Americans to mark International Women's Day with call to stop violence

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-8 13:10:01

Americans kicked off nationwide protests as a way to mark the International Women's Day from March 7 to 10 with rallies in major cities to call for stopping violence against women.

In San Diego, California, a rally was held on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, similar events will be held at San Diego State University and other places with speeches and discussions on women's issues.

March and rally will be held on Friday in Sacramento, Capital of California, with focus on "No More Violence Against Women!"

March and Rally to "Stop Violence Against Women Everywhere!" will be held in Los Angeles on Saturday along Hollywood Blvd.

Similar protests and rallies are planned in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC and other major cities.

Last Thursday, the US House of Representatives followed the Senate in re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act with bi-partisan support.

The US theme for this year's International Women's Day is "A promise is a promise: Time to end violence against women," and the nationwide protests in the country echoes it.

The nationwide call to action was initiated by Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD), a new grassroots, feminist organization that is dedicated to building the struggle for women's rights and equality for all.

According to WORD, in the United States, 1.3 million women are raped every year. One in every four women experience severe violence at the hands of a current or former partner. Thirty-seven percent of reported rape cases are prosecuted and only 18 percent end in a conviction.

Women face intimidation in the workplace. Women in the US military face a record number of sexual assaults. Women in US prisons face horrendous threats and have nowhere to turn. Young women in high schools and on college campuses are regularly forced to contend with intimidation, assault and rape, according to WORD.

While calling for nationwide support of the protests, WORD stressed that for too long, the violence, objectification, impoverishment and inequality that women experience have been accepted as "just the way it is."

"Rampant sexual violence is not the natural state of things. Women's oppression and the violence and discrimination we face are the result of a system that relies on patriarchy, institutionalized sexism, and the objectification of women's bodies for profit," WORD pointed out in its call for support.

"Violence against women is not normal. It is not acceptable. Women and our allies in the struggle for justice will no longer tolerate it," WORD stated.

"We hold the power to bring an end to sexual violence. Every single gain, every single right we as women have today is the result of struggle. We have to fight back. The status quo must go! " WORD stressed.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 18.3 percent of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 12.3 percent were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 29.9 percent were between the ages of 11 and 17.

Also, 22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime. 63.84 percent of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date.

The FBI estimates that only 37 percent of all rapes are reported to the police. US Justice Department statistics are even lower, with only 26 percent of all rapes or attempted rapes being reported to law enforcement officials.

The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years.

One out of every five American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010.

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), a national survey of high school students, 7.4 percent of students had been forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.

Posted in: Americas

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