I was ten years old sitting in Sunday school trying to make sense of the stories we were reading, which the teacher explained were considered to be "God's word." I couldn't get the echo of his comment out of my head, "God's word?" God writes? God's published?
The focus on violence is desperately needed -- one in three women will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes. The enormity of this problem demands that both governments and civil society develop new strategies to protect women and girls from violence.
We need to be sure women and girls are safe whether they are caught in the first stages of a crisis or in a long-term refugee situation, whether they are living in a refugee camp or in an urban setting.
As the heads of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we are firmly committed to advancing gender equality and responding to the unique health needs of women and girls.
They asked for acknowledgement of this prevalence of domestic violence and a way to break out of the culture of silence that surrounds it. When this type of violence is not socially condemned and acceptable to protest, how can women stop suffering in silence?
I don't know the pain of a refugee -- I tried to express it on The Walking Dead, but it was all make-believe. I do know what sexual violence feels like, I know the seeds of fear that root in the marrow of one's bones, I know the horror of powerlessness.
As a culture, we understand that sexual violence is wrong. We just don't like to think of it as a mainstream problem. Unfortunately, it is a mainstream problem, and we need to refocus the public conversation to begin to change that.
Cooking a meal for your family shouldn't put you at risk of rape. Yet, collecting the wood or other cooking fuel essential for their survival, crisis-affected women and girls are forced to put their safety at risk on a daily basis.
We reflect with profound anger on the horrific violations that continue to be perpetrated every day against millions of women and girls in conflict-ridden places. But it's also a time when we take inspiration, encouragement and hope from the many courageous refugee women and girls.
International Day of the Girl is a day to recognize the rights of girls and to reflect on the unique hardships many of them face. It's also a day to honor their resilience and their capacity -- if given the right opportunities -- to make meaningful contributions to their communities.
Victims of the various forms of sexual and gender-based violence -- including rape, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and domestic abuse -- are frequently prevented by societal constraints from seeking safety or justice.
Every one of us, man or woman, admires those who scrap convention and chart their own course. More than this, there are forty years of the feminist movement to consider. Have they served women's souls? Have they given women hope
Refugees are victims of circumstances they did not create and cannot control. And women, often unaccompanied by men, caring for young children, and lacking in job skills and opportunities, generally have the most difficult time.
What does rape have to do with trees? What does HIV have to do with fish? Blindness with water? Everything. Especially if you are a woman in the developing world and you are trying to feed your family.
Two weeks ago, I participated in a panel organized by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Office of Global Women's Issues called "Mobile Technologies as an Effective Tool for Women's Empowerment and Global Development."