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U.S. Consulate Recife Sponsors Domestic Violence Conference

U.S. Consulate Recife Sponsors Domestic Violence Conference

October 1, 2010

The United States Consulate in Recife, partnered with the Maria da Penha Institute, and the University of Fortaleza (Unifor) to sponsor the first International Conference on the Maria da Penha Law, in Fortaleza on September 29, 2010.  The conference highlighted the challenges faced four years after the law was passed and included the participation of academics, jurists, NGOs, journalists, and law enforcement from five states throughout Brazil, as well as U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Lisa Kubiske. 

The conference served as a mechanism to speak candidly about domestic violence in both a Brazilian and global context and encourage civil society to work together on a way forward.  DCM Lisa Kubiske highlighted efforts within the United States government to focus on promoting women's rights in general and how Brazil and the United States are working together on this important issue.  She praised the courage and work of Maria da Penha and noted the Obama administration's creation of a White House Advisor for Violence against Women and an Ambassador-at-Large for Women's Issues. She also highlighted the Memorandum of Understanding signed this year between the United States and Brazil for the advancement of women.   

The one-day conference was a joint effort between Unifor, which hosted the event, the Maria da Penha Institute, which invited most of the speakers, and the United States, which sponsored and coordinated the event.  The day was broken down into six panels focusing on justice, case analyses, social responsibility, psychological effects, communication and education, and best practices.  Experts in the fields of justice, law enforcement, academia, and journalism from five different states (Rio, Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso, Pernambuco, and Ceara) participated as speakers, and more than 300 people attended the conference. 

Bom Dia Pernambuco anchor Meiry Lanunce spoke about her experiences gained from a 20-day International Visitors program in the United States, detailing the mechanisms used by government and civil society in the United States to combat domestic violence.  To learn more about her experience learning about domestic violence prevention programs in the United States, visit her blog.

On October 1, 2010 President Obama signed the proclamation of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to recognize the remarkable work being done to address domestic violence and the distance we still must travel to end it.