Rape. Honor killings. Domestic violence. Around the world, the lives of women and girls are marked by fear. Their second-class status hampers their education and job prospects, leaving them impoverished and economically dependent.
“The Fund’s programs in Liberia have enabled rural dwellers to access human rights education, linked communities to the legal system, and provided support to women’s groups to fight against violence and rape.”Ruth Sirleaf, Community Humanitarian Advocacy and Development Organization, Liberia
In every region in which we work, we support talented women and men who are committed to changing this status quo. We’ve seen over and over that a holistic approach is needed to end this cycle of abuse and poverty. Thus, we support a wide variety of tactics, including:
- training police how to recognize and investigate cases of violence against women
- bringing rape and violence cases to court
- encouraging women to vote and run for political office
- pressing for women’s rights to inherit and own land
- pushing for laws that help women and girls gain equal access to education, employment and healthcare
Our work is making a huge difference, with our grantees responsible for passing a landmark sexual assault law in Sierra Leone, removing proposed language stating that women are “complementary to men” from Tunisia’s constitution, and blocking a Mexican state law that would imprison women who had abortions.
Julienne Lusenge, Board Chair of long-time Congolese grantee SOFEPADI, exemplifies the courage needed to fight violence and discrimination. Julienne’s work puts her in constant danger, and she continues her work despite receiving death threats. Watch the video below to hear about how she stands up against militias and members of the military who are perpetrating an epidemic of rape in the Congo.