Women’s rights campaigners in Spain called for a change in the law on Friday after a court in Barcelona cleared five men of raping a 14-year-old girl, ruling that they did not use violence.
The men, who denied the charges, took turns to have sex with the teenager after a party in Manresa, a town to the north of Barcelona, in October 2016, the court heard.
On Thursday they were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in jail for sexual abuse, avoiding more serious charges of rape or sexual assault because the court said the girl was drunk and unconscious, did not fight back and the men were not violent.
Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, took to social media to express her anger at the verdict, saying it was “outrageous” and the result of a patriarchal judicial system.
“I’m not a judge and I don’t know how many years in prison they deserve, but what I do know is that this is not abuse, it is rape!” she wrote on Twitter.
Source: Spain’s rape laws in the spotlight after men cleared of gang-raping teenager | Euronews
North Korean officials commit sexual violence with little concern for the consequences, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government fails to investigate and prosecute complaints, or to provide protection and services to victims, and even asserts that the country is implausibly free of sexism or sexual violence.
The 86-page report, “‘You Cry at Night, but Don’t Know Why’: Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea,” documents unwanted sexual contact and violence that is so common in North Korea it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life. Many North Koreans told Human Rights Watch that when an official in a position of power “picks” a woman she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favors. Women interviewed said that the sexual predators include high-ranking party officials, prison and detention facility guards and interrogators, police and secret police officials, prosecutors, and soldiers. Fearful of social disgrace and retaliation, and with few, if any, avenues for redress, North Korean women rarely report abuse.
“Sexual violence in North Korea is an open, unaddressed, and widely tolerated secret,” said Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director. “North Korean woman would probably say ‘Me Too’ if they thought there was any way to obtain justice, but their voices are silenced in Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship.”
Source: North Korea: Sexual Violence Against Women by Officials | Human Rights Watch
Earlier this summer, Saudi Arabia lifted the decades-long ban on women’s driving. The move is part of a series of reforms that the country has been implementing. In April the kingdom loosened male guardianship laws – under which women need the permission of a male guardian to work, travel or marry. And in 2015, women were granted the right to vote and run for elections. The reforms serve to revamp the image of Saudi Arabia in the international arena.
More recently, however, in a diplomatic spat, Canada has criticized Saudi Arabia for human rights violations. Saudi officials have responded by cutting all economic and diplomatic ties, withdrawing investments and stopping flights. One of the main issues for the Canadians is the arrest by Saudi authorities of two prominent women’s rights activists. Tweets by Canadian diplomats called on the kingdom to release the activists. Saudi Arabia arrested several women’s rights activists in weeks prior and following the lifting the ban on women’s driving.
As a scholar of gender politics in Middle Eastern societies, I argue that all this goes to show that the kingdom is extending limited reforms to women to represent itself as modern but is adamant on not opening space for more voices.
Women, nationalism and modernization
Source: Saudi women can drive, but are their voices being heard? : The Conversation
A 10-year-old girl has died after undergoing female genital mutilation in Somalia, the first confirmed death in years in a country where complications from the procedure are generally denied, activists claim.
Deeqa Dahir Nuur was taken on 14 July to a traditional cutter in the her village of Olol, roughly 65km from Dhusmareb, in central Galmudug state.
The operation severed a vein, and when the family were still unable to stem the haemorrhaging two days later, the girl was taken to Dhusmareb hospital, where she bled to death, said activist Hawa Aden Mohamed of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development.
The Galmudug state minister for women’s affairs visited the family in hospital to offer condolences and explain the risk of death in FGM operations.
But action over Deeqa’s is unlikely. “The woman who performed the operation has not been arrested, but even if she was, there is no law that would ensure she is punished for the act,” said Mohamed.
“It is difficult to estimate the number of girls who die due to FGM per month or per day because they are [sworn] to secrecy, particularly in rural areas. We only get to hear of the few cases of those bold enough to seek medical treatment in towns. But from the stories we do hear, they could be in their dozens.”
The death is the most high profile confirmed in Somalia, where 98% of women and girls are cut, the highest percentage anywhere in the world. Activists hope the publicity surrounding her death may help debunk myths in Somalia that FGM is safe.
Source: 10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia | Global development | The Guardian
Ireland has voted by a landslide to liberalize some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws in what its prime minister described as the culmination of a “quiet revolution” in what was one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries.
Source: Ireland ends abortion ban as ‘quiet revolution’ transforms country | Ace Newsroom Live
Only the slight buzz of translation through diplomats’ headphones could be heard as Joy Bishara, now 21, described the night in April 2014 when armed men from Boko Haram burned her school in Chibok, Nigeria, forcing Joy and her classmates into trucks so tall they had to climb on a car to scramble inside.
Source: Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Share Their Stories at UN | Human Rights Watch