Annual Conference 2010: Strategic Imperatives for Ending Violence Against Women

Friday, June 11, 2010 - Saturday, June 12, 2010


The National Council for Research on Women in partnership with the US National Committee for UNIFEM present
Strategic Imperatives for Ending Violence against Women: Linkages to Education, Economic Security and Health
June 11-12, 2010
Hunter College, CUNY, West Building, New York City

Hosted By
The Women and Gender Studies Program and Roosevelt House,
Hunter College, CUNY (City University of New York)


Anushka Wiransinha Foundation; Cassidy Turley; Project 5-0; Roosevelt House; Women's Funding Network; The Young Professionals’ Committee of the Metro New York Chapter, US National Committee for UNIFEM

Donors: Grace Richardson; The Walter and Leslie Wright Charitable Fund

Co-hosts: Anglican Women's Empowerment; Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; International Museum of Women; SAKHI for South Asian Women; US National Network to End Domestic Violence; Women's eNews; Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO); YWCA of Brooklyn



Event Video

Conference Press Release

Conference Summary



To get the latest violence against women facts and figures, visit NCRW's Big Five Campaign and download our  policy brief and fact sheets.

Stay up to date on recent news regarding violence against women by visiting NCRW's blog, The Real Deal.

Strategic Imperatives for Ending Violence against Women:
Linkages to Education, Economic Security and Health

Friday June 11, 2010

8:30-12:30 Kick-Off NCRW American Express: Building the Next Generation Program – Hunter

 Emerging Leaders – opening workshop

  • Thirty-five emerging women leaders from the nonprofit arena were chosen to join the Building the Next
    Generation Program.
  • Participants engage in leadership skill-building and become part of a mentorship and sponsorship network.

12:30-1:45 NCRW Member Center Meeting and Awards Presentation


From L-R: Ruth Zambrana (UMD), Linda Basch (NCRW), Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia U),
Saidiya V. Hartman (Columbia U), Lisa McClain (Boise State U), Cate Owren (WEDO), Patti Provance (NWSA).

  • NCRW Member Center Awardees 2010 included Women’s Environment and Development Organization(Advocacy Award), National Women’s Studies Association (Diversity and Inclusion Award), Boise State University
  • Gender Studies Program (Emerging Center Award), Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University (Emerging Center Award), The Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland, College Park (Research and Scholarship).

2:30-3:00 pm Introductions and Opening Greetings


 Leslie Wright (UNIFEM USNC)

Leslie Wright (UNIFEM USNC) opened the conference and introduced NCRW President Linda Basch and UNIFEM USNC President Carol M. Poteat-Buchanan.

  • A staff member of New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn read the official New York State Proclamation lauding the work of NCRW and UNIFEM USNC

3:15-4:20 pm Breakout Sessions

Global Action Against Violence

Conference T-Shirts

Moderator: Cheryl Benton (Metro NY Chapter, UNIFEM USNC); Speakers: Dina Deligiorgis (Ending Violence against Women, UNIFEM), Adriana Quinones (UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women), Urjasi Rudra (UNIFEM Say NO campaign)

  • The speakers detailed the work of their organizations including UNIFEM’s role at the international level, the UN
    Trust Fund’s work, and the Say NO Campaign.
  • Recommendations: Support the passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) (the passage of which would ensure funding for the next five years); join the Say NO Network.

Linking Violence and Human Security Issues


Purvi Shah (Generations Ahead)

Moderator: Marianne Mollman (Human Rights Watch); Speakers: Lisa McClain (Boise State University), Claudia
(University of Arizona), Purvi Shah (Generations Ahead), Deborah Thomas (University of Pennsylvania),
Melissa Upreti (Center for Reproductive Rights)

  • The speakers explored efforts to construct gender-based violence (GBV) through a human security lens, recognizing violence as a structural problem with non-linear, cross-cutting causes and effects.
  • Discussions detailed different manifestations of violence against women and girls including the experience of women who are both disabled and victims of abuse (McClain), sexual selection of fetuses in Asian and South Asian communities (Shah), and the vulnerability of many women in communities in Kingston, Jamaica who must rely on gang leaders, rather than absent state officials, for protection (Thomas).
  • Recommendations: Advocate greater monitoring, evaluation, and research into violence against women (particularly into factors which may keep women from utilizing existing services); develop strong and flexible policies reflecting community expertise and experience; implement consistent and effective enforcement mechanisms; and build ‘working systems’ (Powell) bringing together unlikely partners in the fight against GBV

