International Violence Against Women: U.S. Response and Policy Issues [July 26, 2011] [open pdf - 361KB]
From the Summary: "In recent years, the international community has increasingly recognized international violence against women (VAW) as a significant human rights and global health issue. VAW, which can include both random acts of violence as well as sustained abuse over time, can be physical, psychological, or sexual in nature. Studies have found that VAW occurs in all geographic regions, countries, cultures, and economic classes, with some research showing that women in developing countries experience higher rates of violence than those in developed countries. Many experts view VAW as a symptom of the historically unequal power relationship between men and women, and argue that over time this imbalance has led to pervasive cultural stereotypes and attitudes that perpetuate a cycle of violence. U.S. policymakers have generally focused on specific types or circumstances of VAW rather than view it as a stand-alone issue. Congress has authorized and appropriated funds for international programs that address VAW, including human trafficking and female genital cutting. In addition, past and current Administrations have supported efforts to reduce international levels of VAW-- though many of these activities are implemented as components of broader foreign aid initiatives. There is no U.S. government-wide coordination of anti-VAW efforts. Most agencies and departments do not track the cost or number of programs with VAW components. Therefore, it is unclear how much money the U.S. government, or individual agencies, spend annually on VAW-related programs. Some experts have suggested that the U.S. government should re-examine, and perhaps enhance, current U.S. anti-VAW activities."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34438