Womens Justice Center



















The Liberation of Women's Energy
Will Change the World. *


La liberación de la energía de la mujer cambiará el mundo


o provide advocacy, free of charge, for victims of rape, domestic violence, and child abuse, particularly in the Latina and other under served communities of Sonoma County. To provide advocacy training and community education. To promote more women and minorities in our law enforcement agencies. To commit to equal justice for all women and girls.


rindar una defensa gratuita a víctimas de violación, violencia doméstica y abuso infantil, particularmente en las comunidades hispanas y otras que no son atendidas adecuadamente en el condado de Sonoma. Proveer capacitación en defensa pública y educación comunitaria. Incrementar el número de mujeres y personas pertenecientes a minorías en nuestras agencias de aplicación de justicia. Comprometernos con la justicia igualitaria para todas las mujeres y las niñas.



News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


 

To United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano

Dear Secretary Napolitano:
 
We're witnessing an unprecedented assault on the basic humanity of women in the United States.
 
Women’s health, sexuality, and safety are suddenly up for debate.
 
There is an all-out assault on our essential right to become a mother, to raise children in healthy, safe families.
 
Immigrant women are feeling the assault from all sides – denying them basic personal choices about their lives and the lives of their children and loved ones. Laws and policies like Alabama’s HB 56 and Secure Communities have transformed routine aspects of daily life for women and mothers into impossible hardships and excruciating choices.
 
This Mothers Day, I'm standing with Reform Immigration for American in asking you to please stand up for the fundamental humanity and rights of women. You can help stop the assault on women, mothers, and their families in the name of basic human rights and dignity.
 
Sincerely,
 
 

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In January 2012 the United Nations  Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held an International Expert Group Meeting entitled “Combating violence against indigenous women and girls: This conference applied a human rights framework to the issue of gender‐based violence faced by indigenous women, while contextualizing its global manifestations in the context of States’ responsibilities under international human rights law. This document outlines the themes of the meeting and recalls the conversations that were had. It also includes interviews with indigenous rights activists.  

 

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Curious Tension: Feminism and the Sporting Woman 
by Susan J. Bandy

   

As a former athlete and a graduate student in Sports Studies, I embraced feminism in the 1970s. It seemed to be a natural alliance because I had experienced sports as personally liberating and felt that it offered females the possibility to become accomplished athletes, develop strong and healthy bodies, and defy societal views of females as physically and psychologically unsuited for sport.

Simone DeBeauvoir’s view of sport and physical activity in The Second Sex, which many consider the starting point of second-wave feminism, clarified what I felt. In 1949, she claimed that if a female could “swim, climb mountain peaks, pilot an airplane, battle against the elements, take risks, go out for adventure . . . she will not feel before the world . . . timidity.”

De Beauvoir shared similar views with earlier American feminists of the 19th century, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who understood the importance of educating and liberating the body as pivotal to some of the most basic concerns of early feminism.

As I studied the female athlete, women's sports history and feminism, I soon discovered that there were curious parallels between the women's movement and the women's sports movement in the United States. 

Continues...

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Human Trafficking in California

Human trafficking in California

 as Attorney General, I am making the fight against human trafficking a priority for the California Department of Justice. My office plans to update the “Human Trafficking in California” report and explore partnerships with key leaders and officials – in California and Mexico – to strengthen collaborative efforts, share best practices for investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, and assist victims. This website is a hub of information and resources designed to highlight the important work being done across the state to end slavery once and for all.

California Attorney General, Kamala Harris,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         SEE http://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking

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Que las mujeres queden traumadas es un mito, según el Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE)

México, DF, 30 abr. 12. AmecoPress/Cimac.- Es un mito que el aborto dañe de manera inevitable la salud mental de las mujeres, ya que si la interrupción del embarazo se realiza en condiciones seguras y legales, las consecuencias emocionales son benéficas para las mujeres, sobre todo si su decisión es apoyada por su pareja y personas cercanas.

El Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE) señala en su hoja informativa “Consecuencias psicológicas del aborto: mitos y realidades”, que algunos de los sentimientos positivos en las mujeres que decidieron abortar para postergar su maternidad o porque simplemente no quieren ser madres, son: “alivio, madurez, autoconocimiento y autoestima”.

Continua...

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"And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth."
Alvaro Munera

This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight... the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.

