[House Hearing, 111 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: STORIES AND SOLUTIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS AND OVERSIGHT
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
OCTOBER 21, 2009
Serial No. 111-64
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California, Chairman
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
Samoa DAN BURTON, Indiana
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BRAD SHERMAN, California DANA ROHRABACHER, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
BILL DELAHUNT, Massachusetts RON PAUL, Texas
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
DIANE E. WATSON, California MIKE PENCE, Indiana
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri JOE WILSON, South Carolina
ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia J. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina
MICHAEL E. McMAHON, New York CONNIE MACK, Florida
JOHN S. TANNER, Tennessee JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
GENE GREEN, Texas MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas
LYNN WOOLSEY, California TED POE, Texas
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BARBARA LEE, California GUS BILIRAKIS, Florida
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
MIKE ROSS, Arkansas
BRAD MILLER, North Carolina
DAVID SCOTT, Georgia
JIM COSTA, California
KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, Arizona
RON KLEIN, Florida
Richard J. Kessler, Staff Director
Yleem Poblete, Republican Staff Director
Subcommittee on International Organizations,
Human Rights and Oversight
BILL DELAHUNT, Massachusetts, Chairman
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri DANA ROHRABACHER, California
KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota RON PAUL, Texas
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey TED POE, Texas
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
Cliff Stammerman, Subcommittee Staff Director
Paul Berkowitz, Republican Professional Staff Member
Brian Forni, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Janice D. Schakowsky, U.S. House of Representatives 1
The Honorable Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large, Office of
Global Women's Issues, U.S. Department of State................ 10
The Honorable Linda Smith, President and Founder, Shared Hope
International (Former Member of the U.S. House of
Ms. Mallika Dutt, Founder and Executive Director, Breakthrough... 38
Ms. Nicole Kidman, Actress, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador........... 42
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Janice D. Schakowsky: Prepared statement........... 3
The Honorable Melanne Verveer: Prepared statement................ 14
The Honorable Linda Smith: Prepared statement.................... 32
Ms. Mallika Dutt: Prepared statement............................. 40
Ms. Nicole Kidman: Prepared statement............................ 44
Hearing notice................................................... 56
Hearing minutes.................................................. 57
INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: STORIES AND SOLUTIONS
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2009
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on International Organizations,
Human Rights and Oversight,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:24 p.m., in
room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill Delahunt
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Delahunt. This hearing will come to order. The usual
practice is for the chair and the ranking member to make
opening statements. But I am informed that our colleague and
good friend and leader on this issue has another commitment. So
we are going to welcome Congresswoman Schakowsky. And Jan, if
you would proceed with your statement.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY, U.S. HOUSE OF
Ms. Schakowsky. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And first let me
tell you how much I appreciate your leadership on this issue.
And I am grateful to all of the cosponsors, men and women
alike, that are on this bill, because it isn't just a women's
issue. The hearing is critical because it is too easy to
dismiss violence against women as a product of cultural
differences or as a byproduct of war, or as a women's issue.
The reality is that violence against women is a humanitarian
tragedy, a vicious crime, a global health catastrophe, a social
and economic impediment, and a threat to national security. The
numbers speak for themselves. One in three women worldwide is
beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course
of her lifetime.
But the stories of individuals are even more powerful. We
could talk about Barbara from Mexico, who was a volunteer
working with street children when she was detained without
charge and reportedly physically and sexually abused by Mexican
police. Or Claudina from Guatemala, a 19-year-old student
studying to become a lawyer, whose murder, despite evidence of
rape, was not investigated.
You don't have to look far to find cases of violence
against women. FBI statistics show there were 89,000 cases of
reported rape here in the United States last year. However,
women in conflict zones face a particularly desperate
situation. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the systematic
use of rape as a low-tech, low-cost weapon of war has become a
defining characteristic of the longstanding conflict in the
East. Hundreds of thousands of women have been raped. Rape is
used to destroy communities and to instill a sense of despair
within a population.
One woman, Luma Furaha, told about being gang-raped by over
50 armed men. After nine surgeries, she has still not
Another, 50-year-old Zamuda, describes her rape by saying,
``They wanted to destroy me, destroy my body, and kill my
It is very hard to talk about these stories, but it is
really necessary to do so. It is not just the DRC, the Congo,
it is also Sudan and Chad, where thousands of the women who
have fled the conflict in Darfur have continued to face sexual
violence as refugees. And Eastern Europe, where trafficking of
women remains prevalent. And in homes throughout the world,
where women are beaten by members of their own families.
Studies show that sexual violence and the attached social
stigma hinder the ability of women to fully participate in and
contribute to their societies. Survivors of violence are less
likely to hold jobs and more likely to live in poverty than
One study conducted in Nicaragua and cited by the World
Health Organization found that women who had been abused earn
an average of 46 percent less than those who had not, even when
controlling for other wage-affecting factors.
Women often must overcome devastating health consequences
as a result of sexual violence. Women and girls who survive
sexual violence face an increased risk of poor reproductive
health, including complications during pregnancy and birth, and
they are at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases,
Studies have also linked abuse and rape to higher rates of
serious psychological problems, including drug and alcohol
abuse, nervous system disorders, and posttraumatic stress
syndrome. U.N. statistics indicate that rape survivors are nine
times more likely to attempt suicide than individuals who have
not experienced sexual violence.
Mr. Chairman, U.S. leadership on this issue is critical, as
you know. I commend the Obama administration, the leadership of
Secretary Clinton, and Ambassador Verveer for clearly stating
that fighting international violence against women will be a
Still, we need to do more. And I am so proud to work with
you, Mr. Chairman, on the International Violence Against Women
Act (IVAWA), which will soon be reintroduced. This
unprecedented legislation firmly establishes the prevention of
violence against women as a foreign policy priority. And it
requires the integration of this goal into every aspect of our
diplomatic and developmental policy. IVAWA authorizes a multi-
year comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to violence
against women in a select number of targeted countries. The
funding will cover a full spectrum of programs, including
judicial reforms, health care, education, economic empowerment,
and changing social norms. It includes tools to ensure
accountability and oversight to determine the effectiveness of
In addition, IVAWA recognizes the particular dangers faced
by women in conflict and post-conflict situations and
authorizes training for military and police forces operating in
these dangerous zones to effectively address violence against
women and girls.
Mr. Chairman, violence against women affects us all. As co-
chair of the Women's Caucus, I feel strongly that we must do
more to help the women throughout the world whose lives have
been forever altered by violence, and the families,
communities, countries, and even entire regions of the world
that will never be stable, open, and prosperous as long as
violence against women is perpetuated.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Schakowsky
follows:]Janice Schakowsky deg.
Mr. Delahunt. Well, thank you, Congresswoman. And thank you
sincerely for your terrific leadership on this issue. You have
been involved in this issue during the course of your public
career. So thank you.
And I will make a statement at this point in time, and then
I will ask my colleague and friend, the ranking member, Mr.
Rohrabacher from California, to make his opening statement. And
then we will go directly to the Ambassador.
Violence against women should concern all of us, for no
other reason than it is unjust, it is uncivilized, and it is
immoral. The reality that domestic violence is perpetrated
almost exclusively by men against women, as the Congresswoman
so rightly alluded to, does not make it a women's issue. It is
a male problem. It is important to understand as well that if
violence against women is acceptable, then violence, wherever
and to whomever it is directed against, is acceptable.
I saw this firsthand, because before coming to Congress, I
was the elected district attorney in the metropolitan area of
Boston. And I had the statutory responsibility for
investigating crimes committed within the maximum security
prisons in Massachusetts. And I became very familiar with the
social history of inmates incarcerated in those facilities.
Invariably, the men there who had committed acts of violence
were the legacy of violent families, where violence was
accepted and violence was the norm. It is my own opinion that
when violence against women is implicitly sanctioned and not
punished, violent behavior in general is encouraged, whether
the victim is an individual, a community, or even a nation.
It was Secretary Clinton--and I want to acknowledge her
leadership on this issue as well, she has really provided us
with the kind of leadership that we can all be proud of--but it
was Secretary Clinton who stated, and I am quoting here, that
acts of violence against women don't ``just harm a single
individual or a single family or village or group; they shred
the fabric that weaves us together as human beings. It
endangers families and communities, erodes social and political
stability, and undermines economic progress.'' I completely
Tragically, examples of extreme violence against women
abound. Rape is now routinely utilized as a tactic of war.
Brutal violence is also rampant in countries that don't face
armed conflicts, whether in the home, or at the workplace, or
openly, as we have observed, on the streets.
In Guinea, the New York Times referred to women as
``prey.'' Reports show that armed soldiers beat, raped and
killed women in broad daylight.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the violence is so
profound that Major General Patrick Cammaert, former U.N.
peacekeeping operations commander, opined that it is more
dangerous to be a woman there than a soldier.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates
that nearly 1 billion women globally will be beaten, raped,
mutilated, or otherwise abused during their lifetime.
Disturbingly, nearly 50 percent of all sexual assaults
worldwide are committed against girls under 15 years, most
often at the hand of family members. That is 1 billion with a
B. The international community and the United States must take
a stand to protect the women around the world. We must act not
only because it is the right thing to do, but because our own
security, American security is implicated.
