According to UN Women, it is estimated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives and some national studies put the rate at up to 70%. Despite these staggering numbers, in the majority of countries with available data, less than 40% of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort. Among women who do, most look to family and friends and very few seek help from formal institutions and mechanisms, such as police and health services. As with so many of the vexing issues facing the world, social entrepreneurs are answering the call and the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation has been pleased to assist.
One such enterprise is No Means No Worldwide, which has the bold mission to end sexual violence against women and children around the world and uses its innovative “Impower System” to prevent rape on a massive scale. Equally impressive, our client FreeFrom has designed inspiring programs to support survivors of gender-based violence by creating pathways to financial security and long-term safety.
Along with the great effort outlined in 10 Lex Mundi Member Firms Participate in a Multi-Jurisdictional Project Providing Guidance on Civil Legal Remedies for Domestic Violence Survivors, Lex Mundi member firms have stepped up to assist these inspiring social enterprises to scale their transformative work. Morrison & Foerster LLP (USA, California) provided critical pro bono support to No Means No Worldwide on matters pertaining to intellectual property protection and contract negotiation.
Likewise, Morrison & Foerster was joined by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (USA, Indiana and Minnesota), Foley Hoag LLP (USA, Massachusetts), and Womble Bond Dickinson (USA, North Carolina) in a multi-state effort to provide in-depth pro bono research and assistance to prepare FreeFrom’s Compensation Compass. Available in all 50 states in the United States, the impressive tool makes the convoluted process of pursuing compensation accessible for survivors of domestic violence across the country by equipping them with the information and step-by-step support they need to seek economic justice for themselves.
“Launching the Compensation Compass nationally was a huge undertaking that required legal research on the compensation options available to survivors of domestic violence in all 50 states,” said Amy Durrence, Director of Law and Policy at FreeFrom. “We truly would not have been able to complete all of the research necessary to launch our groundbreaking new tech tool without the outstanding work of Lex Mundi Foundation’s member law firms. We’re forever grateful for the volunteers’ time, dedication, and excellent work product!”
“Gender-based violence takes an unfathomable psychological and economic toll on everyone it impacts and is a leading cause of gender inequality,” said Rachel Williams, Pro Bono Counsel for Morrison & Foerster LLP. “We are inspired by the remarkable work being done by No Means No and FreeFrom to combat this global human rights epidemic. When given the opportunity to help them do their great work, we jumped at the chance and appreciate the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation sourcing these important matters.”