Sexual Exploitation of Girls

From L-R: Deborah Richardson (Women’s Funding Network), Alex Trouteaud (Schapiro Research Group),
Kaffie McCullough (A Future. Not A Past), Layli Phillips Maparyan (GA State U)

Moderator: Deborah Richardson (Women’s Funding Network); Speakers: Kaffie McCullough (A Future. Not a Past), Layli Phillips Maparyan (Georgia State University), Alex Trouteaud (Schapiro Research Group)

  • Panelists discussed the findings of the Men Who Buy Sex From Adolescent Girls study, particularly cultural
    factors affecting the sexual exploitation of girls, and highlighted ways to measure incidences of child prostitution.
  • Speakers addressed the need to explore men’s roles in sexualizing women and girls in greater detail, including
    the need for men to examine their own sexual relationships with women, as well as the cultural practices, such as child marriage, which lead to the sexual exploitation of children.
  • Recommendations: In order to effect change, there must be shifts in 1) the definition of the problem 2) behavior 3) engagement 4) policy and 5) an emphasis on maintaining gains in the fight against the sexual exploitation of
    women and girls.

4:30-5:45pm: Breakout Sessions

Domestic and Global Social Investments: The Role of Philanthropy

Conference participants

Moderator: Alison R. Bernstein (Ford Foundation), Linda Basch (NCRW); Speakers: Penny Abeywardena (Clinton Global Initiative), Vivien Labaton (Atlantic Philanthropies), Ana L. Oliveira (New York Women’s Foundation), Pamela Shifman (NoVo Foundation)

  • Panelists provided an overview of the work of their organizations and discussed ways in which grant-makers can enact change by funding local programs as well as providing or assisting in capacity-building for small
  • Panelists provided information, guidance, and tips on securing funding such as looking for funding in unlikely
    sources and reading “between the lines” in proposal requests.
  • Recommendations: Potential grantees must look for funding opportunities in a diversity of places.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Media in Communicating Situations of Violence

From L-R: Rita Henley Jensen (standing, Women’s eNews), Amy Terpeluk (Ruder Finn),
Susannah Sirkin (Physicians for Human Rights), Patti Chang (Women’s Media Center), Jimmie Briggs (The Man Up Campaign)


Moderator: Rita Henley Jensen (Women’s eNews); Speakers: Jimmie Briggs (The Man Up Campaign), Patti Chang (Women’s Media Center), Susannah Sirkin (Physicians for Human Rights), Amy Terpeluk (Ruder Finn)

  • Moderator Rita Jenson facilitated a discussion of the media’s treatment of issues of violence against women (VAW) including, but not limited to: the fear of re-traumatizing abuse survivors; logistical difficulties in reporting, particularly for cases which take place in remote locations; the over sensationalizing or, alternatively, deescalation of reporting language; and the lack of basic statistics, background information, and women’s voices in stories concerning VAW.
  • Speakers recognized the potential role of both providers and consumers in generating greater coverage around
    issues of VAW as well as the constraints under which members of the media operate.
  • Recommendations: Journalists can work around traditional media centers to report on VAW by utilizing blogs and social media sites; more should be done to cultivate journalists who have an interest in violence against women, including instituting programs that deal with VAW in journalism schools; consumers can actively push producers to provide greater coverage by sending letters to the editor, tweeting and posting links to existing VAW related stories, and websites like MediaFAIL (, Media Matters for America (, and AlterNet ( should be utilized to report inadequate coverage of VAW-related stories.

Theater of the Oppressed

Conference participants participate in the Theatre of the Oppressed.

