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Entries in women's rights (137)

Thursday
Dec122013

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’

Thursday
Nov142013

Abortion Rights News: USSC Let's Stand Oklahoma State Court Ban On Mandatory Ultrasounds & Abortion Pills

1. After many years playing defense on abortion rights, advocates seeking to protect women’s health options launched a new offensive strategy on Capitol Hill. The first initiative is the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)  and in the House by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).

WHPA is designed “to protect a woman’s right to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services.

If passed, the WHPA would pit the federal government against states rights advocates and new laws “that fail to protect women’s health and intrude upon personal decision-making,” according to its sponsors. Asserting that “a woman’s constitutional rights should not depend on her zip code,” the bill “promotes and protects a woman’s individual constitutional rights, no matter where she lives.”

2. In a second action, women’s reproductive health professionals around the country have launched All Above All, dedicated to educating members of Congress and their staff on the importance of public funding of abortion care for low-income women.

All Above All is supported by 28 organizations throughout America and intends to lift bans on public funding for abortion as blocked by the Hyde Amendment.

Organizers describe the campaign as a “bold, national, multi-year effort to bring together Millennials, people of color and groups from around the progressive universe to build the political power and will to lift these bans on coverage.”

WPHA does not address funding bans, writes RH Reality Check. The reality is that passing WHPA tomorrow would still leave the option unavailable to America’s poorest women. Removing the Hyde Amendment is a long-term goal that will take persistence and countless hours of dedicated efforts.

3. This week’s New York Magazine profiles the real life stories of 26 women — in honor of 26 Republican legislature states that have passed over 111 provisions that restrict abortion access. Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, “perhaps none seems further from being resolves, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion” writes Meaghan Winter.

The article points out what we all know: the experience of abortion in America is increasingly based on one’s zip code. Not only does it vary by state but also by culture, race, income, age, family — and by the response of a boyfriend.

Also in NYM Why the Abortion Pill Didn’t Change Everything.

In 1993, Time magazine declared mifepristone — the abortion pill that’s often called RU-486 — “The Pill that Changes Everything.” In 1999, The New York Times Magazine called it a “little white bombshell” with “enormous political consequences.”  Think again.

4. The state of Oklahoma lost another round in its battle to restrict abortion access in the state when the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in which a lower state court found HB 2789 requiring women to have an unnecessary and expensive ultrasound scan to be unconstitutional.

The new law mandated that the pregnant woman be given the chance to view the ultrasound image and be given a medical description, including “the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”

Last week, the USSC dismissed an Oklahoma appeal on the permissibility of limiting abortions based on RU-486. The Oklahoma laws are important because they are among the earliest enacted after the Tea Party came to power in 2010, launching the Republican War on Women and women’s health as its top priority. via CNN

5. A major decision due any minute from the USSC will send the clearest signal yet of the court’s view on all the challenges to women’s abortion rights. The state of Texas filed a defense of the state’s new abortion restrictions, after Planned Parenthood and others appealed directly to the Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction blocking portions of the new law that introduce doctors’ hospital admitting privileges requirements.

The emergency appeal and Texas response was filed with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who can rule on the injunction himself, or present the case to the full court.

Access to contraception is also under assault in Texas. A new report confirms that more than a quarter of the family planning clinics are shuttered in the Rio Grande Valley, leaving Texas’ poorest women without access to cancer screening and birth control — previously provided by Planned Parenthood. 9 of 32 family planning clinics in the area — most not providing abortion services — have closed.

Sunday
Nov102013

Pakistan Nearly Bans 'I Am Malala' As The Teen Stands For Educating Girls Everywhere

From Upworthy and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ensuring girls around the world get to go to school doesn’t just take money — it also requires the universal belief that women deserve equal access to education. Malala Yousafzai almost lost her life working to give a voice to girls who were banned by the Taliban from being educated in her home country of Pakistan. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and she has inspired countless people worldwide to stand up for what they deserve.

The refrain of this song features young girls singing “I am Malala,” which I love because it reminds me of the great Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

‘I Am Malala’ #24 On Amazon

Pakistan has all but banned Malala Yousafzai book ‘I Am Malala’, currently #24 on Amazon. London’s The Independent writes that The All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, representing more than 152,000 institutions in Pakistan has decided that pupils would experience a “negative” effect by reading the book. The Federation also says the book is not entirely respectful of Islam.

“Pakistan is an ideological country. That ideology is based on Islam … In this book are many comments that are contrary to our ideology.,” said the federation’s president, Mirza Kashif.

Pakistan ranks 132 out of 135 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index for its treatment of females. The US ranks 23.

Malala Wows Jon Stewart

16 year old Malala Yousafzai is interviewed here by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Stewart asked Malal what she would do if attacked again by a Taliban gunman.

“I would tell him how important education is and that I would even want education for your children as well,” the Pakistani girl said. “That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”

The man who ordered Malala’s assassination Mullah Fazlullah emerged as the new chief of the Taliban in Pakistan after a US drone killed Hikimullah Mehsud last week.

Malala At World Bank

Malala asks world to make education top priority The Dawn

Malala appeared with World Bank president Jim Young Kim at the bank’s headquarters in Washington in order to accept a $200 million donation to the Malala Fund. Commenting that she had launched the fund to “work on the gorund” to promote education for all children, the poised, fearless voice for girls said:

“I am proud to be a girl, and I know that girls can change the world.”

“If a terrorist can change someone’s mind and convince them to become a suicide bomber, we can also change their minds and tell them education is the only way to bring humanity and peace.”

Malala reminded the audience that this week she launched a book, “I am Malala”, adding that “this book not only tells my story, but it tells the story of every girl who has been suffering from terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is about girls’ rights.”