Shondiin Silversmith, Florida Phoenix
For the first time in history, the White House has launched a national plan to address gender-based violence on a federal level, introducing seven strategic action plans to help communities across the United States.
“As long as there are women in this country and around the world who live in fear of violence, there’s more we have to do to fulfill this sacred commitment,” President Joe Biden said in the U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. “No one — no one, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should experience abuse. Period. And if they do, they should have the services and support they need to get through it.”
Gender-based violence is a public safety and public health crisis, according to the White House, and it is affecting urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities across the U.S.
The national plan defines gender-based violence as any harmful threat or act directed at an individual or group based on actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, sex characteristics or sexual orientation.
Gender-based violence impacts all populations, but the experiences of persons of color are disproportionately affected. The national plan reported that Black women and Indigenous women are killed by a current or former partner at a rate 2.5 times that of white women.
An estimated 56% of Indigenous women have reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime, more than 55% have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner and 49% have experienced stalking, according to the White House’s plan.
“Gender-based violence violates fundamental human rights, destroys communities, and fosters social inequities,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a press release. “Identifying and preventing these crimes is a top department priority, underscored by this first-ever national plan and the government’s collective commitment to this cause.”
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reported that more than half of women (54.3%) and nearly one-third (31%) of men in the United States had reported some form of sexual violence victimization in their lifetimes.
The rate of intimate partner violence of women was seven times the rate of men, according to National Crime Victimization Survey, and the rate of rape or sexual assault of women was also seven times the rate of men.
The White House launched the national plan on May 25, resulting from the Biden administration’s Gender Policy Council, which was established in 2021.
“Sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and human trafficking are serious violent crimes that make our nation less equal and less just,” Acting Director Allison Randall of the Office on Violence Against Women said in a press release.
“Only a comprehensive response that is deeply informed by survivors and historically marginalized communities can end gender-based violence,” Randall added.
The seven strategic pillars part of the national plan include: prevention; support, healing, safety, and well-being; economic security and housing stability; online safety; legal and justice systems; emergency preparedness and crisis response; and research and data.
The White House said that these strategies are building upon existing federal initiatives, and the national plan will provide an essential framework for strengthening ongoing federal action and interagency collaboration.
Each strategic pillar identifies different goals and objectives to help address gender-based violence. For instance, the prevention pillar outlines three goals which include: Enhancing and promoting gender-based violence prevention; enhancing dissemination and implementation of gender-based violence prevention strategies; and improving prevention efforts to change social norms that support or condone gender-based violence and to promote healthy and respectful relationships across the life course.
The national plan serves as a framework for federal agencies and other stakeholders working to end gender-based violence. It is intended to inform and guide federal and nonfederal entities’ research, policy development, program planning, service delivery, and other efforts.
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