Keep in mind that a statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff
emphasizes that one of the most effective forces in defeating
extremism is female education. Women hold the key for our
progress and development around the world. Women hold the key
for our very own security. And as the Congresswoman indicated,
the issue knows no boundaries. It is not an issue of the
developing versus the developed world. It is not a question of
imposing one culture over another, because every person
deserves to live a life free of violence. And I have no doubt
that this issue can be addressed successfully. And in time we
will see--and it will take time--dramatic and even unexpected
As I mentioned earlier, I served as the district attorney
for over 20 years. And in 1978, we created the first domestic
violence unit in the Nation. That program, I am proud to say,
has been replicated all over the country and even
internationally. The results were truly remarkable. Domestic
violence homicides averaged somewhere between seven and eight
annually every year in my district. Some female died because of
abuse and violence directed against her. After the program was
implemented, not a single domestic violence homicide occurred
in my district for more than a decade. So we can do it.
On a larger scale, USA Today indicated that the rate of
reported rapes in the United States has hit a 20-year low. And
violent crime in general is decreasing. I believe that this is
partially due to the more aggressive response we as a Nation,
as a society, have taken toward violence against women. And
like I said, I am confident that we can achieve remarkable
results internationally if people of good will and political
leaders everywhere make this a priority. I believe we have an
unparalleled opportunity at this moment in time.
The U.N. recently adopted resolutions 1888 and 1889
condemning continued sexual violence against women in conflict
and post-conflict situations, in addition to combining its four
agencies pertaining to women into one comprehensive agency.
Domestically, President Obama created the White House
Council on Women and Girls. He appointed a senior adviser on
violence against women, and created the position of ambassador-
at-large for global women's issues. By doing so, the
administration put women's rights at the forefront of its
domestic and foreign policy, where they should be.
Now it is time for Congress to act. That is why in the
coming weeks I plan to introduce, with my colleagues, the
International Violence Against Women Act. This legislation
would systematically integrate and coordinate efforts to end
violence against women in our foreign policy, promote women's
human rights and opportunities worldwide, support and build the
capacity of local NGOs working to end the violence, and
finally, enhance training in humanitarian relief in crisis
settings. This legislation, as I suggested, is the right thing
to do, it is the moral thing to do, and it is the smart thing
And this past September, on September 29th, 2009, we marked
the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. I have
this memory of testifying on several occasions before our now-
Vice President Joe Biden, who really led that particular
effort. And there is no reason, there is no reason why we
should not be commemorating the first anniversary of the
International Violence Against Women Act next year.
With that, let me turn to my friend and colleague from
California, the ranking member of this committee, Congressman
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I
appreciate you focusing the attention of this committee on this
very significant issue. It is a significant issue because it
deals with a fundamental issue that we need to confront that
has been ignored for far too long with our relations of many
countries around the world.
I am someone who prides himself on being an advocate of
human rights. And today we had a great discussion on human
rights in Burma. But it should escape no one's attention that
almost all of the regimes that deny fundamental rights of all
of their people are also those regimes that are most egregious
violators of the rights of women.
We just looked at Burma today. And the fact is in Burma the
horrendous crimes that are being perpetrated as part of an
overall strategy by the government of repression is just
unbelievable. And we need to confront it and confront it
publicly and aggressively. It shouldn't be an issue. That is
just one of the side issues that we are just talking about with
governments like this. We need to confront those governments in
the world. And we have in the past not been confronting them
because we have believed that, well, this is part of their
Islamic faith, that women have to be relegated to a certain
status, and their rights as compared to men's rights are
different in those societies.
I happen to believe that rights are given to all people by
God. All people. And the fact is that there are no rights that
are good rights over here and not rights over here because of
some societal trends or some history of their traditions. No.
If we believe that people have human rights, the rights of
women to have equal treatment and to be free from violent
attack, just like men in their society, that should be right on
the top of our agenda when we discuss human rights and other
issues with these countries.
And I happen to believe that we should not be treating
countries that have very poor human rights records in the same
way, with the same respect that we treat countries with more
democratic and more, I would say, respectful of the human
rights of their population.
So today I would hope that we address at least the issue of
Islam and what we should do about women's rights in Islamic
countries. Just because a country is producing oil doesn't mean
we should ignore the type of oppression that goes on with half
of their population.
I am a father of three children. My wife and I were blessed
with triplets 5\1/2\ years ago. She has done all the work, of
course. No, actually I do a lot of work. I have changed more
diapers than anybody in this room, I want you to know. But let
me just note--I have one boy and two girls--I am totally
committed to my girls having the same rights and the same
opportunities and the same freedom that my boy has. And that is
the kind of world we want to work at, and we want all the
little girls of the world to know that, and not grow up with a
predetermined positioning that they have put on them
by, quote, deg. ``tradition,'' or by their own
And especially when we talk about the violence on women,
women who are arrested in various countries throughout the
world, so many of them face rape while they are in prison. This
is another intolerable situation that we have not come to full
grips with, deg. that we need to. If we believe in
human rights, we need to put the condition and the treatment of
women in prisons and elsewhere in these societies high on our
list of negotiating points. And again, we haven't done that.
So I am very grateful to you, Mr. Chairman, that this is
the type of dialogue that will, we hope, create the momentum so
that that type of issue is put on the top of the list and not
the bottom of the list when talking with these less-than-free
So with that said, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I am
looking forward to the testimony today, getting some of the
details, but also finding perhaps some of the opportunities we
have as Americans to prove to the whole world, not just half
the world that happens to be male, but the whole world that we
do believe in liberty and justice for all.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you, Dana.
And now we will proceed, I am going to welcome the
Ambassador to the witness table.
Mr. Royce. Mr. Chairman, could I have a short opening
Mr. Delahunt. I spoke to the ranking member, and there are
some time constraints. But we will go back to the customary no
rules once we have had a chance to hear from our witnesses.
I am especially pleased to welcome Ambassador Verveer, who
is the first ambassador-at-large for global women's issues,
which I am sure is reflective of all of the work I know that
she has done on these issues during the course of her life,
during the course of her public service. She works to
coordinate foreign policy issues and activities relating to the
political, economic, and social advancement of women around the
world. Welcome, Ambassador, and please proceed with your
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MELANNE VERVEER, AMBASSADOR-AT-
LARGE, OFFICE OF GLOBAL WOMEN'S ISSUES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
Ambassador Verveer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to the
members of the committee, for bringing us together to continue
to address one of the most serious global challenges of our
time: Violence against women and girls. And I also want to
thank Congresswoman Schakowsky, who has been a leader on these
issues for a very long time.
The time to take concerted action to end international
violence against women is now. Today we have a far greater
understanding of the global variables involved in this problem,
why we must intensify our efforts against this worldwide
scourge, and of the consequences if we fail to seize this
opportunity. We need to chart a new era of international
cooperation on this global pandemic, to create partnerships
among governments, multilateral institutions, the private
sector, civil society, and individuals.
And I want to applaud Nicole Kidman for bringing her
considerable celebrity, generosity, and commitment to working
on behalf of UNIFEM, which has been such a strong leader on
these issues for a long time.
Violence against women cannot be relegated, as you said,
Mr. Chairman, to the margins of foreign policy. It cannot be
treated solely as a women's issue, as something that can be
dealt with later after we take care of the more pressing issues
of our time. Violence against women and girls is a humanitarian
issue, it is a development issue, it is a national security
As Secretary Clinton has observed, there cannot be vibrant
civil societies if half the population is left behind. Where
violence and the threat of violence prevents women from
participating fully, freely, and equally in their societies, in
those places good governance, the rule of law, and economic
prosperity cannot fully take root.
Around the world the places that are the most dangerous for
women also pose the greatest threats to international peace and
security. The correlation is clear: Where women are oppressed,
governance is weak, and extremism is more likely to take hold.
The current scale, savagery, and extent of violence against
women and girls are enormous. It affects girls and women at
every point of their lives, from sex-selective abortion, which
has culled as many as 100 million girls, to withholding
adequate nutrition, to FGM, to child marriage, to rape as a
weapon of war, to human trafficking, to so-called honor
killings, to dowry-related murders, and so much more.
Rape is fueling HIV/AIDS infection among adolescent girls,
which continues to climb at a rate that should concern us all.
And life everywhere is touched by violence. It occurs in homes,
at schools, in the workplace, and all across society. This
violence cannot be explained, as you said, Mr. Rohrabacher, as
cultural or as a private matter. It is criminal. And it is
every Nation's problem, and it is the cause of mass destruction
around the globe. And we need a response that is commensurate
with the seriousness of the crime.
Now, the statistics that tell the extent of this
humanitarian tragedy are well known. But behind those numbing
quantitative data are qualitative data, the stories of actual
people. We are telling their stories here in the hopes of
keeping alive around the world a simmering sense of collective
outrage that can and must spark into global action so that
other women will be able to lead different kinds of life
stories with happier endings.
Mr. Chairman, you have entitled this hearing, ``Stories and
Solutions.'' Stories of real lives should move us to action.
And real solutions, ways of successfully combating this
violence, should be lessons that we take to scale, lessons
Addressing violence against women and girls means ending
stories like Waris Dirie's, one of 2 or 3 million girls and
women each year who are subject to FGM. She underwent the
procedure in Somalia when she was five. She survived. But two
of her sisters and a cousin died. Tostan, an NGO in Africa, has
worked effectively to reduce the practice of female genital
cutting, which is deeply ingrained in many societies. And there
both men and women at the village level work together to become
aware of the harmful effects and then take action to end it and
ensure the health and well-being of the girls in their
It also means not having any stories like Shamsia Husseini.
Parts of her face were eaten away by acid last year after a
man, a stranger, decided that attacking her might prevent her
from going to school in Afghanistan and getting an education.