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POLARIS PROJECT

State by State: Ensuring there are tough laws to combat trafficking

We’re in the heat of legislative sessions across the country and our Policy team has hit the ground running to pass effective anti-human trafficking laws in 17 states. We’ve already seen great victories in West Virginia, Nebraska, Alaska, and Vermont, and are poised to have new bills signed into law in Virginia, Hawaii and Alabama. We are working towards passing legislation that fights trafficking and supports victims through bills that would require the posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline number in targeted locations, increase protections for minor victims of sex trafficking, clear victims’ criminal records of charges that were a result of them being trafficked, or require that assets of traffickers to be seized and forfeited. 

If you are a resident (or have friends) in the following states, it is especially critical that you take action now:
    - Alabama
    - California
    - South Carolina

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AVG debe aplicarse de manera inmediata, demandan

Por la Redacción  

México, DF, 26 abr 12 (CIMAC).- Ante el incremento de asesinatos dolosos, violaciones sexuales y desapariciones de mujeres en los últimos años en México, cerca de 400 organizaciones de la sociedad civil (OSC) de 20 estados del país lanzaron un llamado urgente a la Secretaría de Gobernación para modificar el Reglamento de la Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia, a fin de garantizar la aplicación inmediata de la declaratoria de Alerta de Violencia de Género (AVG).

En un comunicado, las agrupaciones afirmaron que en 13 entidades del país, en un lapso de cerca de tres años, se han cometido 3 mil 139 asesinatos dolosos de mujeres; mientras que en nueve estados se han registrado 3 mil 149 mujeres desaparecidas de enero de 2010 a junio de 2011, según el Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio (OCNF).

Las organizaciones recordaron que la modificación al reglamento es un compromiso adquirido el 9 de noviembre de 2010 por el entonces subsecretario de Asuntos Jurídicos y Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Gobernación (Segob), Felipe de Jesús Zamora, con la Misión Internacional por el Acceso a la Justicia para las Mujeres, la Comisión Especial de Feminicidio de la Cámara de Diputados, el Instituto Latinoamericano de Naciones Unidas para la Prevención del Delito (ILANUD), y el OCNF.

Las y los activistas exhortaron a la Segob a ser congruente y dar cumplimiento al compromiso adquirido hace año y medio, para modificar el título tercero, capítulo I, de la AVG y violencia feminicida, con el objetivo de garantizar la aplicación inmediata de la declaratoria de AVG para salvaguardar la vida y la seguridad de las mexicanas.

 

CONTINUA...

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Working to end Domestic Violence can feel like an uphill battle. The violence is entrenched and it is not easy to affect change or improvement. The work can be strengthened by using the international Human Rights standards that States have agreed to uphold. Your government cannot make promises on the international stage and then try to forget them at home. Relying on the Human Right standards will enable you to hold your government accountable if they do not practice what they promise. Addressing Domestic Violence as a Human Rights violation empowers women and other victims/survivors of Domestic Violence. As active rights-holders, they can claim the rights, their governments and States have committed themselves to. The State is obliged to prevent, eradicate and punish and is accountable if it fails to comply or uphold Human Rights.

DOVA, the Human Rights Assessment Instrument on Domestic Violence provides a step by step method which helps you to assess if your country is complying with it’s Human Rights and other international obligations.

 follow this link to download the tool.

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New Resources Posted on Forensic Compliance

Reorganized website now easier to navigate

 

EVAWI offers a range of free resources to assist community professionals with forensic compliance, to ensure that sexual assault victims have access to a medical forensic exam, without any out-of-pocket costs and regardless of whether or they have decided to participate in the criminal justice process.

 

We recently posted a number of additional tools, and we reorganized this section of the website so it is easier to find what you are looking for.

 

To find out more, you can visit the introductory page, and there you will find icons for more backgroundresources, or information on webinars. On the resource page, you will see a set of tabs (that look like file folders), to help you locate tools in each of the following areas:

  • Articles
  • FAQs
  • Self-Assessment
  • State Laws
  • State Protocols
  • Model Policies
  • Sample Documents
  • Mandated Reporting
  • Anonymous Reporting
  • Data Collection
  • Public Education
  • Miscellaneous

In each section, you will find a number of resources and tools listed, along with our summary and review. You will also find links to external sources as well as documents that can be downloaded.

