Jimmy Carter speaks out on Woman’s Rights

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Does the Plight of Women start with Genesis 3:16?

Genesis 3:16

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow
and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth
children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he
shall rule over thee.

I guess the Pope thinks so:

Dominion over the Other in the Interpersonal Relation
Pope John Paul II

When will the Pope speak out against Domestic Violence?

There are thousands and thousands of Domestic Violence crimes day in and day out, 365 days a year and for sure at Christmas!

You can watch the daily continuous Domestic Violence unfold here:

Plight of Women

We, the world, need a new model where women are equal in law, in marriage, and at work and religion needs to its part to bring this about!

Entangled Reality

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The stereotypical picture of intimate partner violence revised

A higher socio-economic status than one’s partner increases the chance of psychological violence and abuse.


New research on violence and relationships does not support the stereotypical pattern of strong men in powerful positions who abuse their weaker, female partner.

“Whenever power is unevenly allocated in a relationship, the chance of physical and psychological abuse increases,” says Heidi Fischer Bjelland, sociologist and PhD student at The Norwegian Police University College.

“The abused partner is the one with the highest status,” she says.

This applies both to men and to women.

Bjelland has examined survey replies from 1,640 men and 1,791 women who live with their partners.

The participants have answered questions relating to whether they have experienced physical partner violence such as strangling and flat hand slapping, and psychological abuse such as threats of physical violence, jealous behaviour and freedom restriction.
Higher status- increased risk

Both men and women with a higher status than their partner have an increased risk of experiencing psychological abuse or controlling partners.

Additionally, women with a higher income than their partner also have an increased risk of experiencing physical abuse:

“Their risk of experiencing both physical and psychological violence increases with the difference in income,” says Bjelland.

The figures from the study shows that women earning more than 67 percent of the total household income have an almost seven times bigger risk of experiencing psychological and physical abuse – so-called double violence – from their partner compared to women who earn less than 33 percent of the total household income.

Moreover, women with considerably higher education than their partner have an increased risk of experiencing both physical and psychological abuse.

The study challenges previous research which has concluded that a high socio-economic status decreases the risk of experiencing intimate partner violence.

“My study shows that high income or education works as protection against acts of violence only as far as the income and education does not exceed that of the partner,” says Bjelland.

“There seem to be two mechanisms at play here: one relating to the individual and another to the relationship as such.”

Change the power balance

Bjelland believes the results of her study imply that intimate partner violence may be all about trying to change the power balance. The intimate partner violence is a type of contrapower strategy towards a stronger partner.

“Violence or control is used as a compensation for the partner’s weak position in the relationship, and may thus be regarded as an attempt to balance what is perceived as an uneven division of power.”

Such power strategies are in sociology often referred to as conscious tactics.

Bjelland is not convinced that these strategies are as premeditated as the theory implies.

“Perhaps the abuse in some cases has to do with an unconscious fear of losing a partner which is more attractive “on the market” due to his or her socio-economic status.”

When jealousy becomes psychological violence

The most frequent type of psychological abuse or partner violence in the survey had to do with the partner wanting to know where the other part is, with whom they are with, and when they are due back home.

The second most common type, was jealous behaviour and attempts to restrict the other part’s social interaction with friends and family.

It is not uncommon to want to know where one’s partner is and when he or she might be home; when does this become psychological violence?

“There is no clear answer to that. But this does not have to do with everyday random questions about where someone has been. When the interviewees describe their partners as being inquisitive regarding these things, it is reasonable to assume that it is a type of violation and an attempt to restrict the partner’s freedom.”

“This is a common way of identifying psychological violence in studies on intimate partner violence,” says Bjelland.

Original article

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Forced To Travel Abroad To Get An Abortion, Irish Women Take Their Human Rights Case To The UN


Three Irish women who were forced to leave the country to have an abortion, even though their fetuses had been diagnosed with fatal diseases and had no chance of surviving outside the womb, are taking their case to the United Nations. Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, they’re asking the UN’s Human Rights Committee to put pressure on Ireland to loosen its stringent abortion ban.

Ireland’s harsh abortion policy has come under particular scrutiny over the past year, making international headlines after Savita Halappanavar died because she was denied an emergency abortion at an Irish Catholic hospital. Halappanavar’s preventable death sparked global outrage, and eventually led Ireland to amend its abortion ban for the first time in over 150 years.

