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April 2021 marks the 20th Anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. We recognize there is still much work to be done to address this form of gender-based violence. We have seen the fatal impact of this violence compounded with racism in recent weeks, as the U.S. was shaken by the tragic anti-Asian and sexist violence in Atlanta, GA. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault around the globe. As we reflect on those realities, we center the power, healing, and voices of survivors as we work toward solutions. 

A few years ago, The Forum had the privilege of hosting Sustaining the Movement: Changing the Culture, a roundtable discussion with committed cross-sector leaders to create more effective accountability structures, so women and girls can live free from sexual harassment. Participants included TIME’S UP, National Women’s Law Center, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, to name a few. 

We continue to be inspired by leaders creating paths to address sexual assault and gender-based violence through an intersectional lens in the U.S. and across the globe. We are pleased to see Jenny Yang appointed as the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, focusing on advancing anti-discrimination laws in federal contracts. We applaud the swift action of newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who is looking into the growing number of missing and homicide cases of Native Americans, most of whom are women. The Forum also acknowledges the recent bipartisan support to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Globally, Futures Without Violence led by Esta Soler advances policy and programs to end violence against women and children. 

The Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls honors and trusts women’s leadership to shift power and systems that lift up the needs of survivors and create a better future for women and girls.

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