Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias



Two alleged victims of underage sex trafficking in Massachusetts filed a lawsuit Thursday against Backpage.com, accusing the company of assisting in the abuse that occurred approximately 2,000 times by allowing pimps to advertise sex with minors on its website.

The civil complaint, filed in federal court in Boston, asserts that the purported victims, identified in court papers as Jane Doe No. 1, now 17, and Jane Doe No. 2, now 20, were sold for sex in Massachusetts and Rhode Island more than 1,900 times combined when they were from 15 to 17 years of age.


Their attorneys at the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray wrote in the complaint that the illegal services were advertised in the escorts section of Backpage.com, which the plaintiffs allege “took various steps to sustain the impression” that the site is “a safe and effective vehicle for transactions involving young girls and boys.”


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Two women narrate their ordeals. “You will hear of a wife murdered before you hear another one come forward.”

Whenever Dewan Smith-Williams sees Janay Rice on television, she feels like she’s looking into a mirror. Smith-Williams, 44, remembers the denial, the secrecy, the sense of isolation, the shame. But most of all, she remembers the fear of ruining her husband’s career as a National Football League player — the feeling that coming forth, or seeking justice, would destroy her four children’s financial security. She understands that struggle not only because she, too, was a domestic-violence victim, but because she watched so many other NFL wives, many of them her friends, go through the same nightmare. For each of them, it began with their husbands’ attacks and worsened with a culture that, they felt, compelled silence.

“We’ve told agents about it, called the NFL Players Association when things were really, really bad,” Smith-Williams recalls. “They would say, ‘Oh, we’re really sorry that you are going through this. We’ll look into it.’ But you never heard back. There’s no one available for the wives.”


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II Seminario Internacional de Violencia contra las Mujeres: Feminicidio

La violencia machista es la principal causa de muerte entre mujeres de 15 y 44 años en todo el mundo

Madrid, 16 oct. 14. AmecoPress. Con la sala llena de gente –sobre todo mujeres- comenzaba el II Seminario Internacional de Violencia contra las Mujeres: Feminicidio, convocado por Alianza por la Solidaridad junto a otras organizaciones internacionales para debatir sobre los avances y retos en América Latina y Europa para conseguir que las mujeres disfruten el derecho a una vida libre de violencia.


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Para las niñas que viven en las regiones tribales del norte de Pakistán, la lucha por la educación comenzó mucho antes del día en que miembros del radical movimiento Talibán balearon en la cabeza a una estudiante de 15 años de edad, y sin duda continuará por mucho tiempo. 

No obstante, la noticia de que a esa joven, Malala Yousafzai, quien hasta el incidente residía en el valle de Swat, en la norteña provincia de Jyber Pajtunjwa, le fue concedido el premio Nobel de la Paz el 10 de este mes, recargó las energías a quienes luchan contra la férrea oposición de los talibanes hacia la educación de las niñas.

"Le pedimos a Malala que gaste fondos para promover la educación en las FATA": Yasmeen Bibi.


Habitantes de esta región dijeron a IPS que cuando Malala sobrevivió al atentado contra su vida el 9 de octubre de 2012, la joven se convirtió en un ícono de la situación de terror que se apoderó de la existencia cotidiana en esta zona.


Al concederle  el premio de la paz más prestigioso del mundo, compartido con el indio Kailash Satyarthi, el Comité Nobel envió un firme mensaje a todas las personas que permanecen atrapadas en zonas donde la educación está subordinada a los peligros de un conflicto armado, según los expertos.


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MOVING WOMEN FORWARD. It’s what we do. It’s what we believe in. We’ve dedicated our entire 40th year to talking about and pushing this concept – what must we do to advance the economic and educational opportunities of women and girls?

To see where we must go, we often have to sit down and look at where we’ve been. Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. In the Act was an important provision – Title VII, which prohibits discrimination based on gender and sex. How has this law worked? What impact has it had on women of color, poor women, and single mothers? We know Title VII hasn’t enabled us to close the gender wage gap, for example. But we know too that Title VII has paved the way for important advances against sexism at work and in school.

Our new report, “Moving Women Forward: On the 50th Anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” shines a light on this important player in women’s history. Despite the bright spots in the law made since Title VII’s passage, we find that there are still three persistent barriers to women’s economic security: sexual harassment and violence, pay discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination. The first installment of this three series report focuses on sexual harassment and is out now. It includes specific recommendations for how advocates, government agencies, and employers can all lift up the economic opportunities of women.

It also includes never-before read client stories, including Luisa’s:


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On the worst night of her life, Nicole Beverly was beaten almost unconscious by her husband and then forced to sit beside him as he loaded and unloaded his gun, threatening to kill her. “I was sure I was going to die,” she told The Huffington Post.

Paralyzed with fear, it took her five months to tell anyone about the abuse and seek help. One crisp Michigan morning she did, filing a restraining order and fleeing with her two children. But after Beverly was granted the order, she was horrified to find out that the gun her husband had used to terrorize her remained in his possession.

Under the 1996 Lautenberg amendment to the Federal Gun Control Act, people who are subject to permanent domestic violence restraining orders can’t own or buy guns. (The law generally doesn’t apply to dating partners or temporary restraining orders, although there are legislative efforts underway to change that.)

