s email address is www.ernst.senate.gov.