 

We hope you find these new resources helpful, and that the reorganization of the website makes them easier to locate, evaluate, and ultimately adapt for use in your own community. Because we are continually reviewing new materials to consider posting on the website, we would like your help. If you have seen a valuable resource in these or other areas related to forensic compliance, please let us know.  We are always looking to shine a spotlight on best practices. 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Joanne Archambault, Executive Director                          

Kim Lonsway, Research Director 

EVAW International  

 

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GP, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner are filmed allegedly offering to carry out or arrange FGM

• Kenyan girls fight back against genital mutilation

Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie, a model who campaigns against FGM, said: 'If a white girl is abused, police break down the door. If a black girl is mutilated, no one takes care of her.' Photograph: Joerg Carstensen/EPA
 
As many as 100,000 women in Britain have undergone female genital mutilations (FGM) with medics in the UK offering to carry out the illegal procedure on girls as young as 10, it has been reported.
 
Investigators from the Sunday Times said they had secretly filmed a doctor, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner who were allegedly willing to perform FGM or arrange for the operation to be carried out. The doctor and dentist deny any wrongdoing.
 
The practice, which involves the surgical removal of external genitalia and in some cases the stitching of the vaginal opening, is illegal in Britain and carries up to a 14-year prison sentence. It is also against the law to arrange FGM.
 
Article Continues...
 

VIDEO - I Will Never Be Cut

 

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Panamá, 25 abr (EFE).- Los países latinoamericanos y caribeños cuentan en general con un andamiaje legal contra la violencia de genero, pero esas leyes no se aplican, lo que alimenta la impunidad e impulsa delitos como los feminicidios y la trata, coincidieron hoy expertas reunidas en Panamá.

Factores culturales como sociedades patriarcales en las que ciertas conductas violentas contra la mujer son aceptadas, falta de presupuestos, así como una nueva dimensión trasnacional del fenómeno con la incursión del crimen organizado y su gran capacidad de corrupción, son los principales factores que impulsan esa actitud inerme de la Justicia.

Así lo explicaron a Efe expertas de la región que participan en el taller "Nuevas modalidades de criminalidad contra las mujeres", que se desarrolla hasta mañana en la capital panameña como parte de una campaña de las Naciones Unidas para acabar con la violencia de género.

"En América Latina y el Caribe tenemos leyes de algún tipo contra la violencia" contra la mujer, pero "el tema está en su implementación", afirmó a Efe Nadine Gasman, directora de la Campaña del Secretario General de la ONU "ÚNETE para poner fin a la violencia contra las mujeres".

Ponerle "un alto a la impunidad pasa por decir que hay que aplicar las leyes que tenemos, asegurarnos que los sistemas funcionan, trabajar con los operadores de justicias y pedirles resultados, ver cuáles son sus sentencias", añadió.

Continua...

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Thrusday, April 26 through Thursday, May 3

The CASE Act campaign is going on tour across California to spread the word about how this initiative will fight back against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children here in California. By supporting the CASE Act, you can take a stand and say that we won’t tolerate the sexual exploitation of children by human traffickers.

Find an event near you, and show your support for the CASE Act and our wonderful volunteers by sending a message of support using the form on the right! We'll also be posting updates along the way on our Facebook page 

SEE EVENTS MAP AND CALENDAR HERE

CASE  Act Ballot Initiative

Our laws reflect our societal values. Human trafficking is a brutal human rights abuse. It is also a lucrative criminal business. Current California laws offer little protection for victims targeted by human traffickers and online predators. It is crucial to decrease incentives and increase the risk for those involved in the enslavement and exploitation of human beings.
 
Slated for the November 2012 California Ballot, the CASE Act will deter traffickers with higher penalties and fines, use fines to fund victim services, remove barriers to prosecute child sex traffickers, mandate training for law enforcement officers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, require all sex offenders to disclose Internet accounts, and protect victims in court proceedings.
 
Additionally, the CASE Act will raise awareness and unite Californians to take action. With up to 17 million voters, this will form the largest single movement against human trafficking in the U.S.

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He delivered a halting defense of Obamacare before the Supreme Court, and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli did it again Wednesday, appearing unfocused in arguing against Arizona’s immigration law, says Terry Greene Sterling.

As hundreds of Latinos crowded in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and chanted opposition to Arizona’s immigration law, it got a partial constitutional airing in what appeared to be a humiliating slap-down of the U.S. solicitor general.