The new law clarifies that women should be able to legally terminate a pregnancy if their lives are at risk — but it doesn’t allow for legal abortions in any other circumstances, even when women discover serious fetal abnormalities that will cause their unborn children to suffer and die outside of the womb. Reproductive rights advocates point out that’s still much too harsh, and is forcing women to travel abroad to get the health care they desperately need.

Women who discover fatal fetal abnormalities are in particularly desperate situations. They typically have to make the very difficult choice to end a wanted pregnancy, rather than waiting to give birth to a child who will likely suffer for the brief time that he or she remains alive.

Amanda Mellet, the first of the three woman to testify in front of the UN, “fought back tears” as she described “the most horrific and heartbreaking experience of her life” at a press conference on Wednesday. She believes her heartbreak was compounded by the fact that was denied medical care in her own country. “There is no doubt in my mind being forced to leave Ireland and end my pregnancy of my much wanted baby overshadowed my grief,” she said.

The Center for Reproductive Rights believes that Ireland is violating the basic human rights of women like Mellet.

“Rather than being provided with the best medical care possible, Irish women with nonviable pregnancies are instead cruelly denied the option of safely and legally ending their pregnancy,” Johanna Westeson, the organization’s regional director for Europe, noted in a statement. “We hope the Human Rights Committee will find that Ireland must amend its extreme abortion law — so women facing serious pregnancy complications can access safe and legal abortions in their own country.”

These types of human rights abuses aren’t just evident in other countries. Here in the United States, some women can’t terminate a pregnancy even after discovering serious fetal abnormalities because their states have banned late-term abortions. For instance, as MSNBC’s Irin Carmon recently reported, Jessica Davis was forced to travel from Oklahoma to Texas after discovering that her unborn son had a severe brain malformation. The trip was so expensive that Davis, her husband, and their three small children ran out of money for food and lodging. By the end of the trip, they were eating microwave popcorn and Ramen noodles and sleeping in their car.

Nonetheless, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a 20-week abortion ban, and Republicans in the Senate just introduced their own version of the legislation last week. If enacted, a measure like that could force some U.S. women to make international trips, just like Mellet.

Original article | ThinkProgress.

Woman attempting to bring Ireland to UN Human Rights Committee over abortion law – Independent.ie

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Survey: Egypt is worst Arab state for women, Comoros best

Sexual harassment, high rates of female genital cutting and a surge in violence and Islamist feeling after the Arab Spring uprisings have made Egypt the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman, a poll of gender experts showed on Tuesday.

Discriminatory laws and a spike in trafficking also contributed to Egypt’s place at the bottom of a ranking of 22 Arab states, the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey found.


Despite hopes that women would be one of the prime beneficiaries of the Arab Spring, they have instead been some of the biggest losers, as the revolts have brought conflict, instability, displacement and a rise in Islamist groups in many parts of the region, experts said.

“We removed the Mubarak from our presidential palace but we still have to remove the Mubarak who lives in our minds and in our bedrooms,” Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy said, referring to Egypt’s toppled dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

“As the miserable poll results show, we women need a double revolution, one against the various dictators who’ve ruined our countries and the other against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women.”

The foundation’s third annual women’s rights POLL: Women's rights in the Arab world gives a comprehensive snapshot of the state of women’s rights in the Arab world three years after the events of 2011 and as Syria’s conflict threatens further regional upheaval.

Iraq ranked second-worst after Egypt, followed by Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. Comoros, where women hold 20 percent of ministerial positions and where wives generally keep land or the home after divorce, came out on top, followed by Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar.

The poll by Thomson Reuters’ philanthropic arm surveyed 336 gender experts in August and September in 21 Arab League states and Syria, which was a founding member of the Arab League but was suspended in 2011.

Questions were based on provisions of the U.N. Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which 19 Arab states have signed or ratified.

The poll assessed violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.

Experts were asked to respond to statements and rate the importance of factors affecting women’s rights across the six categories. Their responses were converted into scores, which were averaged to create a ranking.


Egypt scored badly in almost all categories.

Women played a central role in the country’s revolution but activists say the rising influence of Islamists, culminating in the election of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi as president, was a major setback for women’s rights.

Mursi was toppled in a military takeover in July after mass protests against his rule, but hopes for greater freedoms have been tempered by the daily dangers facing women on the street, experts said.

A U.N. report on women in April said 99.3 percent of women and girls are subjected to sexual harassment in Egypt, which some analysts say reflects a general rise in violence in Egyptian society over the past half-decade.

