How to Contact Your Member of Congress About 1-VAWA

Find Your Member of Congress First

Find their names and addresses at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml by clicking on the type of official you hope to find and inserting your zip code or state at top right of the page. An email address can be found on the Senator or Representative’s website. Look up your Congressman’s information here.

Sample Letter (or Email) to Members of Congress Requesting Co-sponsorship of 1-VAWA

The Honorable

Dear Senator/Representative ,

I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) in 2013.

The widespread prevalence of gender-based violence around the globe is horrific. Rates of violence are more than 70 percent in some countries. Every day, women and girls around the world are forced to trade sex for food or school fees. Every day, women and girls are beaten and abused.

All too often these violent crimes are not prosecuted and worse, they become socially accepted and tolerated. Violence against women is a global health crisis and human rights violation that contributes to instability and insecurity throughout our world.

The American public is behind ending violence against women. A 2009 poll found that 61 percent of voters across demographic and political lines thought global violence against women should be one of the top international priorities for the U.S. government, and 82 percent supported the I-VAWA.

I am asking you to stand up for women and girls and help pass the International Violence Against Women Act.

This bill supports innovative, cost-effective programs that have been shown to decrease acts of violence.  Many of these programs help women and girls do things we so often take for granted: go to school, earn an income to help sustain families, collect food or water without fear of rape or harassment, and bring perpetrators of abuse to justice.  The I-VAWA will also streamline and improve existing U.S. programs to end violence against women — increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of our international assistance.

The International Violence Against Women Act provides the United States with a critical opportunity to make a real difference. The world’s women and girls need this legislation.

Protecting and empowering women is a moral imperative and smart foreign policy. Please help change the lives of millions of women and girls by co-sponsoring I-VAWA.

Yours sincerely,

Sign Your Name Here

Sample Script for Calling your Senators and your Representative

*Remember that the Senate bill has not yet been introduced, so the request will be for the Senator to support the bill in the future.

You can reach the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 (ask to be connected to your members of Congress. If you do not know their names, you can provide your zip code and the operator will connect you.)

1. Telephone calls in House and Senate offices are taken by a staff member. Ask to speak with the aide who handles women’s issues or foreign affairs issues.

2. After being connected and identifying yourself as a constituent, tell the staffer that you would like to leave a brief message for his/her boss.

  • “Please tell Representative/Senator XXXX that I support the International Violence Against Women Act.”

3. Ask for the position of your Member of Congress on the bill. If they are a co-sponsor, thank them for their support and urge them to help pass IVAWA.

4. If they are not a co-sponsor, you can say:

  • “Please urge the Representative/Senator XXXX to co-sponsor the bill and help pass it.”

5. And add: “I support the bill because:

  • Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation occurring globally.”
  • An estimated one in every three women globally has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.”
  • The International Violence Against Women Act supports measures to prevent violence, protect survivors and bring perpetrators to justice.”

**You can and should request a written response to your telephone call.

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