Arizona’s SB 1070 case, along with another on the Affordable Care Act heard by the court earlier this year, are two landmarks that will shape the Obama administration’s legacy. In both cases, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli faced off against Paul Clement, a former solicitor general who frequently appears before the court. On Wednesday, Verrilli lost focus and failed to drive home key points as he was questioned by conservative justices and gently rebuked by liberal justices. At one point, Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Verrilli she was “terribly confused” by his answer; at another, she noted: “Your argument isn’t selling very well.”

The SB 1070 case is expected to produce guidelines for future immigration enforcement. But it is also about civil rights, said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director of National Council of La Raza’s civic engagement and immigration department. “That’s how the Latino community not only has seen it but also have been feeling it,” she said. “Many times,” she added, when cases “move inside the courtroom,” they are “sterilized beyond recognition and the implications are masked.”

Continues...

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Por Cecilia López Montaño

cecilia@cecilialopez.com

Siempre se cumple esta dolorosa ecuación: turismo + miseria = prostitución, aquí y en Cafarnaún. Todos los países con gran atractivo para el turismo internacional, con grandes niveles de población marginada, terminan enfrentándose a esta realidad social que, por antigua que sea, esta profesión no deja de ser denigrante, dolorosa, peligrosa.

Colombia tienen los dos elementos sustantivos: es un país lleno de riqueza y bellezas naturales, pero no ha podido avanzar significativamente en la erradicación de la miseria. Inclusive regiones que tenían pobres pero no indigentes, con sorpresa, hoy ven crecer barriadas que no tienen ni las mínimas condiciones de vida para que esta pueda ser llamada digna. La isla de San Andrés es un ejemplo de esta cruel realidad.

Se ha venido advirtiendo que no se pueden tener dos países: uno para la venta, que sin duda existe pero representa una pequeña parte de la sociedad colombiana, y el otro, la Colombia profunda, llena de carencias y al margen de la verdadera modernidad. Cuando se lanzó la campaña “Colombia es pasión” hubo analistas serios que la criticaron, inclusive su logo, porque daba pie para interpretaciones perversas. Pero como se trata de vender una parte del país como si fuera todo y de ignorar que en cualquier momento la realidad se encarga de salir en los momentos más inoportunos, se hizo caso omiso a este debate.

Continua...

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has launched a new, searchable online

document of current funding opportunities and new initiatives, the OJP Program
Plan <http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/index.htm>. It features the latest and
most complete information regarding both competitive and noncompetitive
grants, training and technical assistance, research, and other resources
available to the justice community.

The Program Plan is divided into 9 thematically organized sections:

- Initiatives to Address a Wide Range of Criminal and Juvenile Justice
Issues <http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section1.htm>
- Breaking the Cycles of Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, and
Crime<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section2.htm>
- Preventing and Intervening in Juvenile Offending and
Victimization<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section3.htm>
- Managing Offenders To Reduce Recidivism and Promote Successful
Reentry<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section4.htm>

- Effective Interventions To Address Violence, Victimization, and
Victims’ Rights <http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section5.htm>
- Enhancing Law Enforcement
Initiatives<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section6.htm>
- Supporting Innovation in
Adjudication<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section7.htm>
- Advancing Technology To Prevent and Solve
Crime<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section8.htm>
- Innovations in Justice Information
Sharing<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/section9.htm>

Also available, instructions on how to apply for
Continuation<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/appendixa.htm>and Formula
Grants <http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/appendixb.htm> and assistance, a
Glossary <http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/appendixc.htm> of acronyms and
definitions, answers to Frequently Asked
Questions<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/appendixd.htm>,
and an alphabetical Index <http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/appendixe.htm> of
the programs found in the Plan. Visit the Program
Plan<http://www.ojp.gov/ProgramPlan/index.htm>today!
Unsubscribe <https://puborder.ncjrs.gov/secure/register/optout.asp> to
periodic e-mail notifications from NCJRS or any of its sponsoring agencies.

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Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade - Workshop Summary

Institute of Medicine and National Research Council
Workshop Summary

On January 30-31, 2012, the IOM and NRC’s Board on Children, Youth, and Families held a workshop to review the accomplishments of the past two decades of research related to child maltreatment, identify remaining gaps, and consider potential research priorities. This document summarizes the workshop.