Facilitator: Carmelina Cartei (Women & Gender Studies Program, Hunter College; The Institute for Popular Education at the Brecht Forum, NY)

  • Carmelina Cartei presented a unique workshop in which participants participated in Theatre of the Oppressed
    exercises to demonstrate that, through the arts, people can powerfully express ideas about liberation, democracy, the body, and their desires for change.
  • Recommendations: Promote techniques, like those utilized in the Theatre of the Oppressed; enhance dialogue,
    empower those who may be more verbally silent in a group, and place people in games that are structured to
    encourage sharing of power.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

10:00-10:15 AM: The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against

Carolyn Maloney (D-Representative , NY)

Speaker: Carolyn Maloney (US Representative for New York’s 14th District)

  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney discussed in detail the need for the ratification of CEDAW in the United States, emphasizing its potential to improve the lives of women in the US as well as around the world.
  • The congresswoman recognized the important work of UNIFEM, NCRW, and their supporting organizations in furthering the gender equality agenda at home and abroad while stressing that, “it is up to the women” to push for greater change and equality.

10:15-11:00 am: Keynote Plenary: U.S. Foreign Policy Addressing Violence in Global Hot Spots

From L-R: Carol Jenkins (WMC; AMREF USA), Ellen Chesler (Hunter College),
Abigail Disney (Daphne Foundation), Nancy Dorsinville (UN), Zainab Salbi (WfWI)

Moderator: Carol Jenkins (Women’s Media Center; African Medical and Research Foundation AMREF USA); Speakers: Abigail Disney (Daphne Foundation), Nancy Dorsinville (Office of the UN Special Envoy for Haiti), Zainab Salbi (Women for Women International); Respondent: Ellen Chesler (Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Hunter College)

  • Panelists stressed the importance of advancing equal rights “at home” while recognizing local culture as well as
    ongoing structural and systematic violence. Attention was also paid to actions taking place at the international
    level, particularly those of the UN and US, which are often inconsistent and/or inadequate.
  • Speakers emphasized the need to combat impunity, to set clear benchmarks for change, and to hold leaders and countries accountable for their actions, or inaction.
  • Recommendations: Donate to women’s causes in Haiti; support and publicize “Women, War, and Peace” film;
    advocate for the ratification and implementation of CEDAW; support coalitions among women’s rights, human
    rights, and civil rights groups; and raise public awareness of international law and accords such as UN Resolution1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

11:15-12:15 pm: Opening Plenary: Violence Against Women and Its Intersections with Key
Social Investments

From L-R: Anika Rahman (Americans for UNFPA), Radhika Balakrishnan (Rutgers U)

Moderator: Linda Basch (NCRW); Speakers: Radhika Balakrishnan (Center for Women’s Global Leadership CWGL, Rutgers University), Anika Rahman (Americans for UNFPA), Joanne Sandler (UNIFEM)

  • Speakers addressed the underlying structural causes of violence against women (VAW), including: religious and cultural factors which devalue women, the intersection of militarism and gender-based violence, and a lack of justice, accountability, and resources to implement existing policies (such as UN Resolutions 1325 and 1820) as well as the resulting sense of impunity.
  • Panelists discussed working with unlikely allies to combat violence against women such as religious and military leaders as well as non-profits to increase awareness and spur action.
  • Recommendations: Develop and employ specific indicators in order to hold governments and agencies (such as the UN) accountable; initiate mechanisms which serve to reverse the status quo so that perpetrators are
    stigmatized instead of their victims; stir public debate about existing government spending on military activities
    (versus social services) including challenging the global culture of militarism (Balakrishnan); empower girls
    through education.

12:15-1:00 pm: Sex, Music & Videotape

Malika Dutt (Breakthrough)

Moderator: Shyama Venkateswar (NCRW); Presenter: Mallika Dutt (Breakthrough)

  • Mallika Dutt emphasized that human rights begin at home. She discussed video stories as a creative and
    significant tool to effect change and played video from several projects funded by Breakthrough, including Bell
    Bajao (Ring the Bell) and the Rights Advocate Puppet Show.
  • Mallika Dutt stressed the importance of engaging men and boys, arguing that they must also be accountable for
    VAW and can be mobilized as effective agents of change, rather than viewed as simply perpetrators.
  • Recommendations: Promote and support strategies which build individual capacity, develop leadership, and
    mobilize communities (because change begins with the individual); work to transform norms and cultural values
    that allow VAW to continue in silence; and engage men and boys to be part of the solution.

