Violence against women and girls is one of the most intractable and complex issues on the global policy agenda that will affect one out of three women during her lifetime. According to the United Nations, this phenomenon is a major obstacle to achieving equality, development, and peace. To build a collective response, the National Council for Research on Women, in partnership with the US National Committee for UN Women (previously, UNIFEM USNC), gathered experts at Hunter College in New York for a joint conference (June 11-12, 2010).
Let’s try something. What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear “gun violence?” OK, what’s the second? Were either of those words “women?” In light of the recent national attention on gun violence, the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) would like to draw attention to the gender specific angles of gun violence. The lens with which we view an issue helps us see, or not see, problems and solutions that impact a particular group, in our case focusing on women.
When the comedian Daniel Tosh reportedly singled out a woman in his audience and suggested, according to a blog post that recounted the incident, it would be "funny" if she "got raped by, like, five guys, right now," the online reaction was swift, heated and often split down gender lines. Many men wanted to explain free speech or heckling etiquette. Many women (and virtually all feminists) said these topics were distractions, at best, from the sheer offensiveness of Tosh's attack.
Quite a few of the women who shared our post said they were doing so in hopes that a husband or boyfriend would "finally understand why I won't watch Tosh's show with him." Some even tagged their husbands or boyfriends, to be sure the message would reach its destination.
Most people killed or wounded in stray-bullet shootings were unaware of events leading to the gunfire that caused their injuries, and nearly one-third of the victims were children and nearly half were female.
The study by Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center, examines mortality rates and other epidemiological aspects of stray-bullet shootings over a one-year period. It is published in the July issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute CareSurgery.
"Stray-bullet shootings alter the nature of life in many American neighborhoods, creating fear and anxiety and prompting parents to keep children indoors and take other precautions," Wintemute said. "When we think about gun violence, we think about high-profile and tragic events like Virginia Tech or the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. But stray-bullet shootings affect entire communities every day, and there has been almost no research exploring them."
Unlike the risk pattern for violence in general, which typically affects young males, most victims of stray bullets were outside the 15-34 age range, and nearly half (44.8 percent) were females, the study found. Many of the people shot (40.7 percent) were at home at the time of the incident, and of these, most (68.2 percent) were indoors.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 10 former detainees, including two women, who described being sexually abused or witnessing sexual abuse in detention, including rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, and electroshock and beatings to genitalia.Many of the former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were imprisoned because of their political activism, including for attending protests. In other cases, the reason for the detention was unclear but detainees suffered the same abusive tactics.
“Syrian security forces have used sexual violence to humiliate and degrade detainees with complete impunity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The assaults are not limited to detention facilities – government forces and pro-government shabiha militia members have also sexually assaulted women and girls during home raids and residential sweeps.”
Human Rights Watch documented over 20 specific incidents of sexual assault, five of which involved more than one victim, that took place between March 2011 and March 2012 across Syria, including in Daraa, Homs, Idlib, Damascus, and Latakia governorates. The majority of cases were from Homs governorate. Interviewees described a range of sexual abuse by Syrian security forces, the army, and pro-government armed militias referred to locally as shabiha.
The late Tuesday assault was the last straw for many. Protesters and activists met Wednesday to organize a campaign to prevent sexual harassment in the square. They recognize it is part of a bigger social problem that has largely gone unpunished in Egypt. But the phenomenon is trampling on their dream of creating in Tahrir a micro-model of a state that respects civil liberties and civic responsibility, which they had hoped would emerge after Mubarak's ouster.
'It shouldn't be happening' "Enough is enough," said Abdel-Fatah Mahmoud, a 22-year-old engineering student, who met Wednesday with friends to organize patrols of the square in an effort to deter attacks against women. "It has gone overboard. No matter what is behind this, it is unacceptable. It shouldn't be happening on our streets let alone Tahrir."
No official numbers exist for attacks on women in the square because police do not go near the area, and women rarely report such incidents. But activists and protesters have reported a number of particularly violent assaults on women in the past week. Many suspect such assaults are organized by opponents of the protests to weaken the spirit of the protesters and drive people away.
As a participant at the nongovernmental organization forum that accompanied the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, I witnessed a delegation of Korean "comfort women" survivors who were trying to call attention to their victimization as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II.
By then, they were no longer young and some indeed looked frail, but they made a powerful and striking presence to demand recognition of their history.
In the early 1990s, Kim Hak Soon was the first former comfort woman to speak out, at the age of 67, and her testimony inspired other women to do the same. Within one year more than 200 other Korean women who had been enslaved as comfort women came forward. They have joined together, supported each other and shared their experience.
A local monument to these brave women was the subject of a startling May 19 story in The New York Times. The first surprise was my own ignorance of the monument, just across the Hudson River from New York City, in Palisades Park, N.J., where more than half of the population is of Korean descent. Since it's the only one of its kind in the U.S., it seemed strange that it had not attracted widespread publicity and become a major pilgrimage site for women's advocates.
A report from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) finds that in countries recovering from war in West Africa, domestic violence is the biggest threat to women's safety.
The report, called "Let Me Not Die Before My Time: Domestic Violence In West Africa," reveals that "across Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone, years after the official end of these countries' brutal wars, women are being intimidated, threatened and beaten with shocking frequency."
Though domestic violence is a global issue affecting about one in three women worldwide, IRC chose to focus on these three West African countries to show how the problem can become more severe in post-conflict environments.
The report is based on 10 years of research and direct interaction with women and government leaders in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. All three countries were embroiled in violent civil wars a decade ago, and those tensions remain.