See Summary

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Después de casi siete años de trabajo en pos de una comunicación no sexista ARTEMISA COMUNICACIÓN cierra sus puertas. Dejamos una importante tarea realizada que detallamos a continuación y el convencimiento de que los medios de comunicación son una herramienta fundamental en la lucha por los derechos humanos de las mujeres. Parte del equipo de Artemisa seguirá trabajando en la misma línea de protección de derechos desde COMUNICACIÓN PARA LA IGUALDAD, una nueva organización que albergará nuestro compromiso con un mundo más justo para mujeres y varones.

Continua...

 

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   Complaints regarding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in British Columbia, Canada

     Discrimination against Indigenous Women in the Americas

     Case 12.777 – Claudina Velásquez and Family, Guatemala (expert witness)

     Situation of Women Victims of Human Rights Violations during the Internal Armed Conflict in Guatemala

     Human Rights Situation of Women in Colombia

    Access to Justice for Women in the Americas

    Complaints of Attacks on Women Human Rights Defenders in Cuba

Links to AUDIOS

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Fifteen organizations issued letters directed to Commissioner Wally Oppal confirming that they will not be participating in the “second phase” of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, citing concerns about discrimination and the conduct of the Commission to date. 

The attached letters from an informal coalition of advocacy and service providing groups, the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations are written in response to an invitation letter sent by Commissioner Wally Oppal, asking organizations to return to the Inquiry.

CONTINUES... with links to letters and group contact information

 

Advocates Blast Canadian Probe of Missing Women

Walia says the inquiry in Vancouver has been protecting police rather than forcefully examining their conduct. "The police and the authorities have not been forthcoming at all, which negates the point of an inquiry, which is why we are pushing for a U.N. inquiry because we think it will be more independent and more just."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fifteen organizations last week intensified their opposition to a government inquiry into missing women in Vancouver's downtown eastside. In an open letter, detractors said they would instead cooperate with a U.N. probe launched in December.

VANCOUVER (WOMENSENEWS)—Women's advocates are strengthening their boycott of an inquiry by the British Columbian government into the disappearance of women in Vancouver's downtown eastside between 1997 and 2002.

They say they will be working with international investigators instead.

"Our organizations will dedicate what limited resources we can offer to working with the United Nations to facilitate their investigations and fact-finding processes in order to ensure that Canada is held internationally accountable," says an April 10  open letter to the inquiry's commissioner, Wally Oppal, that is signed by 15 organizations.

The inquiry is charged with examining police inaction during a time when many of the missing women were murdered by serial killer Robert Pickton. Many of Pickton's victims were Aboriginal.

So far the commission, which began in October of last year, has been gathering evidence. Now it is beginning a second phase to create recommendations for the conduct of police investigations.

Robyn Gervais, the only lawyer representing Aboriginal interests quit last month, saying Aboriginal voices were being marginalized by a deference to police officials. Her position since then has been filled by two lawyers.

Harsha Walia works with the Downtown Eastside Women's Center in Vancouver, one of the groups in the boycott.

'Police Not Forthcoming'

Walia says the inquiry in Vancouver has been protecting police rather than forcefully examining their conduct. "The police and the authorities have not been forthcoming at all, which negates the point of an inquiry, which is why we are pushing for a U.N. inquiry because we think it will be more independent and more just."

BACKGROUND ARTICLE CONTINUES...

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from Mujeres Talk Blog

By Anna NietoGomez
 
Partially presented at the 2012 NACCS Conference Roundtable Panel “’Callin’ it like it is’: Transforming Gendered, Sexual and Heteropatriachal Violence in Chicano Studies and Academic Institutions”
 
People who pursue knowledge and participate in social justice activities have the right to expect people of authority and influence to commit themselves to establish, and maintain a safe and respectful work environment that is free from verbal and physical abuse such as bullying, hazing, harassment, stalking, sexual harassment, sex discrimination, physical and sexual violence, rape and hate crimes.

CONTINUES...

