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After winning substantial libel damages from a British tabloid, Nicole Kidman plans to donate her compensation to the United Nations Development Fund For Women (UNIFEM). UNIFEM consider Kidman – a goodwill ambassador for them since January 2006 – a gift thanks to her visibility, voice and connections.

“Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation,” said Kidman during their Say NO to Violence Against Women campaign, launched last month in response to the ever-slow progress against abuses such as rape, household violence, trafficking and traditional practices. According to statistics, one in three women will experience violence in her lifetime.

The campaign invites people to add their names to www.saynotoviolence.org with the goal of getting enough signatures to put the issue on the global agenda. Although there are more and more legislative provisions addressing domestic violence today, implementation of laws and lack of resources is insufficient.

“As long as violence is pervasive and women do not dare to accuse their abusers, the issue needs to be much more prominent in public debate,” said Joanne Sandler, acting UNIFEM Executive Director.

Over the past decade, 120 countries have received much-needed support for hundreds of projects through UNIFEM’s Trust Fund. This year alone, $5 million has been awarded to various initiatives, which include a community-based referral system supporting survivors of domestic violence in Albania, implementation of criminal code provisions prohibiting female genital mutilation in Egypt, awareness programs on HIV/AIDS and violence against women in Peru, and implementation of national laws on violence against women in Rwanda.

“As an integral part of our Internet campaign, the UN Trust Fund shows that violence against women is a problem with a solution,” said Sandler.

Kidman hopes to be a lifelong part of UNIFEM: “When you’ve been blessed with a fortunate life, it is very much your duty to find the places where you can give back.”

The Say NO to Violence against Women campaign will run until March 8, 2008, International Women’s Day.

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