Norma Cruz, a human rights defender who last year staged a hunger strike in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the illegal adoption of stolen children from Guatemala, will speak Monday, March 1, at the University of Central Florida.

Cruz will talk about “Violence Against Women in Guatemala: Global Connections and Action.” Her presentation is part of the School of Social Work’s ongoing effort to raise awareness about international social welfare issues. The speech, which is free and open to the public, will be at 1 p.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom of the Student Union.

Violence against women, including femicide — the murder of women by men simply because they are women — has reached epidemic proportions in Guatemala. Cruz provides emotional, social and legal support to victims of domestic violence and the families of murdered women through the Survivors Foundation, a Guatemala City-based organization that she co-founded and directs.

Her effort to bring justice to perpetrators has occurred at enormous personal risk, including death threats. Last year, she received the 2009 “International Woman of Courage” award from the U.S. Department of State.

Sponsors of the presentation include UCF’s B.S.W. and M.S.W. Student Associations, School of Social Work, College of Health and Public Affairs and Office of International Studies.