Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


La Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (Unesco) publicó nuevas orientaciones de base empírica en lo tocante al papel crucial que desempeña la educación en la prevención de los embarazos precoces y no deseados, así como en la atención sobre cuestiones vinculadas con éstos.
La publicación de las notas técnicas “Early and unintended pregnancy: Recommendations for the education sector” (Recomendaciones del Sector de Educación de la Unesco para la prevención de los embarazos precoces y no deseados) coincide con la Cumbre de Planificación Familiar de Londres que tuvo lugar el 10 de julio de 2017, en la que la Unesco ratificó su compromiso de apoyar la contribución de los sectores nacionales de la educación para erradicar el VIH/sida y su contribución a una mejor salud y bienestar para todos los niños y jóvenes y, en particular, para las niñas.
Los países en vías de desarrollo representan 95 por ciento de los nacimientos entre las madres adolescentes, y las niñas tienen 5 veces más probabilidades de convertirse en madres cuando tienen un bajo nivel educativo. Los embarazos precoces y no deseados tienen efectos perjudiciales en la vida de las niñas adolescentes en términos de salud, situación socioeconómica y rendimiento escolar.
Los riesgos fundamentales son la expulsión de la escuela y del hogar, la estigmatización por parte de la familia, la vulnerabilidad ante la violencia, la mayor pobreza y la mortalidad entre las madres y complicaciones de salud. De hecho, las complicaciones vinculadas al embarazo y al parto constituyen la segunda causa de mortalidad entre las adolescentes de 15 a 19 años de edad, con unas 70 mil adolescentes afectadas cada año.

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Legislative action has long played an important role in the movement to end gender-based violence, often as a critical component of the grassroots activism of survivors, advocates, and other people committed to mobilizing to end gender-based violence (ICADV 2009). In order to have widespread impact and improve the laws, policies and systems that affect victims of gender-based violence, engaging in advocacy with legislators and policymakers at the local, state, and national level is essential.

Legislators and policy makers rely on hearing from constituents and community members about ways that laws can be improved to better address domestic and sexual violence. Through legislative advocacy and “lobbying,” domestic and sexual violence organizations can work to “improve policies that are responsive to the needs and realities of survivors as well as their children and families” by connecting legislators to the needs and lived experiences of survivors in their communities (National Latin@ Network).  Lobbying is recognized as “a key way that nonprofits can advance their mission, amplify the voices of their supporters, educate policymakers, and protect their values" (Bolder Advocacy). As Nayantara Mehta writes, “Getting involved in the legislative process and having a say in policy discussions is not just an appropriate role for nonprofits; it is vital. If nonprofits are not speaking on behalf of their often-vulnerable communities, chances are nobody else is either.” (Mehta 2009).

Nonetheless, domestic and sexual violence organizations may hesitate to participate in legislative advocacy due to concerns about or limited understanding of the restrictions on 501(c)(3) nonprofits’ lobbying activities. While some activities, such as endorsing or opposing particular candidates for public office, are strictly prohibited, Congress specifically created rules that permit nonprofit organizations to engage in lobbying, as long as it does not constitute a “substantial part” of the organization’s activities. Additionally, nonprofits can also participate in other advocacy focused on influencing public policy, described in more detail below.

This collection is designed to provide assistance to nonprofit organizations interested in participating in legislative advocacy. Resources include materials describing the specific federal regulations limiting lobbying activities of 501(c)(3) nonprofits; details on the ways in which these organizations can participate in lobbying activities; specific information on legislative advocacy for domestic and sexual violence organizations; and useful advocacy tools and tips.


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Our current clients include several mothers fleeing violence in Central America who eventually made it into the U.S. after being illegally turned away. We work with survivors of extreme domestic violence and persecution at the hands of transnational criminal organizations, known as “maras,” were turned away at the border by officials with statements such as “There’s no asylum for people from Honduras…” or “You can’t get asylum because you’re scared of your husband.” These statements are patently false, of course, and the precedential Board of Immigration Appeals decision, Matter of A-R-C-G-made clear that individuals fleeing domestic abuse can meet the asylum definition.