It didn't. She stayed in school despite the fact that her scars
interfere with her eyesight. She is one of 2.6 million girls in
Afghanistan in school, a vast improvement from 2001, when the
Taliban prohibited any education for girls. But girls are still
just one-third of the number of boys in school. Whether the
numbers of girls continue to grow will say much about
Confronting violence means being able to rewrite stories
such as that of a young Yemeni girl, Najoud. She is a vivacious
child with a big smile whom I got to know. She was married at
the age of eight to a man considerably older. She walked out of
her house after 2 months of rapes and beatings and found her
way to a courthouse, intending on getting a divorce. She was
lucky to find a caring female lawyer who took her case, as well
as that of other girls whose fathers had married them off,
sometimes just to be free of the burden of caring for a
daughter. Yemen has, subsequent to her case, been debating
whether or not to raise the age of consent for marriage.
Girls there still marry at a very young age. For these
girls, not just from Yemen but from South Asia, from Africa,
from elsewhere, their childhoods are effectively curtailed,
their education is terminated, their emotional and social
development interrupted. Maternal mortality is high for girls
who have babies, and they face the highest risk for fistula and
chronic physical disability. With interventions, however,
solutions to provide incentives to parents to keep their
daughters in school, ending school fees, or providing families
with commodities like a bag of flour, a can of oil, or other
necessary staples, or feeding children in school, other girls
like Najoud will be spared potentially the horrors of child
And the stories of violence against women include those of
an estimated 5,000 who are killed each year to cleanse the
family's so-called honor of the shame of the victim's or other
people's alleged indiscretions. Mukhtar Mai from Pakistan was
one woman such targeted, gang-raped on the orders of a local
village council, because her brother allegedly held hands with
a girl from a nearby village. It was expected that she would
commit suicide because the attack on her had dishonored her
family. She didn't. And this illiterate young woman mustered
the courage to take her case to court. She won a modest
settlement, which was used to build two schools, one for boys
and one for girls. She enrolled herself in the school for
girls. And when asked why she did this with her small
settlement, she said, ``Nothing will ever change in my village
until we have education here.''
Women and children are also at risk in zones of conflict,
when legal and social norms fall away and armies and militias
act without fear of accountability or judicial penalty. In
August I traveled with Secretary Clinton to Goma. At the Heal
Africa Hospital we met a woman who told us she was 8 months
pregnant when she was attacked. She was at home when a group of
men broke in. They took her husband and two of their children
in the front yard and shot them, before returning into the
house to shoot the other two children. And then they beat and
gang-raped her and left her for dead. Her story, unfortunately,
is far too common.
And in the DRC's eastern provinces, 1,100 rapes are
reported each month. Rape is used in armed conflict as a
deliberate strategy to subdue and destroy communities.
Secretary Clinton took this issue to the U.N. Security
Council, and 2 weeks ago spoke on behalf of a U.S.-sponsored
resolution focused on protecting women against sexual violence
in armed conflict. That counsel was unanimously adopted. Now we
need to work to ensure that we see results.
The stories I have outlined represent a humanitarian
tragedy and more, a tragedy for all of our efforts to build a
better world. These abuses not only destroy the lives of
individual girls and women, families and communities, but they
rob the world of the talent it urgently needs.
There is a powerful connection between violence against
women and the unending cycle of women in poverty. Women who are
abused or who fear violence are unable to realize their full
potential and contribute to their country's development. There
are enormous economic costs that come with violence against
women. Ending violence against women and girls is a
prerequisite for their social, economic, and political
participation and progress.
There is a common thread among these stories. Each of them
is fundamentally a manifestation of the low status of women and
girls around the world. Ending the violence requires elevating
their status and freeing their potential to become agents of
change for good in their communities.
We need a greater response to this global pandemic. In my
written testimony, I have submitted numbers of ways that we are
trying to address this challenge and how much more there is we
can all do. Women are critical to progress and prosperity. And
when they are marginalized and mistreated, humanity cannot
progress. When they are accorded their rights and afforded
equal opportunities, they lift up their families, their
communities, and their nations.
It is time that violence against women and girls became a
concern of all of us. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Verveer
follows:]Melanne Verveer deg.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you so much, Ambassador. And I have
read your testimony and that of the other witnesses. And I
would commend to all of my colleagues to read it. It is
poignant, and it in some cases is heartbreaking in terms of the
violence against women.
I am going to waive my opportunity to question. I will go
to the vice chair of this committee first, and then I will go
to Mr. Rohrabacher, and we will alternate.
Mr. Carnahan. And I would request my colleagues, because we
are trying to get that third panel here in a timely way, I know
there are some time constraints, if you could be succinct.
Mr. Carnahan. As always, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Ambassador.
It is great to have you here, to have you speaking out on these
I apologize for running late, so I didn't get to hear it
all. But I wanted to start with a few questions, in particular
with regard to what actions the U.N. has taken to combat
violence against women. In fact, how effective have the U.N.
Security Council resolutions been in combating violence against
women? And what steps have other member states, including the
U.S., taken to implement those resolutions? And I guess,
finally, what are the best efforts that we could take to
supplement those actions through the administration and through
Ambassador Verveer. Thank you, Congressman Carnahan. In
areas of peace and security, as you know, Resolution 1325 was
adopted almost 10 years ago now. In fact, the observance will
come before us next year. And it basically said that in matters
of peace negotiations, reconstruction of societies, the kinds
of discussions that get made about where one goes during
conflict in terms of ending that conflict, that women need to
be part of the solution. And I regret to say that so far the
record is not a very positive one, and that we have got a great
deal of work ahead of us if the observance next year will be
worth celebrating. So we all need to do a lot better to push
women's participation. Because where it has occurred in post-
conflict societies, from Northern Ireland to Rwanda, et cetera,
it has made an enormous difference for the peace holding and
for the future security of all involved.
In the same ways, Security Council Resolution 1820 that the
U.S. promoted last year, that was adopted, addressed issues of
sexual violence as connected to serious matters of
international peace and security and needing to be dealt with
appropriately. What the United States sponsored this year was
an effort to strengthen that resolution to ensure that a
special representative will be appointed by the Secretary
General, and we need to ensure that that happens quickly and
that happens with somebody who is tremendously equipped to take
on the job to be the Secretary General's responsibility on
these issues of sexual violence against women, as well as to
make available a pool of experts who can go into countries
before the worst happens and ensure that they begin to take
steps on matters of impunity and other serious issues
concerning the rule of law that result in these kinds of
In terms of other ways in which the United Nations has been
active, as the chairman pointed out, there is an effort now to
create a stronger entity to deal with these kinds of issues and
other matters related to women.
But UNIFEM, for example, has done tremendous work in its
everyday work, but also with the trust fund that has been set
up to which the United States has contributed. That has made
such a difference on these issues. But clearly, the record is
not one that any of us can take a great deal of pride in. There
is a tremendous problem all over the world, and we need a much
more serious, constructive, prioritized, strategic way to go at
these issues, to engage them, to provide resources so that we
can collectively do a better job.
Mr. Carnahan. And just, I guess, one other quick one to
wrap up is: With regard to having a central office at the State
Department to focus on these issues, can you just give me a
short answer of how effective that has been in terms of
coordinating these efforts?
Ambassador Verveer. Well, in a very short time already,
Congressman, we have been able to do what the President and the
Secretary have asked; that is, to integrate these issues into
the overall work of the Department. And that means on issues
ranging from Afghanistan to Iraq to what we are discussing
today, we have been very much engaged in a significant way, and
are continuing to find better ways that we can ensure the kind
of outcomes I am sure all of you would like to see.
Beyond that, the major initiatives of the administration
that the Congress has been supportive of, like food security,
climate change, the global health piece, all of them have a
very serious lens applied to them on these issues with respect
to women. So that the hopes are that we will get better
outcomes because we are looking at them in a way where we can
ensure that men and women are appropriately participating in
ways that will help us achieve the kind of goals we want to
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you, Ambassador. Mr. Rohrabacher?
Mr. Rohrabacher. I will be very quick. I think that what we
see in the Congress so often is just hyperbole and people
talking. They come in here and they are very concerned about an
issue that is very significant, and everybody is trying to
prove how sincere we are, and we are going to beef up the
language on this and that resolution and all that. I don't
think, although I do believe consciousness-raising is
important, and that is an important thing, I think that at some
point we have got to have accountability factors put into
policy that will make our moral pronouncements real. And I was
wondering if we have any of those in place at this time.
For example, do we permit Millennium account money or other
assistance money to go to countries that have a standard of
violation of women's rights that is unacceptable?
Ambassador Verveer. Well, I don't think we have that as
such, Congressman, but as you know, for example, the
Trafficking Report rates countries on the basis of their
providing appropriate actions with respect to that tremendously
Mr. Rohrabacher. What penalties do they pay if they get bad
Ambassador Verveer. Well, there are penalties that are in
there. I am not familiar with what has happened specifically on
them. But you make a good point. These issues have been raised
in bilateral discussions. They are not off the table. You are
right, rhetoric alone is not enough. And we have to do all that
we can to move things forward.
Mr. Rohrabacher. I will tell you something. As I say, human
rights is an important part of my agenda. But when you sit down
over the years, all these people who claim to believe in human
rights but they don't want to have any penalty for China to
pay, even though it is the world's worst human rights abuser on
a scale because of its bigness and also the nature of its
regime, but there is never a penalty to pay. And when you sit
down with a gangster, a thug who is abusing his people, when
you bring up an issue, whether it is women's rights or other
human rights issues and you just bring it up and then you walk
away and there is nothing, no penalty to pay for it if he
hasn't listened, you might as well not have brought it up,
because what you have given him is a bad lesson. You have given
him a lesson that what we are doing is just verbalizing things,
and that is all that counts, is that we are able to verbalize
something, not that we are really looking for any results
because we haven't made any demand on you.
