Norma Hotaling
Rosario Navarrette

Recorder: Jennifer Gagliardi 


“We are longing for a world committed to the fulfillment of peace, dignity, freedom, respect, prosperity, health and joy for all people, where the unity and wholeness of the self empowers the global community to speak out against all violence and our voices can be heard without retribution. We are working toward the day when we can celebrate a non-violent planet.

“We want to create a safe environment where women and men work together with mutual respect to eliminate violence in all its forms, and women and girls are encouraged to develop their full potential.

“To fulfill our vision, we must clearly define violence against women and children, create mechanisms at both the grassroots and institutional levels to disseminate that definition, and we must provide powerful advocacy to support and empower victims of violence. We must achieve a culture of zero tolerance for violence against women.

“We pursue justice and freedom to create a world where you and I and we will have the power to fulfill our hopes for peace, safety, dignity and joy. With support and community, we’re going to get there.”


BACKGROUND: The Platform For Action was endorsed by 189 countries at the Fourth United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China in September 1995. Defining violence against women, the Platform states:

“Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms….In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture. The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women.

“The term, ‘violence against women’ means any act of gender-based violence that result in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. Accordingly, violence against women encompasses but is not limited to the following:

“a) physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

“b) physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

“c) physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.”



1. Adopt and implement legislation to end violence against women;

2. Work actively to ratify and implement all international agreements related to violence against women, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);

3. Adopt new laws and enforce existing ones to punish members of security forces and police or any other state agents for acts of violence against women;

4. Set up shelters, provide legal aid and other services for girls and women at risk, and provide counseling and rehabilitation for perpetrators of violence against women;

5. Step up national and international cooperation to dismantle networks engaged in trafficking in women.


The Platform for Action includes the following recommendations, among others, to:

  • Condemn violence against women and invoke no custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid obligations with respect to its elimination;
  • Establish services that are linguistically and culturally accessible to migrant women and girls;
  • Develop programs and procedures to eliminate sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women in all educational institutions, workplaces and elsewhere;
  • Study the causes and consequences of violence against women and effectiveness of preventive measures.
  • Support initiatives of women’s organizations and NGO’s all over the world, to raise awareness on the issue of violence against women and to contribute to its elimination;
  • Punish acts of violence against women’
  • Reinforce penal, civil, labor and administrative sanctions;
  • Eliminate trafficking in women for sexual exploitation and forced labor;
  • Assist victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking.
  • Work actively to ratify and/or implement international human rights instruments as they relate to violence against women;
  • Create or strengthen institutional mechanisms so that women and girls can report acts of violence against them in a safe and confidential environment, free from the fear of penalties or retaliation, and file charges;
  • Ensure that women with disabilities have access to information and services in the field of violence against women;
  • Allocate adequate resources within the government budget and mobilize community resources for activities related to the elimination of violence against women, including resources for the implementation of plans of action at all appropriate levels….


Cross-Cutting issues to be integrated in work within all these areas are: Racism, immigration, indigenous women, women with disabilities, gay and lesbian rights, religion and globalization.



  • One in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be molested by age 18 (National Action Against Rape).
  • Eighty-three percent of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime (Stimpson and Best, 1991). One out of three women in the overall population will be raped in her lifetime (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  • Nine out of 10 rapes are never reported (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  • Nearly 2 in 3 female victims of violence were related to or knew their attacker; almost 6 times as many women victimized by intimates (18%) as those victimized by strangers (3%) did not report their violent victimization to police because they feared reprisal from the offender; police were more likely to respond within 5 minutes if the offender was a stranger than if an offender was know to the female victim(Ronet Bachman, U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report, January 1994).
  • Ninety percent of all family violence defendants are never prosecuted, and 1/3rd of the cases that would be considered felonies if committed by strangers are filed as misdemeanors (News from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, September 2, 1993).
  • Seventy-five percent of survivors in the general population and 84% of college students knew their attacker (National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center; Mary P. Koss, Ms. Project on Campus Sexual Assault).
  • Ninety-three percent of all rapes are between people of the same race (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  • Violence is the reason stated for divorce in 22% of middle-class marriages (EAP Digest November/December 1991).
  • Lesbians and gay men experience domestic violence at about the same rate as heterosexuals (Renzetti, 1992; Letellier, 1994).
  • If all occurring domestic violence were reported to the police by women, one-third of the incidents would be classified as felony rapes, robberies, or aggravated assaults and the remaining two-thirds would be classified as simple assaults (National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, 1990).
  • Two/thirds of women murdered in San Francisco were killed by their spouse or partner (SFPD, 1990); nationally, 28% of murdered women were killed by their husband or boyfriend (FBI, 1991).
  • Between 15 and 25% of pregnant women are battered (NCADV, 1993).
  • Fifty percent of all homeless women and children in the U.S.A. are fleeing domestic violence (Sheehan, 1993).
  • It is estimated that 25% of workplace problems such as absenteeism, lower productivity, turnover and excessive use of medical benefits are due to family violence (Employee Assistance Providers/MN).
  • A survey of private sector workers found 53.1% reported being fired, not promoted, not given raises because they had refused to comply with requests for sexual relationships(Gutek, 1985); 56% in another study reported physical harassment (Farley, 1978).
  • Thirty percent of undergraduate women are sexually harassed by an instructor during their college careers (Dziech and Weiner, 1984); 15.9% of graduate women reported being directly assaulted (Bailey and Richards, 1985).
  • Seventy-five percent of faculty were subjected to sexual jokes during their graduate training; 57.8% of the women experienced sexist remarks about their clothing, body, or sexual activities;12.2% had experienced behavior amounting to rape “unwanted intercourse”, fondling or molestation (Bond, 1988).