Today several groups filed suit against the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency for turning away asylum seekers, contrary to domestic and international law.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, asylum seekers arrived from all over the world to present themselves to CBP to ask for protection. The right to seek asylum is enshrined in Article 33 of the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees, which came into being in 1951 and was expanded by the 1967 Protocol. The United States signed the Protocol in 1968, enacting domestic law to implement the international agreement in 1980.  The U.S. is thus bound by the terms of the Protocol and the Convention itself, including, critically, the principle of non-refoulement — non-return of individuals to a place where they would  face persecution on account of one of the five protected grounds.

In recent years, however, CBP has been routinely turning away vulnerable asylum seekers, forcing them to return to Mexico without allowing them to pursue their right to claim asylum.  This illegal practice has worsened as CBP officers became emboldened following the election and inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. President. Indeed, in January 2017, several groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Offices of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Inspector General, alleging systemic abuses at the border. In March, the U.S. government failed to even show up to defend their practices before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, a session which included testimony from multiple groups on the illegal turning away of asylum seekers at the border.


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From left: Backpage.com chief executive Carl Ferrer, co-founder James Larkin, chief operating officer Andrew Padilla and co-founder Michael Lacey are sworn in on Capitol Hill on Jan. 10 before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing into Backpage.com's alleged facilitation of online sex trafficking. All invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. (Cliff Owen/AP)

A contractor for the controversial classifieds website Backpage.com has been aggressively soliciting and creating sex-related ads, despite Backpage’s repeated insistence that it had no role in the content of ads posted on its site, according to a trove of newly discovered documents.

The documents show that Backpage hired a company in the Philippines to lure advertisers — and customers seeking sex — from sites run by its competitors. The spreadsheets, emails, audio files and employee manuals were revealed in an unrelated legal dispute and provided to The Washington Post.

Workers in the Philippine call center scoured the Internet for newly listed sex ads, then contacted the people who posted them and offered a free ad on Backpage.com, the documents show. The contractor’s workers even created each new ad so it could be activated with one click.

Workers also created phony sex ads, offering “fresh young sweet simple girl” or “Little Angel Seeks Daddy,” adding photos of barely clad women and explicit sex patter, the documents show. The workers posted the ads on competitors’ websites. Then, when a potential customer expressed interest, an email directed that person to Backpage.com, where they would find authentic ads, spreadsheets used to track the process show.

For years, Backpage executives have adamantly denied claims made by members of Congress, state attorneys general, law enforcement and sex-abuse victims that the site has facilitated prostitution and child sex trafficking. Backpage argues it is a passive carrier of “third-party content” and has no control of sex-related ads posted by pimps, prostitutes and even organized trafficking rings. The company contends it removes clearly illegal ads and refers violators to the police.

The discovery could be a turning point in the years-long campaign by anti-human trafficking groups, and Congress, to persuade Backpage to stop hosting prostitution ads, which many teenage girls have claimed were used to sell them for sexual exploitation. Lawsuits and criminal prosecutions of Backpage in the United States have nearly all failed because Backpage cites in its defense the federal Communications Decency Act, which grants immunity to websites that merely host or screen content posted by others.



Congresswomen press Sessions to investigate sexual ads at Backpage.com

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“We will not be intimidated into silence.”

By Alanna Vagianos

Women’s March organizers have announced that they will host a protest against the NRA. 

The protest, which will be held in Virginia on July 14, is in response to a recent ad published by the NRA which insinuates that “law-abiding” citizens need to arm themselves against violent anti-Trump protestors. The ad, which featured conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch, was widely criticized, with many people calling out the NRA for publishing such a dangerous and outrageous video.

Included in the backlash was an open letter from Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory, written to the Executive Vice President of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre. In her letter, Mallory demanded that the NRA take down the dangerous ad and apologize to the American people. 

Only July 1 ― only three days after Mallory published her open letter to LaPierre ― the NRA responded with another equally disturbing ad. This time, the four-minute clip titled “We Don’t Apologize For Telling The Truth” features conservative talk-show host Grant Stinchfield defending the [NRA’s] original ad from the “violent left” and specifically calling out Mallory.

