Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Since the 1970s, combating sexual and gender-based violence has been an integral part of CCR’s mission. We fought for recognition of the right to self-defense for victims of domestic violence, winning the first ever appeal of a murder conviction on these grounds, and helped to strike down New York State’s marital rape exemption. We helped successfully advocate for the recognition of rape and sexual violence as war crimes and forms of torture and even genocide in international tribunals and commissions. The Center’s most recent work against sexual and gender-based violence is our effort to hold high-ranking Vatican officials responsible for widespread and systemic rape and sexual violence by clergy. With our partners at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), CCR filed a formal request for an investigation by the International Criminal Court; our subsequent advocacy involved work with several U.N. committees and resulted in the Vatican being summoned for the first time ever and sharply criticized by the U.N. Committee Against Torture and the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. In the year after the ICC filing, SNAP was contacted by survivors and supporters in more than 70 countries.