Media Scan, Sexual Violence Around the World – November 25, 2011

GLOBAL

UN Calls for Funds to End Violence Against Women

24 November, 2011

New Zealand Herald

The U.N. Secretary-General appealed today for a massive increase in funds for programs to stop the global pandemic of violence against women, saying the U.N. received more 2,500 applications this year requesting nearly $1.2 billion. Ban Ki-moon said that over 15 years, the U.N. Trust Fund to End Violence Against women has delivered grants worth $77 million to 33 initiatives in 126 countries, “but demand continues to outstrip resources.”

 

16 Days of Activism: What does it mean?

17 November, 2011

The Zimbabwean

These are the 16 days between International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November) and International Human Rights Day (10 December) to reinforce the fact that eliminating all forms of violence against women is a human rights issue, and that the act of perpetrating violence against women is a human rights violation. The 16-day period marks various dates which have a strong link to GBV.

 

 

 

 

“Gender Violence is Not Natural and Not Inevitable”

11 November, 2011

IPS

Dedicated efforts by women’s rights advocates are bearing fruit,.UN Women says, one example is that two-thirds of the world’s countries now have legal provisions to stop domestic violence. But as the issue has also risen on international security agendas, such as through the formal recognition of rape as a war crimes, violence against women and girls remains a pervasive problem in nearly every society. The UNiTe campaign calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, the private sector, the media, and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing this global pandemic.

AFRICA

Ending Violence Against Women Begins With Change in Attitudes

22 November, 2011

UN News Centre

Strong laws are vital to ending violence against women, but the long road to tackling this scourge begins with a change in attitudes, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed today during a visit to Ethipoia. Many Ethiopian women and girls still suffer harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting and early marriage, she pointed out. “We have so speak out against these practices. Respect for culture is important but only as long as there is no harm. We cannot continue so-called traditions that cause pain an suffering.”

 

Against All Odds: ‘Virginity test’ victim awaits her verdict

21 November, 2011

Global Post

Samira Ibrahim, who pursued legal action against the Egyptian military for allegedly forcing her to undergo a ‘virginity test,’ anxiously awaits the verdict of the State Council on November 29. Five human rights organizations are supporting her case against the military. Her case could break new ground for women’s rights, but Ibrahim has been warned by her own lawyers that it is an uphill battle and that there is little in the way of physical violence.

 

Female Genital Mutilation: Raising Awareness in Sierra Leone

24 November, 2011

Awoko

An agreement stating that girls under 18 will not undergo Female Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone was recently signed by village chiefs and other community leaders, including women who perform FGM witnessed by police, civil society, and NGO’s. Though the government has forbidden the practice for underage children, some female activists and NGO’s are making tremendous efforts in raising awareness among victims and perpetrators of FGM. Convincing people that this ingrained tradition is wrong is an uphill struggle in a country emerging from a decade of civil war.

 

US-Egyptian Writer Alleges Sexual Abuse by Police

24 November, 2011

Associated Press

Mona Eltahwy, a prominent Egyptian-born U.S. columnist said local police sexually assaulted, beat, and blindfolded her after she was detained Thursday near Tahrir Square during clashes, leaving her left arm and right hand broken and in casts. “What I experienced is just the tip of the iceberg of the brutality Egyptians experience everyday,” she said, considering herself lucky because her dual nationality might have played a role in sparing her further abuse. “This is just the type of brutality that our revolution came to fight.”

 

ASIA/SOUTHEAST ASIA

Pressure and Discrimination Continues for Unmarried Women in China

13 November, 2011

IPS

The number of unmarried women has increased faster over the last decade than the number of unmarried men. “Leftovers” – the derogatory term commonly used to describe an unmarried woman over the age of 27 – remain under pressure from families to marry. Single women above 35 are referred to as “high as heaven” – suggesting that these women are often beyond help. Pressures to find a husband are rising in a country where wealth is a marker of success, and men must be able to provide an apartment and a car before they are considered suitable matches.

 

Burmese Women Routinely Harassed in City

15 November, 2011

Times of India

Cynthia has been living in fear for the past several days. She has often been changing her travel routes. One of the many Burmese refuges in Bodella, she along with two others, was a victim of a physical assault by three young men in the area. Trouble with the police and landlords is routine for the refugees and asylum seekers. A three-month-old rape case of a hearing and speech-impaired Burmese girl still waits police action.

 

China Considers Law Against Domestic Violence

18 November, 2011

Channel NewsAsia

Even though it is stated as a probable cause for divorce under China’s Marriage Law, the country does not have separate legislation that clearly defines domestic violence. But that may change by the end of this year. China’s top lawmakers are now deciding whether to pass a new, anti-domestic violence law, that could allow police to arrest abusers, and provide immediate help for victims.

EUROPE

Forced Marriages: Modern slave trade in the UK

17 November, 2011

Mail Online

Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned forced marriage as “little more than slavery,” saying it is a problem we should not shy away from because of cultural concerns. His views are endorsed by Home Secretary Theresa May, who is investigating if those who organize forced marriages should face criminal charges – as in Germany, France, and Norway. Last year, the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit received 1,735 pleas for help from victims.

