Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias



The stories told in Jon Krakauer’s new book, “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town,” remind us of what a brave and risky thing it still is for a woman to report a rape. Krakauer, who has written for this Web site, explores a spate of sexual assaults that occurred on and around the campus of the University of Montana between 2008 and 2012. For several of the women involved, the risk of reporting their rapes felt even more acute because the men they were naming were football players in a town that, like a lot of college towns, is football crazy. The team was the Grizzlies; Missoula is also known as Grizzlyville. Two of the cases eventually went to court. One involved a Grizzly linebacker named Beau Donaldson, who pleaded guilty to having raped a young woman who’d been a childhood friend; she was deeply asleep when he climbed on top of her. The other involved Jordan Johnson, a Grizzly quarterback accused of rape by a woman Krakauer calls by the pseudonym Cecilia Washburn. Johnson maintained the sex was consensual.


The BOOK, MISSOULA Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

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On the worst night of her life, Nicole Beverly was beaten almost unconscious by her husband and then forced to sit beside him as he loaded and unloaded his gun, threatening to kill her. “I was sure I was going to die,” she told The Huffington Post.

Paralyzed with fear, it took her five months to tell anyone about the abuse and seek help. One crisp Michigan morning she did, filing a restraining order and fleeing with her two children. But after Beverly was granted the order, she was horrified to find out that the gun her husband had used to terrorize her remained in his possession.

Under the 1996 Lautenberg amendment to the Federal Gun Control Act, people who are subject to permanent domestic violence restraining orders can’t own or buy guns. (The law generally doesn’t apply to dating partners or temporary restraining orders, although there are legislative efforts underway to change that.)

But Michigan -- like most states -- doesn’t have a law requiring people with domestic violence restraining orders to actually surrender their firearms to authorities. Without a mandatory state process in place to remove his guns, Beverly's husband was left armed and dangerous.


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The tremendous imbalance of power in the agricultural industry creates an atmosphere where sexual violence is common. In a recent study, 80 percent of women farmworkers surveyed said they experienced some form of sexual violence on the job (compared to 25-50 percent of all women in the workforce).

While sexual violence in the workplace has been studied extensively, far less attention has been given to the issue as it applies to women farmworkers in the United States whose circumstances differ greatly from the white middle-class focus of most sexual violence literature. The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive review of the existing documentation of sexual violence against women farmworkers who harvest and pack agricultural goods, the factors in agriculture that heighten their risk and the challenges of finding effective solutions. 

Publication date, April 16, 2015,          Publication type, Research

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The 11th Annual and First International
Battered Mothers Custody Conference
Hands Across the Water!
This year's agenda will include information, interviews, and presentations by
battered mothers’s and children’s advocates from countries "across the pond" in Europe

May 15th, 16th, and 17th, 2015 in the New York City Metropolitan Area
All sessions will be held at the conference hotel:
Empire Hotel Meadowlands by Clarion
2 Harmon Plaza, Secaucus, New Jersey 07094
(201) 348-6900

There are still rooms to reserve at 
the special BMCC XI rate of $99/single  $103/double!  
Call or contact this staff person DIRECTLY to reserve a room for the BMCC XI:
Antonieta Sevillano



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Sliver of a Full Moon is being staged at a law school for the first time ever to pay tribute to the incredible progress inherent in the partial restoration of Native nations’ jurisdiction to prosecute those who commit crimes against Native women on tribal lands in the 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”). Sliver of a Full Moon is the story of a movement to restore safety and access to justice to American Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States. It documents the grassroots movement leading up to the historic 2013 re-authorization of VAWA—an affirmative step towards restoring safety to Native women and sovereignty to Indian tribes to address certain violent crimes committed by non-Indians on Native lands. On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed VAWA into law.

The enactment of VAWA 2013 is critical for American Indian and Alaska Native women. "One in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and six in ten will be physically assaulted," said Lucy Rain Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. Simpson added that, "Even worse, on some reservations, the murder rate for Native women is ten times the national average."

