United Nations, New York — At today’s groundbreaking ceremony in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park (3 p.m., PST), UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman will spotlight the need for concrete actions to end violence against women globally and announce UNIFEM’s partnership with Family Violence Prevention Fund’s new International Centre to End Violence. Located in historic building 100, the new global action centre will be a crossroads where international activists and leaders convene, share experiences and lessons that advance policies and solutions to end violence against women and children. Other leading participants in the ceremony will be Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; Joe Torre, Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Team and founder, Safe at Home Foundation; and Esta Soler, President, Family Violence Prevention Fund.
According to Ms. Kidman: “As we break ground for this new international centre, there is no doubt that ending violence against women remains an urgent issue and belongs on centre stage. Solutions require action and investment, and strong partnerships like the one we’re announcing today between UNIFEM and Family Violence Prevention Fund. In this place, UNIFEM and Family Violence Prevention Fund will work together to convene leaders from around the world so that they can share best practices, create new models for effective programming, and spread the knowledge so that others can build on these strategies.” Based on country data, it is estimated that up to 70 percent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime.
The partnership to be announced today between UNIFEM and Family Violence Prevention Fund — which works to prevent violence within the home and in the community and to help those whose lives are devastated by violence — is the result of a long-term collaboration to support change that protects women and children. The organizations work together to strengthen effective programmes on the ground funded by the UNIFEM-managed United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women or provide field-based lessons to the proposed US International Violence against Women Act, about which UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman testified at the October Congressional Hearing in Washington, DC last year.
“We are proud to be a partner to this path-breaking global centre. It will be a space which will open doors to many whose voices are yet unheard, where practitioners, activists and survivors will share and learn from each other, and contribute to solutions on the ground,” said Inés Alberdi, UNIFEM Executive Director.
Family Violence Prevention Fund and UNIFEM will send news of the groundbreaking and partnership globally through UNIFEM’s innovative Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women network of more than 140 organizations around the world, and some 40,000 international supporters. Say NO – UNiTE, for which UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman is the Spokesperson, calls for global and local action and is a multi-year worldwide effort to mobilize people from all walks of life to end violence against women. Through its advocacy and outreach, Say NO – UNiTE contributes to the United Nations system-wide effort, UNiTE to End Violence against Women, led by the UN Secretary-General.
Say NO – UNiTE builds upon the momentum generated in 2008, when more than 5 million signed on to a global internet campaign to make ending violence against women a top priority worldwide. Heads of State and Ministers from 69 governments and more than 600 parliamentarians have added their names to the Say NO initiative since then.
Speech – UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman on Violence Against Women, Family Violence Prevention Fund Partnership and Groundbreaking Centre
By Nicole Kidman, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Goodwill Ambassador
Date: 8 January 2010
Occasion: Ceremony for the International Centre to End Violence, 8 January 2010
San Francisco — Good afternoon, Speaker Pelosi, Ambassador Bleich, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s an honour to participate in this ceremony on behalf of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM. The Family Violence Prevention Fund and UNIFEM are fast friends and veterans of the struggle to bring violence against women out from the shadows. We have to see the victims survivors, and perpetrators. We have to face them and ourselves. We have to bring our indignation and opposition to our communities, to our government leaders and in one strong voice Say NO to violence against women and girls.
As UNIFEM’s Goodwill Ambassador I am proud to be the Spokesperson for their global Say NO campaign. In 2008, more than 5 million people added their names to our call that governments everywhere make ending violence against women a top priority. People from all corners of the world joined forces.
That’s why this year’s Say NO campaign is all about actions. Our website, launched in early November 2009, has already recorded more than 35,000 calls to action around the world. And that brings us to the events of today in San Francisco.
As we break ground for an international centre to end violence against women and children, there is no doubt that the issue is urgent and belongs on centre stage. It also requires strong partnerships, like the one we’re announcing today between UNIFEM and Family Violence Prevention Fund. Behind us we see what the walls and windows will look like. But the centre will take life from our shared vision and what we and many others bring through its doors. In this place we will share strategies and models so that others can build on these good practices.
As a UNIFEM Say NO partner, Family Violence Prevention Fund will add pictures and reports of today’s event — and UNIFEM will use the internet and social media to reflect these back to its global audience. So while the actual “groundbreaking” takes place in this historic place in San Francisco, the virtual “groundbreaking” will be seen in Rwanda, Ecuador, East Timor, Bulgaria, or China. And by reaching out beyond our borders we acknowledge that violence against women is a pandemic that respects no geographical boundary, no race or class.
How could it be otherwise when one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime? When survivors endure stigma and perpetrators routinely walk free?
Thank you Family Violence Prevention Fund for the opportunity to face these challenges together and contribute to this international action centre in the years ahead.
And there’s a special person to whom we also say thank you — someone whose steadfast commitment and drive brought this project from the drawing board to reality. Her vision is our vision. I am proud to introduce the Honorable Nancy Pelosi.