Sonke involvement in CHANGE – White House Rally

Sonke joins the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and 20 other U.S. and international organizations at a rally at the White House in Washington D.C. to stand with women and girls raped in conflict at 12:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, December 9.

The rally is part of the Break Barriers campaign, launched last December. Break Barriers calls on U.S. President Obama to take executive action on correct implementation of the Helms Amendment and allow U.S. funding for abortion services overseas for women raped in conflict, and globally, in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment. The rally is the culmination of events that took place over the ‪#‎16Days‬ of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and will take place on the eve of International Human Rights Day.

  • The Helms Amendment, a decades-old provision, forbids the U.S. to “pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning,” but does not prohibit U.S. foreign assistance in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. Despite the distinction, lack of clarity around the implementation of Helms has served as a barrier to safe abortion services for women and girls, including those raped in conflict.
  • U.S. voters support executive action to ensure funding for safe abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. A January 2014 poll found that 57% of U.S. voters favour such action.
  • Since the Syrian conflict began, the most extensive form of violence women and girls there face is sexual violence, including rape.
  • At the U.N. in September, President Obama acknowledged that “mothers, sisters, and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war.”

WHAT: White House Rally to Stand with Women and Girls Raped in Conflict and Break Barriers to Post-Rape Care
WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 9, 2014
WHERE: White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20500.

Please join us if you are in D.C. and share with friends, colleagues and family in the area. ‪#‎BreakBarriers‬


  • Serra Sippel, CHANGE
  • Purnima Mane, Pathfinder International
  • Bafana Khumalo, Sonke Gender Justice
  • Rev. Harry Knox, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  • D.C. Councilmember David Grosso
  • Viviana Bohórquez Monsalve, La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres
  • Joel Davis, Youth to End Sexual Violence
  • Tala Haikal, American Task Force on Palestine
  • Imani Marks, Advocates for Youth
  • Jon O’Brien, Catholics for Choice
  • Carrie Wilson, International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict
  • Liesl Gerntholtz , Human Rights Watch