Uniting Voices Worldwide to Eliminate Violence Against Women 2019 Report November 20, 2019 | Gold Room, Rayburn House Office Building | U.S. House of Representatives Women’s Freedom Forum convened its 9th Annual “Uniting Voices Worldwide to Eliminate Violence Against Women” event on November 20, 2019 in the Gold Room, Rayburn building of U.S. House of Representatives. This event was attended by members and staff of U.S. House and Senate, women’s organizations, embassies, university students and the general public. Lynn Dykstra, UN representative and civil society outreach director of Women’s Freedom Forum opened the event commemorating the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women. Then, esteemed speakers took to the podium, spoke of their specialties in women’s issues, not only highlighting the problems, but offered solutions. The keynote speaker was a long serving distinguished representative from District of Columbia, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, who started by acknowledging WFF for bringing this awareness campaign to US congress for 9th consecutive years. Link of Live Twitter broadcast A new congresswoman in the 116th Congress, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), member of the Committee on Financial Services, and Oversight & Reform joined the event and said, “I do want to acknowledge the Women Freedom Forum who have been actively working on women’s right issues and gender equality for many years and this year being their 9th annual year… I want to thank all of you for being a voice for the voiceless and thank you for being brave”. A senior member of Congress, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), member of the Committee on Budget, and Energy & Commerce, also spoke and said, “This is a moment for women, I feel it. Do you feel it? Women are going to save the world and women are more empowered, or at least more active at this moment, in the United States and around the world…. I’m proud to reintroduce the international Violence Against Women Act. IVAWA, (on November 25, 2019) … a bill that I have been reintroducing since 2012.” Professor Donna Hughes, Eleanor M. & Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair, Rhode Island University; Editor-in-Chief, Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation & Violence spoke of widespread human trafficking and sexual violence around the world. Professor Soolmaz Abooali, a world champion and 12-time US National Champion in Traditional Karate, with an expertise on conflict resolution, elaborated on the fundamental link between a nation’s belief system and laws in regards to the treatment of women and its direct result in the growing gender equality movement. Ms. Mandy Sanghera, an international human rights activist and global campaigner, was the next speaker who explained the global Beijing 25 agenda for generation equality, since the first Women’s World Conference in 1995 and its 12 focus areas, and also the 40th year of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women). The next speaker, Dr. Roushan, BSN, Med, BCBA, explained in detail how Autistic children are being treated by authorities in developing counties compared to the West. Ms. Nariman, who was victimized by violence at a young age, spoke of her horrifying tale of imprisonments and the courage shown by other women prisoners. In addition to the speakers, a bipartisan array of members of Congress from across the United States, sent heartfelt, solidarity messages, in which they highlighted solutions by presenting legislation introduced to end violence against women in the United States and the world. These messages were read by Dr. Sami throughout the event: Representative Dina Titus, (D-NV), Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Homeland Security “…As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have been an outspoken advocate for combatting violence against women globally and ensuring that the United States upholds tits commitment to tackling this societal problem… Women are powerful change agents who, when given an opportunity to engage, can shape a better future for all. Thank you to the Women’s Freedom Forum for your work to elevate women’s voices and participation in civic life …” Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) Committee on Appropriations, Committee on Ethics “.. Violence against women, in all forms, must be stopped. I applaud the work of WFF in advocating for women’s rights and the promotion of peace in the Middle East and across the world. … I am proud to have introduced the Safe from the Start Act, HR4092. This bipartisan bill would reduce the likelihood of gender-based violence by ensuring the provision of quality services for those survivors from the very onset of emergencies through timely and effective humanitarian action.” Representative Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) Committee on Energy & Commerce, Democratic Steering & Policy Committee “…Almost three years ago, I founded the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. Just as this issue does not know borders, backgrounds, or nationalities, it also does not know political parties. This is something we all have an obligation to address together…. Ending violence against women is essential to health, development and prosperity in our society and around the globe…” Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) Committee on Armed Services “…Women have made tremendous gains over the past century, thanks in part to groups such as yours. However, there are still too many parts of our world where women have their freedoms restricted and their voices silenced. As you continue to fight for those that are unable to fight for themselves, please know that you have my full support.” Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL) Committee on Energy & Commerce, and Oversight and Reform, Assistant Whip in the Democratic Caucus “…While violence has long been used to keep us silent, women, like you from around the world, are standing up, speaking out and enacting change. As you convene today for Uniting Voices Worldwide to Eliminate Violence Against Women, organized by Women’s Freedom Forum, know that Congress and I stand with you.” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, (D-CA) Committee on Appropriations “… I stand with you all to be a positive force to bring awareness, action, and resolution to eliminate violence against women—no matter their race, country, religion, or sexual orientation. …The work of the Women’s Freedom Forum faces many obstacles, challenges, and risks. I salute you and stand with you all as defenders of women’s rights as you expose the injustices and continue to challenge misogynistic ideals…” Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) Committee on Agriculture, Committee on Education & Labor “…This House, now filled with a record number of women, voted for and passed a landmark reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in April of this year. …I am going to continue fighting for justice and continue advocating for women in my state of Connecticut and across the country. I stand with you; I speak with you and I vote with you.” Women Freedom Forum thanks all those who took part in this event, by providing logistical support, speaking at the event and via supportive letters. We strive to make this world a better place with advancement of Women, by providing and participating in educational, advocating, informational and empowering of women! #UnitingVoicesWorldwide #16Days #OrangetheWorld #EndViolence Download a PDF version of the report A booklet of the “Uniting Voices Worldwide to Eliminate Violence Against Women 2019” will soon be available for to view. ************************************* Women’s Freedom Forum is an educational organization associated with the Department of Global Communications at the United Nations, with a mission to raise public awareness on women’s equality, human rights, political participation, empowerment and economic development. www.womenfreedomforum.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @WFF_Women | Facebook: Women’s Freedom Forum, Inc.