The United States Government (Violence Against Women Act) made commitments to: Launch a 6 year, $1.6 billion initiative to fight violence against women, including domestic violence and sexual assault; the Office of Violence Against Women has been established at the Justice Department, headed by Bonnie Campbell (202) 616-8894

Publicize the problem of domestic violence, declaring October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month; President Clinton signed an Executive Memorandum which directs all federal agencies to train employees about domestic violence and direct them to resources;

Through tougher new federal laws and assistance from states and localities, progress is expected in law enforcement, victim assistance, prosecutions, and crime prevention; programs for dispelling myths about domestic violence; nationwide meetings in this area are also to be implemented;

Establish specialized police and prosecution units for sexual and domestic violence and enhance training of police, prosecutors and judges;

Adopt criminal justice reforms new regulations in cases of sexual or domestic violence, including victim restitution, victim confidentiality, registration of offenders, and development of offender databases nationwide.

Enforce access to health care clinic entrances;

The present administration reaffirms its commitment to obtain ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

All members of the U.N. have signed the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and endorsed the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women reporting to the Commission on Human Rights.





First steps

¥ educate ourselves and our constituencies about the Platform for Action;

¥ bring global awareness of women’s human rights to local organizing;

¥ envision a Platform for Action that we want to see implemented statewide and locally;

¥ make specific recommendations for implementation in civil, political, social and cultural arenas.


Principles to guide our organizing, post-Beijing

¥ Begin to think of the work that we do as peace work;

¥ View women’s human rights as a new paradigm for achieving social change;

¥ Use Beijing Platform language in all we do in our work for social change;

¥ Integrate cross-cutting issues into all areas of our work.






Adopt CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women) “…the full and complete development of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields….”

States and municipalities shall adopt all appropriate measures of legislative, administrative, financial, educational, social or other appropriate means to implement Platform recommendations.

Individuals, organizations and governments shall consider civil, political, social and cultural rights in work toward implementing Platform recommendations.


Criminal Justice

All criminal justice initiatives should be evaluated in terms of their gender implications: How do they affect women and girls, men and boys?

  • Improve enforcement of existing laws (including stalking laws, incest and child abuse, statutory and spousal rape statutes).
  • Establish SART teams and Domestic Violence units.
  • Finance education not prison construction.
  • Youth and gang crime prevention/intervention programs should include education on violence against women and equally fund and staff programs for girls at risk.
  • Advocacy programs should be adequately funded and staffed.
  • Conduct more effective prosecution of sex crimes and battering.
  • Increase accountability of criminal justice system to communities of color.
  • Provide access of communities of color and women of all colors to decision-making.
  • Improve and increase alternatives to incarceration.
  • Focus on rehabilitation not revenge inside.
  • Provide adequate jury education on violence against women.
  • Decriminalize prostitution (see legislation).
  • Improve and increase community policing.
  • Adequately train police, district attorneys, judges, jail and prison employees.


Public Health

Conservatively speaking, one in three girls or women is a survivor of sexual violence. Prevention education and services need to be available, accessible and culturally appropriate to all.

  • Recognize that violence against women is epidemic.
  • Recognize that disabilities are increasingly caused by violence against women.
  • Public health education campaigns against rape and battering are needed.
  • Recognize rape and battering affect women’s reproductive health, emotional health; immune system, access to health care and addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Recognize violence against women precipitates homelessness.
  • Provide adequate, culturally and linguistically accessible shelter space for battered women, including lesbians and women with disabilities.
  • Train medical providers on short and long-term health consequences of sexual violence and appropriate interventions.
  • Fund research on the health effects and costs of violence against women.
  • Public health education campaigns addressing violence against women.
  • Oppose legislation which would limit women’s access to health care (e.g., CCRI).
  • Provide more prevention and treatment of child victims of abuse (adult offenders report a high incidence of untreated child abuse).
  • Provide access to confidential health services (including mental health) by minors.
  • Recognize workplace violence against women as domestic violence when it is; design and implement appropriate interventions.
  • Violence against women affects women’s health and productivity in the workplace; design and implement appropriate interventions.



Public education can provide leadership for building community consensus and practice of opposing violence and building peace. Education for violence prevention can save lives and money.

