Tag: sexual assault

Sex work: not prohibited, not permitted

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.

Mass rapes to mass protests: violence against women in 2016

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.

Since I gave you a phone it’s not rape

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.

Trump causes split in the military over sexual assault statements

About a month ago, 88 high-ranking retired military officers signed a letter endorsing Donald Trump for President. Now a collection of high-ranking retired military officers have released a letter condemning Mr. Trump for his antics and begging the American people to keep him out of the Commander in Chief’s office.

The officers condemning Trump have expressed a very real concern: that his attitude towards women will create a hostile command climate. The military has spent decades attempting to stem sexual harassment and sexual assault within its ranks. The push back against this type of behavior began in earnest after the Tailhook scandal in 1991. During a symposium in Nevada, 83 women and 7 men were sexually assaulted by Navy and Marine officers. Incidentally, four of those who signed the endorsement of Trump were present at that symposium, though none were charged.

Veterans Lead Fight Against Sexual Assault in the Military

By the Pentagon’s own estimate, some 20,300 sexual assaults involving the U.S. military took place in the last fiscal year. About one quarter, or 6,083, of those were reported; 543 cases came to court martial by the year’s end; in 413 of those cases, the accused was found guilty; and 331 of them were imprisoned. Do the math and you’ll find that about one in 60 of the estimated sexual attacks in the military last year resulted in j­ail time.

At a moment when it seems that everyone with thumbs and a keyboard has weighed in on the rape case at Stanford University, less attention is being paid to sexual aggression in the military, where it is more likely to occur and nearly inconceivable that a similar kind of viral shaming would follow. Civilian-military comparisons are approximate at best: Sexual assault statistics are notoriously unreliable and susceptible to confirmation bias, and the Pentagon’s count includes attacks on family and other civilians, as well as on servicemembers. Still, it appears that while reporting and conviction rates are low for both, in recent years about four times as many sexual assaults have been reported in the military as in the general U.S. population.