November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

11.24.2009

Primary Content

On this year's anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Center calls on governments to enact laws and policies to protect women from all forms of abuse and ill treatment.

Violence against women is pervasive and a grave breach of women's human rights.

It is experienced in a myriad of contexts and forms: as domestic violence, sexual abuse of girls in schools, violence in healthcare settings, and as a tactic of war, among others. Many of these forms amount to cruel and inhumane treatment and constitute serious violations of women's reproductive rights.

In the United States, the shackling of pregnant inmates, as they give birth, is a common practice. In the case Nelson v. Norris, the Center argues that shackling is a violation of women's human rights and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The Center's friend-of-the-court brief in the case reframes the Eighth Amendment by international human rights standards and the laws of foreign nations. The Center also submitted a letter to the Special Rapporteur on Torture in which the shackling of pregnant women is examined as a human rights violation.

Women frequently face cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in healthcare settings around the world.

In Kenya, the Center documented that women living with HIV who seek medical care suffer multiple human rights violations. Not only do they experience physical and verbal abuse, but they are also subject to discriminatory standards of care, they cannot access appropriate treatment, and their rights to informed consent and confidentiality are often violated during HIV testing and treatment.

Girls also face sexual violence in schools which impair their human rights to life, personal integrity, personal security, freedom from violence, and non-discrimination, among others things.

This is what happened in Ecuador to 16 year old Paola Guzman who became pregnant after two years of sexual abuse from her school's vice-principal. Upon learning she was pregnant, Paola committed suicide. . Her mother filed a domestic suit against the vice principal, but the process has been slow and inefficient, the Center has since filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which was declared admissible.

These are just a few examples of the multi-faceted experiences of violence against women that must be stopped.

Join us this November 25th in urging governments to enact and implement laws and policies that protect women from all forms of violence and cruel and inhumane treatment.