I have some pretty remarkable women in my life. Real world changers that I am proud to know and call friends. One of these women was recently invited to the White House for the United State of Women Summit. The following is a guest post from Jennifer Burden.
VP Joe Biden to Victims of Rape: We Believe You
This past Tuesday, over 5,000 women change makers convened in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC for the White House’s United State of Women Summit. I was there as the founder and CEO of World Moms Blog (soon to be World Moms Network!). We gathered to hear our top government officials, including President Barack Obama, speak on equality for women. We also heard from the leaders of organizations making a difference in the lives of women, actresses, activists, victims of abuse, a child entrepreneur and more.
The Summit tackled issues such as equal pay, paid maternity and sick leave, women entrepreneurship, raising the minimum wage, keeping girls in school around the world, violence against women, racial and religious equality and LGBT rights for all people.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke early on in the day, and his speech about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was enacted under his leadership in 1994, was powerful.
Biden’s message to victims of rape and violence everywhere was simple.
“We believe you.”
He reported that after a number of speaking engagements about VAWA, it was quite common for a woman to come up to him afterwards and admit, “I’ve been raped.” He told a crowd of over 5,000 women in Washington, DC at the summit on Tuesday that 1 in 5 women are victims of assault.
I didn’t know the statistics were so high.
He spoke about teaching our sons and daughters about consent. And that there is not enough education about consent. And that there needs to be more education about consent.
In addition, he said that many women don’t realize that they have in fact been raped because it is common for them to say, “it wasn’t rape because I knew him.” Biden strongly stressed that “No means NO.”
“The locker room talk, the bar banter…guys, it’s got to stop or you are an accomplice[violence against women].” US VP Biden #stateofwomen
— World Moms Blog (@WorldMomsBlog) June 14, 2016
I left Washington, DC with a feeling that, we, as women, are being heard. That we’re standing up tall, working hard for change, and that change is coming. It was a one of a kind experience and a safe place to proudly be a woman. And, no doubt, a much needed launch pad to speed up our gains toward equality. This is the America I know.
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Blog currently writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors, is a volunteer effort. Jennifer is the stay-at-home mother to two young girls and an advocate for ONE Girls and Women.