Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 25, 2010


Today and every day, I join President Obama on the side of all women and against all acts of gender-based violence. Wherever women and children, girls and boys fall victim to physical and sexual abuse – in conflict zones, in schools, in their own homes – all of us pay a price. Such violence exacts a particularly cruel toll on individuals, but it also diminishes the human rights, prosperity and security of societies.

As Vice President Biden has said, gender-based violence robs young women of their full potential. The World Health Organization has shown that sexual violence and abuse inflicts irreparable damage to the mental health of victims, unmoors individuals from civic society, and carries lasting economic and social costs – limiting, for example, victims’ ability to earn wages or care for their families. The public health consequences of sexual violence, including the use of rape as a weapon of war, can easily spread beyond borders. And few acts of violence are greater affronts to peace than the trafficking of women and girls, which continues to condemn millions to bonded labor and forced prostitution.

The United States is deeply committed to ending the scourge of gender-based and sexual violence. Our Global Development Plan recognizes that investing in sustainable development outcomes – programs that bring women closer to markets, schools and clean water – improves lives, but it also makes us more secure.

I look forward next month to the start of former President Michelle Bachelet’s term at the helm of UN Women and to the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Margot Wallstrom, who is investigating the brutal rapes of women this year in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We must all remain committed to eliminating the cruel and continuing impact of gender-based violence, wherever it occurs.


PRN: 2010/296