“I’m talking to you Tamika Mallory. You wrote a letter to the NRA on behalf of the Women’s March claiming our ‘Clenched Fist of Truth’ ad was an attack on minority communities ” Stinchfield said in the video. “You call it dangerous and demand it to be taken down? I’m here to tell you not a chance.”

Watch the full NRA ad featuring Stinchfield below. 


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Document URL: 

Annotation:  This second edition of “Free To Tell the Truth” updates Pennsylvania judges on the nature of and judicial means to counter the intimidation of witnesses and court personnel in efforts to influence the outcome of court proceedings.
Abstract:  This bench book is intended as a reference source for the Pennsylvania judiciary in identifying the body of law in Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions that addresses intimidation as a means of influencing court proceedings. It also identifies the forms of witness intimidation and jury interference, and recommends best practices for protecting court proceedings from intimidation. Among the forms of intimidation examined are actual or attempted physical violence or property damage; explicit threats of physical violence or property damage; economic threats against victims, particularly in domestic violence cases; and indirect or implicit threats. The latter may include anonymous phone calls or internet postings, publicly communicating the fact of a particular witness’ cooperation with the prosecution, or repeatedly driving past the residence of a witness. Even in the absence of specific conduct or threats of intimidation, the prevalence of organized criminal activity and violence in a community instills fear in witnesses that they are at risk of being targeted for death or violent attacks. A lengthy list of various forms of witness intimidation are outlined. This is followed by descriptions of eight measures judges can authorize to create a safe and secure courtroom. Another chapter focuses on judicial responses to witness intimidation in terms of both prevention and punishments. Recent relevant case law is appended.

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By Diya Uberoi and Beatriz Galli in  SUR International Journal on Human Rights, 24 (Dec 2016)  [Special Issue on “Women: Movements, Successes and Obstacles"


The years have seen a rise in the use of conscientious objection (CO) as means to deny women their sexual reproductive health rights. While states have an obligation under international human rights law to protect the freedom of thought, conscience and religion of people, they also have obligations to protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health and other fundamental rights. Over the years, International and regional human rights bodies have indicated the need for CO to be limited so as to protect women’s rights.

As a means to balance both rights of medical service providers to exercise their moral beliefs and to protect the right to health of women, countries around the world have also sought different ways to regulate the use of CO. Whereas in some countries, some developments have been made to regulate CO so as to protect fundamental rights of women, in others, few guidelines exist in order to ensure availability of services for women in case refusals are made. This article provides an overview of policies regulating CO in Latin America. It considers the regulation of CO under both international law and under various state laws within the region. It suggests that if women’s reproductive rights are to become a reality, then there is a real need that states as well as international and regional human rights bodies continue to find ways to clarify frameworks around CO, so that grounds of conscience do not become an excuse to deny women realisation of their fundamental rights.

Direct Link to FREE FULL TEXT:  http://sur.conectas.org/en/refusing-reproductive-health-services-on-grounds-of-conscience-in-latin-america/

Overview.  English edition.    Spanish edition.    Portuguese edition.


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Portrait of a young Mexican girl. 23% of girls in Mexico are married before the age of 18. Photo credit: Curt Carnemark | World Bank.

23 June 2017 - When we think about child marriage we might think of South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa. New research by the Ford Foundation and Investigación en Salud y Demografía (INSAD) brings Mexico – a country with the 8th highest number of child brides in the world – into the spotlight.

“Studies like these are enormously useful because they provide concrete evidence that this really is a problem in the Americas as well” Hillary Anderson, The Inter-American Commission of Women

The study is based on data from the 2015 intercensal survey, as well as interviews with 17 girls and 15 community actors and experts. We recap some of the key findings.

Child marriage is not decreasing in Mexico

Child marriage is common in many areas of Mexico. Nearly 1 in 4 girls (or 23%) are married or in a union before the age of 18, a rate that has been stagnant for almost 30 years. Living in rural area is a risk factor. In 14 of the 32 states, the report found that 30% of girls in rural settings were married before 18.



Quinceanera Expo: (english)

Quineanera Expo: (espanol)

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It is a sign of the gender blindness of IHL and ICL that until now, it was not clear whether the sexual abuse of children by members of their “own” armed group can, in fact, be a war crime.

