When Phumzile Khoza* came to the central Johannesburg antenatal clinic on a chilly day in August 2013, she was feeling on edge. Not about the medical procedures – she already had two children – but about talking to the nurse.
When banker Darkhan Botabayev tried to book a flight on Kazakhstan’s national airline last September, what started as a routine transaction turned into an assault that shocked the nation: Botabayev lost his temper and punched the young female ticket clerk in the face.
Married women in Lebanon who suffer abuse at home remain at the mercy of the country’s multitude of religious courts, because the hard-fought civil law against domestic violence has been stalled for a vote in parliament since the summer.
Selina, a resident of a small community in Malaita, the most populous province in the Solomon Islands, watched in horror as a man standing on the road in front of her house tore the clothing off his wife, then beat her and inflicted wounds with a knife.
Conservative sectors in Nicaragua have launched an offensive against the Comprehensive Law Against Violence Toward Women, seeking amendments including an obligation for women victims to negotiate with their abusers, human rights groups reported.
Up to a quarter of women in Europe have experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives, according to the Council of Europe. But despite the widespread nature of the phenomenon, more often than not we ignore it. A short video launched last month in Serbia managed to break this silence.
Several brutal, high-profile murders of women in the last few weeks in El Salvador are just the latest reminder that this is one of the countries in the world with the highest number of femicides, the term used to describe the killing of women because they are female.
Lynette Edwards (not her real name) grew up watching her mother being beaten by her partner each night. In high school, Edwards began associating with bullies, thinking this would protect her from being abused; but when she turned 16, two male acquaintances raped her.
Ecuador hopes to move forward in the fight against violence against women by typifying femicide – gender-motivated killings – as a specific crime in the new penal code.
Increasingly the issue of domestic violence in Armenia is a topic for public discussion. Yet greater attention to the issue isn’t yet translating into an expansion of programmes to alleviate suffering and address policy shortcomings.
Anarkia Boladona has turned the streets of Brazil into billboards against domestic violence. As a self-titled feminist political graffiti artist, she represents a new trend in women’s rights that seeks less academic and more daring and popular avenues of expression.
“Child abuse merits a different, in-depth approach. The objective of this film is to make the problem visible and promote debate and reflection,” says Eric Corvalán, director of a documentary that required “breaking through walls.”
When Shorai Chitongo founded Ray of Hope, a support group for female survivors of domestic violence in 2005, she discovered that three-quarters of the survivors in the group were HIV-positive.
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“We have to expand the sense of urgency and indignation towards gender violence,” Dr. Ana Güezmes, UN-Women regional director for Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, told IPS on a recent visit to the Cuban capital.
After the brutal murder of a Palestinian woman in late July in a busy Bethlehem marketplace, local human rights groups are pushing for stronger reforms to stem violence against women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.