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El coordinador de Comunicación Social, Alfonso Zárate Vite, es un acosador sexual que mantiene su trabajo y continúa presionando a quienes de él dependen

México, 18 abr. 12. AmecoPress/SEMlac.- El acoso sexual es un delito desde 1991, inscrito en el Código Penal Federal de la República Mexicana y en la capital del país se castiga con tres años de prisión. Pero se trata de un crimen impune hasta en el 99 por ciento de los casos porque no se denuncia. Las investigaciones son tortuosas y, frecuentemente, se fundan en sospechar que las víctimas -en su inmensa mayoría mujeres- no dicen la verdad.

El agresor, en general, se ampara en su posición de poder y autoridad frente a quien acosa y recibe el apoyo de sus jefes.

El más reciente estudio realizado por el Colegio Jurista -una instancia de especialistas muy reconocida- indica que sufren acoso sexual al menos un millón 400.000 trabajadoras y, según la ley de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida sin Violencia, forma parte de todo el entramado de violencia feminicida, por su característica de humillación, maltrato, prepotencia e impotencia de las víctimas.

La consecuencia es callar y asumir, o perder el empleo

Es también una violación a los derechos humanos de las mujeres. Por ello es un escándalo mayúsculo que suceda acoso sexual y laboral dentro de la estructura administrativa de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH), el órgano destinado a vigilar que el Estado cumpla con la Constitución y los derechos humanos, declaró la abogada Teresa Ulloa.

CONTINUA...

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GBV_companion_guide_lrg.jpg

E-learning companion guide


Author: UNFPA
No. of pages: 146
Publication date: 2012
Publisher: UNFPA
DOWNLOAD PDF

UNFPA has launched a companion guide to its free e-learning course for professionals who are working to address Gender Based Violence in humanitarian contexts.

The e-learning course uses problems that practitioners currently face and case scenarios from real-life humanitarian contexts to guide learning. Integrated throughout the modules are videos, learning activities and quizzes that both engage the learner, and support participants’ varying learning styles. The new companion guide not only covers all of the content in the e-learning, but also provides new case studies, sample tools, best practices, and activities.

 

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from Intlawgrrls Blog, by 

Recently, during my introductory lecture for the Refugee & Asylum Law course at George Mason University School of Law, I was reminded of the fact that achieving immigration relief for women and girls facing gender-based violence overseas is a highly specialized area of the law.
To the uninitiated, including the law students in my class, a reading of the "refugee" definition, codified domestically in the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980, does not make it immediately clear how claims by women facing gender-based violence fit within the definition. In fact, in a short introductory quiz, all of the ten students in class voted "no" when asked whether it was possible for a Guatemalan woman fleeing domestic violence to be granted asylum in the United States.
The "refugee" definition, which asylum seekers in the United States must meet in order to be granted asylum, states that a refugee is a person who has suffered persecution or who has a well-founded fear of future person on account of one of five protected grounds:

'race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.'

Gender is not specifically listed as a ground, and, indeed the only country to my knowledge that has formally recognized gender as a sixth ground for asylum is South Africa.

Continues...

 

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Dear Colleagues, Friends and Allies:

 
I’m delighted to announce the creation of the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project at the Washington College of Law at American University (NIWAP, pronounced new-app), where we will continue and expand the work that I have been doing for nearly 30 years.  Through our work at the Washington College of Law, NIWAP will engage a new generation of lawyers and advocates in work that benefits immigrant women, children, and immigrant survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes.
 
NIWAP is a national provider of training, legal and social science research, policy development, and technical assistance to advocates, attorneys, pro bono law firms, law schools, universities, law enforcement, prosecutors, social service and health care providers, justice system personnel, and other professionals who work with immigrant women, children and crime victims. Our work will include support for those in the field and in government who work to improve laws, regulations, policies, and practices to enhance legal options and opportunities for immigrant women and children.
 
NIWAP will provide training and technical assistance on a broad range of issues of importance to immigrant women and children, including VAWA immigration and confidentiality, family law, protection orders, public benefits, language access, cultural competency, and access to services, including shelter, transitional housing, health care, and education.
 
A key part of our efforts will be to develop materials, resources, policy analysis, research and monographs which we will distribute through our web library at iwp.legalmomentum.org.  The attached press release describes our program in more detail.
 
Please contact us to explore how we may be able to work together and support your work in the future:
Thank you for all your efforts to make a difference in the lives of immigrant women and children.
 
Sincerely,
 
Leslye E. Orloff
Director, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP)
Washington College of Law at American University
o.202.274.4371 | m. 202.210.8886 | orloff@wcl.american.edu
 

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