Sliver of a Full Moon’s cast features three courageous Native women who stepped forward to publicly share their stories of abuse by non-Indians and counter staunch opponents to the tribal provisions—Diane Millich (Southern Ute), Lisa Brunner (White Earth Ojibwe), and Billie Jo Rich (Eastern Band Cherokee). Professional actors will join them to portray Congressman Tom Cole (Chickasaw Nation), Eastern Band Cherokee Councilwoman Terri Henry, and Tulalip Tribe’s former Vice-Chairwoman Deborah Parker. And, for the first time ever, Sliver of a Full Moon will feature the stories of women survivors and advocates from Alaska, including Lenora (Lynn) Hootch, Joann Horn, Priscilla Kameroff, Shirley Moses, Nettie Warbelow, and Tami Jerue. 

Following the performance, Native women survivors Lisa Brunner (White Earth Ojibwe), Billie Jo Rich (Eastern Band Cherokee), and Diane Millich (Southern Ute), as well as tribal leaders former Vice-Chairwoman Deborah Parker (Tulalip Tribes) and Chairwoman Terri Henry (Eastern Band Cherokee) will engage the audience in a post-show panel discussion concerning the intersections of federal Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and safety of Native women.

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Una madre adolescente cada cinco minutos

A ese ritmo crece el número de madres menores de 20 años en Argentina, según datos del Ministerio de Salud. Esos nacimientos representan el 15 por ciento de los más de 750.000 reportados en el país suramericano. Una proporción discreta, si se compara con otras naciones latinoamericanas.

De acuerdo con estadísticas de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal) en Nicaragua y República Dominicana la quinta parte de las madres tienen entre 15 y 19 años. En Ecuador es el 17 por ciento.

La tasa de fertilidad en adolescentes, reportada por el Banco Mundial, confirma el alcance continental del fenómeno. Cuba, el país latinoamericano mejor situado, ocupa el puesto 107, con una tasa de 42 nacimientos por cada 1.000 adolescentes. El promedio de la región, incluyendo los estados no hispanos del Caribe, supera los 67 por cada 1.000, un nivel muy distante al de la Unión Europea (10,7 por cada 1.000) y más del doble que en Estados Unidos (29,6 por cada 1.000). Solo el África Subsahariana exhibe índices más alarmantes.


Vea Tambien: Prueba del Día Nacional de la Prevención del Embarazo en Adolescentes

And, in English, The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Quiz

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Chicas Nuevas 24 Horas: Making of (completo)

Patricia Roda, directora y productora de cine de reconocida trayectoria, es la realizadora del Making Of de Chicas Nuevas 24 Horas. De su mano iremos viajando a través de los distintos momentos vividos durante la grabación del documental y conoceremos a quienes han formado parte de todo el proceso de investigación, producción, realización y del
trabajo posterior en este proyecto. Os invitamos a disfrutar de este viaje.



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2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Is this a time to celebrate progress or has the Protocol caused more problems than it has solved? What changes are taking place on the ground, after 15 years of building anti-trafficking into government, NGO and INGO programming? How do those who negotiated the Protocol view it now? What aspects of the Protocol’s definition of trafficking continue to be problematic or controversial? As well as reviewing legal frameworks around trafficking and related human rights abuses, this issue examines how the Protocol can be more useful in the decades ahead to people who are trafficked, as well as to women, migrants and workers who are also affected by anti-trafficking policy.

See Complete Issue free online in PDF


Issue 4, April 2015 Fifteen Years of the UN Trafficking Protocol Special Issue—

* Editorial: Looking Back, Looking Forward: The UN Trafficking Protocol at fifteen

* Two Cheers for the Trafficking Protocol

* Protocol at the Crossroads: Rethinking anti-trafficking law from an Indian labour law perspective

* Purity, Victimhood and Agency: Fifteen years of the UN Trafficking Protocol

* Was Trafficking in Persons Really Criminalised?

* Re-evaluating Palermo: The case of Burmese women as Chinese brides

* Trafficking in Persons for Ransom and the Need to Expand the Interpretation of Article 3 of the UN Trafficking Protocol

Debate: ‘The Trafficking Protocol has advanced the global movement against human exploitation.’

* Debate: Achievements of the Trafficking Protocol: Perspectives from the former UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons

* Debate: The Trafficking Protocol has Advanced the Global Movement against Human Exploitation: The case of the United Kingdom

* Debate: From Palermo to the Streets of Oslo: Pros and cons of the trafficking framework

* Debate: Trafficking as a Floating Signifier: The view from Brazil

* Interview: The Trafficking Protocol and the Anti-Trafficking Framework:



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Women of Color Network, Inc. Addressing Unique Challenges and Ending Domestic Violence for ALL WOMEN, Women of Color, their families and Communities.