Do you have a list of demands? Maybe we can ask that.
Ambassador Verveer. You know, Congressman, I don't mean to
sort of take a pass on this, but I have been there in a very
short time. But I can tell you in the time, in the last few
months, I think we have brought a great deal to bear on the
situation in DRC. Now, that is a terrible conflict that has
been going on for a long time. But we have tried to bring an
array of responses, including--I was with the Secretary when
she raised these issues with President Kabila and other members
of the government there, and has been consistently since
working to try to bring about change on several levels. These
things did not happen overnight, and we have to do all that we
can with the arsenal of tools we have.
Mr. Rohrabacher. It didn't happen overnight, but I have
been hearing hyperbole here for 20 years. And let me just note,
unless people have penalties, all of the good verbs and
verbiage, that doesn't mean anything to these people. And we
have a President who goes over and apologizes to Iran that we
helped--that we unjustly interfered with their country so many
years ago, and didn't bother to bring up the murder of their
own activists, and especially the rape of women in Iranian
jails. Didn't happen to bring that up. No, we were too busy
Now, I will tell you, I think this is an important issue,
and I think a lot of things about human rights are important.
And if you want us to be taking things seriously, let's make
demands on people who are violating women's rights and say, I
am sorry, any country that doesn't meet a certain rating that
you have now been determined that you violate women's rights
and other human rights to this point, you are no longer
eligible for this, this, and this.
And you know, maybe our Export-Import Bank doesn't want to
do that because they like to loan money to dictatorships,
because then they can have their country, you know, paying off
these loans for the rest of their lives, or the interest on
So I would suggest that maybe as you go forward on your job
that you come back to us with some specific suggestions of what
we can do that will penalize people so they will know that our
words mean something, rather than just expressions of some good
feeling. So thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Delahunt. Are there any other questions for the
Ambassador? Congresswoman DeLauro.
Ms. DeLauro. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I
particularly want to say thank you to you for allowing me to be
able to participate on this committee hearing, because I am not
a member of the subcommittee, but have done some work in the
area. And I want to thank--I wasn't here for our colleague, Jan
Schakowsky, but thank her and the Ambassador, and Mallika Dutt,
Representative Smith, Nicole Kidman, all of you are working to
raise the profile on this issue, and what it is we can do to
Let me just say one or two things. I love the notion that
we ought to come back now and deal with penalties. My question
is where were we in Srebrenica? Where were we years ago when
some of these things were there? And you know, our voice has to
be constant, our voice has to be consistent. It doesn't make a
difference where we are and who is in charge and so forth. It
has to be a consistent voice.
I applaud the work that you and the Secretary are doing
with regard to the issue of violence against women and, in
fact, how it impinges on national security in so many ways, and
that we have to address it.
I wanted to talk to you about the issue of--my view is
poverty contributes to gender-based violence, and gender-based
violence contributes to poverty. It keeps women from getting an
education, women from earning an income. And I think the
facts--and you would be a good person to talk to us about
this--women who have economic opportunities experience less
violence and have more options in the face of that violence.
Research shows that when women get more resources they put
their money into making sure their children have better
nutrition, education, health care, strengthening families and
communities over time. And the data is there.
So, in that context, what I am trying to get at, and you
can deal with the issues of penalties, that is fine. But what I
want to know is what is it that we can do as the United States
Congress, in this instance the House of Representatives, in
terms of what are the good economic opportunities, how do they
translate into benefits to women internationally and the issue
of violence? What are the innovative programs that we can
engage in and that we can initiate that would have some impact
internationally for women?
We can't take on the whole ball of wax. We are not going to
solve it all at once. But discretely, what are the issues or
the efforts that we can make, pass legislation, provide
resources for, to address the issue and not to pontificate, not
to lay blame, but take it on; and if we believe we have a moral
responsibility to do something about what is happening to women
Ambassador Verveer. Thank you, Congresswoman. And this fits
very much with the theme of today's hearing, which is stories
and solutions. And there is a very close relationship between
poverty, lack of opportunity, desperation, the low status of
women, and the need to rectify that.
And you know, when you look at violence against women, it
is not that there is one magic program that makes all the
difference, but it is critical that education and economic
viability are absolutely important tools to address this
problem beyond the array of other protections that are required
and rule of law programs to ensure that the perpetrators are
But in terms of economic development, we know what works.
We have seen how small amounts of credit, microcredit, what it
has done all around the world to change the lives of women and
enable them to contribute to their families. We need to grow
those micro-businesses to small- and medium-sized businesses
and provide the kinds of incentives to get to the next place.
And among the best things we can do is ensure that women's
capacity, training and other capacity-building opportunities
are there so that they can move to that place and be competent
And one of the tremendous changes I think that has been
occurring, and we have alluded to, is the need to come together
in a more collaborative way, with the business community as a
partner. You know, I don't think we would have a violence
against women law in this country potentially yet if many
Members hadn't been persuaded that there is a connection
between violence and the diminution of our own economic
productivity. We pay a price in terms of economic productivity.
Well, it works the other way too. Where there is this
contribution to the economic life, women are less put in
situations where they are abused. So we need to do more in
terms for the prevention.
We usually talk about prevention in terms of raising
awareness. Well, a lot of prevention is investing in creating
economic opportunity here and overseas, obviously. But
microcredit, capacity building, training for management and
business, a lot of the kinds of programs that we are doing now
in Afghanistan with respect to agriculture and animal
husbandry, very small artisan kinds of projects, sustainable
work, the kind of programs we are doing even in DRC to heal
women to come back and provide for themselves economically.
These do make a difference. Thank you for that.
Ms. DeLauro. If it would be helpful, it would be helpful to
me, I suspect it would be helpful to the committee members, if
we could work with you on the specifics of what those programs
are. What in fact could be the increase in resources? Sometimes
with these programs, you know, we are not talking about
billions, you know, as we do with some programs here, but how
you can truly make a difference, I think, with health issues,
with the issues of fistula for women and how we can help deal
with that problem.
You know, it is interesting to note in our own country in
terms of health insurance, you know oftentimes violence against
women can be considered a preexisting condition. So we have to
think about what we are doing here as well. But it would be
enormously helpful to get that kind of a blueprint, if you
will, so that we can start to move forward on these issues.
Ambassador Verveer. And we are also looking in a more
concerted way at the array of programs that we do support to
create systems of metrics and measure outcomes so that we can
actually show you the kind of benefit correlations that exist.
Ms. DeLauro. I think it is interesting to note that women
are the world's farmers. You talked about agriculture. Most of
the farmers in the world are women. And what we might be able
to do--and I chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on
Agriculture, which is why this is of interest to me--what we
can do in order to assist with the productivity of the land.
Ambassador Verveer. Right.
Ms. DeLauro. We have spent a lot of time on emergency
funding, which we need to do on many occasions. But it is about
productivity and land and agriculture so that they can become
self-sustaining. I appreciate your work, but I need your help.
Ambassador Verveer. That is really significant, because
food security is a very big initiative that the Congress is
involved in, administration is involved in. And the great
majority of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia,
are women. If we don't have programs that respond to them where
they are in terms of moving this out, whether it is training or
credit or land reform, which is so critically important, we
aren't going to have the kind of agriculture productivity that
could result. So you are exactly right, these are all in our
Ms. DeLauro. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Mr.
Mr. Delahunt. I think we have a final question from the
gentleman from California, Mr. Royce.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador, child marriage, honor killings, human
trafficking, denial of education, far too prevalent in many
corners of the globe. And my chief of staff has traveled and
worked with these victims of human trafficking. The stories
that she has told, returning from countries like Cambodia and
India, are really horrific. Girls as young as three or four
sold into prostitution because they have no value to their
And one of the questions I was just going to ask you, the
question refers to a Tier 3 country, which is Burma, one of the
worst offenders in this regard. I know that the administration
is going to have high-level negotiations with the Burmese
Have you requested that this be at the top of the list in
terms of the discussion points, ending this type of abuse that
is going on in Burma today?
Ambassador Verveer. Congressman, it is a very serious
issue, and the engagement that has been discussed is predicated
first and foremost on issues with respect to the opposition and
human rights. So these issues are very much on the table.
And it is not just trafficking. And it is terrible, and I
have been to the border, I know what happens in that part of
the world. But it also has to do with the rapes that are
occurring and the kind of human rights record that has been
Mr. Royce. Yes, systemic rapes in Burma. Thank you,
Ambassador. Thank you, Chairman.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you, Congressman. And thank you,
Ambassador, for your testimony. And I am sure that we will be
communicating and addressing the concerns that have been
expressed by members, including the gentlewoman and my friend
from California, Mr. Rohrabacher.
And now we will proceed with our third panel. As our
witnesses come to the table, let me provide the introductions.
This panel is comprised of three unique voices on violence
Testifying first will be Linda Smith. Congresswoman Smith
was elected in 1994 to represent Washington's Third
Congressional District. While still in Congress, she founded
Shared Hope International, which builds partnerships with local
groups to provide homes and shelters where women and children
of abuse can seek refuge. She has also founded the War against
Trafficking Alliance, and has been a passionate advocate for
women affected by trafficking and abuse, both domestically and
abroad. Linda, it is good to have you back. We are proud of the
work that you have done. And keep it up.
