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Global Rights for Women strives to remove violence against women through legislation and training

Founding+Director+of+Global+Rights+for+Women+Cheryl+Thomas+speaks+about+her+organizations%27s+work+with+violence+against+women.+%22Violence+is+the+most+effective+tool++that%27s+being+used+to+keep+women+and+girls+subjugated%2C+demoralized%2C+and+just+unable+to+live+lives+of+equality+and+integrity%2C%22+she+said.+
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Global Rights for Women strives to remove violence against women through legislation and training

Founding Director of Global Rights for Women Cheryl Thomas speaks about her organizations's work with violence against women.

Founding Director of Global Rights for Women Cheryl Thomas speaks about her organizations's work with violence against women. "Violence is the most effective tool that's being used to keep women and girls subjugated, demoralized, and just unable to live lives of equality and integrity," she said.

Noor Qureishy

Founding Director of Global Rights for Women Cheryl Thomas speaks about her organizations's work with violence against women. "Violence is the most effective tool that's being used to keep women and girls subjugated, demoralized, and just unable to live lives of equality and integrity," she said.

Noor Qureishy

Noor Qureishy

Founding Director of Global Rights for Women Cheryl Thomas speaks about her organizations's work with violence against women. "Violence is the most effective tool that's being used to keep women and girls subjugated, demoralized, and just unable to live lives of equality and integrity," she said.

Noor Qureishy, InDepth Editor

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Founded only a year and a half ago, the nonprofit Global Rights for Women has already made progress in their goal to protect women’s rights to be free from violence – be it sexual assault, domestic violence, sex trafficking, genital mutilation, or any other crime against women. Recently, they brought teams from four countries to Minnesota for a nine day training experience to study the the Coordinate Community Response model in Duluth. The CCR model was created in Duluth and is highly effective in combating domestic violence. HerSpace invited founding director Cheryl Thomas to come to speak to students at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School about the work Global Rights for Women does during advisory on April 6.

“We work with advocates that understand…[that] to be free from violence, they need a law,” Thomas said.

Many of the members of Global Rights for Women are lawyers who work to help advocates pass laws in their own countries that protect women from violence. Currently, over 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not treated as a crime. To change the reality those women live in, Thomas is attempting to push governments to recognize that violence against women isn’t a private matter that shouldn’t be publicly addressed; it’s a crime, and a human rights violation.

Global Rights for Women

Thomas has been accused in the past of pushing the nonprofit’s Western, feminist agenda onto countries that don’t agree with it.

“Sometimes we get accused of…bringing our feminist agenda to places that don’t agree with us, when in fact women from all over the world and men were involved in creating this Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. People everywhere feel this deep in their heart and soul, that they have these rights,” she said.

Thomas emphasizes the need for Global Rights for Women to continue helping women escape violence and that the Global Rights for Women’s agenda is not Western or imperialistic, rather it’s an “agenda that people all over the world feel very strongly about.”

Women from all over the world and men were involved in creating this Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. People everywhere feel this deep in their heart and soul, that they have these rights [to be free from violence].”

— Founding Director of Global Rights for Women Cheryl Thomas

She recommends that students help Global Rights for Women reach their goal by building their own understanding of the abuses that are occurring against women, and learning about what movements there are in the world to combat these abuses. Since there are a lot of organizations in Minnesota that work to protect women, such as battered women’s shelters, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Minnesota Coalition for Sexual Assault, and advocates who are raising awareness about campus sexual assault, students could potentially help out there.

In addition, Thomas mentioned a bill pending in Congress called the International Violence Against Women Act that would help the U.S. support efforts for groups at home and abroad to partner together to combat these issues. Calling one’s legislators to support the Federal Violence Against Women Law, which comes up for re-appropriation every year would also help the organization. Global Rights for Women’s website also lists ways students can be involved.

“Violence is the most effective tool that’s being used to keep women and girls subjugated, demoralized, and just unable to live lives of equality and integrity. We believe that it’s not only damaging them, and their sisters, and their mothers, and their families but it’s really  one of the factors…that’s keeping our world from developing in a peaceful and healthy way,” she said.

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About the Contributor
Noor Qureishy, The Rubicon, Managing Editor

Senior Noor Qureishy, in her fourth year on staff, is The Rubicon's Managing Editor. Qureishy is the Co-President of the Muslim Student Alliance group...

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