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Entries in violence against women (36)


Just Why Does the Rape Of Women & Children Worldwide Continue? 

What does one say about a question in South Africa’s national school-leavers’ drama exam in which students are asked to direct a rape scene? South Africa’s Education Department defended their action in which they were asked to maximize the raping of a baby, using a broomstick and loaf of bread as props.

“Nowhere is it expected of the candidate to have to literally describe the actual act of raping a nine-month-old baby,” responded the department in a statement, arguing that the exercise was aimed “at assessing the pupils’ concept of using metaphor as a theatrical technique.”

“By the time pupils are in [the final year of high school], they have begun to be faced with the realities of adulthood, often beyond the security of their homes and the school system. They will, through media and cinema, have been exposed to many horrific images and reports,” spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said. He pointed out that high school seniors are well informed about child rape in South Africa. 

South Africa is a world leader in the raping of women and children. Just a day or two after newspaper headlines blazed with the test question, a six-week-old baby girl from Galeshwe township, west of the diamond-mining town of Kimberley, was raped by her 24-year-old uncle.

South African playwright Lara Foot wrote a play ‘Tshepang’ about the 2011 rape of a 9-month-old girl. Pressured for a response to the drama school test question, Foot released a statement saying it was “totally inappropriate and frankly appalling. Given the history and statistics of rape in this country, it is imperative that the matter is dealt with, but dealt with sensitively and responsibly.”

Tracking the rape of women worldwide is a key focus of Anne of Carversville. Charlize Theron joins a list of other prominent women and men, including Angelia Jolie and Eve Ensler, who for years have dedicated themselves to stopping the brutal rapes of women, children and men.

Charlize Theron for Dior

Charlize Theron By Patrick Demarchelier For Dior Magazine #4 AOC Sensual Fashion

The gifted movie star returned to her home country of South Africa with a heavy heart this week as one of the first celebrities to issue a statement about the death of Nelson Mandela. The Monster star said: “My thoughts and love go out to the Mandela family. Rest in Peace Madiba. You will be missed, but your impact on this world will live forever. There will never be words to say what I’m feeling right now. I am saddened to the depths of my soul. Truly.”

Theron and Mandela first met in 2004, with the movie star reduced to tears during the meeting.

The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) was created in 2007 by the actress and UN Messenger of Peace, in collaboration with the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Theron also appeared in a blistering South African TV commercial ‘Real Men Don’t Rape’ campaign.

Dr. Denis Mukwege & Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron Meets Dr. Denis Mukwege @ Congo’s Panzi Hospital for Raped Women AOC World

This 2010 AOC story about the rape of women in Congo featured UN Messenger of Peace Charlize Theron meeting Dr. Denis Mukwege at his Panzi Hospital. Dr. Mukwege, a 2013 Nobel Laureate nominee,  founded his hospital in 1999 and was honored with a prestigious Human Rights First award in October 2013.

In September 2012 Dr. Mukwege made a strong speech condemning mass rape in the Congo. Subsequently, on October 25, 2012 four armed men attached his residence, held his daughters hostage and waited his return. After his short absence, gunfire opened, killing one staff member. After the assassination attempt, Dr. Mukwege went into exile in Europe, causing a “devasting effect” on the daily operations of Panzi Hospital.

Dr. Mukwege returned to Bukavu in January 2013, where the authorities have assured him he will be safe.

“We don’t need the military or Monusco,” said one woman, referring to the United Nations mission in Congo. “We women will protect you.”

Congo’s Dr. Denis Mukwege

In this video below, Dr. Mukwege speaks to the press from Stockholm in November 2012.

Vagina Lady Eve Ensler Opens City of Joy Academy in Congo

New Savage FDLR Rapes of Congo Women Accompany US Reforms

Nicholas Kristof Reports on Women in Congo

Read more AOC Women of Congo articles.

Read more AOC Front Page Salon articles about violence against women.

South African Playwright Lara Foot’s Play About Child Rape ‘Tshepang’


The Prevalence Of Male Sexual Entitlement And Misconceptions About Rape

Gone With The Wind is one of my all-time favourite films, but it took me a long time to realize that it contains a very subtle marital rape scene.

I was shocked to read this headline on BBC:  Almost a quarter of men ‘admit to rape in parts of Asia’. One in four men?! Surely that’s a mistake, just sensationalized statistics. I knew that rape is more common than we think, but a thorough scrutiny of the study left me truly disturbed. The percentage of men who admitted to rape ranged from 9.5% to 62% depending on the region, but even the lowest rate— about one in ten men— is still alarmingly high to me.

The UN-led study surveyed 10,000 men from 6 Asian countries, avoiding direct questions about rape and asking them instead questions such as:

  • Have you ever had sex with your partner when you knew she didn’t want to but you thought she should agree because she’s your wife/ partner?
  • Have you ever had sex with a woman or girl when she was too drunk or drugged to say whether she wanted it or not?

These questions reminded me of how rape is widely presumed to be a violent attack by a stranger, which it certainly sometimes is, but it is also often carried out by someone known and trusted, in unexpected situations.

How many women do you know have been raped at knifepoint in a dark alley? On the other hand, how many women do you know— including yourself— have had sex with someone when she didn’t really want it. How many people have had sex while too drunk to make an informed decision about consenting? The word “rape” has automatic connotations of brutal violence, but the act can occur in many different ways, not all brutally violent, but still harmful.

