Connect, Learn, Share

The US National Network to End Domestic Violence Presents

Connect, Learn, Share

Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters

February 27-March 1, 2012

Washington, DC

This conference will bring together activists and advocates who work with women in these safe spaces to network, share how their shelters and safe spaces are helping victims of violence and working to end violence against women.

The 1st World Conference of Women’s Shelters was held from September 8-11, 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was the first time family violence prevention workers in Canada and around the world came together to network, to share proven innovations, and to learn from international experts and each other.

Around the world, at least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, usually by someone known to her. It is perhaps one of the most pervasive violations of human rights that we know today. Violence against women is a major obstacle to women attaining equality, development and peace, and prevents women from enjoying their human rights and fundamental freedoms and a life of dignity, free from oppression.

Many women want to leave the violence and find refuge because their homes or communities are unsafe. They go to safe spaces, such as shelters, refuges, women centers, or transition homes, to seek peace and safety. In these spaces, women and their children who have had violence perpetrated upon them find refuge, compassion, resources, and assistance. Women can make decisions about their own lives, heal from the violence, and be safe from violence. Shelters and safe spaces also raise awareness about women’s rights and their right to be free from violence.

When a woman is beaten, raped, abused, exploited and harmed, her children and community suffer. Women’s full and equal participation is not possible when they are unsafe and lack the opportunities to care for their families and communities. When women cannot be equal contributors socially, politically and economically, our communities, and the world, suffer. We cannot achieve development and peace while violence against women continues. When women can live free of violence, they will build stronger families, stronger communities, and a stronger world. Helping women find safety and resources is critical to this goal.

As United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “Investing in the potential of the world’s women and girls is one of the surest ways to achieve global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for women — and men — the world over.”

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Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art.

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