Next we will be joined by Mallika Dutt, the founder and
executive director of Breakthrough. Breakthrough is an
international human rights organization that uses the power of
popular culture, media, and community education to transform
public opinion and attitudes. Breakthrough addresses critical
global issues, specifically those dealing with the plight of
women. Thank you for joining us here today.
Finally, I am happy to introduce Nicole Kidman. In addition
to being an Academy Award-winning actress, since January 2006
she has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations
Development Fund for Women. As UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador, she
has worked to raise awareness on the infringement of women's
human rights around the world, with a particular focus on
addressing the issue of violence against women. Welcome.
Ms. Kidman. Thank you.
Mr. Delahunt. And I guess I am supposed to add, or I should
note that in 2009, the United States Government contributed
$4.5 million to UNIFEM's core budget to empower women and
strengthen women's human rights, approximately 2 million for
specific projects, and 2\1/2\ million to the UNIFEM-managed
U.N. trust fund to end violence against women. Ms. Kidman,
thank you also for your service. And we are interested to hear
from all of you.
Let us proceed with Congresswoman Linda Smith.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE LINDA SMITH, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER,
SHARED HOPE INTERNATIONAL (FORMER MEMBER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF
Ms. Smith. Thank you, Chairman Delahunt.
Mr. Delahunt. Linda, you forgot, you got to hit; when you
are on that side of the table, you have got to hit that button.
Ms. Smith. There we go. It has been 11 years. There we go.
Chairman Delahunt, Ranking Member Rohrabacher and
distinguished members, it is an honor today to testify with
such a distinguished group of presenters both before and on
this panel. First I would like to say I will summarize my
comments, but I would like to request that my full written
testimony be submitted for the record, and that the research
documents DEMAND and the National Report on Domestic Minor Sex
Trafficking that are the foundation for my testimony be
submitted for the Congressional Record.
Mr. Delahunt. Without objection.
Ms. Smith. For nearly 11 years now, Shared Hope has been
committed to building communities around the world that restore
and empower women and children in crisis. We have particularly
focused on trafficked women, but the line blurs in any kind of
sexual violence. We do this through Villages of Hope, and we
founded them around the globe. We don't put flags on them
because bad guys like to pick up the product again.
Commercial sex is extremely violent. In all the countries
that we work in and we researched, commercial sex is violent. A
large portion of our budget at Shared Hope International is for
the restoration, healing and treatment of diseases created and
caused by commercial sex.
We found common forces throughout the world destroying the
lives of girls like Renu. Renu is from Nepal. Renu spent 4
years in sexual slavery. When she was 14, she was told by her
brother that she could go on a little trip with him to the
village. He drugged her, moved her 1,000 miles south to Mumbai,
India, where he sold her to a brothel. Her story shows that
even though the country of India has laws, reports, and
commitment to fight trafficking, this girl for 4 years was sold
every day to 20 and as many as 40 men, every day, every day.
The laws did not hinder her sale for a reason: Because
there is a local, active, culturally accepted sex market. This
culture toward men buying sex has created a market that puts
Indian and Nepalese girls in constant danger of kidnap, rape
and the violence of commercial sex. And why? Because they are
just providing a product to market.
This painful story varies only slightly from the core
elements of trafficking in other countries. And I have girls
that I restore now as much as 11 years who are in college,
having children, married, but it is very similar. And now over
the last 4 years, rescuing and restoring in the United States
children the same age as the middle-school age of my
grandchildren has become a part of my life.
Tonya's story demonstrates this. Tonya was only 12 years
old when, on the way to school--she is a gifted child--she
walked for 6 months, and the man approached her. Each day he
approached her, he built a relationship. It was okay, he wasn't
a stranger, he was a nice man. Well, one day she got in the
car, it was probably something like raining, and she didn't
Well, she really did appear, because we found her in the
system. But let me tell you some of her comments in the
interview that I did with her after her pimp was arrested, and
you will want to know he is in jail for a long time. Let me
share with you just a little bit of her interview: It didn't
take long before I experienced the real treatment, being
beaten, stomped on, manipulated and sold all day every day.
When I think about how it must have looked to people, a baby-
looking girl like me with an older boyfriend, it makes me
wonder why no one was ever there to stop it or even ask any
questions at all. It is a very strange world when you are in
it. It is a very strange world, she said. In a really screwed
up way I had a family. Each time I was arrested and transferred
from out of State back to Ohio, it was in handcuffs and leg
shackles, and I was surrounded by policemen that I felt were my
I felt like I was hearing from Renu right here.
Despite my age, I spent 8 months in prison when my pimp
caught a Federal case. Yes, I am the one that went to prison,
and I will say to you, yes, I am talking about America today.
Well, the severity of trauma bonding keeps girls like Tonya
bound in these situations worldwide, but cultural and official
inability to see them as victims and the continuing use of
terminology such as ``child prostitutes'' prevents entire
cultures from perceiving the victimization and, as a result,
fails to prioritize the pursuit of demand reduction as a
solution to this particular form of violence against women.
Demand for commercial sex with unempowered women and children
is one of the greatest reasons that violence against women
thrives in many cultures.
Now, at the conclusion of the research, and we have
researched now 4 years in the United States and around the
world looking at markets, Shared Hope has accumulated
information that strongly suggests a national crisis in the
United States, a security crisis. Our youth, our middle-school
kids, are at risk of extreme violence through prostitution.
Astoundingly, the number of prostituted children in America is
at least 100,000. Now, that is each year. The National Center
for Missing and Exploited, who has written the foreword to a
book I have written from the voices of these children, they say
it is as high as 300,000. We can document that there is at
least 100,000. The average age of these girls--the youngest
that I have heard of is 11, many times they are 12--the average
age is 13.
Sex trafficking is an international crime and an
international form of violence against women, and America is a
part of that international community. As a requirement of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act, each year we do evaluate
the other countries, and I commend Congress, any of you that
worked to pass that bill. It passed right after I left. India's
evaluation in the TIP Report rates India lower for a couple of
reasons, several reasons, but two are they don't provide
protection or justice to the domestic children trafficked
within India, and they do not arrest the men that buy the
children. They are a country on watch. Many of us think they
should be a country that is a Tier 3 and stays there until they
Well, with the knowledge of 100,000 or more American
children prostituted in commercial sex in the United States,
the men that arrest them are not brought to justice--there was
not even a charge brought against one under the Federal act
until February of this year, and with no penalty, in most
cases, at all for the facilitators, we must ask how would the
United States fare if other countries rated us on the
trafficking of individuals in the United States.
Now, as a woman, I am thankful I am in a country where I
can sit here before a committee of men who are taking it easy--
excuse me, taking it seriously, not taking it easy. That will
be the quote.
Mr. Delahunt. I can assure you we are not taking it easy.
Ms. Smith. I know you are not. And I am proud of America.
But when I got done with the research--first of all, I thought
I am going to retire totally; I am not going to just retire and
then retire, I am going to retire. Because I saw the undercover
footage and faces of little girls as young as my
granddaughters--they are now 13 and 14 years old, but they were
a couple of years younger when I started this. But I couldn't
because there was another little girl. It was a police arrest
case. We went into the arrests of the children in the United
States who were traffic victims, and we started looking at
their cases. When we started looking at them, some folks gave
us some inside, some arrest records. And should we have them? I
don't know, but I got them. Adding that to the video of the
undercover research we did, I decided I had to do something.
This example is a 12-year-old, which I found so very common
around the United States. The declaration of arrest brought in
that the officer wrote said this: After watching the truck slow
down and the female approach the truck, then later finding the
truck on a side street with the female in the truck, through my
training and experience, I know this is a common practice for
prostitution-related crimes. We then approached the vehicle and
came on a juvenile, date of birth--she is 12--and a male, date
of birth--he is 48--involved in a sex act.
Due to the above circumstances, the stated agreement for
$40 for a hand job, observation that he had $45 in U.S.
currency hanging from his left front pocket, had lotion on both
hands, she stated she was engaging in prostitution, she was
placed under arrest for soliciting prostitution and was
transported to jail. Probable cause--I will not say which jail
it was--probable cause exists to hold said person pending plea
The outcome of this arrest I had thought would be the 48-
year-old man. Well, the little girl was handcuffed, she was put
in the vehicle. The man was allowed to drive away. When I saw
this, I thought, no way. So we went out to 11 more States, 11
more assignments under a Department of Justice grant, and we
found the same in every city, every city, every environment in
the United States.
Well, we submitted next steps for each city, but the latest
research that we just had delivered to your offices is the
National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.
Mr. Delahunt. Linda, I am going to ask you to wrap it up.
We are going to take a good look at that data. Those stories
are very, very powerful and they really speak for themselves.
Ms. Smith. In conclusion, in conclusion, the devaluation of
these children really makes it so America to stand, as we look
at other nations, needs to look at ourselves. Yes, Renu is
important in India, Tina is important in Fiji, but this little
girl in this case is just as important. She is in jail again.
They gave her back to her pimp by letting her out. She is, at
15, back in jail. The pimp is not in jail, and none of the
6,000 men a year that have bought her since have gone to jail.
With that, I want to thank you for listening to this very
tough issue and taking a really tough stand. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Smith
follows:]Linda Smith deg.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you. And you give us a certain
perspective when we talk about responsibility and
accountability in introspectively examining ourselves.
We will now proceed with Ms. Dutt.
