[violence] sexual violence

More than one in three men surveyed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's war-torn east admits committing sexual assault, and three in four believe that a woman who "does not dress decently is asking to be raped", researchers have found.

India: Dabra is a typical village in India's rural Haryana state. It has narrow lanes with open drains and small houses built of brick and mud. Children play in the dirt, while men sit around smoking. Not many outsiders visit this poor farming community.But outside one of the houses two policemen stand on guard. Inside, a 16-year-old girl sits in one of the rooms surrounded by women. She is the reason the police are here. Six weeks ago, she was out walking on the street when she was abducted by a dozen men. 

In many regards, Safiya Ishaq is an unremarkable 25-year-old. She is excellent at braiding hair but terrible at being on time. She studied fine arts at Khartoum University in Sudan. Not unusual for a student, Ishaq became involved with politics. She joined Girifna, a pro-democracy movement formed in 2009 on the eve of Sudan’s first multiparty elections in more than two decades aimed at mobilizing citizens to vote. Conducting mass voter registration drives, it quickly evolved into a socio-political movement demanding change in Sudan.

Sexual harassment is an everyday issue for women in Nepal, particularly in urban areas. Although exact numbers are unavailable, activists say the problem is on the rise and are demanding change. 

“Harassment is all over Nepal against women and the problem is big. It’s more of a problem where more people live, but it really is everywhere, and it is growing,” said Pratiya Rana, 22, a university student and an organizer of the country’s recent “Walk for Respect” demonstration, the Nepali version of Toronto's SlutWalk, the international protest movement. 

Women protesters and rights groups have accused Egyptian troops and prison authorities of sexual assault during the latest crackdown on demonstrations, reviving allegations they are using abuse to intimidate female detainees and protesters. The charges made on Wednesday added new tension to Egypt's presidential election campaign, just two weeks before the voting.

Egypt’s New Women Foundation said they are suing Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over her pro-female genitals mutilation (FGM) statements. The women’s rights foundation sent a letter to the speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatny, informing him of legally going after Garf and asking for his permission to be allowed to take the MP to court.

Survivors of sexual violence in Indonesia face an uphill battle in recovery as a result of an inadequate legal system, police inaction, and prevailing societal attitudes that tend to be suspicious of victims, say activists.

Women Under Siege, a Women’s Media Center project that documents rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war, launched acrowd-sourced initiative today to map instances of rape in Syria.

As the project gathered reports, director Lauren Wolfe said, it found something striking. “Generally women are shunned when they are raped in war. They sometimes are not allowed to go home, and whole families can be dishonored,” she said. “But what’s really interesting is that we have a report that an imam called for Syrian women who were raped to be honored, for people to embrace them. He said they’re raped and so they are heroes.”

It is time the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina enacted its 2010 commitment to ensure justice, truth and reparation for hundreds of survivors of wartime sexual violence, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today.

"Nearly two decades after the end of the war, hundreds of women continue to live with the effects of rape and other forms of torture, without proper access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they need to rebuild their shattered lives. Meanwhile, most of the perpetrators go unpunished," said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.

Moroccan activists have stepped up pressure to scrap laws that allow rapists to marry their victims - after a 16-year-old girl killed herself.

Amina Filali swallowed rat poison after being severely beaten during a forced marriage to her rapist.

An online petition has been started - and protests are planned for Saturday against a law branded by campaigners as an "embarrassment".

The penal code allows the "kidnapper" of a minor to marry her to escape jail.

'Dishonour'

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