March 8, 2013 – New York City – Today marks International Women’s Day, the 102nd anniversary of this special day when the world over honors the political, economic and social achievements of women and renew its commitment to improving the lives of all women.

There is much to celebrate.  A century ago it was almost unheard of for a woman to own a business or become a professional.  A woman’s place was in the home or in the sweatshop.  Women in the United States had no vote.  Their property belonged to their husbands.  Now we are closer to gender equality than ever.  And, after a long struggle, we celebrate the President signing the Violence Against Women Act into law yesterday.

This year the United Nations has chosen “A Promise is a Promise:  A Time for Action to End Violence Against Women” as the theme for International Women’s Day.  Judith Kahan, CEO of the Center Against Domestic Violence said, “This is a day of great significance across the globe.  The work of the Center Against Domestic Violence began a deep commitment to improving the quality of women’s lives.  We join our allies around the world to celebrate women and rededicate our efforts to ending violence.”

Violence against women is a global crisis that threatens women globally, regardless of country, economic status, ethnicity or age.  Here in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control found that one in five US women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The CDC estimates that domestic violence costs the US over $8.3 billion a year in medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity.  Last year, here in New York City, Police responded to 263,207 domestic violence incidents and City’s Domestic Violence Hotline advocates answered 108,131 calls; that’s more than 1,000 cries for help every day.

For more than 35 years, the Center Against Domestic Violence has been working toward a society free from violence by transforming the lives of victims and raising awareness in our communities.  CADV opened the first publicly-funded shelter in New York State and now operates three full-service shelters for victims and their children, offering childcare, job assistance, housing placement, counseling and other crucial services. Our groundbreaking education programs teach more than 27,000 young people each year how to prevent domestic violence and have healthy relationships. We also provide ongoing support for shelter residents, victim advocacy, and community outreach as part of our efforts to eliminate domestic violence.

Violence against women needs to end worldwide. The Center Against Domestic Violence is proud to be a local leader working to end violence against women.