WOCN, Inc. National Call to Action
Training and Technical Assistance Project (NCTATAP) 2015-2017
WOCN, Inc.’s Anti-Oppression Training & TA addresses issues that ultimately impact services to communities of color and other underserved populations based on 
race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, faith, and other identities.
Announcing Women of Color Network, Inc.’s National Call to Action Training and Technical Assistance Project (NCTATAP) for State Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dual and Tribal Coalitions and Coalitions within U.S. Territories:
NCTATAP has been refunded by the Office on Violence Against Women, to support state domestic and sexual violence coalitions develop and enhance culturally relevant approaches. Through anti-oppression training and technical assistance, the project will encourage constructive organizational culture and improve quality of services to communities of color.  This WOCN, Inc. initiative is based on over fifteen years of serving domestic and sexual violence coalitions and local programs throughout the nation. 


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The relationship between gun ownership and safety is a hotly debated one in the United States, and it has also been the subject of extensive data-driven analysis. A 2014 meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who have access to firearms at home are twice as likely to die in gun-related homicides and more than three times as likely to commit suicide than those without such access. The study also found that men with access to a gun at home were nearly four times more likely than women to commit suicide with a gun, while women were three times more likely to die in a gun-related homicide.



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The Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode), in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations and the Dominican Political Observatory (OPD by its Spanish acronims) of Funglode, hosted on March 18 the presentation of a research study at the United Nations on The Elimination of Violence Against Women. The event, which was organized in parallel to the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 59) was very well attended with close to 100 participants. The event helped to highlight that policies seeking to eliminate violence against women in the Dominican Republic were implemented on paper but not in practice. The keynote speaker, Ms. Diuris Betances, confirmed that women on average received considerable less pay than men carrying out the same job.

The presentation formed part of the official launch of the GFDD/Funglode publication Status of Women: Studies and Reflections in the Dominican Republic and Latin America prepared by the Dominican Political Observatory (OPD) of Funglode.

Related Links:


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KABUL, Apr 7 2015 (IPS) - Women human rights defenders in Afghanistan face mounting violence but are being abandoned by their own government – and the international community is doing far too little to ease their plight – despite the significant gains they have fought to achieve, says Amnesty International in a new report released Apr. 7.

The report titled ‘Their Lives On The Line’ documents how champions for the rights of women and girls, including doctors, teachers, lawyers, police and journalists as well as activists, have been targeted not just by the Taliban but by warlords and government officials as well.

Rights defenders have suffered car bombings, grenade attacks on homes, killing of family members and targeted assassinations. Many continue their work despite suffering multiple attacks, in the full knowledge that no action will be taken against the perpetrators.

“Women human rights defenders from all walks of life have fought bravely for some significant gains over the past 14 years – many have even paid with their lives. It’s outrageous that Afghan authorities are leaving them to fend for themselves, with their situation more dangerous than ever,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, in Kabul to launch the report.




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Based on extensive field research in Colombia, our new article Beyond Sexual Violence in Transitional Justice: Political Insecurity as a Gendered Harm examines political insecurity as a specifically gendered harm that must be addressed in the ongoing Colombian transitional justice process.

In a previous blogpost we described the tragic plight of the women’s rights activist and survivor of sexual violence Angélica Bello. Bello was one of the main proponents of Law 18 June 2014, which sets out to guarantee access to justice for victims of sexual violence. The Law is part of the transitional justice process and seeks to bring Colombian law into harmony with international law regarding sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict. It defines crimes of sexual violence as war crimes and crimes against humanity, and sets out criteria for investigating sexual crimes and protecting survivors analogous to those of the ICC. As the peace negotiations in Havana between the government and the FARC guerrilla continue to make slow but steady progress, the sexual violence agenda increasingly captures the field of harms to women in war.