Human Rights Watch reported that 91 women were raped or sexually assaulted in public in Tahrir Square in June as anti-Mursi protests heated up.

“The social acceptability of everyday sexual harassment affects every woman in Egypt regardless of age, professional or socio-economic background, marriage status, dress or behavior,” said Noora Flinkman, communications manager at HarassMap, a Cairo-based rights group that campaigns against harassment.

“It limits women’s participation in public life. It affects their safety and security, their sense of worth, self-confidence and health.”

Respondents also cited high rates of forced marriage and trafficking.

“There are whole villages on the outskirts of Cairo and elsewhere where the bulk of economic activity is based on trafficking in women and forced marriages,” said Zahra Radwan, Middle East and North Africa program officer for the Global Fund for Women, a U.S.-based rights group.

Female genital mutilation is endemic in Egypt, where 91 percent of women and girls – 27.2 million in all – are subjected to cutting, according to UNICEF. Only Djibouti has a higher rate, with 93 percent of women and girls cut.

In Iraq, women’s freedoms have regressed since the U.S.-led 2003 invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the poll showed.

A decade of instability and conflict has affected women disproportionately. Domestic abuse and prostitution have increased, illiteracy has soared and up to 10 percent of women – or 1.6 million – have been left widowed and vulnerable, according to Refugees International.

Hundreds of thousands of women displaced internally and across borders are vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping and rape, the U.N. refugee agency says.

In Saudi Arabia, ranked third worst, experts noted some advances. The kingdom remains the only country that bans female drivers but cautious reforms pushed by King Abdullah have given women more employment opportunities and a greater public voice.

Since January, 30 women have been appointed to the 150-member Shoura Council, the nearest thing Saudi Arabia has to a parliament – but the council has no legislative or budgetary powers.

Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system forbids women from working, travelling abroad, opening a bank account or enrolling in higher education without permission from a male relative.

“Saudi society is a patriarchal society and all its laws pertain to the rights of men,” said a Saudi legal advisor who defends victims of domestic abuse. “The woman is considered second class.”


Syria’s civil war has had a devastating impact on women at home and in refugee camps across borders, where they are vulnerable to trafficking, forced and child marriage and sexual violence, experts said.

Rights groups say forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have targeted women with rape and torture, while hardline Islamists have stripped them of rights in rebel-held territory.

“The Syrian woman is a weapon of war, subjected to abductions and rape by the regime and other groups,” a Syrian women’s rights campaigner said.

The poll highlighted a mixed picture for women’s rights in other Arab Spring countries.

In Yemen, ranked fifth worst, women protested side-by-side with men during the 2011 revolution and there is a 30 percent quota for women in a national dialogue conference convened to discuss constitutional reforms.

But they face an uphill struggle for rights in a largely conservative country where child marriage is common – there is no minimum marriage age – and the U.S. State Department says 98.9 percent of women have faced harassment on the streets.

In Libya, ranked 14th for women’s rights, experts voiced concern over the spread of armed militias and a rise in kidnapping, extortion, random arrests and physical abuse of women. They said the uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi two years ago had failed to enshrine women’s rights in law.

Women in 12th-ranked Bahrain are more active in political life than in many Gulf states, but experts said sectarianism was a barrier to rights following the Sunni regime’s crushing of a pro-democracy uprising by majority Shi’ites in 2011.

In Tunisia, ranked best among Arab Spring nations, women hold 27 percent of seats in national parliament and contraception is legal, but polygamy is spreading and inheritance laws are biased towards males.

Along with Syria, all Arab League member states except Somalia and Sudan have signed or ratified CEDAW. In the absence of full statehood recognition for the Palestinian territories, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas symbolically endorsed the convention on behalf of both the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority.

But protection offered by CEDAW is superficial, experts said. Signatories may raise reservations against any article that contradicts sharia (Islamic law), a country’s family code, personal status laws or any piece of national legislation.

Comoros, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is leading the way on women’s rights in the Arab world, the poll found.

Women are not under pressure to give birth to boys over girls. Contraception is widely accepted and supported by state-run education campaigns, while property is usually awarded to women after divorce or separation, experts said.

via Reuters

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Family abuse and violence

“Often domestic violence, partner abuse, elder abuse and child abuse are talked about separately,” said JoAnn Miller, an associate professor of sociology and affiliated member in women’s studies. “But you cannot understand one problem without understanding the others. We need to look across generations. A daughter who grows up in an abusive family will possibly struggle with abusive dating relationships as well as an abusive marriage or even violent marriage”


The book, “Family Abuse and Violence: A Social Problems Perspective,” by Miller and Dean D. Knudsen, a professor emeritus, is written for policy advocates, practitioners, researchers and students.
Book is based on case studies and survey research as well as the professors’ experiences working with family abuse in their community. The book highlights a different theory of abuse. It features the many voices of victims and offenders and emphasizes the importance of academics collaborating with practitioners and policymakers to solve social problems.

