Today I am on a plane in route to New York City, I was selected to be a delegate to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. The theme this year: The Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls. Am I excited???? "Excited" is an understatement, I can not adequately put into words the joy I am feeling and yet; while on this plane, I am thinking about the critical reason why I am here.
As I looked out the window of my plane into the morning clouds, I began to think about the countless women and girls who may be experiencing abuse in that moment. I became emotional. Here, I was sitting in the comfort of a plane being asked if I wanted coffee, juice or a cookie and there are sisters representing all the shades of the rainbow around the world fighting for their very lives. You may say to yourself, Tish lighten up...is it that bad? Perhaps, it is not bad for you and certainly not for me. But there are an infinite number of courageous individuals who experience violence on a daily basis. They live in constant fear; however, they continue to press on for their children and themselves. Some have been wronged by the judicial system and some have never had the opportunity to give a voice to their personal story.
Women like, Marissa D. Alexander who are in prison for defending herself and her children from her abusive husband. She faces a minimum of 20 years, though she hurt NO ONE. After being abused and beat while she was pregnant she fired a warning shot and this shot put her behind bars even though no one was hurt.
The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence:
· Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to 3 million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year.
· Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%.
· Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
· Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
· One in five (21%) women reported she had been raped or physically or sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
· One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime, for an average duration of almost two years
· In a national survey of American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.
· Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data.
Please be in prayer with all who are attending the 57th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. We will be addressing these issues and many many more.
It is imperative that we address the violence that is pervasive in our world. You can help by contacting your state representatives to encourage them to continue to pass amendments to assist our mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends. Together we can stop this violence and truly become a peace filled world.