The complexity of the issue deepens when both partners are equally drunk. Is a drunken man responsible for raping an equally drunk woman, when she wakes up in the morning in a strange bed with deep regrets?

Brian Earp at the Practical Ethics blog has a very lucid explanation of this in “Legitimate rape,” moral consistency, and degrees of sexual harm:

It should be that whenever sex occurs, both parties want it. On the far end of missing this goal is a violent attack at gunpoint. Somewhere in the middle might be a nonviolent, alcohol-fueled encounter between people who are newly dating and whose consent-signals are muddy or honestly misunderstood. And on the near end might be a partner who consents to sex even though he’s not particularly in the mood. Harmful sex—definitions of rape to the side—can take many forms, and the degree of harm is not the same across the board… we have to remember that sexual harm goes way beyond those “alleyway” cases, takes many forms, and can be traumatizing in ways those cases don’t capture. Broken trust. A friendship violated. Consent not respected—by a spouse, or a lover you made yourself vulnerable to.

Dave Bledsoe’s captures a slutwalk in Union Square New York.The notion of consensual sex is supposed to be simple, but due to the long history of male dominance in human culture, it remains difficult today to shake off notions of male entitlement. The BBC article reported that “nearly three quarters of those who committed rape said they did so for reasons of ‘sexual entitlement’,” and that the second most popular motivation was “to rape as a form of entertainment, so for fun or because they were bored.” How awful that a human being would so degrade another human being just for fun. Then again, a man with this attitude does not think of himself as a human being relating to another human being, but as a superior being with the right to use an object. In the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, this process of objectification explains how someone can do a terrible thing:

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'Halima Flogging' In Sudan Appears As Amira Osman Due In Court September 19

‘Harem Flogging’ in Sudan Sept 2013 from Anne Enke on Vimeo.

This video of a young woman named Harem being flogged in Sudan was sent to me yesterday. Facebook had taken the video down, due to protests by the men who engage in and support the flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan that is too violent.

The hypocrisy of administering this brutal punishment to women in Sudan, and then demanding that it be removed from the global public view on Facebook or YouTube confirms what weak men these guys are in real life. They may wear the blue uniform of Sudan’s public order police, seeking to administer Shariah laws throughout the country, but they are afraid to stand before the world in valour for their beliefs.

The flogging of women in Sudan is misogyny or hatred of women at its worst. At AOC we are committed to exposing the deep and growing hatred of women in Sudan, administered under the ultra fundamentalist umbrella of Islam. This issue is on the front burner again this week, as Amira Osman prepares to return to court in Khartoum on Thursday September 19.

‘Halima Flogging’ September 2013

It’s unclear if the maker of the flogging film is friend or foe to Halima. The thug flogger knows that he is being filmed. As in our earlier flogging video, the men are laughing and the flogger asks “Are you taking this?” The amateur filmmaker answers yes, and the thug with a whip says “Name it Halima’s Flogging”.

My contacts believe that the bystanders belong to the police or are court employees because of the angle of the video showing they are within the courtyard where flogging is performed.

The thug officer who performed Halima’s Flogging repeatedly orders her to “Cover your legs, cover your hair, let us move on.” You see the officer whip Halima’s head, which must be covered and is exactly why Amira Osman is in court on September 19.

Amira refuses to cover her head and would rather be flogged than accept this demand from a growingly fundamentalist regime in Sudan, one that seeks to make women invisible. Amira is due in court about 2am East Coast time, and my friends will be calling me to wake me up with the details, where I will broadcast them on AOC, Twitter and Facebook.

Article 152 in the revised Sudanese criminal code of 1991 defined only in a very vague manner what is considered to be offensive and immoral as a disruption to the public order. In the case of women wearing indecent or offensive clothing, it’s not defined who will decide what warrants a woman’s arrest. The police officer? The judge? Ordinary men on the street? No other aspect of the Public Order Regime has altered the daily lives of Sudanese women like Article 152 of the Criminal Act of 1991 that says:

 “(1) Whoever commits, in a public place, an act, or conducts himself in an indecent manner, or a manner contrary to public morality, or wears an indecent, or immoral dress, which causes annoyance to public feelings, shall be punished, with whipping, not exceeding forty lashes, or with fine, or with both; (2) The act shall be deemed contrary to public morality, if it is so considered in the religion of the doer, or the custom of the country where the act occurs.”

The Hisba or Hesba system in which any man in Khartoum can have any woman arrested and whipped for just about any reason is not part of the Sudanese constitution. Rather, the constitution acknowledges Sharia laws as a reference. While the Sudanese government doesn’t organize or employ the Hisba men enforcing what they consider to be Islam’s laws, it doesn’t discourage their behavior either.

Within this context, misogyny against women runs rampant in Sudan, making it a very unsafe place to be a woman. Any man can have a woman arrested and whipped for just about any reason. As Sudanese lawyer and women’s rights activist Lana Mhgoub wrote yesterday about her own flogging:

The method of arresting (women in Sudan) is very humiliating… . He could be having a rough day or her just decided to harass that woman.

I’m working with women’s rights activists in Sudan to tell more stories about the brutal treatment of women under Article 152. We are asking for pictures of the flogged women without showing their faces or using their names. We are asking for pictures of their scars, pictures of their clothes and the words of their stories.

I have also reached out to a prominent Muslim woman filmmaker to join our cause of stopping the public flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan. We must record this growing brutality against women in documentary form. ~ Anne

Power and Courage to the women of Sudan and the men who support them.