U.N. Expert on Violence Against Women Says U.S. Victims Still Encounter Discrimination and Adversity

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Robyn Shepherd (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

U.N. Expert on Violence Against Women Says U.S. Victims Still Encounter Discrimination and Adversity

ACLU Assisted in Fact-Finding for Report, Which States Improvements Still Needed Despite Progress

GENEVA - A report delivered by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women today finds that U.S. policies concerning domestic violence, sexual assault in the military and treatment of women in detention fall far short of adequately protecting victims. The American Civil Liberties Union joined other organizations in meeting with the Special Rapporteur, Rashida Manjoo, on her fact-finding mission to the U.S. earlier this year.

The report acknowledged that while the U.S. has made some progress in addressing violence against women, a continued lack of protective federal and state laws and the inadequate implementation of current policies have “resulted in the continued prevalence of violence against women and the discriminatory treatment of victims, with particularly detrimental effects on poor, minority, and immigrant women.” 

The Special Rapporteur particularly denounced discrimination against victims in housing and employment, pervasive sexual harassment and assault of women in the military, violence against women in prison and the lack of enforcement of orders of protection, with reference to the ACLU’s client Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales). The police refused to enforce her restraining order when her estranged husband kidnapped her daughters, resulting in the girls’ deaths.

The following can be attributed to Sandra Park, staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project:

“This report clearly illuminates the sad fact that violence against women and girls in the United States remains a pervasive issue. We hope that the government heeds the Special Rapporteur’s call to improve policies and protect victims to end this vicious cycle of violence once and for all.”

The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program:

“The U.S. cannot consider itself a leader in human rights when half of its population has inadequate resources to protect itself against violence and abuse. We call on federal and local authorities to implement the Special Rapporteur’s findings to ensure that all women in the United States can trust their government to protect their human rights and grant them the protection they deserve.”

The report can be viewed at: www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.26.Add.5_AEV.pdf

More information on the ACLU’s work on violence against women can be found at: www.aclu.org/womens-rights/violence-against-women

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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