By answering that question in the affirmative, the ICC Appeals Chamber has made an enormously important contribution to international criminal law.



ICC extends War Crimes of Rape and Sexual Slavery to Victims from Same Armed Forces as PerpetratorIn "International Criminal Law"

The Ntaganda Case, Prosecutorial Discretion at the ICC, and the Recognition of Sexual Violence against MalesIn "IntLawGrrls"

Ntaganda surrenders in RwandaIn "Democratic Republic of the Congo"


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Cada ocho horas, al menos una niña se convierte en madre en Guatemala, antes de cumplir 15 años. Es una cifra estremecedora, pero la realidad podría ser mucho peor debido a que desde 2012 las cifras se vieron distorsionadas por fallas técnicas en la medición, reducción de la cobertura e interés político de mostrar mejoras.

Yasmin es mamá de dos niños a sus 16 años. Viven en la aldea Mojarrillas, Monjas, Jalapa, su condición de vida es pobre y no utiliza ningún método de planificación familiar. (Foto Prensa Libre: Érick Ávila).

Entre el 2006 y el 2016, 122 mil niñas y adolescentes, entre 10 y 17 años se han convertido en madres, pero ese número podría alcanzar casi el cuarto de millón debido a la anómala disminución de los registros que provocada a partir de 2012 por la política de salud del Partido Patriota.

El ministro de Salud entre 2012 y 2014, Jorge Villavicencio, negó que los datos hayan sido alterados, pero reconoció que  el sistema informático de la cartera “tiene dificultades”, lo que podría explicar “algún mal registro” durante ese período.

La reducción de casi el 30 por ciento, según Villavicencio, fue resultado de una política de prevención impulsada en ese período.

Implementar un protocolo de alerta al identificar casos de alto riesgo y el haber reconocido el trabajo de las comadronas en las áreas de Salud  influyó directamente en la reducción de mortalidad materna y embarazos en niñas y adolescentes, según Villavicencio.

La estrategia citada por  el exfuncionario contrasta con casos registrados en Salud desde el 2012, cuando bajó la cobertura que se ofrecía a través de organizaciones cercanas a comunidades de difícil acceso, y para 2013 los contratos con las oenegés que prestaban este servicio fueron cancelados.


Trump signs global gag rule


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  This study examined the effect on a number of outcomes related to the arrest, prosecution, and conviction in cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) both before and after officer use of body-worn cameras (BWCs).

The perceived benefits that generally accompany officers’ use of BWCs include the ability to increase transparency and police legitimacy, improve behavior among both police officers and citizens, and reduce citizen complaints and police use of force. Less established in the literature, however, is the value of BWCs to aid in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of IPV offenders.

The current study found that compared with posttest non-camera cases, posttest camera cases were more likely to result in an arrest, have charges filed, have cases furthered, result in a guilty plea, and result in a guilty verdict at trial. These results have several implications for policing, prosecuting, and convicting in IPV cases. 56 references (Publisher abstract modified)

SEE ALSO:  Use of Police Body Cameras in Cases of Violence Against Women and Children

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More Central American women are fleeing their homes, crossing borders to escape domestic violence in the region with the most female murders in the world

In the end it was a cup of coffee laced with poison that compelled Josefina Nieto to run for her life.

Nieto, 41, fled Guatemala with her youngest son last summer after surviving years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse from her husband, who she married at the age of 12.

A few months earlier, Nieto, a midwife, had obtained a restraining order against her husband and asked for a divorce after he falsely accused her of having an affair.

Her husband, a 52-year-old teacher and former police officer, was briefly detained after flouting the restraining order but returned home after paying a small fine. He warned her against going back to the authorities – “Till death do us part,” he said.

With no safe house or family to turn to, Nieto squatted in an abandoned house for several weeks with the two youngest of her five children until they were evicted by police. Out of options, they were forced to return home.

Just a few days later, Nieto was taken to the hospital after drinking a poison-laced cup of coffee prepared by her husband.

Even then the authorities didn’t arrest him, and instead advised Nieto to get a divorce.



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In case after case, men practice violence against their families before lashing out at the public.