“It is important for practitioners and trial judges to focus on responding to the problems of abuse, while researchers address the causes of abuse,” Miller said. “Together, we can work toward more positive solutions.”

Miller also conducted a national survey, via Purdue’s Social Research Institute in 2003, to ask Americans their perceptions about how abuse toward women should be handled. Miller found strong gender differences. After the survey, participants were read examples of first-time abuse incidents. Miller asked what would be the most appropriate consequence: jail time, therapy or a hands-off approach. More than 66 percent responded therapy, with women tending to favor therapeutic intervention, and men preferring the other and more extreme options.

Miller said the general population may be surprised to learn that the common safety nets created to handle abuse actually can contribute to other problems.

“People recognize there is a problem and support different programs to change behaviors,” Miller said. “But very well-intentioned social interventions can be lethal. For some abusers, arrest and prosecution can increase violence. If a woman seeks refuge at a safe shelter, it can save her life or it can cause her and her children more harm. We have these safety nets to catch people, but our policy, laws and interventions tend to be one-size-fits-all, and that can have dangerous consequences.”

“Even though all forms of domestic violence and abuse constitute a global problem, the situation can improve only with local solutions,” said Miller.

Institute explores intimate partner violence across generations

Most parents who experienced intimate partner violence had children that grew to face violence in their own adult relationships, according to a study published by the Crime Victims’ Institute at Sam Houston State University.

“These families, unfortunately, were not able to break the cycle of violence,” said Kelly Knight, an Assistant Professor at the College of Criminal Justice and the primary author of the study. “Most parents who had experienced intimate partner violence had children who eventually grew up to experience intimate partner violence themselves.”

“Generational Cycles of Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S.: A Research Brief” showed that nearly four out of every five families where parents were involved with intimate partner violence had adult children who perpetrated violent acts against partners, and three out of every four families had adult children who became victims of the crime.

The study was based on the National Youth Survey Family Study, a national sample of 1,683 families, and followed 353 second generation parents and their third generation offspring over a 20-year period.

Generally, the study found that most participants, regardless of the generation or family background, were involved in some form of intimate partner violence (IPV), either as a perpetrator or a victim. Examples of intimate partner violence included throwing something; pushing or grabbing; slapping; hitting with a fist; hitting with an objects; choking; beating; threatening with a weapon; using a weapon; or attempting to kill a partner or spouse.

A total of 92 percent of parents in the study admitted to committing a least one minor act of intimate partner violence, with 67 percent saying they committed at least one violent act against their significant other. Among their adult children, 81 percent admitted to at least one minor incident of IPV, while 33 percent said they used violence against a partner.

Regarding the issue of victimization, 66 percent of parents and 36 percent of adult child report being the victim of violence at the hands of their partners, while 93 percent of parents and 78 percent of adult children report being a victim of minor incidents of IPV.

The study also found that one-fifth of those surveyed had participated in three or more types of intimate partner violence.

The study can be found here:

Crime Victims’ Institute.


"Family Abuse and Violence: A Social Problems Perspective," by Miller and Dean D. Knudsen

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UN Women: Real Google Searches Illustrate Reality Of Global Sexism

A series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013 the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights.

“When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them,” says Christopher Hunt, Art Director of the creative team. The idea developed places the text of the Google searches over the mouths of women portraits, as if to silence their voices.

“The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” adds Kareem Shuhaibar, copy writer.

For UN Women, the searches confirm the urgent need to continue making the case for women’s rights, empowerment and equality, a cause the organization is pursuing around the world. UN Women is heartened by the initial strong reaction to the ads and hopes they will spark constructive dialogue globally.

The auto-complete suggestions were – and remain – extremely telling, many showing evidence of entrenched prejudice.

Campaign creator Christopher Hunt said: “this campaign uses the world’s most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web.”






UN Women

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Preventing Violence Against Women: International Study With Global Implications


In South and South-East Asia, as well as in the Pacific, cases of rape and violence towards women remain a relevant and challenging issue.

