The U.S. secretary of defence has unveiled a series of new directives aimed at cracking down on an epidemic of sexual assaults in the armed forces, an issue that has seized the very top levels of the military brass in recent months.
The play opens with a man and his mother waiting impatiently at the dining table in the family home. A woman rushes in after a busy day at the office with takeaway dinner packets, followed by her son and daughter who walk in expecting their mother to serve them a meal.
Despite the United Nations' "zero tolerance" policy against sexual violence, there has been a rash of gender-based crimes in several of the world's conflict zones, including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Northern Uganda, Somalia, the Central African Republic - and, more recently, in politically-troubled Egypt and Syria.
Last year, as rebels captured the main towns in Northern Mali, UN Women registered a sudden and dramatic increase of rapes in the first week of the takeover of Gao and Kidal, in places where most women never report this violence to anyone, not even health practitioners.
When a five-year-old was rescued from the basement of a building in the eastern part of India’s capital, New Delhi, the doctors treating her were horrified to find the little girl had not only been raped by two men several times, but the perpetrators had also inflicted severe perineal injuries by inserting foreign objects into her body.
Harsh police handling of public protests erupting across India over a spate of sensational rapes since December has resulted in renewed demands to reform a force that retains the repressive features of its colonial origins.
The U.S. Department of Defence is announcing that reported cases of sexual assault in the U.S. military last year rose again to 3,374, a six percent increase over 2011 and a record high.
Rape is often perceived as an individual trauma, but in reality its impact extends far beyond a single person and instead affects entire communities, complicating the already challenging task of helping victims of sexual violence.
The new U.S. secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, pushed Monday for reforms of the armed forces’ judicial code that would roll back an archaic provision allowing high-ranking commanders to overturn military court verdicts, a move that would particularly impact on cases involving sexual assaults.
Today is International Women’s Day, and the issue of gender-based violence is topic A. Sadly, it has been a newsworthy topic in the global media, as well.
Haiti is poised to enact major reforms to its penal code to make it easier for victims of rape to prosecute their attackers.
As the earthquake in Haiti has proven, even more important than a recognised name or robust physical presence is the quality of services delivered by humanitarian relief organisations.
On a chilly Wednesday evening, exactly a month after a young woman was gang-raped and brutalised on a moving bus in New Delhi, hundreds of sombre citizens gathered at a candlelight protest in India’s national capital.
Twenty-one-year-old Aisha clings to her two children as she recounts her tale of horror. Growing up in the Somali capital Mogadishu, she fell in love and bore a child out of wedlock four years ago. When her family threatened her life for destroying her ‘honour’, Aisha escaped.
While a 23-year-old woman battles for life in a New Delhi hospital after she was gang raped and brutalised on a moving bus in India's prosperous national capital earlier this month, women across the nation say they live in constant fear of sexual assault.
"In the garrison they had rooms where they would rape us; sometimes there were three, four or five soldiers,” Rosa Pérez*, one of the women used by the Guatemalan army as a sex slave during this country’s civil war, testified in court.
At a high-level event at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, U.N. Women, the United Nations body for female empowerment and gender equality, called for stronger action from world leaders to prevent and punish sexual violence in conflict.
A rash of recent rape cases has sparked local criticism of the weakness of the justice system in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where inadequate resources and simple incompetence mean survivors of sexual violence hold little hope of obtaining justice.
It was the ghostly silence that struck him hardest as he walked through the Colombo suburb of Kirulapone the day after the lifeless body of a six-year-old girl had been discovered floating in a filthy canal, Kumar de Silva, a well-known local media personality, told IPS.
A spate of child rape cases in Sri Lanka has angered child rights activists and moved the government to consider tightening the relevant laws and making the offence punishable with the death sentence.
Allegations that a member of Kyrgyzstan's KGB-successor agency organised the brutal rape of his wife have outraged women’s rights activists in Bishkek. But what rights defenders call an ordinary crime is having an extraordinary effect because of the victim’s response: she pressed charges.