STATEMENT OF MS. MALLIKA DUTT, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
Ms. Dutt. Thank you, Chairman Delahunt, Congressman
Rohrabacher, members of the committee, for giving me this
opportunity to talk with you today about how we can all join
hands in ending the pandemic of violence against women. I have
been working on this issue for the past 25 years and have dealt
with all of the forms that you have heard described today,
whether it is female infanticide, domestic violence, dowry-
related deaths, trafficking women; and for the last 10 years I
have been running Breakthrough, which is, as Congressman
Delahunt described, an international human rights organization
that uses mass media prevention tools to really challenge
violence against women.
And I would like to share with you a story of a campaign
that we have been undertaking in India for the last year. Bell
Bajao, which means ``Ring the Bell,'' is a multimedia campaign
that calls on men and boys to take a stand against domestic
violence. It was launched last year with support from the
UNIFEM-managed U.N. Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women,
and I commend the United States for their support of UNIFEM.
And we entered into a pro bono partnership with an advertising
agency called Ogilvy & Mather and the Ministry of Child and
Women Development in India joined us as a dissemination
Since the campaign launched last fall, we reached more than
130 million people in India alone through a combination of
television, radio and print ads. And thousands of young men and
women have joined community-based organizations around the
country to take Bell Bajao into homes, communities, malls,
workplaces, all kinds of spaces, with one simple message, that
ending domestic violence is everyone's responsibility.
The stories that I want to share are a little bit different
from the violations that you are hearing about. I want to tell
you some of the stories of people taking action, because it has
been very exciting for us to see how a call to action that is
inclusive, that is bottom up, that includes men and boys
actually can show results. So there are three short little
stories that I want to share with you.
In a small town called Mandya, which is in the State of
Karnataka in India, which is where the city of Bangalore is in
which is probably a place that you might recognize and know, a
group of teenagers, after watching the Bell Bajao ads, decided
to go and listen to television in their neighbor's home every
evening because they noticed that there was a pattern of his
beating his wife when he returned home from work. And they
continued to just go hang out at the neighbor's house every
evening for a long period of time. And even after they stopped,
they discovered that the beating had stopped, that they had
actually intervened and taken an action that was positive.
In the city of Kanpur, which is a big city in the State of
Uttar Pradesh, a protection officer who was responsible for the
implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in India took a
pledge after being exposed to the Bell Bajao campaign that he
would redouble his efforts to prosecute as well as raise
awareness. And in preliminary studies that we have done in
areas of intervention, we have seen a 15-20 percent increase in
reporting under the act since Bell Bajao came around, which has
also been extremely encouraging.
I am going to read to you an e-mail that we got on our blog
from a young woman called Christina Lobo, who lives in an
apartment building in Mumbai. And she says,
``There is a women in my building who goes to hell
and back once a week while all the neighbors sit
quietly in their flats pretending to have heard
nothing. Last week the screaming and crying started at
8 a.m. It stopped when her husband left for work. Come
8 p.m., the husband was home again, and then it started
again. By 1 a.m. the screams were louder than ever.
``I couldn't take it anymore and marched upstairs
with my dog Kelly and rang the bell. Her husband shooed
my dog out and told me not to interfere, but I haven't
heard any more screams since then. I hope it stays that
way. I won't hesitate to ring the bell again and call
the cops, too.''
This campaign, Bell Bajao, Ring the Bell, is just one
example of the kinds of initiatives that women are taking
around the world to fight for their lives. In villages and
towns in every corner of the world, women are challenging
social and cultural norms and laws that make them second-class
citizens. They are engaging in courageous acts to stop the
pandemic of violence that permeates their lives and denies us
all the talents and strength of half the world's population.
I ask you to imagine how the voices of these hundreds of
thousands of women could be strengthened if IVAWA became a
reality. An American foreign policy made the ending of violence
against women a priority in our diplomacy on foreign aid. As
you consider the provisions for this new act, I urge you to
keep in mind some of the following recommendations, which are
lessons that we have learned from best practices of the work
that we have been doing for the last 10 years.
Invest in partnerships with local organizations and
encourage bottom-up initiatives that can work effectively in
their own context and create long-term, sustainable change.
Maintain a focus on women's empowerment while partnering
with multiple stakeholders, men and boys, community leaders,
religious institutions, business heads. It is everybody's
Make youth outreach and participation a key priority. That
is a great way to transform cultural norms that permit violence
against women, and also to build the next generation of human
Through strong leadership and local partnerships across a
range of actors, the International Violence Against Women Act
can have a direct and immediate impact on saving the lives of
millions of women and girls. For a small investment the U.S.
could see an enormous return, that of ensuring that women and
girls can realize their potential and contribute more fully to
Thank you so much for the leadership that you have
demonstrated in moving this agenda forward and for ensuring
that women's rights, in fact, can be human rights. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Dutt
follows:]Mallika Dutt deg.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you, Ms. Dutt.
And, Ms. Kidman, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF MS. NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS, UNIFEM GOODWILL
Ms. Kidman. Thank you, Chairman Delahunt, Congressman
Rohrabacher, Chairman Berman and members of the committee, for
granting me this opportunity to speak in my role of Goodwill
Ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
Violence against women and girls is perhaps the most
systematic, widespread human rights violation in the world. It
recognizes no borders, no race or class. I became UNIFEM's
Goodwill Ambassador in 2006 to amplify the voices of women and
shine a light on solutions that work and make a lasting
Until recently violence against women and the instability
it causes hid in the shadows. I think the attention today
underscores a new recognition that the issue is urgent and
really deserves to be center stage. And while I have learned a
lot by working with UNIFEM, I am far from an expert. I am here
just to be a voice. I rely on people I have met to make the
A year ago I was honored to talk with Marie Zaina from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Like the speaker who just
spoke, Mallika Dutt, Marie's work on the ground merited a grant
from the UNIFEM-managed United Nations Trust Fund to End
Violence Against Women. Through contributions, including
essential funding from the United States for which UNIFEM is
very, very grateful, the Fund promotes the implementation of
existing commitments. There are laws in many countries to end
discrimination against women, to punish rape, to outlaw spousal
abuse, child marriage and more. But in the real world the laws
go unenforced, and impunity is the norm.
I learned from Marie that she was a survivor of violence.
Forced by her father into an abusive marriage as a young adult,
she fled after her first pregnancy, found support to further
her education through a religious organization, and confronted
with the cruel impact on women and girls from the continuing
conflict in the DRC--where rape is systematically used as a
tactic of war--Marie took action. She started an organization
to help victims of violence, mostly widows and orphans, many
affected by HIV/AIDS. Over the years she built a national
network of NGOs to care for survivors and empower women. And
with the Trust Fund grant, her group expanded services to
include medical care, counseling, legal and economic support.
Marie fully understands the need for a comprehensive approach.
Another time when I visited Kosovo, I met and listened to
women sharing experiences. One of them told me how she was
raped repeatedly and abused by soldiers, leaving her with
lasting physical and psychological scars, and also leaving her
pregnant. Yet she did not remain silent. Together with other
women's rights advocates, she bravely took her testimony on how
mass rape shatters lives and communities to the International
Tribunal for Yugoslavia, a legal landmark for prosecuting rape
in wartime as a crime against humanity.
Now, these champions need and deserve our support not with
a box of Band-Aids, but with a comprehensive and well-funded
approach that acknowledges that women's rights are human
rights. It is time for policies that intentionally involve
society's key communities, from health and education
departments to the police and judiciary, to deliver on that
commitment. The plan must build strong alliances with men and
collaborate with faith-based and traditional leaders. To
succeed, it requires political will at the highest levels.
Violence against women deprives countries of a critical
resource in the struggle to end poverty and attain
sustainability. Economists confirm that women's empowerment is
an essential engine for development. If they cannot
participate, the targets governments and the U.N. set will
continue to be unmet.
So I commend the efforts that have gone into drafting of
the International Violence Against Women's Act, and in
particular, I appreciate the consultation with the real actors
and the beneficiaries to incorporate best practices and
effective approaches. Everyone I work with at UNIFEM and I
believe that IVAWA, when passed, will be a beacon lighting the
way forward for other countries.
My stories and the other stories here illustrate the impact
of violence against women on individuals, families and
communities, but IVAWA rightfully links the consequences of
violence against women to global goals: Economic development,
stability and peace, improving health and reducing HIV/AIDS.
If you are shocked, which I was, by the recent reports from
Guinea with the searing images captured on cell phones showing
gang rapes by government forces in broad daylight, do you
wonder how those women can resume their lives when their
perpetrators walk the street fearing no punishment for their
Violence against women is not prosecuted because it is not
a top government and urgent social priority. We can change
this. We can change it by exerting leadership, making wise
investments and building local partnerships. Based on UNIFEM
and the Trust Fund's ``lessons learned,'' IVAWA represents an
effective cross-cutting approach that elevates the issue so it
will count and be counted.
I want to thank the Members of the Congress for listening.
I commend them for their efforts to make ending violence
against women the top priority it must become. After all, a
life free of violence is our human right.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Kidman
follows:]Nicole Kidman deg.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you. Thank you very much, Ms. Kidman.
And thank you for lending your voice to this particular issue
and allowing us to utilize your celebrity. It does make a
difference. Believe me, if we did not have a panel such as we
have before us now and the testimony of Ambassador Verveer, as
well as our colleague Ms. Jan Schakowsky, and all of the women
in the U.S. Congress that are involved in these issues, and it
was just Rohrabacher and Delahunt, this would be a very--and
Burton--this would be a very empty room right now. So you are
making a magnificent contribution to raising the awareness of,
and the implications, the far--the profound consequences of
this issue and how it impacts all of us. So let me say thank
you to all of you.