A recently-published study combines the resources of four different United Nation agencies: The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and United Nations Volunteers together with Partners for Prevention.

These agencies worked together in an effort to better understand the causes of violence against women, and point to possible methods for prevention. This long-term UN study surveyed over 13,000 men and women from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea from 2010 to 2013.

This study marks the first instance of in-depth research in these locations, and has collected evidence that brings realities about the repercussions of gender inequality to light.

Man’s Role in the Family: Breadwinner

In many countries, a man playing the role of the dominant figure in the household is a common cultural practice. Men are the “breadwinners,” going out to work as the sole provider for the family in most cases while the wife’s understood role is to stay at home, to raise the children, and to take care of any elderly family members who might live with them.

We might compare these cultural norms to those we commonly associate with the 1950’s in the United States of America. Lead researcher Emma Fulu told Decoded Science that, “the region was not chosen because it is in any way more violent than other regions, and we believe that the findings are of notable worldwide interest because the world’s population lives in this region, and the countries with it are culturally diverse.”

The Move toward Gender Equality

Given this cultural context, what does the concept of gender equality really mean for the women who live in these communities? The UN study has shown that women have been growing more comfortable with speaking out against the abuse of their partners. In some cases, this might mean leaving the man’s household and returning to a parent’s house or that of a family member on the woman’s side. This form of protest is considered more acceptable than questioning the actions or words of the man directly, or by looking to the public for support.

Both partner rape and non-partner rape prove to be common among the men who were interviewed. The study has found that the violence often occurs for a variety of reasons, such as the lack of legal or social consequences for rape and sexual violence. While the causes might remain complicated, all stem from the culturally accepted norm of male dominance.

Researchers were surprised by the willingness of male participants to speak freely about their use of violence against their partners. However, when women were asked about their experiences with this violence, they often defended their husbands’ actions in the household.

Violent Responses to Changing Gender Roles

In the 6 countries that the researchers surveyed, only Papua New Guinea criminalizes marital rape; rape that occurs within a marriage. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have specifications on what defines marital rape and based on those laws, they can criminalize it. In Cambodia, marital rape is not mentioned in the penal code, however non-marital rape is illegal. China has no laws for criminalizing marital rape.

The majority of the men who perpetrated rape did not experience any legal consequences. They also were more willing to answer questions about these topics more freely than it was to be expected. Alcohol, drug use and depression lead to violence and abuse with women, and the men seemed to be surprisingly open about talking to the researchers on this kind of topic.

The men suggested that the more pressure they were under, the more they would take their frustrations on a bottle, on drugs, or on women.

Sexual Violence and Rape

The amount of violence and types of violence which the men used can be linked to their past experiences, whether as victims or as observers. Men who participated in rape or sexual violence against women also admitted to the researchers that they had been abused by someone when they were younger. Some were sexually abused or witnessed gang rapes, which researchers say affects them well into adulthood.

Laws and Education: Reducing Sexual Violence

Enacting more laws against rape and sexual violence, and educating children to ensure that they learn violence is intolerable in the household or outside the home could be the key to reducing violence in coming generations. Although these countries in South Asia and the Pacific are experiencing a shift toward gender equality in the home, there is still a lot of work to do for women’s rights and safety.

To prevent violence against women, the study recommends we:

  • Make violence against women unacceptable, for example through community mobilization programmes and engagement with people who influence culture;
  • Promote non-violent and caring ways to be a man, for example through sustained school-based or sports-based education programmes;
  • Address child abuse and promote healthy families, for example through parenting programmes, comprehensive child protection systems and policies to end corporal punishment;
  • Work with young people, with a particular focus on boys and adolescents, to understand consent, and healthy sexuality, and to foster respectful relationships;
  • End impunity for men who use violence against women, particularly marital rape, through criminalization of all forms of violence against women, and promote legal sector reform to ensure effective access to justice.
  • Ensure the full empowerment of women and girls and eliminate gender discrimination.

Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific | Partners4Prevention.

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Women in forced marriages number in the hundreds in Ontario

25% of women in forced marriages were teens when they married


‘This is a Canadian problem, and it does transcend communities, religion and ages’- Shalini Konanur, SALCO

Hundreds of women in Ontario are in marriages against their will, with a quarter of them married when they were just teenagers, according to a three-year study looking into the practice.

The South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, or SALCO, released its findings today looking at 219 cases of forced marriage that were identified in the province between 2010 and 2012.

