This alert was produced by our International Fellow, Sarah Myers, who will be working on Gender Justice issues in the Office of Public Witness this summer. Please go to her article, Gender Justice: An Urgent Need, to read more about her and what she will be working on, and stay tuned for more on Gender Justice!
International crises, including conflict, natural disasters, and climate change, have the most significant impacts on the poorest populations. And women and girls, often the most vulnerable members of society, are disproportionately impacted. One of the most devastating issues is the increased likelihood that women and girls will face gender-based violence when they are at their most vulnerable. Powerful actors frequently use Gender-based violence as a “tactic to dominate, humiliate, terrorize, and displace communities.”
The world is currently experiencing its most significant refugee crisis. There are over 100 million displaced people, many of them women and children. And, unfortunately, within refugee camps and other displacement settings, sexual exploitation and abuse has become a serious concern. The Safe from the Start Act (S765/HR571) was introduced to try to address this issue.
The “Safe from the Start Act” (S 765/HR 571) would require the Department of State to further develop the Safe from the Start program, which is administered by the United States Agency for International Development. The Safe from the Start program seeks to address and prevent gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies from the start of crises. This program improves the ability of those working in emergencies to prevent and respond to gender-based violence by supporting necessary training, toolkits, personnel, and accountability measures. The “Safe from the Start Act” would formalize and expand this integral program and make it more effective.
Please urge your representatives to support the “Safe from the Start Act”! Now is the time to call Congress to strengthen the Safe from the Start Program.