And we are joined by another of our female colleagues who
is an advocate on this issue. And let me go to Sue Davis from
California and ask her if she has any questions and wishes to
make a statement.
Mrs. Davis. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I am
delighted to be here. I really came to listen and to really
thank you for being here as well. I am sorry I was not able to
be here for the earlier panels, but perhaps you could talk a
little bit about prioritizing, because I think sometimes we get
a bit overwhelmed by this problem. And we see in many places,
and I would cite my opportunity to travel to Afghanistan to
meet with women there, trying to see that we have certainly a
generational problem, sometimes a two-generational problem, but
at the same time we want to try and really address what exists
I was very surprised in traveling there and meeting with a
number of women, and Ambassador Verveer is aware of this, that
women who feared for their security daily also spoke a language
of empowerment. That really surprised me.
I know we need sustained efforts; we need comprehensive
programs, as you said. How, if we have, you know, a very
ambitious agenda of what we want to do, how would you help us
to really prioritize what is the most significant? Sometimes we
really want to address the educational piece so we reach people
quite young, but, on the other hand, we know that people are
suffering today, women are suffering, we have to reach them
today. And whether it is microloans--sometimes, you know, it is
economic empowerment. What could you tell us about how we could
think through that priority?
Ms. Kidman. I mean, I will answer that. I think the reason
I am here is to try and get attention for this bill and to get
the bill passed. I think the bill has been put together by an
enormous number of people. It is step by step. I don't think
there is a single priority. I think it covers all bases. I am
not fully versed in the whole bill, but there are experts who
are, but I do believe that it is dealing with women as a whole.
So it is dealing with education, it is dealing with providing
health services and shelters, it is dealing with enabling the
laws actually being upheld.
So I actually think it is comprehensive, and therefore,
there isn't one particular thing that it is focusing on, but it
is brilliantly laid out, from how it has been explained to me.
And I know that it has taken 7 years to put together, so it is
not something that has been done in a superficial way. That is
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you.
Mrs. Davis. If you would choose to comment on that, if you
wanted to add anything additionally.
Ms. Dutt. Well, one of the reasons that there is a key
recommendation in IVAWA to focus on 10 to 20 countries for 5
years as a learning experience and to ensure that we document
best practices is precisely because of the issue that you have
just raised. Violence against women takes so many forms that
one of the lessons that we have learned is that a comprehensive
approach is really the best approach. And in order to be
effective in that, the recommendation is that a large chunk of
the money that is being recommended as part of this bill would
focus on 10 to 20 countries which would be identified across a
range of criteria, with a certain allocation for women in
countries of conflict to deal with emergency and humanitarian
situations. And sure there is much greater expertise in the
room on these questions, but that is exactly why there is this
recommendation around this focus.
Mrs. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Smith. Just briefly. I don't believe that we take
women's rights seriously around the world, because we do not
enforce the laws that would protect them. And we do turn our
back and say other values are greater, whether it be economic
or cultural. If we are serious around the world as Americans,
we will be serious about our other policy that does have
sanctions. If we are not serious about the sanctions, whatever
they may be, then let us just remove the law and the policy,
because we are not taken seriously.
Now, I have spent 11 years traveling, rescuing little
girls, raising them around the world in every country,
including the Netherlands, and if we say that men are allowed
to do certain things because of culture, whether in Indonesia
it is an 8-year-old wife, or whether it is in Tokyo because
most men are buying sex, it is irrelevant what we do with the
rest. We have to culturally say what I think I heard earlier
from one of the members: We cannot tolerate because of
religion, because of culture anything that demeans or harms
Trafficking in America--and I am going to say it in
closing, and I know you are going to want me to close,
Chairman--if we continue as Americans to have our middle-school
children trafficked and sold to common men in the United States
while we are crying out for human rights for other countries,
we will not be seen as credible, and we will not have any of
our foreign policy serious in protecting women.
We can put money into it all we want, but I don't think we
are going to get very far. So I would challenge you again, be
serious about our policy, put teeth behind the laws and rescue
America's children also.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you, Linda.
Let me next go to my friend and colleague from Texas, Judge
Mr. Poe. I want to thank all you all for being here. Mr.
Chairman, ``all you all'' is plural to ``you all.'' Get through
the language barrier there.
Mr. Delahunt. What did you say?
Mr. Poe. All five of you for being here today.
Probably the most influential person in my life was my
grandmother. She lived to almost 100 years of age. She said a
lot of wise things. But one thing she taught me, and I
believed, was that you never hurt somebody you claim you love.
She was right when she said that, and that is a true statement
She also said there is nothing more powerful than a woman
that has made up her mind. I think we have a lot of women here
in this audience testified, and, of course, our colleagues in
the House, both Republicans and Democrats, who are females that
have made up their mind about this issue. You would be glad to
know, Mr. Chairman, that my grandmother was a Yellow Dog
Democrat and never forgave me for being a Republican until she
died, so you would like her.
Mr. Delahunt. She was a brilliant woman.
Mr. Poe. That is right. I knew you would say that.
But anyway, as the chairman indicated, in my other life I
was a judge. I saw the real world for 22 years, tried criminal
cases, and saw thousands of young women come to the courthouse
as victims of crime, and many of them had been brutalized by
people they knew, men who they knew.
And I agree with you, Congressman Smith, the United States
has to get its house in order and take care of what is taking
place here not just in domestic violence, but the human
trafficking that takes place in our own country. If a young
female is trafficked in the United States, she is treated as a
criminal. If she is from a foreign country and trafficked in
the United States, she is treated as a victim. And we treat
them differently. Women in the United States, young girls who
are trafficked, they are arrested for prostitution, they are
put in jail.
We have to reexamine that whole issue before we can really
move forward with recognizing the importance of women's rights.
I certainly believe that women's rights are a human rights
issue, but it is also a public health issue. Our country talks
about health care. We ought to talk about the health of
America's women who continue to be assaulted by other people in
this country. That is a health issue that I think is very
important that we deal with.
People who have assaulted each other or assaulted people
that they claim they care about brings to mind a lady not far
from here by the name of Yvette Cade. Ms. Cade, a wonderful
person, she was divorcing her husband. She went to court to
represent herself to get a restraining order to make sure he
left her alone while the divorce is pending. The judge denied
her request. He got out of jail, he found her at her business,
and he doused gasoline on her and set her on fire. Thank
goodness Yvette Cade survived that assault again.
So our system has to adjust itself as well and fix some of
the things that have taken place in our own criminal justice
system and our own social awareness, and we need to make sure
that it is never socially acceptable in this country to commit
crimes against women because they are women.
I am fortunate to serve as the chairman of the Victims
Rights Caucus, and this is one of the issues, along with other
caucuses, the Women's Caucus here, that we need to bring
awareness of. So I would like each of you to pick one thing you
see that Congress needs to do and can do to help this issue to
prevent this violence against women on whatever scale you would
like to talk about it. Pick one thing, just one, Congressman
Smith. And I would like to go down the row here while each of
you think what you would like us to do as a Congress.
Ms. Smith. I want you to take it seriously and put it at
the top of your own priorities on this committee--I know you
can't commit the rest to Congress--but make the defense of the
American women and girls as important as the defense of women
around the world, while not decreasing your attention to
Mr. Delahunt. Ms. Dutt.
Ms. Dutt. You know, the United States passed a brilliant
piece of legislation not too long ago, which was the Violence
Against Women Act, and today it is time to pass the
International Violence Against Women Act. Thank you.
Mr. Delahunt. Ms. Kidman.
Ms. Kidman. I would agree. If you could help us to pass
this act, that is what we need to do.
Mr. Delahunt. Well, thank you all.
And thank you, Judge Poe, for your remarks. They were
insightful. Oftentimes Congressman Poe and I tend to disagree,
but in this particular case we are on the same page.
And now I would like to go to my dear friend from Indiana
Mr. Burton. You know, Mr. Chairman, no matter what you say,
and I think the ladies that have spoken here today have covered
the ground almost completely, but the one thing that probably
has not been covered is what it is like to actually live this
kind of a thing. The effect it has on the women and the
children when they live through the horrors of wife and child
abuse is unbelievable. I am not going to go into any details,
but I just want you to know that I believe that men who abuse
women and kids deserve the most severe penalties that can be
applied by law, and in some cases I would even go further than
My father tried to kill my mother. He went to prison, and
he mistreated me and my brothers and sisters and my mother for
a long, long time. And the only reason I bring that up is
because it is so horrible to wake up at 3 o'clock in the
morning, hearing your mother screaming and throwing a lamp
through the window, and going downstairs and seeing her clothes
being tore off her, and your father beating her half to death,
and not even knowing if she is alive. It is not even funny. And
that sort of thing needs to be punished to the fullest extent
of the law. I even believe, even though murder isn't involved
many times, when they go so far, it should be a capital crime.
They should be killed for what they do to their wives and
children. I feel that very strongly.
So I just want to lend my support for the effort that these
ladies are supporting today, and just to take it one step
further and say that we ought to think not only about the women
who are abused, but the people who are hurt that surround those
women, in particular the children.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you. Thank you, Dan. And I think your
point is very well taken because it has been my experience that
those males that are incarcerated in our prisons throughout the
country, all too often learned violence at home. They saw the
kind of violence that Congressman Burton just described, they
saw it as the norm, they saw it as acceptable. They just didn't
parachute in and become violent criminals themselves.
That is why if we are going to address the issue of crime
in this country, we have to address the issue of violence
against women and domestic violence. And as I indicated in my
opening remarks, we have made progress, we have.