The report, titled Who/If/When to Marry: The Incidence of Forced Marriage in Ontario, found that both men and women in the province are coerced into marriage, but 92 per cent of those affected are women. In 25 per cent of the cases, the people involved were just 16 to 18 years old when they were married.

It’s the first study to provide a closer look at these non-consensual unions, which are defined as marriages where individuals are forced to wed against their will, under duress or without full, free and informed consent from both parties.

“I think the reality is that number is just a tipping point of all those cases we know are not getting reported,” said Shalini Konanur of SALCO.

“And you have to remember our collection was just in Ontario, so the national picture would be much more, I think, bigger.”

The study found that the majority of the people affected are Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with people in 31 per cent of cases living in Canada for more than a decade before being forced into marriage.

“This is a Canadian problem,” said Konanur, ”and it does transcend communities, religion and ages.”

One woman, who goes by the name Haya and does not want to be identified, had been living in Ontario for several years before her father took her to Pakistan to force her to marry her cousin.

“I thought, ‘Yay, we’re going to go back home for a vacation,’” Haya told CBC News.

“It turns out my dad ends up taking my passport, telling me I can’t go back home to Canada and I’m just going to have to end up getting married,” she said.

Haya managed to escape from Pakistan and is now living in Mississauga, Ont., but said she was disowned by her father.

The report lists a variety of reasons people are pressured into marriages — usually by family members, community elders or religious leaders — including upholding cultural tradition, family reputation and honour.

The report says shame and fear are common themes in many of the cases it examined. In some cases, victims were threatened with violence.

“In our society, we are fairly good at understanding issues of violence, particularly violence against women,” said Uzma Shakir, a former director at SALCO. “But this is an aspect of that violence that we are not quite familiar with.”

The report lists several recommendations on how to deal with forced marriages across the country, including a national public awareness campaign, building a better framework for assessing cases and providing legal and social support for victims of the practice.


Source: Toronto – CBC News.

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Canada rejects UN call for review of violence against aboriginal women

Canada has dismissed a number of recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council, including a call for reviewing violence against aboriginal women.

hedstromCanadian woman displaying pictures of missing aboriginal women during a demonstration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

On Thursday, Canada responded to the Geneva-based body, which is conducting its Universal Periodic Review of Canada’s rights record on a number of issues related to poverty, immigration and the criminal justice system.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government had received a total of 162 recommendations in the review on how to improve its country’s human rights record.

“Governments raised critical, concrete recommendations touching on numerous human rights shortcomings that are well known to Canadians,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch.

He added, “This included alarming levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls, nationwide poverty and homelessness, and Canada’s lagging record of ratifying international human rights treaties. Other areas included the rights of Indigenous peoples, refugee protection, corporate accountability, national security and women’s equality.”

Among those countries calling for a national review into the disappearances, murder and sexual abuse of aboriginal women, were Iran, Norway, Cuba, New Zealand and Slovakia.

Shawn Atleo, national chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations was also critical to Harper government’s response to the UN recommendations saying that there is a deep concern among the aboriginal population over Ottawa’s refusal to conduct a national review of the violence.

“There is strong support for this action domestically among provincial and territorial leaders and the Canadian public and strong international support, not to mention a multitude of reports and investigations that urge Canada to act,” said Atleo in a statement.

This is not the first time Ottawa has been urged to address concerns about its aboriginal population.

Canada faced similar calls in 2009, when it was last reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council.

Furthermore, Human Rights Watch presented in February a critical report alleging police abuse of aboriginal women in the western province of British Columbia.

The rights organization also urged the Harper government together with the provincial government to form a national commission of inquiry, a measure that was endorsed by the National Democratic Party, the Green party and the Assembly of First Nations.

More information:

Canada rejects UN rights panel call for review of violence on aboriginal women.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Responds to Canada’s Rejection to UN Human Rights Council Recommendations for Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls.

Canada Gives Human Rights the Cold Shoulder: Disgraceful Response to UN Human Rights Review Contains No New Commitments | Amnesty International Canada.

Canada’s response to UN Human Rights Council .pdf.

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When Women Traffic Other Women

Some 30 percent of human traffickers are women—and their numbers may be growing. Sharon Buchbinder on the psychology of the female pimp.


With a rolled-up newspaper-smack to the nose, the recent FBI sweep and arrests of more than 150 perpetrators and rescues of 100 children from human trafficking has awakened our country. As a nation, we can no longer deny modern slavery is in our country, states, counties, cities and, indeed, backyards.