2:00 – 3:15 pm Breakout Sessions

Taking a Lead on Advocacy

Crystal Lander (UNIFEM USNC Advocacy Chair)

Moderator: Dr. Karen Siegel (Metro NY Chapter, UNIFEM USNC); Speakers: Alexandra Garita (International Women’s Health Coalition), Selene Kaye (ACLU), Crystal Lander (UNIFEM USNC Advocacy Chair)

  • Speakers discussed the importance of advocacy as a means of pushing for gender equality and challenging
    VAW, noting the important role legal measures such as CEDAW and the Prevention of Child Marriage Act can
    play as tools for advocates.
  • Speakers mentioned lack of political will as a major barrier to change.

  • Recommendations: Implement public education programs on women’s issues; initiate letter-writing campaigns to elected officials, particularly within the US in support of CEDAW, I-VAWA, and the Prevention of Child Marriage Act; elect more women into political office; and build broader coalitions amongst advocates.

Where are the Men?

From L-R: Carl Murrell (NGO Committee CSW), Nakeisha Blades (Guttmacher Inst.), Quentin Walcott (CONNECT),
Donald McPherson (former NFL player)

Moderator: Carl Murrell (Subcommittee on Violence, NGO Committee on the Status of Women); Speakers: Nakeisha Blades (Guttmacher Institute), Donald McPherson (former quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles), Quentin Walcott (CONNECT)

  • Speakers highlighted the role of men and boys as allies and advocates against VAW and the need to combat
    violence through challenging norms about how we define what it means to be a man or a woman.
  • Panelists asserted that there is a great need for increased role models, funding, and training for men and boys.
  • Recommendations: Find and implement creative ways to include men in VAW work and “invite them to the table”, including providing role models, funding, and training; redefine how men are socialized by challenging the limitations of current standards of masculinity; engage with young men and boys in courageous, creative,
    consistent, and committed manner (Walcott).

Migrations, Displacement and Sexual Exploitation

From L-R: Juhu Thukral (Opportunity Agenda), Kyla Bender-Baird (NCRW),
Gitta Zomorodi (AJWS), Taina Bien-Aimé (Equality NOW)

Moderator: Kyla Bender-Baird (National Council for Research on Women); Speakers: Taina Bien-Aimé (Equality NOW), Juhu Thukral (The Opportunity Agenda), Gitta Zomorodi (American Jewish World Service)

  • Speakers provided overviews to the work of their organizations, examining the barriers that hinder sex workers
    and trafficked women from receiving adequate care and legal protection based on their own experiences.
  • Panelists recognized the important role of community based organizations and women survivors in challenging
    and raising awareness of VAW and advocated involving diverse groups such as law enforcement officials, NGOs, and grassroots organizations as a means of pushing for government accountability and understanding the structural causes of trafficking.
  • Recommendations: Provide economic alternatives for women to prevent their becoming sex workers or being
    trafficked; conduct greater research into the demand for prostitution (Bien-Aimé), move beyond the perpetratorvictim rhetoric to identify structural factors which perpetuate violence; and foster diverse coalitions – including those between community-based organizations and governments—to fight VAW.

Economic Empowerment, Poverty and Options for Women

From L-R: Wendy Baldwin (Population Council), Lynne Randolph Patterson (Pro Mujer),
Lynda Sagrestano (U of Memphis), Ada Williams Prince (Women’s Refugee Commission)

Moderator: Inez Murray (Women’s World Banking); Speakers: Wendy Baldwin (Population Council), Lynne Randolph Patterson (Pro Mujer), Lynda Sagrestano (University of Memphis), Ada Williams Prince (Women’s Refugee Commission)

  • Speakers explored the effects of economic participation on the life outcomes and experiences of women and girls, particularly the preventive role economic self-sufficiency can play in combating violence by making women agents of change in their own lives while fostering their sense of self worth.
  • Panelists stressed the importance of examining the unintended consequences of efforts to end VAW such as
    those associated with mandatory arrest policies in cases of domestic violence where women experiencing abusemay not call the police because they do not want their abuser arrested or fear retaliatory abuse.
  • Recommendations: Focus on youth education and development in order to build greater foundations for economic self-sufficiency; share national and international experiences in order to build knowledge based on best practices; employ means of mitigating the unintended consequences of efforts to end VAW including providing equal opportunities for both men and women in periods of crisis and identifying men that are sensitive to gender-based violence for their potential role as catalysts.

