Vote to end the War on Women

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It’s the same story all over the world — abusive, violent men are in charge of making the laws that are supposed to protect women. And they use their power to fend off challenges from victims or voters — but now we can change that.

When a 23-year-old student was brutally gang-raped on a bus in Delhi, citizen protests caught fire across the country and the world erupted in outrage. India commissioned an official review, but this week the government brazenly says it will ignore the review’s recommendation that politicians charged with rape or similar violence against women must step down.

The 260 Indian politicians accused of such offences are fighting tooth and nail, and so far they are winning!

The only way to turn this round is a concerted, people-powered effort to banish men like this from office. If 25,000 of us pledge to donate now, Avaaz will be able to create a campaign war chest to take on the worst politicians. They depend on their reputations, and we’ll expose them in the news and social media, including through ads and polls.

We’ll start in India — the world’s largest democracy, which is gearing up for national elections — and then stand ready to intervene wherever there are opportunities to change politics and end the War on Women!

Avaaz will only process the pledges if we get 25,000, enough to make a real difference. Click here to pledge $4 now.

Here’s the plan: Avaaz will identify elected representatives or election candidates who are known violators of women’s rights. We’ll choose elections which, when we win, will get massive attention and encourage other abusive men to stay away from public office. Then we’ll lay down the gauntlet! We’ll go in hard to kill their chances of clinging to power or getting elected.

This could include:

  • running opinion polls to encourage their parties to choose other candidates;
  • organizing actions in their local area;
  • encouraging local and national reporters to cover their crimes;
  • releasing ads in major print, TV and radio outlets;
  • hiring lawyers to ensure their victims aren’t intimidated into silence;
  • running hard-hitting campaigns to end the war on women.

Violent, chauvinist attitudes to women aren’t confined to Indian politicians.

Italy’s former PM Silvio Berlusconi could be elected again this month despite facing trial for sex with a minor.

Morocco just let off an MP sentenced for a year for raping a civil servant … then laid charges on the rape survivor!

free press italy hearingKarima el-Mahroug, the Moroccan woman at the center of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s sex-for-hire trial, sits in a court room prior to to testifying as a witness for the first time, in Milan, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. El-Mahroug was ordered by the court to appear Monday to testify after failing to show on two previous dates because she was reportedly in Mexico on vacation. She has been called as a defense witness. Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with woman, better known as Ruby, when she was 17, and then trying to cover it up. Both deny sexual contact. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Berlusconi owns a tonne of Italy’s media, so gets off lightly there, while in Morocco and other countries, powerful people can lean on judges and media bosses. So people-powered campaigns are the only way to end the culture of impunity!

Worldwide, 1 in 5 women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime according to UN studies. Until men like these are kicked out of power, we’ll never get the changes to laws and attitudes that women need. Our power multiplies when these guys are at their most vulnerable: when they’re running for office and need every vote they can muster.

We’ve seen how much positive change pro-women politicians — male and female — can bring to our societies, so let’s make room for them!

Help reach the goalpledge to chip in $4 now.

We know this strategy works.

A few months ago when Republican front-runner for US Senate Todd Akin suggested some rapes are “legitimate“, savvy bloggers and campaigners turned the story into his worst nightmare. The firestorm they created cost him the race, and the Republican Party, calling his remarks “insulting and inexcusable”, pulled his funding and asked him to step aside. It sparked a conversation about sexual violence that’s still going on in the US.

We can ensure that men like Akin can no longer get into office anywhere. If enough of us pledge to donate a small amount now, we can launch rapid-response campaigning that could flip elections like Akin’s across the world and get other political parties to think again.

Pledge your support now so we can get started.

Time and again, Avaaz members have risen to the challenge of defending women’s rights: in Afghanistan, we helped protect Lal Bibi when she spoke out about her horrific rape; in Honduras, we fought alongside local women against a law that would jail women for using the morning-after pill, even if they’ve been raped. Now we can address these issues at the source, by changing who sits in parliaments and ministries, making decisions about women’s lives!

With hope,

Mia, David, Jooyea, Michelle, Alex, Ricken, Alaphia, Emily and the whole Avaaz team
 

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Violent and abusive men often use their power to obstruct reforms that would protect women. Incredibly, 260 Indian politicians charged with violence against women are fighting off a proposal to make them step down. Only a global, coordinated effort to make candidates like these pay at the polls can banish them from office. Avaaz will collect donations only if we raise enough to win — pledge to chip in $4 now:
 
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MORE INFORMATION

For politicians, shaming rapists should start at home (Firstpost)

The Government vs. the Committee (WSJ):

Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock fall to Senate defeats (Guardian)

How widespread is violence against women? (UN)

Miscarriage of justice: MP Accused of Rape Acquitted, Plaintiff Arrested (Morocco World News)

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