World (NI) – Statement of the blindingly obvious number one: 2016 was a bloody awful year. I mean here’s hoping you had some good personal news, a new job, a new baby, a lot of great sex (assuming you wanted those…
There was an angry reaction in Afghanistan to news that the first female fixed-wing pilot in the country’s air force was requesting asylum in the United States after completing an 18-month training course.
The Afghan defense ministry confirmed Sunday that Captain Niloofar Rahmani, 25, had sought asylum after the Wall Street Journal quoted her as saying that she feared her life would be in danger if she returned home.
Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.
In mid-November, I attended a RedTraSex meeting to review “Advances, challenges and strategies of the RedTraSex: strengthening sustainability and advancing the recognition of our rights.” RedTraSex is the Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinamérica y el Caribe (Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean.) RedTraSex, on the cusp of celebrating its 20th anniversary, is made up of organizations from fifteen countries – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic.
Three days after 20-year-old bank employee Shannon Banfield went missing, her body was found in the warehouse of a variety store in Port of Spain, Trinidad, bringing to a gut-wrenching end any hope her family had of finding her alive.
On Monday December 5, 2016, Banfield told her family that she would take a taxi home after she ran a few errands in the capital city, one of them to the store in which her body was found. Shannon was widely known to be active in her church and a family-oriented, God-fearing person. On learning of her death, a member of her church said in a public Facebook post:
Feminists in Mexico and Guatemala working on femicide also use the concept of ‘feminicide’ to draw attention to state complicity in the killings of women.
The word ‘feminicide’ was popularised over twenty years ago to denounce the killing of women due to their gender. The crime is called ‘feminicide’ (‘feminicidio’) in Mexico and ‘femicide’ (‘femicidio’) in Guatemala. Although there have been some attempts to differentiate the two concepts, both terms emerge as a form of resistance: to assert that women’s lives matter, and such crimes should not go unpunished. Impunity contributes to the normalisation of the feminicide machine. This ‘machine’ is supported by gender inequality as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights have suggested.
The rosy rhetoric that surrounds prostitution policy in New Zealand is being exposed by survivors of the prostitution system and the way that harm is glossed over by defenders of this approach.
Prostitution and trafficking are increasingly contested in international human rights and policy forums, with debates polarised around the question of whether the prostitution system entrenches institutionalised male dominance, or if its harm grows out of associated criminality and stigma. In April 2016 France joined other countries in adopting the approach now often referred to as the Nordic Model – decriminalisation of selling sex alongside exit and support programmes, together with criminalisation of sex purchase. This human rights approach sits in sharp contrast to the endorsement of the New Zealand approach by Amnesty International and in the interim report of the UK Home Affairs Select Committee.
Impunity for violence against women remains a massive problem. Donald Trump hasn’t helped.
From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.
The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10) are a time to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.
In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and pillage in neighbouring Central African Republic. Bemba was found guilty under the concept of “command responsibility,” in which civilian and military superiors can be held criminally liable for crimes committed by troops under their control.
Across everything that divides societies, we share in common that men’s violence against women is normalised, tolerated, justified – and hidden in plain sight.
Since 25 November last year, at least 118 women and girls in the UK aged over 13 have been killed by men, or a man has been the primary suspect.
An average of one woman dead at the hands of a man every 3 days.
I’ve been recording women’s names and details of how they were killed since January 2012 when Counting Dead Women was launched.
Today we commemorate 653 women.
As evidence of UN peacekeepers’ sexual violence against Black African women and girls grows, media reporting and research reinterprets this as ‘transactional sex’, through the logic of colonialism.
A few months ago, the campaign #predatorypeacekeepers started on social media. It followed a report from a Canadian AIDS charity accusing UN and French troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) of sexually abusing at least 98 girls. The damning report alleged that three girls had been tied up and forced to have sex with a dog, that one of the victims subsequently died and that many of the abuses were orchestrated by a French General. Since publication, more victims have come forward. Many spoke of degrading sexual acts including soldiers urinating on the victim’s body or in her mouth.
Charles Rae covers a rape and murder in South Huston, Texas. Graphic content.
15 year old Karen Perez was found dead Monday night, May 30th, her body half naked and “stuffed in a cabinet” reports ABC13. Her boyfriend had threatened to kill her earlier that day if she didn’t skip school with him. The perpetrator, whose name is being withheld, is facing murder charges.
As this story has unfolded, prosecutors have told the media that the boyfriend’s phone captured Perez’s final moments alive. ABC13 reported that the audio reveled the boyfriend was raping her, and she can be heard telling him she didn’t want to have sex with him. He began choking her. Her last words recorded in the audio were, “I don’t want to die.” The boy was turned in by his father.
When we hear tragedies like this, as a society, what do we reflect on? When there’s another school shooting society talks about gun control (however dichotomous) and mental health (however misguidedly), about safety in schools and security measures. When there’s another police shooting the racism and cover-ups are debated widely on Twitter and Facebook. Why is violence against women talked about as isolated incidents when 1 in 4 women will be the victims of domestic abuse?