All posts tagged: Sexual Violence

Enjoy Sexual Assault for it to be a Crime

Absurd though it may sound, for a sexual assault to be charged as such the perpetrator of the crime must gain sexual pleasure from the victim by doing so. Or so was the logic behind Judge Anuar Gonzales who, on March 28th, exonerated Diego Cruz for the crime of pederasty and, as understood in the sentence, even sexual assault. Cruz is one of the five men labeled by Mexican society and media as “Los Porkys,” who, on January 2015 in the state of Veracruz, sexually assaulted Daphne Fernández. She was a minor at the time. Seeing that the criminal system was getting nowhere with the case, Javier Fernández, Daphne’s father, approached these men and recorded their confession. In the tape, they acknowledge their crime and asked for  forgiveness, promising they would not do it again. But, to the Mexican judiciary, the confession was not evidence enough. Over a year later, Judge González Hemadi acquitted Cruz in a writ of Amparo. In the latter, he stated that “there was not enough evidence on [Cruz’] participation in the …

“Speaking the Unspeakable”: Sexual Violence in Conflict

Their suffering and desperation was so great that they begged them to kill them, to end their pain once and for all… but the men who had been raping them replied, “No, we’re going to leave you alive so you can die of sadness.” This is the harrowing story told in the documentary “The Uncondemned” of the first time genocide, rape and sexual violence were prosecuted in an international tribunal. But this isn’t just a story of sadness and grief; it’s also a story of hope and healing. It is a story about the three brave survivors and witnesses who testified at the tribunal, identified then only as JJ, NN and OO. Co-director Michele Mitchell said: “In the face of enormous tragedy and pain, the fact that three of them were laughing about the plane journey shows their great resilience and demonstrates how they had kept their humanity.” I was privileged to watch this amazing documentary when it was screening in New York City. I left the theater with a heavy heart, but also feeling extremely encouraged and …

I Feel Rage – And You Should Too

I have never been raped, but the threat of rape is embedded into my conscious and subconscious. It’s a part of me; it’s a part of being a women in the vast majority of the world. Recently, I got a treadmill. In the middle of a run, my partner casually walked in and began talking to me. I jumped, nearly tripping on the machine as my heart rate seemed to double. I screamed, yelling that he should never, never surprise me on a run again. Never. He didn’t understand why I was so upset; he was just asking if I wanted him to pick up a post-run latte for me. When I’m running outdoors, I explained, I’m on alert for any man who might sneak up behind me. Even though I was running in my own home and even though I heard a familiar voice, I panicked because my brain is so programmed to fear approach during those moments when I’m alone on the trail. The threat of rape is very real. I feel it …

To Brock Turner’s Father: Gentle People Do Not Rape

In your letter to the judge, you write that your son, the convicted rapist, is a person with “an easygoing personality — that people like to be around, whether they are male or female.” You proceed to state that your son has “a very gentle and quiet nature and a smile that is truly welcoming to those around him.” I have something to tell you, Mr. Turner: Gentle people do not rape. Your son is not a victim here. Your son is not paying “a steep price for 20 minutes of action”. Your son is a rapist – and for the crime he committed, his sentence is anything but steep. It is a travesty. Brock’s life has not been “deeply altered by the events of January 17th and 18th”, as you claim in your letter – Brock’s life has been altered by his decision to rape a woman. Referring to it as “actions” or “events” is a ridiculous attempt to not acknowledge what your son actually did to this woman, and the fact that no …

The Value of a Rape

We’ve all read the news about the refugee crisis in Europe. We’ve seen images of people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, flooding to the borders of European nations as they flee conflict, war and terrorism in their home countries. The pressure on Europe is on, and our nations are now faced with a situation where we can either show our humanity and compassion – or turn the other way. Unfortunately, the refugee crisis is bringing to light an uglier side of Europe – of how we value the security, safety and humanity of women and girls, both those already living in our countries and those coming to us looking for a refuge to flee from the horrors they face at home. In my native country, Finland, two rapes in which the suspected perpetrators are recently arrived refugees have dominated the news cycle and social media over the past few weeks, and given more fuel to the already rampant anti-immigration rhetoric that is happening not only in Finland, but all over Europe. My problem isn’t with the …

Women, Peace, and Security: What’s to come?

​This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325, which is the building block of the entire Women, Peace, and Security Agenda (WPS). This resolution mandates that women be involved in all aspects of peace and security. The WPS Agenda acknowledges the disproportionate and unique impact conflict has on women and girls and calls for a gendered perspective in addressing the special needs of women and girls during conflict. This includes reparations, resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and many other aspects of post-conflict reconstruction. ​​This historic resolution, since its adoption on October 31st, 2000, has been expanded upon through six other resolutions, and it is speculated that an open debate held on October 13th will result in a seventh. These expansions have been called for by many civil society organizations and implemented by the United Nations Security Council. One of the resolutions most prominent expansions was UNSCR 1820, which recognizes sexual violence as a weapon and tactic of war. This means that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a …

In DRC, Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict and at Home

By Nina Ford, Communications Associate, Promundo. Women and girls in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have experienced devastating effects of conflict, particularly when it comes to sexual violence. Research from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) in eastern DRC confirms that 22% of women were raped as part of the conflict, and almost 30% were forced to witness sexual violence. Frequently, the violence does not stop there: men often reject their spouses who have been raped or respond with further violence. Kyalu and her husband Abby, who live in eastern DRC, know this to be true. After Kyalu experienced sexual violence, perpetrated by rebels in 2008, Abby began to use violence against her at home. Through group therapy, Abby started to take responsibility for his violence, and for its prevention – overcoming the trauma of the conflict to begin living peace together. This is the story they wanted to tell: During the war in 2008, Kyalu and Abby traveled to the Congolese village of Walikale in search of work in the coltan …

Access to Justice: A Change is Going to Come

Written by Catriona Cahill, Development Officer, Theatre for a Change In 2012, the United Nations Population Fund revealed that around 34% of the 52,000 female sex workers living in Ghana have had an unprotected sexual encounter with the police against their will. Just over one-third of all women in Ghana have experienced physical violence; the majority of women report that it is most often a sexual partner committing the crime. With sexual violence already prevalent throughout society, just imagine how it is intensified within the industry of sex work where women feel they must necessarily subordinate themselves to their clients. Yet, with only 9% of female sex workers in Ghana reporting a non-discriminatory standard of treatment from the police, it is no wonder that only half of them would consider seeking justice after suffering any form of abuse. Statistics such as this make a strong case for advocating for the rights of these women: the right to report abuse, the right to access justice and the right to live a life free from fear. The current …

Where have all the girls gone?

In June, Gloria Steinem noted that this is the first time we’ve had fewer females in the world than males. And it’s because of the pandemic of violence against women and girls. The symptoms of this plague take different forms across countries and cultures. While Asia is known for female infanticide, which is the selective abortion of female fetuses and the killing of newborn girls, the practice takes place in many African communities. Honor killings occur throughout the Middle East and intimate partner violence take the lives of women and girls throughout the globe, including in the United States and Europe. The United Nations Population Fund notes that pregnancy and childbirth together are the leading cause of death of adolescents in lower income countries – and that the overwhelming majority of these pregnancies occur within the context of early and forced marriage. When we aren’t killing the female percentage (we can’t accurately say female half) of the population, we are still enacting heinous forms of violence against their bodies, minds and spirits. According to the World …