3:30 – 4:45 pm Breakout Sessions

Cultures of Violence

From L-R: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (journalist), Esther Hyneman (WAW), Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia U)

Moderator: Sujata Warrier (NYS Office of Prevention of Domestic Violence); Speakers: Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University), Kala Ganesh (CONNECT), Esther Hyneman (Women for Afghan Women), Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (Journalist)

  • Panel discussions focused on the problem posed by the ‘cultures of violence’ rhetoric which often serves to
    obscure larger, structural factors of inequality, emphasizing the need for a holistic analysis of VAW which
    integrates both research and activism as well as considering a universe of factors that contribute to VAW.
  • Recommendations: Challenge claims that the West is the ultimate authority on women’s rights; broaden the
    scope of factors commonly conceived to be contributing to VAW and recognize the larger structural problems that perpetuate violence rather than over-simplifying different cultures; and provide alternatives above and beyond microfinance so that women can achieve economic self-sufficiency without being trapped in micro-scale projects.

Implications for Health

From L-R: Pamela Barnes (EngenderHealth; Global Partnership Addressing Sexual Violence Against Girls),
Rebecca Fox (former) (National Council on LGBT Health), Khushbu Srivastava (former) (IWHC), Rosalind Petchesky (Hunter)

Moderator: Bethany Cole (EngenderHealth); Speakers: Pamela Barnes (EngderHealth; Global Partnership Addressing Sexual Violence Against Girls), Rebecca Fox (former) (the National Coalition for LGBT Health), Rosalind Petchesky (Hunter College), Khushbu Srivastava (former) (International Women’s Health Coalition)

  • Discussions examined the intersections between health and violence focusing specifically on the experience of
    women and girls.
  • Panelists stressed the importance of adequate data as well as strong measures for enforcement and accountability, particularly for use in advocacy.
  • Recommendations: More must be done to produce effective advocacy, particularly for marginalized communities, beginning with better information in general and training for public officers and the health services in particular; individuals must engage in difficult dialogues about behaviors and beliefs surrounding these communities; and girls must be included in discussions of sexual violence against women.

Ending Violence Against Women through Legal Instruments and Cultural Change

Conference participants

Moderator: Marcia Goffin (US National Committee for UNIFEM); Speakers: Norma Abbene (New York Major’s Office), Tiloma Jayasinghe (Sakhi for South Asian Women), Susan Kaufmann (University of Michigan), Sharon Stapel (New York City Anti-Violence Project)

  • Discussions focused generally on the effectiveness of the legal system and state intuitions in ending VAW,
    particularly for marginalized communities or in situations where the services provided do not reflect the realities of their consumers.
  • Speakers emphasized the important role of constituency building, such as public-private partnerships, in ending
    VAW and educating the public. They also recognized that service providers must collaborate in order to better
    serve their communities and win more funding.
  • Recommendations: Reauthorize VAWA with the inclusion LGBT people as part of a larger effort to ensure their
    legal protection from GBV (including challenging latent heterosexual biases); build broad coalitions and broaden
    the base of the movement as a means of promoting cultural change; develop deeper understandings of violence based on factors such as power, control, and identity; research existing barriers including unequal access to structures of power which may undermine potentially useful laws; and foster public-private partnerships.

5:00-5:30 pm: Closing Plenary: Moving the Agenda Forward, Articulating Actions

Ambassador Swanee Hunt (Hunt Alternatives Fund)

Moderator: Carol Poteat-Buchanan (President, USNC for UNIFEM), Linda Basch (President, NCRW); Speaker:
Swanee Hunt (Hunt Alternatives Fund)

  • Swanee Hunt focused on Rwanda as a model for women’s political action and possibilities for change. There,
    women strategically and systematically ran for office, formed coalitions among parties, and put in place
    neighborhood watch associations to raise awareness about violence against women. They were able to change
    the political agenda and passed new legislation that included spousal rape as grounds for divorce.
  • Ambassador Hunt also addressed prostitution as a global problem, and argued that women can effect change in a variety of ways, from political action at the local level to analyzing their home environments.


Co-Hosted By
Anglican Women's Empowerment; Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; The International Museum of Women; SAKHI for South Asian Women; US National Network to End Domestic Violence; Women's Environment and Development Organization; Women’s eNews; YWCA of Brooklyn