Statement by President Joe Biden on the Occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
NOVEMBER 25, 2023
Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we join nations around the world in recognizing the resilience of survivors and advocates building a future where women and girls can live free from violence, fear, and abuse. And together, we recommit ourselves to preventing and responding to this abhorrent human rights abuse—wherever and whenever it occurs.
Ending violence against women has been the cause of my life. In the United States Senate, with the help of courageous and committed advocates, I wrote the first Violence Against Women Act and spent the following decades working to expand survivor protections. And as President, I was proud to not only reauthorize this landmark law, but strengthen it—including increasing services and support for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities.
But for all our progress, the scourge of gender-based violence continues to inflict pain and injustice on too many. An estimated one in three women globally will experience physical violence, rape, or stalking at some point in their lifetimes. It’s an outrage. Around the world, particularly in areas of conflict, countless women and girls suffer at the hands of perpetrators who commit gender-based violence and use rape as a weapon of war. And all too often, women and girls from historically marginalized communities—including people of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQI+—are disproportionately affected.
That is why my Administration has been relentless in our focus to end the scourge of gender-based violence—here at home, and around the world. In May, we released the first-ever National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, bringing a government-wide approach to promoting prevention and equipping survivors with the resources they deserve, from accessing physical and mental healthcare, to realizing economic security. In July, I signed an Executive Order that fundamentally transforms how the military handles sexual assault and domestic violence cases, including shifting key decision-making authorities from commanders to specialized, independent prosecutors. And almost one year ago today, I signed a Presidential Memorandum to strengthen our government’s exercise of financial, diplomatic, and legal tools against conflict-related sexual violence—which led to the first-ever sanctions imposed resulting from a dedicated focus on conflict-related sexual violence.
We know our work is far from done. And we know what is at stake: whenever and wherever women and girls are under threat, so too is peace and stability. That is why today—and every day—the United States stands with survivors of gender-based violence. And together with our partners, we will continue to work unceasingly toward a future in which survivors are believed, offenders are held accountable, and violence against women and girls is no longer tolerated.