Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, @America, Jakarta

Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, @America, Jakarta

Remarks by Ambassador Blake on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, @America, Jakarta

Thank you Arfa.  I am glad to be here today to discuss an issue of global importance that is important to me personally. Thank you to all our panelists for sharing their knowledge and experience

According to the U.N., 1 in 3 women globally will be victims of violence in their lifetimes.

Gender Based Violence remains pervasive in both developed, and developing countries, during times of peace and conflict, and cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, and education level.

Research clearly shows that gender based violence, wherever it occurs, undermines the ability of women to participate fully and contribute to their communities, and to live up to their potential.

And we know, because the data bears this out at every turn, that where women are empowered to fully participate economically, politically, and socially, communities prosper.

So we have to do all we can to make it clear that violence against women is not acceptable. Violence against women and girls is not a family or private matter.   It is not cultural; it’s criminal.

There are many ways we can do this, including through education and development programs; through the political and legal system, through mosque and church teachings, and through awareness programs like this.

All are important, even critical, to addressing the issue. I think there are a couple of other things to point out though.

Women’s empowerment is not an either/or proposition.  It’s not accurate that where women succeed, men do not. We know that where women succeed, communities succeed.

UN Women will talk about their ‘He for She’ campaign a bit later, but I want to encourage you to spread the message that men and boys can and shouldbe agents of change in the overall movement for gender equality, and especially in the fight against gender based violence.

Good legislation and responsive law enforcement are necessary, but not sufficient conditions to eliminate gender-based violence. Community programs that focus on prevention, protection, and accountability, are equally important.

As you will hear today, much good work is being done on these fronts, in the U.S. and in Indonesia, and around the world.

I encourage everyone here, especially the young people in the room, to continue that work with your families, in your schools and places of work, and in your communities. We can all be agents of change in the fight to end gender based violence.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the program.

As prepared.