In the wake of Wednesday’s attack on members of Congressat baseball practice in Northern Virginia, we’ve resurfaced this story. HuffPost has previously written about how men who attack the public often have a history of abusing those closest to them first. And in the U.S., most mass shootings are related to domestic violence. The suspect in Wednesday’s shooting― James Hodgkinson ― appears to fit this tragic pattern. He was previously arrested for domestic battery after allegedly assaulting his teenage foster daughter, though the charge was later dropped.

SHERIFF'S 2006 REPORT - HODGKINSON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (2 Counts Domestic Battery, Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, 2 Counts of Battery, Criminal Damage to Motor Vehicle)

Questions: With multiple witnesses and the abundance of corroborating physical evidence, who dismissed this case and why? With all the media attention to this case how is it that the journalists are failing to dig into and answer these questions?


Domestic abuse can portend terror violence



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Uber announced the recommendations Tuesday, prepared from a report by former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., hired by Uber to address mounting criticism of the company amid a wave of workplace scandals. The full report is being withheld from the public and the bulk of the company's 14,000 employees worldwide.



Uber board member cracks ‘inappropriate’ joke about women at company event on sexual harassment

Uber fires more than 20 employees after sexual harassment investigation

Uber diversity report paints overwhelmingly white, male picture

Everything we know so far about Uber's sexual harassment scandal . (SLIDES)


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“Unlike other habits that the military efficiently drills out of its members, there’s no effort to do the same when it comes to sexist behavior.”

—Marine veteran Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas and Army reservist Paula Broadwell

The first women were assigned to a Marine infantry unit on Jan. 5, fulfilling the 2015 Department of Defense mandate that all military service jobs, including combat, be open to women.

By late January, a Google Drive link with photos of nude and barely dressed Marine servicewomen was postedto the Marines United Facebook page without the knowledge of the women involved. Postings also divulged their names, ranks and military duties.

Marines United, a male-only site for current and former Marines, U.S. Navy corpsmen and British Royal Marines, has a following of some 30,000 members whose bases span the globe. Members describe it as a site that helps vets find jobs and assists those feeling suicidal. It also carries degrading commentary about women. The news of nonconsensual nude photos with woman-hating commentary erupted into national media in March.

By then, 2,500 comments, some threatening rape and other sadistic sexual torture—couched in weaponized humor—had been posted to the site.

The Marines United rules of conduct—no racist or illegal posts, no threats, harm or harassment—and the Marines’ hallowed motto semper fi (“always faithful”) apparently do not apply to its treatment of women. Why? Because from basic training onward, women are stereotyped as “bitches,” “sluts” or “lesbians,” as one 23-year-old Marine veteran testified at a recent congressional hearing.

The Marines United story exploded like a roadside bomb run over by a convoy truck. Journalist and Marine veteran Thomas Brennan, who broke the story, and other veterans have since tracked the electronic dodges, feints and shifting Facebook sites of Marines United more nimbly than military officials have. Top Marine brass, under heavy fire from female legislators for other pornographic Facebook sites, confessed four years ago that they lacked “manpower” and “technological resources” to counter electronic sexual assault on their female members.

Baffling, isn’t it, that a military with the best cyberwar capabilities in the world and a defense budget larger than the next eight countries combined can’t control a cyberattack on women within its own ranks?



Uber fires 20 employees as part of harassment investigation

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On May 7, a group of armed men barged into Miriam Elizabeth Rodriguez Martinez’s home in Mexico and killed her. Miles away in Nicaragua, police arrested and beat Aydil del Carmen Urbina Noguer. In Marange area in Zimbabwe, police and military are using violence to silence women who speak out against mining companies that have occupied the area. This is just a glimpse into the reality that women activists are facing everywhere. Unfortunately, despite considerable effort, institutional and conventional responses to this violence are coming up short—as evident in the escalating risk for women activists. Given the urgency of the situation, JASS and allies are questioning the underlying assumptions guiding activist safety, and bringing a feminist and movement building perspective to rethinking the approach. We are drawing on knowledge from our long-standing collaborative work in the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative and with other protective networks and strategies of women activists in that region and beyond. To deepen our learning and analysis and better inform practices, we are convening a series of dialogues and joint strategic spaces with human rights organizations, donors, frontline activists, and UN human rights officials that contribute towards building a shared understanding and joint solutions that can effectively address this escalating violence against women activists. 