LATIN AMERICA/CENTRAL AMERICA/MEXICO

Deadly Cocktail of Sexual Violence and Impunity

23 November, 2011

IPS

Sexual violence against women in Mexico is on the rise, alongside the escalation of violence between police and soldiers and the drug cartels, women’s rights activists warn. “We have seen an increase in sexual harassment, groping, gang rape, and rape of girls,” Imelda Marrufo, founding director of the Red Mesa de Mujeres, a network of women’s groups in Ciudad Juarez, on the U.S. border told IPS. However, the real total is assumed to be much higher as rape is considered to be one of the most underreported crimes.

 

 

 

How to Prevent ‘Femicide’

23 November, 2011

IPS

Over the last five years, the legal definition of “femicide” – a term coined for gender-based killings of women and girls – has begun to be incorporated in the criminal codes for some Latin American countries, to give visibility to these cases and to secure policies to combat violence against women. But experts on gender law were generally skeptical about the effectiveness of this legal definition. Rather than introduce a new type of crime, the experts would rather demand a stronger response by the state to reported attacks on women.

 

‘Jewel of the Caribbean’ is a Woman’s Nightmare

15 November, 2011

Metro

It turns out, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the vacationer’s idyll is one of the world’s worst places to be a woman. Over the last decade, more women have been murdered in St. Vincent than any other country in the nine-member Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States. In 2007, the island nation had the third-highest rate of reported rapes in the world, according to a UN report. Even Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been twice accused of sexual assault.

 

Fighting ‘Machismo’ Is a Guy Thing

10 November, 2011

IPS

An original campaign led by men is getting thousands of men in Argentina to reflect on the abuse of power and commit themselves to helping eradicate against women. The campaign is called “260 men against machismo,” in allusion to the number of “femicides.” The idea is to recruit well-known figures from different spheres, like politics, art, show business, the labour movement, the armed forces, and religion, to get publicly involved in the campaign and urge men in their areas to discuss these issues and sign a commitment against violence.

MIDDLE EAST/NORTHERN AFRICA/CENTRAL ASIA

Afghan Theatre Group Lets War Victims Tell Their Stories

7 November, 2011

IPS

On a small stage, a woman appears, grief written on her face as she wanders through the streets of Kabul, searching for her missing child. Suddenly, she stops by a scene of ruins and stares. AHRDO, an Afghan-based civil society organization using theatre and the arts to present transitional justice and gender platforms, as been developing the piece since the organization’s inception in 2009. “This was a new methodology working with victims on a grassroots level. It was the only thing we could do to make a strong play to reflect the emotion.”

 

Wanted: A Revolution for Girls

8 November, 2011

IPS

Sixteen-year-old Noor Bano believes nothing short of a revolution will convince the men in Malangabad – her remote village in the Khairpur district of the Sindh, Afghanistan – to treat women as equals. Noor’s newly acquired consciousness about women’s liberation is a result of her participation in a six-month programme run by the Leadership for Environment and Development Pakistan (LEAD), which aims to improve the confidence and health education of young girls across the country.

 

Kazakhstan: What is behind the peace corps pullout?

22 November, 2011

EurasiaNet

The Peace Corps, a volunteer program that aims to spread American goodwill and soft power, is abruptly pulling out of Kazakhstan. Officials and Peace Corps representatives downplays any notion of tension surrounding the volunteers’ presence in Kazakhstan. However, local observers in seeking an explanation are looking at other potential factors including sexual assaults. There are concerns over the reportedly high incidences of sexual assaults against female Peace Corps Volunteers. “Kazakhstan does currently rank number 1 among all Peace Corps countries for incidents of rape or sexual assault.”

 

Pakistan Passes Law to Stop “Anti-Women Practices”

18 November, 2011

TrustLaw

Pakistan’s parliament has passed a landmark law aimed at strengthening protection for women facing economic and social discrimination through practices such as forced marriage. The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act prohibits and punishes exploitative practices such as depriving women of inheritance, forcing them into marriage to settle personal or family disputes, bartering them or making them marry the Koran.

NORTH AMERICA

B.C. Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Polygamy

23 November, 2011

CTV

A judge in British Colombia has decided that Canada’s ban of polygamy does not violate the country’s Charter of Rights. B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman said, “Women in polygamous relationships are at an elevated risk of physical and psychological harm. They face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse. Competition for material and emotional access to a shared husband can lead to fractious co-wife relationships.”

PACIFIC COUNTRIES

Industry Calls for Migrant Sex Worker Visas

18 November, 2011

ABC Melbourne

The sex industry is pushing for changes to Australia’s immigration system to give migrant sex workers the same visa rights as other professions and trades. Campaigners say a legitimate visa category for sex workers would strike at the heart of trafficking from South-East Asia, while opponents say the move could contribute to exploitation.

 

Pacific Women Suffering in Terrible Silence

25 November, 2011

The Sydney Morning Herald

Penny Williams, Australia’s new Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, had eyes the size of saucers as she described the scene at a recent Australia-US discussion about violence against women in the Pacific. Barack Obama may have only taken up the mantle of “Pacific President” last week, but already there are encouraging signs his administration is keen to work with Australia and Pacific partners to crank up efforts to stop the violence. There is an urgent need for more long-term support and targeted attention. The cry from the field is for “core funding.”