Human Rights Watch interviewed 10 former detainees, including two women, who described being sexually abused or witnessing sexual abuse in detention, including rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, and electroshock and beatings to genitalia.Many of the former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were imprisoned because of their political activism, including for attending protests. In other cases, the reason for the detention was unclear but detainees suffered the same abusive tactics.
“Syrian security forces have used sexual violence to humiliate and degrade detainees with complete impunity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The assaults are not limited to detention facilities – government forces and pro-government shabiha militia members have also sexually assaulted women and girls during home raids and residential sweeps.”
Human Rights Watch documented over 20 specific incidents of sexual assault, five of which involved more than one victim, that took place between March 2011 and March 2012 across Syria, including in Daraa, Homs, Idlib, Damascus, and Latakia governorates. The majority of cases were from Homs governorate. Interviewees described a range of sexual abuse by Syrian security forces, the army, and pro-government armed militias referred to locally as shabiha.
This research explores what it takes for technology initiatives, specifically in the energy and agricultural sectors, to reach and economically benefit women in developing countries through market-based strategies that have the potential for achieving scale and financial sustainability. It builds on ICRW’s landmark paper, Bridging the Gender Divide: How Technology Can Advance Women Economically, which made the case for how technologies can create pathways for strengthening women’s economic opportunities.
The late Tuesday assault was the last straw for many. Protesters and activists met Wednesday to organize a campaign to prevent sexual harassment in the square. They recognize it is part of a bigger social problem that has largely gone unpunished in Egypt. But the phenomenon is trampling on their dream of creating in Tahrir a micro-model of a state that respects civil liberties and civic responsibility, which they had hoped would emerge after Mubarak's ouster.
'It shouldn't be happening' "Enough is enough," said Abdel-Fatah Mahmoud, a 22-year-old engineering student, who met Wednesday with friends to organize patrols of the square in an effort to deter attacks against women. "It has gone overboard. No matter what is behind this, it is unacceptable. It shouldn't be happening on our streets let alone Tahrir."
No official numbers exist for attacks on women in the square because police do not go near the area, and women rarely report such incidents. But activists and protesters have reported a number of particularly violent assaults on women in the past week. Many suspect such assaults are organized by opponents of the protests to weaken the spirit of the protesters and drive people away.
The Associated Press reports that thousands of demonstrators on Sunday staged the largest protest yet against plans by Turkey's Islamic-rooted government to curb abortion, which critics say will amount to a virtual ban.
Around 3,000 women - their ages ranging from 20 to 60 years old - gathered at a square in Istanbul's Kadikoy district. Some carried banners that read "my body, my choice" and shouted anti-government slogans.
Many of the women were accompanied by husbands and boyfriends. One young protester - her left fist clenched aloft - carried a placard that read "State, take your hands off my body," while a man waved a slogan reading "My darling's body, my darling's choice."
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called abortion "murder," and his government is reportedly working on legislation to ban the operation after 4 weeks from conception, except in emergencies.
Fusun Sirkeci, a London-based obstetrician and gynecologist, said in an email Saturday that most women don't learn they are pregnant until after 4 weeks and it is also difficult to establish the placement of the pregnancy sac during that period.
Abortion is presently legal in Turkey up to 10 weeks from conception.
Findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that of nearly 500 cancer survivors aged 18 to 45, 80 percent of men surveyed said their doctor had told them their chemotherapy could affect their future fertility.
But only 48 percent of women said the same. In addition, only 14 percent of women said they received information on options to preserve their fertility, versus 68 percent of men.
The gap is likely related to the fact that preserving fertility is more complicated in women than men and techniques for doing so are not as widely available, said the researchers.
As a participant at the nongovernmental organization forum that accompanied the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, I witnessed a delegation of Korean "comfort women" survivors who were trying to call attention to their victimization as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II.
By then, they were no longer young and some indeed looked frail, but they made a powerful and striking presence to demand recognition of their history.
In the early 1990s, Kim Hak Soon was the first former comfort woman to speak out, at the age of 67, and her testimony inspired other women to do the same. Within one year more than 200 other Korean women who had been enslaved as comfort women came forward. They have joined together, supported each other and shared their experience.
A local monument to these brave women was the subject of a startling May 19 story in The New York Times. The first surprise was my own ignorance of the monument, just across the Hudson River from New York City, in Palisades Park, N.J., where more than half of the population is of Korean descent. Since it's the only one of its kind in the U.S., it seemed strange that it had not attracted widespread publicity and become a major pilgrimage site for women's advocates.
The policy calls for prompt investigation and written conclusion of all complaints. And key members of the Montana Board of Regents, hoping to ensure that all the state's campuses comply with federal and state gender equity laws, made it clear that their analysis of the university administration's handling of the situation isn't over.
The U.S. Justice Department earlier this month opened its investigation into the way the university and the city responded to sexual assault and harassment reports, which prompted a second investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.
The university has come under fire for mishandling rapes over the past two years, particularly in the cases involving football team members. The football coach and athletic director were fired in March, mostly without explanation, but a cloud still hangs over the program.
A new nationally representative survey from the Guttmacher Institute shows that the national network of publicly funded family planning clinics—which helps millions of women avoid unintended pregnancies and plan the timing of wanted pregnancies—gives women vital access to contraceptive and other preventive care, according to "Variation in Service Delivery Practices Among Clinics Providing Publicly Funded Family Planning Services in 2010," by Jennifer Frostet al. More than half of publicly funded clinics (54%) reported offering their clients at least 10 of 13 reversible contraceptive methods in 2010, an increase from 35% in 2003. Many offer on-site provision of the most widely used contraceptives and have implemented protocols to make it easier for women to initiate and continue use of their chosen method.