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Can Politics Play A Role In Reducing Violence Against Women?

Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program

In the United States, at least a third of all female murder victims are killed by intimate partners, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A delegation from six countries gathered at The Dolfinger in Portland Monday to talk about gender-based violence around the globe. They’re part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

I spoke to some members from India, Liberia and the Philippines to find out how they are turning to local politics to take action against a global problem. Listen in the player above.

Swati Maliwal, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (India)

“In Delhi, there are six rapes that are happening per day in the capital. And we had a one-and-a-half year girl who was brutally raped very recently. So we are having these kinds of rapes and when I found out from the Delhi police, we asked information and we were told that between 2012-14 there were 31,446 crimes against women in the capital but hardly 146 convictions. So the infrastructure, the mindset, a lot of change needs to happen. A lot of good things are happening. A lot of change, we are trying to do it, but I think we have a very, very long way to go.”

Sam Jah Jr., case liaison officer, Sexual Gender- Based Violence Crimes Unit (Liberia)

“We have a lot of women-based organizations including community and civil society organizations that are also involved in advocacy. We are involving advocacy — advocating for the rights of women. Ensuring that the rights of women are respected. Ensuring that the rights of women and children are prioritized on the national agenda.”

Sheena Alesna, executive director of Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (Philippines)  

“Recently our local council enacted an ordinance called People's Development Council giving CSO [Civil Society Organizations] representations in different committees. In the committee level we get to vote for or against any bills affecting the concerned sectors. I sit down at the committee on women and children. But since this is very recent, the committee has not started meeting as of the moment. We hope this will open the doors for grassroots' concerns to be really heard and lobbied strongly for legislation.”

The event in Portland was hosted by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.