With an estimated 27 million people held as slaves worldwide, and a thriving $34 billion industry, you can be sure the United States, with its wealth, lust for young flesh, and desire for cheap labor holds a hefty piece of this slavery pie. With the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 now in effect in all 50 states, you would think we’d have ample data to back up our Tier 1 Status of countries who comply with the minimum standards of the TVPA Act.

You’d be wrong.

Human Trafficking.org reports a range of “14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children trafficked to the U.S.” This number does not include U.S.-born women and children who are trafficked. In 2011, an FBI Bulletin estimated more than 290,000 youths were at risk of being trafficked for sexual purposes. Project Polaris estimates more than 100,000 people are trafficked in the U.S. for the sex trade. The organization does not distinguish between U.S.- or foreign-born slaves. The 2013 State Department report on Human Trafficking was silent on the prevalence of trafficked individuals in the U.S.

The arrest and conviction rates for human trafficking aren’t much better. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) states, “Due to the underground nature of trafficking, the number of victims is unknown.” In a 2012 report to the NIJ on Identifying Challenges to Improve the Investigation and Prosecution of State and Local Trafficking Cases, Northeastern University and Urban Institute researchers reviewed data in 12 counties from human trafficking cases closed by 2010 for both sex and labor trafficking. Seventy percent of the traffickers were male. The other 30 percent were females.

Who are these women?

According to the researchers, they were approximately 10 years older than their victims and were former victims of sex trafficking who, instead of escaping, decided to go into the same business. They had firsthand knowledge of what that life meant. These women had been threatened, abused, demeaned, isolated, confined, demoralized, medically neglected, drugged, dominated, controlled and subsequently survived to become the next generation of traffickers.

Why would a woman do this to another woman or child? You won’t like the answer.

It’s a living.

Is this a new trend? Have the number of women traffickers increased recently? We don’t know. Remember the data issue? The report to the NIJ was a cross-sectional one, a snapshot in time, looking at closed cases in 2010. In the absence of comparable data across time, it is challenging to find estimates available in published sources to see if this is a growing trend.

Sometimes you have to be creative.

Using the news releases on ICE.gov (US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) going back from July 2013 to 2008, I conducted a keyword search on charges for trafficking. Among the limitations of this data is that these cases were placed on the website as news releases, not as data for researching; higher-profile cases may have been selected for inclusion. As a researcher, I would use this data with caution and suggest this analysis serves as an intriguing starting point for rigorous research and data collection, not an endpoint.

With that in mind, here is what I found:

Of the 470 news releases, 160 were specifically related to human trafficking for either sex or labor. Suspects were identified as men, women, families or couples. Looking at the table below, it appears human trafficking was a family business in 2008, with equal numbers of women and families. In 2009, when not being run by men, human trafficking was a growing mom-and-pop business with couples being arrested, including a minister and his wife. In 2010, more women stepped up to the plate, along with fewer couples, but mom-and-pop enterprise rebounded in 2011. In 2012, women lagged behind men in arrests, but made up for it in 2013, with one woman charged with a violent sex trafficking scheme. It is interesting to note the data is remarkably consistent with the report to NIJ in 2010, with a similar ratio of male to female suspects, however, that report did not include families or couples. The data points to gender and relationships in and among human trafficking suspects.

Where there is opportunity for high financial reward, coupled with low risk of consequence, there will always be unscrupulous people looking to earn a living. Because of their familiarity with the lifestyle, network, and recruiting methods, women can lure others to work for them and their associates with promises of a good life. The women in the NIJ report were in their mid-forties, the age of most teenagers’ mothers. Our society doesn’t expect women to be predatory. It’s easier for these women to slide under the radar, perhaps even pass themselves off as victims, too, if an arrest is made. Children have been socialized to trust women more than men. People who are perceived as being in a position of trust have an even greater advantage. A runaway girl will trust a friend’s older sister or mother to take good care of her; she will not expect to be sold to a pimp. A foreign-born woman seeking a better job will trust a minister and his wife.

Human trafficking is an under-reported crime primarily against women and children. Knowing at least one third of these victims will make a career of victimizing other women and children, I predict women will play a larger role in human trafficking activities in our country’s future. I think it’s time we made a concerted effort across professions, disciplines, and agencies to do a better job at considering this insidious equal-opportunity employer. We owe it to future generations to abolish modern slavery—in any form, under any slave master.