  • Educate children about alternatives to violence beginning in preschool.
  • Begin teaching violence-intervention and peacemakeing skills in elementary school.
  • Provide age-appropriate sex education beginning in elementary school.
  • Provide self defense classes beginning in elementary school.
  • Provide child abuse prevention programs beginning in elementary school.
  • Remove gender bias from curriculum, e.g., history lessons should include instances of women being strong and effective and men opposing the use of violence to win a conflict.
  • Educate students, staff and faculty on rights to be free from abuse and sexual violence.
  • Teach about the legal system and how it works beginning in elementary school.
  • Teach all levels about homophobia, sexism, racism, disability and xenophobia.
  • All school and university staff, faculty and administrators should receive education about sexual harassment policies and procedures on a regular basis.
  • Widely publicize exual harassment policies and procedures at all levels.
  • All education against sexual violence should focus on what boys and men can do to stop violence against women; not merely on what girls and women can do to protect themselves.



  • Legalize marriage for lesbians and gay men.
  • Oppose legislation to make divorce more difficult to obtain.
  • Oppose implementation of Proposition 187.
  • Establish and enforce laws against female genital mutilation .
  • Decriminalize prostitution.
  • Oppose English-Only legislation.
  • Oppose criminalization of affirmative action hiring; oppose CCRI.
  • Enforce sexual harassment policies; publicize policies and procedures in all schools, universities and workplaces.
  • Oppose “Protection of Marriage Act” and all national legislation designed to promote male control of women in public and private arenas.
  • Support reform of national asylum laws to promote asylum for women on the basis of discrimination and violence against women.



Asian Women’s Shelter, 3543 18th Street, Box 19, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bay Area Women Against Rape

CAADV (State and Local)

Cal-CASA (State and Local)

California Coalition for Battered Women in Prison

California Faculty Association

California State Superintendent of Schools

California State Uuniversity Rape Prevention Education Programs and Women’s Resource Centers

CASARC, 995 Potrero Ave. Rm. 239, Bldg. 80, San Francisco, CA 94110

CA-WILD (Women’s International Linkage on Disability)

Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East, 1093 Braxton Ave. #603, Los Angeles,CA 90024

Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services, 3543 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Commission on the Status of Women, 25 Van Ness Avenue, Room 130, San Francisco, CA 94102

Community United Against Violence, San Francisco

Equal Rights Advocates, 1663 Mission St., Fifth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Family Violence Prevention Fund, 383 Rhode Island, San Francisco, CA

Family Violence Project, 850 Bryant St., Bldg. 1, Ste. 200, San Francisco, CA

Girls Against Gang Violence, San Francisco

Healing Woman, P.O. Box 3038, Moss Beach, CA 94038

Intergroup Clearinghouse, 995 Market Street, Suite #1219, San Francisco, CA 94103

International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, 2288 Fulton Street, Ste. 312, Berkeley, CA 94103

Jewish Family and Children’s Services, (SF)


La Casa de las Madres, 965 Mission St., Ste. 300, San Francisco, CA 94103

Manalive (San Francisco)

Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE)

Mid-Peninsula Support Network, 200 Blossom Way, 3rd Floor, Mountain View, CA 94041

Mujeres Unidas y Activas, 3543 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

National Gay Rights Advocates, 540 Castro St., San Francisco, CA 94114

National Latina Health Organization, (Oakland, CA)

National Organization for Women

Oakland Men’s Project

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists, 4134 Vale Ave., Oakland, CA 94619

Project Survive, CCSF, 50 Phelan Ave, Box S55, Office S24, San Francisco, CA 94112

PROMISE, 1095 Market Street, Ste. 417, San Francisco, CA 94103

Queen’s Bench, 333 Market Street, Ste. 3200, San Francisco, CA 94105

Rape Prevention Education Program, University of California, Woods Building, Ground Level,100 Medical Center Way, San Francisco, CA 94143-0909

Rape Treatment Center, San Francisco General Hospital, 995 Potrero Ave., San Francisco, CA 94110

Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center,1250 16th St.,Santa Monica,CA 90404

Rosalie House (SF)


San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation

San Francisco Network for Battered Lesbians and Bisexual Women (415) 281-0276

San Francisco Women Against Rape, 3543 Eighteenth Street, #7 San Francisco, CA 94110

Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission, PO Box 367 Boulder Creek, CA 95006

Sexual Assault Prevention & Resource Center, Stanford University

The S.A.F.E. Place, 190 Denslowe Drive, San Francisco, CA 94132

Third Wave

UC Berkeley Rape Prevention Education Program

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

University of California RPEP’s and Women’s Resource Centers

WILD for Women’s Human Rights (Women’s International Leadership Development)

W.O.M.A.N., Inc., 333 Valencia St., Ste. 251, San Francisco, CA 94103

Woman Power Self Defense, 74A 14th Street, Box 428, San Francisco, CA 94114

Women of Color Against Domestic Violence

Women Lawyers of Sacramento, 1331 Twenty-first Street, Sacramento, CA 95814


Adopted by the Violence Against Women Task Force of the California Women’s Agenda Assembly on June 29, 1996