While recognizing the importance of this law, we nevertheless suggest that it is a problem for the ongoing transitional justice process that there are so few articulations of what other kinds of gendered harms may look like and how they should be effectively addressed. Much of the growing literature on gender in armed conflict and the debates over post-conflict reparations for women focuses on the prevalence and harms of sexual violence. This development has engendered controversial debates concerning the alleged prioritization of sexual violence at the expense of other harms to women, whether this debate sexualizes and infantilizes women, as well as with respect to forms of victimization not captured by feminist frames of reference, such as male rape (This is often framed as a debate between the Halley and MacKinnon schools of thought). In her work on reparations, Ruth Rubio-Marin takes issue with what she sees as an excessive emphasis on sexual violence in transitional justice, embodying both a suggestion that sexual harm is the worst abuse that can happen to women and the entrenchment of a patriarchal ideal of female chastity. Rubio-Marin (2012) argues that the ‘hyper-attention’ to sex now risks doing further harm to women by deviating attention from other non-sexual forms of sex-specific harms, and isolating sexual and gender based violence from broader agendas that confront the multiple gendered forms of harm and injustice.

What are these other gender specific harms? What should transitional justice focus on beyond sexual violence? How can we think of gendered harms in relation to poverty alleviation or of resource redistribution?


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A surge of children and teens over the past couple years have come across the borders fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries. Up to 80 percent of women and girls are sexually assaulted during that journey, and many are fleeing sexual violence at home.

When unaccompanied migrant children are caught, the government is solely responsible for their care until they can be reunited with relatives in the United States, or until a court decides whether they qualify for asylum. Since juveniles are detained without the freedom to leave during this time, the government is also responsible for all of their necessary medical care, including family planning.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement hires contractors, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), to house and care for these young people. The USCCB receives millions of dollars in government contracts for this purpose.

But the USCCB objected to the administration’s proposed regulations, scheduled to take effect in June, requiring contractors to provide emergency contraception and abortion care for immigrant youth who have been raped.


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Estas pacientes eran distintas.

“(A las defensoras) ya no les asusta el miedo, son valientes, arriesgadas, muchas veces se olvidaron de sí mismas. Hay defensoras de mucho tiempo que no sienten el dolor, su cuerpo está acostumbrado a vivirse con estrés, a decir ‘yo siempre he sido así, no sé por que me duele la espalda’ hasta que dejan de caminar. Dejan que el dolor les abarque su cuerpo y tienen mucho problema de espalda, cuello, cadera, insomnio, dolor, cansancio, porque cargan mas de lo que pueden. Una vitamina del médico no les hace nada”, dictamina.

En su amplia y antigua casa de rancho habilitada para dar terapias tradicionales, “las Lulús”, como les llaman a las hermanas, reciben a pacientes que llegan torcidos quejándose porque durmieron mal o los agarró un mal aire, a quienes requieren una limpia o cargan un problema. También atienden ‘los casos de Yesica’, como le dicen a las enviadas por la abogada Yesica Sánchez Maya, co-directora de Consorcio, una de las organizaciones involucradas en un llamativo proyecto: cuidar de las mujeres que cuidan de otros, cuidar a las defensoras.

A Lourdes le gusta recibir a las mujeres que entran en esa categoría. Con ellas usa sus técnicas tradicionales e intenta distintos métodos porque cada situación es especial. Se emociona, por ejemplo, de la familia de la defensora guatemalteca que salió más fortalecida después de las varias terapias que ayudaron a que los hijos y el marido expresaran el miedo que cargan por las brutales amenazas de muerte que ella recibe. Menciona también la plática que tuvo con una abogada para que incorporara rezos, rituales, flores y meditación a su vida cotidiana porque si se está en contacto con violencia extrema la fuerza propia es insuficiente......


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Annotation: This abridged version of the report, “Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States” is intended for professionals in the healthcare sector.
Abstract: In identifying and treating victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, healthcare professionals are in a unique position to identify them in the course of preventing and treating their injuries, illness, and disease; however, despite the potential opportunities for intervention on behalf of these victims of sexual exploitation, healthcare professionals often overlook or fail to identify these youth.
This guide is intended to raise awareness of these opportunities so that healthcare professionals will be better prepared to perform their important role in preventing, recognizing, and responding to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of youth in their care. Following an introduction, the guide provides definitions of relevant terms, a set of guiding principles, a summary of what is known about the prevalence of the problem, and an overview of risk factors and consequences associated with sexual exploitation.
The guide’s second major section identifies and discusses barriers to healthcare professionals’ identification of victims and survivors of these crimes; promising ways to overcome these barriers are also addressed. Barriers include practitioners’ lack of awareness and understanding of the prevalence and symptoms of such victimization, victims’ reluctance to share their victimization experiences with healthcare professionals, and a lack of protocols for treating and referring these victims to appropriate authorities.
Another major section of the guide presents models of care for healthcare professionals in serving these victims and descriptions of specialized providers of services to these victims. The guide’s concluding section recommends comprehensive strategies for countering the sexual exploitation of minors.

