Rarely does the Rayburn House Office Building see such a crowd, but with Academy Award winning actress and UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman set to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, people lined up to hear what she had to say about an issue she’s passionate about: international violence against women.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) opened the hearing, stating, “1 out of 3 women around the world is beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, rape is used as a low-cost weapon of war to destroy and place despair among communities.” Kidman said that atrocities being committed today in Congo convinced her that she needed to take action. In January 2006 Kidman joined UNIFEM and pledged to dedicate her time to raising awareness about the brutal acts of violence and rape women experience on a constant basis around the world. At yesterday’s hearing, Kidman stated, “violence against women recognizes no borders, race, or class.”
She described UNIFEM’s work in Congo and Kosovo to promote laws that exist to address violence against women but are not enforced. “As laws go unenforced, impunity remains the norm and violence continues,” she told the members of Congress.
Kidman called upon the United States government to continue its work to eliminate violence against women on both a domestic and international level. Through her testimony she also sought to persuade Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, which promotes the well being of women around the world. With eloquence, she concluded her remarks yesterday stating, “A life free of violence is a human right.”
The transcript and webcast are available here. (HT to a reader)