Jul 312007

According to UN human rights expert Yakin Erturk,

“”Women are brutally gang raped, often in front of their families and communities,” she said in a statement. “In numerous cases, male relatives are forced at gunpoint to rape their own daughters, mothers or sisters.”

The statement continued: “Frequently women are shot or stabbed in their genital organs, after they are raped. Women who survived months of enslavement told me that their tormentors had forced them to eat excrement or the human flesh of murdered relatives.”

Saying the situation required immediate attention, Erturk said 4,500 cases of sexual violence had been counted so far this year. The actual number was probably much higher, she said.”

 July 31, 2007  Posted by on July 31, 2007 Comments Off on Unimaginable Levels of Sexual Violence in the Congo
Jul 312007

The following is written by Jane Roberts, one of the co-founders of 34 Million Friends of the United Nations Population Fund:

Today, July 22, 2007, marks the 5th anniversary of my reading in several newspapers that the Bush Administration was not going to release $34 million dollars to the United Nations Population Fund. The total now stands at over $160 million. This dereliction of duty has put the U.S. outside the mainstream, greatly harmed our reputation in the world and increased misery and death among the world’s most vulnerable women.Deeper issues must be brought to the fore. World population now stands at a whopping 6.6 billion with 80 million people being added every year. Half of the world’s population has little access to medicine, electricity, safe water, sanitation, and reliable food supplies. The latest State of World Population report released in June by UNFPA talks of the migration of human beings to cities and to the megacities of Africa and Asia, cities with huge urban slums and with little infrastructure to withstand the coming onslaught.

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 July 31, 2007  Posted by on July 31, 2007 Comments Off on Gender Inequality and Issues of World Population
Jul 302007

I am often asked how I cope with work that involves the heart breaking, gut-wrenching information that often graces the pages of this blog. All I can say is that it involves a lot of keeping a sense of perspective and purpose. But sometimes that isn’t enough and a recent piece by Riane Eisler in the Christian Science Monitor left me feeling like the air had been kicked right out of me.

Eisler reports that the Global Peace Index, the first study to rank countries according to how peaceful they are has a flaw that makes it erroneous and truly damaging. Of all the indicators measured, none take into account the most pervasive form of violence in our world, violence against women and children. Eisler writes,

“The current index rightly seeks to measure the “level of disrespect for human rights.” But according to the report’s methodology, this level was based on the “Political Terror Scale” – a scale that ignores the fact that the most ubiquitous human rights violations worldwide are, as a UNICEF report noted 10 years ago, violations of the rights of women and children. That the index fails to include this violence is particularly shocking in light of the longstanding availability of international statistics.”

She continues,

“Similarly, while the index rightly includes “level of violent crime,” it fails to take into account that much of the violence in families is still not considered a crime in many nations – and hence not reported, much less prosecuted, as such.”

I don’t even know how to address this–that despite all the work done be so many women and so many organizations to raise awareness about violence against women and children, this pandemic scourge upon our planet was totally invisible to the organizers of this index. It is notable that their website lists supporters but does not say who the authors of the index are. Their anonymous omission is testament to the true depths of misogyny and patriarchy in our world.

 July 30, 2007  Posted by on July 30, 2007 Comments Off on Eisler: You Can’t Measure Peacefulness Without Examining Violence Against Women and Children
Jul 272007

So here is the new Democratic strategy–court the religious right by promoting healthy pregnancies and downplaying the right to safe, legal abortions.  Now don’t get me wrong–I think a whole lot more money needs to be spent on services to pregnant women, new mothers and their babies.  But doing so in an attempt to distance themselves from the abortion issue is just another sell-out of women’s bodies for political gain.

“From a political perspective, Democratic strategists warn that emphasizing birth control gives voters a bad impression — “that Democrats are just about free love, not morality,” said Rachel Laser, an analyst for the progressive think tank Third Way.”

Refresher course on the meaning of morality for Ms. Laser and the Dems:  The human right of every woman to be fully supported in making her own decisions regarding her life and body.  There is no compromise on this issue.

 July 27, 2007  Posted by on July 27, 2007 2 Responses »
Jul 272007

This is from NNEDV:


Congressional staff told us last night that they had received SO MANY CALLS FROM
YOU and that those calls made all the difference in the votes.

Late last night, the full U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for
4 amendments to increase funding for VAWA by $29 million and for VOCA by $10
million in their Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill.

This is a stunning success! It’s unheard of to pass multiple amendments like
this, particularly by such huge margins!

The Inslee-Burton Amendment, offered by Congressmen Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Dan
Burton (R-IN), passed 412-18.
* $6 million for services for children exposed to domestic violence and sexual
* $6 million for direct services for youth and teen victims of domestic and
sexual violence;
* $1 million for a Tribal sex offender and protection order registry to help
stop serial perpetrators and $1 million for a study of violence committed
against Native women.

The Reichert-Murphy Amendment, offered by Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA) and
Chris Murphy (D-CT), passed 405-25.
* $5 million to train judges and create court practices that improve victim

The Poe-Costa-Moore Amendment, offered by Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX), Jim Costa
(D-CA), and Dennis Moore (D-KS), passed 395-34.
* $10 million increase for VOCA and prevents potentially devastating cuts to

The Capito Amendment, offered by Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV),
passed 243-186.
* $10 million increase for Rural Grants.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) also offered and withdrew an amendment, using
it as an opportunity to speak out about the importance of STOP Grants and the
need to enforce protection orders.

Combined with the $61.4 million in increases for VAWA that were included in the
version of the CJS bill passed out of Committee, this is a $100.4 million
increase in funding over last year’s budget for domestic violence, sexual
assault and stalking!

What happens next?
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 July 27, 2007  Posted by on July 27, 2007 Comments Off on VAWA and VOCA Funding Victory