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Women’s Caucus Highlights Treatment of Afghan Women and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

On October 31, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues held special orders to discuss the treatment of women in Afghanistan and to highlight October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Afghanistan

Caucus Co-Chair Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) was joined by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Edward Royce (R-CA) to discuss the plight of Afghan women. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Lucille Roybal Allard (D-CA) submitted remarks.

In discussing the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on Afghan women, Rep. Royce said, “Far more serious than these dictates are the costs paid in human lives for those women brave and bold enough to defy these laws and to go into homes and try to home school a new generation of young Afghan girls so that they will have the ability to read and write….Those brave women are often put to death.”

Rep. Maloney added that “Afghan women are proven leaders. They can once again rise as thoughtful, powerful community leaders.” She continued, “We must begin to discuss the future of women in Afghanistan. It is crucial that any coalition that is assembled to run Afghanistan fully restore the rights of women.”

Rep. Millender-McDonald agreed, calling upon Members of Congress to “include in all proposed legislation on the future of Afghanistan any language that assures the inclusion of women and women’s organizations in the reconstruction of the country at every level of planning, decision-making, and implementation.”

Domestic Violence

Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and John Shimkus (R-IL) highlighted domestic violence, and Reps. Jackson Lee, Roybal-Allard, and Hilda Solis (D-CA) submitted remarks.

Noting that nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or a boyfriend at some point in their lives, Rep. Capps stated that she would be introducing legislation that would establish “preventive services” for women through a “simple screening test that can be administered by any health care provider.”

Rep. Moran stated that the “lack of resources and shelters are a particular problem in rural areas” and added that “ensuring safe havens for women who leave abusive environments is a priority.”

Rep. Shimkus discussed a program in his district, Call to Protect, that provides donated wireless phones to victims of domestic violence. “This gives victims the power to protect themselves rather than live in fear,” he said.

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