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This report presents an overview of the changes that have occurred in tribal courts under the Tribal Law & Order Act of 2010 (TLOA), which amends the Indian Civil Rights Act to allow felony sentencing for certain crimes through the provisions of enhanced sentencing authority, the establishment of new minimum standards for protecting defendants’ rights in the tribal court system, and encouragement for federally recognized Indian tribes to consider the use of alternatives to incarceration.



Because the law is so new and so few tribes have begun implementing it, there are few resources and/or tools available to guide tribes in implementing enhanced sentencing in their courts. In order to meet this need, this report features a checklist based upon the experiences of tribes that have led the way in implementing the TLOA. The checklist includes two general preparatory activities.

First, determine the existing competencies/capabilities of the tribe to implement enhanced sentencing under the TLOA. Second, determine whether there will be increased costs to the tribal justice system. Two sections of the checklist pertain to the responsibilities of the judicial officer and defense counsel who meet TLOA qualifications. Other sections of the checklist address inmate incarceration for enhanced sentences, ensuring that the tribe’s laws are publicly available, and code revisions. Suggestions are also offered for obtaining funding to support changes under the TLOA.


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Violence committed “in the name of religion”, that is, on the basis of or arrogated to religious tenets of the perpetrator, can lead to massive violations of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur first provides a typological description of various forms of violence carried out in the name of religion. He subsequently explores root causes and relevant factors that underlie such violence. The main message is that violence in the name of religion should not be misperceived as a “natural” outbreak of collective acts of aggression that supposedly reflect sectarian hostilities existing since time immemorial. Rather, it typically originates from contemporary factors and actors, including political circumstances.

The Special Rapporteur also recommends concerted actions by all relevant stakeholders, including States, religious communities, interreligious dialogue initiatives, civil society organizations and media representatives, in order to contain and eventually eliminate the scourge of violence committed in the name of religion.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt


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Las mujeres latinoamericanas, al frente del cambio social

BUENOS AIRES / SAO PAULO // Es muy probable que Zoila no se llame a sí misma feminista. Su lucha es por el río Magdalena: ese donde, en la región colombiana del Huila, la filial de Enel Endesa pretende hacer una represa que, según los lugareños, acabará con su sustento: la agricultura, la pesca y la minería artesanal. En el pequeño municipio de La Jagua, el principal afectado por las obras y los desplazamientos forzados, y por ello epicentro de la resistencia contra la multinacional, Zoila se ha convertido en un referente. Su casa, donde Zoila vive con sus cuatro hijos, su marido y su padre, es un punto de encuentro para los vecinos implicados en la resistencia. Y de puertas para adentro de la casa, también han cambiado las cosas: “Ahora me ayudan más en casa”, afirma ella.

El de Zoila no es un caso aislado. A lo largo y ancho de América Latina, las mujeres están liderando procesos de resistencia contra el modelo extractivista, esto es, los grandes proyectos de minería, centrales hidroeléctricas, monocultivos destinados a la exportación y otros negocios que proyectan grandes transnacionales y contribuyen al acaparamiento de tierras en la región y al despojo de comunidades rurales e indígenas que no sólo pierden sus tierras; también su identidad, su cultura, sus lazos comunitarios. Y su salud y la de sus hijos: lo vieron claro las Madres de Ituzaingó Anexo – un barrio de la Córdoba argentina-, que llevan años batallando para frenar el avance del monocultivo de soja, desde que se dieron cuenta de que el empleo de agrotóxicos como el glifosato estaba provocando el aumento de cánceres y nacimientos con malformaciones.



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Is the international community abandoning the fight against impunity?

The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice recently participated in a debate hosted by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) on whether the international community is abandoning the fight against impunity. The debate brought together leading experts and figures in the field of international criminal law, transitional justice, and human rights including Fatou Bensouda (Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court), Betty Murungi (Former Commissioner of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission), David Tolbert(ICTJ President) and Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), to discuss and critically debate the status of impunity. The following is the contribution from the Women’s Initiatives’ contribution to this timely debate:

As an advocate for gender justice in conflict situations under investigation by the ICC, we, together with our more than 6,000 grassroots partners, associates and members, have seen a growing momentum in the international community, including government actors, civil society and international organisations, towards tackling impunity for SGBV crimes.