I think it is important to remember in this country that it
wasn't too long ago that there was the so-called rule of thumb
where a male in this country could beat his wife as long as the
stick with which he used did not exceed the circumference of
his thumb. And it wasn't all that long ago in a historical
sense that women finally earned the right to vote. There had
been restrictions on women owning property until relatively
recently in an historical sense.
So it does take time, and it takes the courage of those
women whose stories you related to us, all of them. And it is
time that men woke up. And I feel confident that you have given
us a wake-up call today.
Let me go to the vice chair of this committee, my friend
from Missouri Mr. Carnahan. Russ.
Mr. Carnahan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank all of you
for sharing inspiring stories and inspiring work. We have seen
so many examples where peace and prosperity come around this
world where women have been empowered, empowered with
education, with economic programs, with enforcement rule of
We heard from Ms. Kidman about the importance of building
strong alliances with men, and Ms. Dutt about the program you
described that calls on men and boys to take a stand against
violence. And I want to ask each of you how men and boys are
reacting to these kind of programs and messages, and also in
terms of really gaining in terms of social and legal
accountability. And we will start with Ms. Smith and go to your
Ms. Smith. I don't know that we had very many programs in
the United States or around the world until we started talking
about DEMAND less than, I am going to say, 2 years ago. It has
not been an issue discussed a lot. In the United States there
is a new group started about 2 years ago called The Defenders.
They have somewhere around 3,000 members now quietly building
coalitions around themselves, first taking a stand to not use
commercial sex, pornography, stripping or pornography--or
excuse me or prostitution. It seems to be something they do
proudly. It seems to be something they do, but cautiously,
because they are afraid of being labeled one of those men.
So I think with men like you standing and men like you
making commitments, it will give courage to other men around
the world. But I have been very encouraged by this group, and
if you are not a Defender yet, you might want to go on line and
become a Defender.
Mr. Carnahan. All right.
Ms. Dutt. You know this is our third multimedia campaign in
India, and the prior ones focused on women and HIV/AIDS and men
infecting their wives in marriage. And on the second one we
talked about the stigma and discrimination faced by HIV-
positive women. And so Bell Bajao, Ring the Bell, was the first
time that we created a campaign that was an inclusive call to
action, where we just didn't lay out the perpetrators, that
male perpetrators did these things to women, but we said, do
you know what, you can be part of the solution. And it has just
been extraordinary. I mean, it has been like a wildfire of
young men just really answering the call to action.
We have this very extensive human rights training program
where we work with both boys and girls, young men and women, to
make them into human rights advocates in their communities. And
I listen to these guys, and I listen to the ways in which they
are not just dealing with the external community, but what they
are doing at home, the conversations that they are generating
with their mothers, with their sisters, how they are
reexamining their relationships, how they talk about and treat
There is this group of guys who used to be--you know, in
India we call sexual harassment ``Eve teasing.'' So these guys,
this group of guys who were Eve teasers, who, after having gone
through human rights training and with Bell Bajao, have just
become these really staunch advocates of women's human rights.
So I think that it is really important to have
accountability, to have the law and have the law work, but it
is also really important to look at prevention and how we
change attitudes and change norms to stop the violence from
happening in the first place. And we have been very encouraged
by the work that we have seen in the last year or so.
Mr. Carnahan. And Ms. Kidman.
Ms. Kidman. I mean, education. Educating boys and men is
probably first and foremost, as we have all been saying. I know
just recently we did a campaign in Australia for UNIFEM
Australia where we had prominent men make pledges in the media
to never commit violence against women and to protect women,
and it was very impactful, just making--just saying the words.
And there were certain words that we wrote out, and then they
were printed in magazines with these pledges. And it was very
powerful and very moving.
And I think those things seem small, but that is where the
education starts. Also UNIFEM supplies men's networks. And I am
traveling to Kenya in November where I will see some of those
men's networks firsthand.
Mr. Carnahan. Thank you.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you.
And before I go to the ranking member, we are joined by our
colleague from Texas Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee. And I know that we
have time constraints, so, Sheila, if you have a statement or a
comment, could you do it now?
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to indicate to the witnesses how important this
matter is to me. I was on the floor being Speaker pro tem, so I
ask your indulgence of my presence here today. I have
One, I would just accept the underpinnings of Ambassador
Verveer's comments, and that is that women's issues and the
violence against women cannot be put to the margins of our
foreign policy. I think an excellent statement. And I would add
to that and say that we must be vigorous, we must be
consummate, we must have vigilance, and I believe we must be
Last evening I looked at a movie called ``Tapestries,'' I
believe, that talked about the myth, the horrible myth, that
one could rid yourself of HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa,
and it may be prevalent elsewhere, by having sex with young
girls; and watched a woman who had managed to gather--this
happened to focus on Zimbabwe--but managed to gather girls who
had been so abused. And some horrific statement came across the
screen, I think I am remembering it well, that the youngest
victim was 3 days old, an infant child.
So my question, and if I could ask it--well, let me start
with Ms. Kidman, and thank you all very much for this impact
that you are doing. Tell me how effective you believe the
United Nations is being in this effort. We are, in essence,
collaborative jurisdictions, that is the United Nations and
United States Congress, but we have oversight, we pay our U.S.
dues, and so I would be interested in hearing how effective you
think they are and how we could, as women Members of Congress,
as men, be engaged in their effort, and when I say that, in
helping to reaffirm how important that effort is.
I will ask the last two questions for our last witness.
Good to see you, Congresswoman Smith.
I am going to you, Ms. Kidman. I am just going to throw my
other questions on the table very quickly. If you would, with
the other two panelists, just tell me whether or not we are in
a surge of violence, or whether or not we have found a method
to help cure it; or are we in a surge, and now we are seeking
new ways? I was in Darfur as well sitting down with those
women. So I am going to ask Ms. Kidman how she believes the
United Nations is doing and what we can do to be helpful.
Ms. Kidman. Well, as ambassador for UNIFEM, I believe that
the reason I got behind them is that I heard of--I heard a
program on the BBC about the work that they were doing, and
this was in 2005. And the thing that appealed to me was that it
was solution-based, that it wasn't about going in and also
trying to change the culture of different countries; it was
going in and trying to work with the culture, with the people,
and come up with solutions. And I then met with different women
that are working for UNIFEM and actually sort of begged to be
involved. I believe that they are incredibly--they are
aggressive in a good way, they are compassionate, and they are
all willing to work tirelessly, as I have seen, grassroots. And
I think that is what is so appealing, and that is what is so
Ms. Jackson Lee. You think they need more resources, more
Ms. Kidman. Do we need more?
Ms. Jackson Lee. Yes. More resources, more personnel, more
Ms. Kidman. Yes, absolutely. We need a lot more, which is
why I am here begging. But truly, I mean it is about we need
the money, we need--because there are certainly the people who
are willing to give their time. And I have heard that time is
one of the most important things that people have to be willing
to give. I am willing to give my time. And I see these women
willing to give their lives to dedicate to this. And it is
incredibly inspiring, and I hope to continue to do it for the
rest of my life.
Ms. Jackson Lee. You are saving lives.
My last--is it Ms. Dutt and Ms. Smith, I didn't see the
last name--question is about are we surging, are we plateauing?
Mr. Delahunt. Congresswoman, we are really running out of
time here. And we want to be able to invite you and other
members to a press availability. And I know there are severe
Ms. Jackson Lee. May I just close, Mr. Chairman, by
thanking them and also thanking Secretary Clinton, who long
years ago said women's rights are human rights, and President
Obama for his focus and interest in this very important area.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Delahunt. I thank you. And I ask my friend if he wishes
to make any closing remarks.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much for
bringing us all together.
Let me just suggest that we might think about how to set
certain standards so we can actually do something real here,
rather than just talk about how much we care about everybody.
If we don't care enough to set real standards and enforce them,
it doesn't mean a darn thing. Let's maybe perhaps, for example,
people who are identified or countries that are identified as
not respecting the rights of women, are guilty of crimes
against women, maybe if some of the people in those countries,
like their governmental leaders, shouldn't be granted visas to
come into the United States, things such as that.
And finally, let me just end, Nicole, thank you for what
you are doing today. First of all I am going to ask you a
question. It is going to be a very pointed question, but I want
you to know that I respect you for being active. Here you are,
trying to help in the situation. But you mentioned earlier that
education plays a role in this. Doesn't Hollywood play a role
in this? Hasn't Hollywood played a bad role? Haven't women been
portrayed in Hollywood as weak and as sex objects, and hasn't
that contributed to the problem?
Ms. Kidman. Probably. But I also think they have
contributed, or are trying to contribute to the solution. I
mean you can always cite films, but I think as an individual I
certainly don't undertake or don't want to participate in that.
I mean I get offered films often that depict violence against
women. And if I feel that it is exploitive or that it would
actually demean women, then I am not interested and I pass. I
can't be responsible for the whole of Hollywood, but I can
certainly be responsible for my own career.
Mr. Delahunt. Thank you very much.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Good answer. Thank you very much.
Mr. Delahunt. And I would note that if we are going--I
think Congresswoman Smith's testimony--if we are going to have
standards, we better apply them to ourselves as well. So this
is not just simply a foreign global problem, it is an American
problem. You are absolutely correct. The data that you revealed
would, I suggest, could very well put us in an unfavorable
light. But we are making progress.
Again, thank you all. Now, I understand we are going to
invite all the press to an availability in room 2200, and I am
told that there is a reception. So, please, all come.
[Whereupon, at 4:22 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing RecordNotice deg.