Women's Health

A long, Insulting Walk to Justice for Rape Victims in Bangladesh

The dead do not feel anything, but those who survive do. The horrendous experience of the insensitive two-finger test after rape. The courtroom insults during trial because a draconian law permits the accused to question the victim's character. The families suffer no less humiliation as they wait for justice. While nations around the world have overhauled relevant laws with provisions that shield the rape victims, ours still favour the offender instead. Isn't it time we were a little more sensitive towards the victims of a crime now regarded as a crime against society? In the wake of Tonu murder after suspected rape, The Daily Star tries to shed some light on all these aspects. Today, the first two instalments of a three-part series.

Abortion Saga: Morality vs Choice

Malawi considers itself ‘a god fearing nation’ so much that any act ‘out of the ordinary’ is said to be either satanic, a sin or demonic. Even a drink or a walk could be satanic in the country if you are not careful!

Laws Criminalizing Drug Possession Can Cause More Harm

In many countries, a criminal record, even for a minor offense can have serious implications. Being convicted of a criminal offence renders one ineligible for certain jobs, social grants or benefits or from even being able to exercise one’s right to vote. It can also severely limit the ability to travel to certain countries and can result in the loss of custody of minor children. As prison conditions are often poor and health care services limited, a custodial sentence can have implications on the health outcomes of individuals.

Gender Equality and Equity in Health Will Anchor Drive Towards a Sustainable National Development

Last month, the Government of Kenya (GoK) in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at the sidelines of the 60th Session of the UN Commission of Women in New York, launched the report on the ‘Assessment of the UNFPA Campaign to End Preventable Maternal and New-born Mortality in support of the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa’

Plan for Poorer Countries to Fund HIV Response Raises Concerns    

Calls for low and middle income countries to contribute an additional 6.1 billion dollars to the global HIV response by 2020 could see some vulnerable groups left behind, said HIV activists meeting at the United Nations last week.

NGO Pledges $500 Million Towards Sustainable Development Goals

CMMB -Healthier Lives Worldwide– a leading international nonprofit health non-governmental organisation (NGO) – has pledged 500 million dollars to help implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)– with a specific focus on maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.

Women at the Helm

If a string of recent events have sparked a bit of optimism among the observers of the country`s politics and students of its rather tragic history it is indeed a welcome development.

Alcohol Harm a Gender Empowerment Issue

International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world – often against great odds and all too often remaining invisible. But women and girls worldwide are change makers and leaders for a better world. Role models are many.

A Different Honour

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy`s record second win at the Oscars for her short document ary A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness is proof that lightning can actually strike twice. Hardly four years ago, Chinoy was standing at the same stage in Los Angeles, accepting an Oscar for her documentary Saving Face, about Pakistani victims of acid attacks. Chinoy`s current Oscar winner examines a no less painful subject, honour killings in Pakistan.

Of the Same Ilk

IT has been almost two weeks since the beginning of a protest movement of students, teachers and the wider democratic community in and around Delhi`s famed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) that represents arguably the biggest challenge that Narendra Modi`s BJP government has faced since coming to power. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we in this country have scarcely paid attention to the whole af fair, even though it tells us much about India, its politics, and, indeed, just how similar our two countries are.

Dealing with Security Threats

The Lahore Literary Festival has ended in a blaze of success. The uncertainty about its being held at all and the doubts about the people`s capacity to defy fear and much else made the event all the more enjoyable. But the issues regarding the ways of dealing with security threats that it gave rise to still need to be seriously addressed.

The Law of Forgiveness

More than 1,000 women are killed in the name of honourin this country every year, according to official figures. But the actual numbers are believed to be much higher. Saba Qaiser, 19, would have been one of them had she not miraculously survived drowning in a river after having been shot in the head. Unsurprisingly, those who tried to finish her off were none other than her own relatives her father and uncle as happens in most such cases of `honour`crime.

Hopes and `Honour` Killings

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently watched A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obald Chinoy`s Oscar-nominated documentary about `honour` killings. In a statement following the screening, he told Ms Chinoy and his audience that there is no `honour` in murder.

Sterilisation of HIV-Positive Women

Mayimuna Monica* has been living with HIV for over 10 years and wants to have a baby. But she can’t because her uterus was removed against her will at a government hospital where she had gone to deliver her last child now aged eight. “My uterus was removed in 2007. When I got pregnant and went for medical check-up, the doctor asked me why I was pregnant. I told him I want to have a third child. The doctor said, you people living with HIV at times annoy us because you understand your situation but you come to disturb us.” Mayimuna narrates.

Gang-Raped and Nowhere to Turn

Owuor P.’s 16-year-old sister Nekesa tried and tried to get an abortion after she was gang-raped and found herself pregnant during Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007-8. “We are not sure how many raped her,” Owuor told me. “She told us that she saw three men rape her and then she lost consciousness. She was quiet most of the time after the rape.” In desperation after the birth of the child, she killed herself. The baby survived, and today Owuor is raising the child, who has a serious mental health condition, and is still grieving for his sister.

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