Related inks:

HumanTrafficking.org | United States of America.

Human Trafficking | Polaris Project | Combating Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery.

Trafficking in Persons Report 2013.

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Empower Indigenous Women to Assert Their Rights


Women around the world are exposed to domestic violence, sexual and economic exploitation, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriage. For indigenous women and girls, however, the risk of being victims of such issues is especially high.

In light of this fact, the Philippines-based Tebtebba Foundation advocates for indigenous peoples’ rights, working to ensure that the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is properly implemented.

n an interview with IPS, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, executive director of the Tebtebba Foundation and chair of the Asia Indigenous Women’s Network, discussed how indigenous women and girls can confront discriminatory practises and how the international community can support them in doing so.

Tauli-Corpuz also worked as lead consultant on the report “Breaking the Silence on Violence Against Indigenous Girls, Adolescents and Young Women“, a joint effort of different U.N. agencies aiming at addressing “the ‘statistical silence’ around violence against indigenous girls and women”.

Excerpts from the interview follow.

In some cultures, women’s submission to men and acts of violence against women and girls are seen as part of the cultural tradition. How can this idea be addressed?

- Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights and should not be tolerated in any way, even through qualifying it as “part of local tradition” or as something “cultural”.

Violence is experienced by individual women, although there are situations which make women that belong to a particular group, such as an indigenous people, who are at higher risk of suffering from violence because of historical and current situations of colonisation, domination, racism and discrimination.

If there are cultural practises that promote violence against indigenous women and girls, these should be severely criticised and changed.

How can effective measures against violence be implemented in indigenous groups in which the internal hierarchy of family and social obligations are particularly important?

- Measures to address violence against indigenous women and girls can be effectively implemented if state agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) take certain steps.

They can help strengthen indigenous women’s organisations to address this issue, document and monitor this phenomenon, and help local governments to implement gender and culturally sensitive ways of handling this issue and to develop programs with budgets.

They can also help raise awareness among indigenous peoples (traditional authorities, indigenous organisations, including women’s organisations) of women and children’s rights and of violence against women and girls.

Colonialism has led some indigenous peoples to internalise racism and indigenous women to accept violence. Could you discuss the relationship between colonialism and violence against indigenous women?

- Colonialism, which is linked with patriarchy, has deprived indigenous women of their basic human rights to own and control their own lands, territories and resources. It has perpetuated racism and discrimination against indigenous women to the point where some of them deny their indigenous identities and try to emulate the colonisers’ ways.

This is just one way women internalise their oppression, which makes them highly vulnerable to trafficking and prostitution.

Alcoholism and drug dependence have also been used by colonisers to dehumanise indigenous men, and colonial patriarchy has reinforced or promoted machismo among the men. These are factors that lead to violence against indigenous women and girls.

Colonisers’ efforts to extract minerals, oil and gas from indigenous territories also led them to build enclaves where male workers live and prostituted women are brought in.

Sometimes the state exacerbates factors that lead to violence against women and girls and can even perpetrate some forms of violence itself, such as with discriminatory policies or culturally insensitive education and health services. In these cases, what can bodies of the United Nations do?

- The United Nations can help facilitate possibilities and opportunities for indigenous women to use U.N. treaty bodies, like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) or the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), or the Human Rights Committee, to file complaints against discriminatory policies and programmes of states.

The special representative of the secretary-general on violence against women and children can also visit countries where cases of violence against indigenous women and girls are reported.

U.N. agencies and funds like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), U.N. Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), should allot more technical and financial assistance to address this issue at the country, regional and global levels.

The U.N. report “Breaking the Silence” is based on the assumption that violence against indigenous girls and women should be addressed as a specific problem, within but distinct from the phenomenon of violence against women in general. Does this approach risk putting a label on these women? How can it help tackle the problem?

- Asking that violence against indigenous women and girls be addressed as a specific problem is just stating the fact that if there are few services to address this issue for women and girls in general, this is even more so for indigenous women and girls. It does not risk labelling them. It is just naming the problem so that this can be addressed more appropriately, adequately and effectively.

It is also to clarify that indigenous women generally do not agree that culture or tradition should be used to justify the violence they suffer from and to highlight that the people who are most effective in dealing with this issue are indigenous women and girls who are empowered to assert their rights as women and as indigenous persons.

Related links:

Breaking the Silence on Violence against Indigenous Girls,
Adolescents and Young Women.pdf

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

OHCHR – Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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