What are women confronting? 

Around the world, women activists are increasingly at risk, threatened, harassed, and even killed for daring to stand up to powerful interests including the state and private institutions such as transnational companies or drug cartels. Because women are working to protect human rights, economic justice, their land, water, territories, and democracy itself, many, but not all, call themselves women human rights defenders (WHRDs), or simply defenders. For their courage and leadership, these women activists face attacks in the streets to silence their political activism, criminalization and stigmatization in the courts and media, and even rejection and abuse in their own communities and homes for stepping outside traditional gender norms. The public and private forms of this violence are compounded by on-going gender-based violence and other forms of inequality (class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.), which heighten women’s vulnerability.

A variety of trends


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Lawyer for AJ Vandermeyden says termination was retaliatory after she took lawsuit public, accusing the company of discrimination

AJ Vandermeyden sued Tesla, alleging discrimination and harassment, among other concerns.

 AJ Vandermeyden sued Tesla, alleging discrimination and harassment, among other concerns. Photograph: Rami Talaie for the Guardian

A female engineer at Tesla who accused the car manufacturer of ignoring her complaints of sexual harassment and paying her less than her male counterparts has been fired in what her lawyer alleges was an act of retaliation.

AJ Vandermeyden, who went public with her discrimination lawsuit against Elon Musk’s car company in an interview with the Guardian in February, was dismissed from the company this week.

Vandermeyden had claimed she was taunted and catcalled by male employees and that Tesla failed to address her complaints about the harassment, unequal pay and discrimination. “It’s shocking in this day and age that this is still a fight we have to have,” she said at the time.


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Publication Date:  April 2017
Annotation:  This study provides benchmark data on the proportion of people in Illinois who have been impacted by crime and the needs that resulted from their victimization, and it also determined how victims’ needs are being met by Illinois victim service providers and where gaps in such services currently exist.
Abstract:  The study determined that 55 percent of adults in Illinois have been crime victims in their lifetimes, and among these victims, 21 percent reported criminal victimization within the past 2 years, with many of the crimes occurring in Chicago and its suburbs. Ten percent or less of the crimes were gang-related or involved guns. More frequently, Illinois residents reported being victims of identity theft and scams (25 percent), physical assault (21 percent), child abuse (20 percent), domestic violence (20 percent), robbery (15 percent), or rape/sexual assault (14 percent). Forty-six percent indicated they reported their victimization to law enforcement; reasons given for failure to report were police inability to help or police would blame or not believe them. Counseling and mental health services were most often mentioned as victimization-related needs. Victims of violent crimes were more likely to mention the need for mental health services, along with the need for civil legal assistance in cases of domestic violence or child abuse. About one-third to one-half of victims who indicated their need for help did not receive it, often because they did not know that such services were available for crime victims or did not know how to obtain such services. Recommendations pertain to education and outreach initiatives, initial response to victims, strategies for delivering victim support, and support for under-served victims. 11 tables and appended methodological materials

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 Female genital mutilation follows immigrant women and girls to America

Women and girls who immigrate from countries where female genital mutilation is common are not immune to the practice even after they arrive in the U.S., according to the United Nations. (Reuters)

By Abigail Hauslohner May 25 

Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson received a note from a friend last year urging her to draft stricter legislation against female genital mutilation. The state already had banned the practice in 1994, so the Republican worried that a new law would seem “Islamophobic,” given its target audience.

One case changed her mind.

Federal prosecutors last month charged three Michigan doctors with putting two Minnesota girls under the knife. The parents of one girl — ostensibly complicit in the procedure — lost custody “for a whopping 72 hours,” Franson told lawmakers on the floor of the Minnesota statehouse last week.

Now she wants Minnesota to pass a bill that would send perpetrators to prison for up to 20 years, targeting parents as well as doctors.

“We’re saying that if you harm your child in this way, you’re going to be held responsible,” she said.

Female genital mutilation has been a federal crime in the United States for more than two decades, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison. But the three doctors are the first to be charged under the law. The case has set off a flurry of new bills across the country, with a growing number of states moving to extend penalties to the parents and hit them with lengthy prison terms.


