Support Legislation to Keep Women and Girls Safe

Urge your Representative to Co-sponsor the Safe from the Start Act of 2021!

A bipartisan group of legislators in the House of Representatives has recently introduced the Safe from the Start Act of 2021 (H.R. 571), a bill to improve our capacity to prevent gender-based violence and provide early interventions in countries experiencing humanitarian emergencies. The Safe from the Start Act will codify the Safe from the Start initiativecurrently administered by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Aid (USAID). This initiative provides training and other resources to mitigate risks for gender-based violence and improves humanitarian workers’ ability to address needs of those impacted by gender-based violence in humanitarian situations. The bill enhances partnerships with local organizations and institutes congressional accountability measures.

Gender-based violence increases during conflict and humanitarian crises. The United Nations reports that 1 in 5 refugees or internally displaced women living in humanitarian crisis have experienced sexual abuse. In conflict situations gender-based violence is sometimes used as a weapon of war. Initiatives such as the U.S. Safe from the Start, which H.R. 571 codifies, and the Global Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, a multilateral initiative to advance the transformational change that ensures priority attention to the needs and rights of women and girls and gender-based violence survivors in humanitarian action, have moved this issue at the forefront of humanitarian work. It is crucial to ensure this transformation work continues.

As Christians we believe all human beings are made in the image of God. Gender-based violence rejects the created goodness and dignity that God gives to every human creature, and as the ELCA social message on “Gender-based Violence” says, “As a church we recognize and deplore the horrific suffering caused by gender-based violence globally.”

International Women's Day on March 8, 2021 invites us all to “choose to challenge” as we forge an inclusive world.  Please customize the message below with your own values and experiences, and urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Safe from the Start Act.

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  • Your Representative

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Dear [Decision Maker],

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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