I am delighted to be able to send greetings to each of you. This Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters is an exciting opportunity for thousands of grassroots advocates from around the world to connect with one another and share strategies for ending violence against women and girls.
This is an issue that affects women of every income level, in every region of the world. An estimated one in three women will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime, and one in five will experience rape or attempted rape.
This violence affects women’s health and well-being; it hurts children and families and poses considerable costs to societies – economically and socially.
It is simply unacceptable. This is not only a gender or economic issue, but a matter of human rights and national security. We need to put laws in place to criminalize such acts, and they must be implemented in order to hold people accountable and address impunity.
And we need everyone’s involvement to make this happen. People at all levels of society, in every vocation, and at every age – girls, boys, women, and men – all have a role to play.
I want to thank the National Network to End Domestic Violence for being such a strong partner, and everyone here for continuing to stand up, speak out, and think of new solutions. Like you, we see women as powerful agents of change, and through forums like this one, we are focusing on creative and innovative ways to harness the power of women to be part of the solution to ending gender-based violence.
I hope this dialogue has provided an opportunity to learn about what is working and how to build on successful policies and programs to advance women’s rights around the world. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.