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Three days after declaring martial law in the rebellious southern Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his troops to crush the militants, and gave a speech to inspire them:

“You can arrest any person, search any house,” Duterte told the soldiers Friday.

“I alone would be responsible” for anything they did under martial law, he said. “I will go to jail for you. If you happen to have raped three women, I will own up to it.”

This last comment — absolving his soldiers for any future rapes — was widely reported as a joke, and if it was, it wouldn't be the ruler's first attempt at the genre.

Before he won the presidency last year, Duterte joked that he “should have been first” in the gang rape of a woman who was held hostage, raped and killed in the 1980s.


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A labour ward for teenage expectant mothers in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

By Nicola Davis - 16 May 2017

Pregnancy complications are the leading cause of death globally among females aged 15-19, with self-harm in second place, a global study has found.

More than 1.2 million female and male adolescents die annually, the World Health Organization (WHO) report said – the majority from preventable causes including mental health issues, poor nutrition, reproductive health problems and violence.

The authors said that failing to tackle the health of 10- to 19-year-olds could undermine the improvements achieved in maternal and child health worldwide, pointing out that too often adolescent health was overlooked.

“By investing in adolescent health, you actually get a triple benefit because you get a healthier adolescent now, that healthier adolescent becomes a healthier, more productive adult in the near future, and also for those who have children, they become a more healthy parent,” said David Ross, lead author of the study. “If you have a healthy parent, that spills over into a healthy child.”

The WHO surveyed the causes of death for 10- to 19-year-olds in 2015. It found that the leading cause, globally, was road injuries, which caused 115,300 such deaths.

The next biggest killers were:

  • Lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
  • Self-harm.
  • Diarrhoeal diseases.
  • Drowning.

There were considerable differences when the results were compartmentalised by sex and age.

For girls aged 10-14, the leading cause of death was lower respiratory infections, but the biggest problems for those aged 15-19 were maternal conditions including haemorrhage, complications from unsafe abortion and obstructed labour. These occurrences led to 10.1 deaths for every 100,000 individuals.

For boys in both age groups, the leading cause of death was injury from road accidents, with drowning the second leading cause for the younger age group and violence in second place for boys aged 15-19.

World Health Organization – WHO – Fact Sheet 2017 - ADOLESCENTS: HEALTH RISKS & SOLUTIONS



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The researchers interviewed 603 women working in the sex industry in the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez

By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK, May 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Girls being trafficked for sex in northern Mexico often have been forced into exploitation as under-age child brides by their husbands, a study showed on Thursday.

Three out of four girls trafficked in the region were married at a young age, mostly before age 16, according to Mexican and U.S. researchers in a yet-unpublished study.

Human trafficking is believed to be the fastest-growing criminal industry in Mexico, and three-quarters of its victims are sexually exploited women and girls, according to Women United Against Trafficking, an activist group.

Under a 2012 anti-trafficking law, those convicted of the crime can spend up to 30 years in prison.

Nevertheless, nearly 380,000 people are believed to be enslaved in Mexico, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index published by rights group Walk Free Foundation.

The researchers interviewed 603 women working in the sex industry in the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, both along the border with the United States.

Most said they had been trafficked as under-age brides, often by their husbands, said Jay Silverman, the study's lead author and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

In about half the cases, the brides were pregnant, so healthcare workers could play a critical role in thwarting sex trafficking, the researchers said.

"Within being provided pregnancy-related care, there's the opportunity of interviewing that girl to understand her situation," Silverman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


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Survivors of violence face real barriers when trying to access safe housing – barriers caused by the power and control dynamics of abuse, a need for safety and confidentiality, economic instability, the effects of trauma, and the lack of affordable housing in communities. Nobody should have to choose between staying in an unsafe home and having no home at all.

This collection offers a doorway to the resources available through Safe Housing Partnerships, a project of the federal Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium. The Consortium is an innovative, collaborative approach to providing training, technical assistance, and resource development at the critical intersection of domestic and sexual violence, homelessness, and housing.

The resources and tools included here are provided to advance your work at the critical intersection of domestic violence, sexual assault, homelessness, and housing.


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