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I wanted to alert our readers to the Margot Wallstrom Affair –because, most likely, most of our readers have not heard about it.  This is unfortunate because, as a journalist for The Spectator noted, “[i]f the cries of ‘Je suis Charlie’ were sincere, the western world would be convulsed with worry and anger about the Wallstrom affair.”  The Affair pits women’s right against politically interested support for the Saudi Arabian regime, by most of the western world, despite the fact that the Saudi regime has been notorious for its violations of human (and women’s) rights.  The extremely scant western media coverage of the Wallstrom Affair signals, at the very best, a lack of interest for the protection of human (and women’s) rights.

Several weeks ago, Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish foreign minister, criticized Saudi Arabia for its subjugation of women (women in Saudi Arabia, as many know, are not allowed to travel, conduct official business or marry without the permission of a male guardian; moreover, Saudi girls can be forced into child marriages), as well as for its decision to punish blogger and human rights activist, Raif Badawi, by sentencing him to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes.  According to Wallstrom, these were “medieval methods” and “a cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression.”  Thus, Wallstrom stated that she thought it would be unethical for Sweden to continue its military co-operation with Saudi Arabia (Sweden is the world’s 12th largest arms exporter, and its exports to Saudi Arabia total $1.3 billion; Wallstrom’s comments  may have been immensely disliked by Swedish arms manufacturers and exporters, whose ability to make money would be undermined if Wallstrom’s comments were taken seriously by the remainder of the Swedish government). Wallstrom’s criticism of Saudi Arabia, perhaps too blunt for a diplomat, was nonetheless truthful.  Saudi Arabia, a strategic partner of many western democratic nations, including the United States, has an abysmal human rights record and restricts women from enjoying many basic rights that their male counterparts have access to.  Yet, the backlash against Wallstrom has been swift and severe.


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A new report from the International Organization for Migration and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine documents the staggering effect of human trafficking on victims’ physical and mental health. The report, the largest study of its kind, compiled data from 1,100 interviews with trafficking victims in Southeast Asia. Nearly half of the interviewees were subjected to physical or sexual abuse while they were trafficked, including extreme forms of violence such as burning, rape and strangulation. Women and girls trafficked for marriage, factory work or domestic work suffered the most severe mental health problems. Trafficked brides experienced the “worst violence.” Most trafficking victims lived and worked in hazardous and brutal conditions.

One of the study's lead authors, Dr. Ligia Kiss, said, “[o]ur findings highlight that survivors of trafficking urgently need access to health care to address a range of needs, and that mental health care should be an essential component of this." 

The full report is available from The Lancet Global Health.

Compiled from: First comprehensive study of trafficked men, women and children reveals severity of abuse and complex health issuesLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine News (February 18, 2015); Whiting, Alex, From fishing to sex work, trafficked people badly abused, major study findsThomson Reuters Foundation (February 18, 2015).New Report: Landmark Survey Reveals Devastating Physical and Mental Consequences of Human Trafficking



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In too many countries around the world, abortion is criminalized, stigmatized, or otherwise restricted. Although pregnancy termination is one of the most common experiences people have across the globe, reproductive rights are often ignored by local health, community, or legal systems. In response, women have advanced incredibly innovative strategies for challenging the system and meeting their own needs. This women’s history month, it’s time we honor the contributions of the international “sheroes” who have been leaders on spreading information about the use of pills tosafely terminate a pregnancy.

The use of misoprostol—a pill available over-the-counter in many countries—as a safe, low-cost, and easy-to-use method to terminate early pregnancies is a shining example, to me, of women “doing it for themselves,” as the Eurthymics once put it. Self-use of misoprostol for abortion began in the 1980s, when women in Brazil living under criminal abortion laws realized they could take advantage of the contraindications of an otherwise readily available drug. The label on Cytotec (the brand name for misoprostol), a medication sold over-the-counter to treat gastric ulcers, included a warning that it might induce abortion in pregnant women. Recognizing that this could serve their needs when faced with an unwanted pregnancy, women began to pass on this knowledge through word of mouth, person-to-person. In later years, they used new technologies—such as hotlines, mobile phone texting, and the Internet—to continue to spread the information. Effectively organizing informal networks, they thus enabled more and more women with the knowledge of how tosafely end unintended pregnancies on their own terms.


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