But Michigan -- like most states -- doesn’t have a law requiring people with domestic violence restraining orders to actually surrender their firearms to authorities. Without a mandatory state process in place to remove his guns, Beverly's husband was left armed and dangerous.


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Revenge can masquerade as justice, but it frequently ends up perverting it.

EXCERPT: “Do not seek revenge and call it justice.” —Cassandra Clare

“It is essential that justice be done; it is equally vital that justice not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different.” ―Oscar Arias

1. Revenge is predominantly emotional; justice primarily rational.Revenge is mostly about “acting out” (typically through violence) markedly negative emotions. At its worst, it expresses a hot, overwhelming desire for bloodshed. As perverse as it may seem, there’s actual pleasureexperienced in causing others to suffer for the hurt they’ve caused the avenger, or self-perceived victim (cf. the less personal Schadenfreude).

Justice—as logically, legally, and ethically defined—isn’t really about “getting even” or experiencing a spiteful joy in retaliation. Instead, it’s about righting a wrong that most members of society (as opposed to simply the alleged victim) would agree is morally culpable. And the presumably unbiased (i.e., unemotional) moral rightness of such justice is based on cultural or community standards of fairness and equity. Whereas revenge has a certain selfish quality to it, “cool” justice is selfless in that it relies on non-self-interested, established law. At least obliquely, the two quotes below are suggestive:

“But men often mistake killing and revenge for justice. They seldom have the stomach for justice.” ―Robert Jordan

“Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.” —Pope John Paul II

2. Revenge is, by nature, personal; justice is impersonal, impartial, and both a social and legal phenomenon. The driving impetus behind revenge is to get even, to carry out a private vendetta, or to achieve what, subjectively, might be described as personal justice. If successful, the party perceiving itself as gravely injured (though others might not necessarily agree) experiences considerable gratification: their retaliatory goal has been achieved—the other side vanquished, or brought to its knees. Just or not, the avenger feels justified. Their quest for revenge has “re-empowered” them and, from their biased viewpoint, it’s something they’re fully entitled to.


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75% of Ebola deaths are women. They are the caregivers.

The deadliest Ebola outbreak on record is sweeping West Africa, with over 3,400 lives claimed already. The disease is spreading faster than ever before, with the World Health Organization estimating that 20,000 additional cases will be reported by November. And women are being affected most severely; in fact, 75 percent of those who have died from Ebola are women.

"Women have been affected in so many, many ways. Even though the disease of course affects both men and women, women are at a disadvantage -- period," says Marpue Speare, Executive Director of Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). "Women are on the front lines. They are the caregivers."

Global Fund for Women is acting quickly to provide crisis support to some of our long-standing grantee partners in Ebola-hit communities in Liberia, and through these groups, we learn how women are being disproportionately affected by the outbreak.


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Preventing Sexual Violence on College Campuses: Lessons From Research and Practice

Author: Sarah DeGue ; Dawn Fowler ; Allison Randall
Corporate Author: Ctr's for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
United States of America



Publication Date: May 2014
Pages: 39

Based on lessons learned from research and practice, this three-part presentation identifies proven strategies for preventing sexual violence on college campuses.



Part One discusses evidence-based strategies for the primary prevention of sexual violence. Tables list specific colleges with accompanying descriptions of their program for preventing sexual violence.

Only two programs have rigorous evidence of effectiveness for preventing sexual violence.

Both were used with middle/high school students, but may provide useful models for the development of college-level prevention strategies.

Other strategies that hold promise are building relationship skills, organizational policies or practices that improve safety, addressing social norms and behavior with messages from trusted people, and training students to intervene as bystanders. Part Two reviews prevention activities implemented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through its rape prevention and education program. Just over 125 college and university campuses across the United States have affiliations with this program in order to facilitate the implementation of sexual violence prevention strategies and activities. Part Three describes campus prevention activities funded by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women.


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The human rights sections of theInternational Studies Association, theAmerican Political Science Association, the European Consortium for Political Research, and the International Political Science Association are pleased to announce the fourth joint international conference on human rights, on the theme “Human Rights and Justice,” to take place 8 – 10 June 2015 at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The conference will take place immediately before the annual meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (11 – 13 June), also in The Hague.

This joint conference will ask researchers and policymakers from academia, think tanks, IOs and NGOs to deal with various aspects of justice and human rights. Papers should highlight how and to what extent human rights in all aspects and levels of governance, law and decision making allow or deny access to justice. This may include questions regarding whether and to what extent the international human rights regime can address adequately the challenges of human rights implementation and justice, as well as how regional, national, and local mechanisms may address human rights challenges. Paper and panel proposals that also address the issues such as climate justice, transitional justice or cyber justice as well as access to justice and global distributive justice are welcome. Some of the questions to be addressed at the conference include:


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The Police Department could adopt new rules tonight governing how officers deal with cases concerning domestic violence and children -- specifically when to call the Family & Children Services division.

Several activist groups involved in the process commend the department for taking big strides in handling domestic violence inside and outside the force, but they worry that blunt efforts to protect children by alerting the division, also known as Child Welfare, too often could have a chilling effect on already-reluctant victims of domestic violence. In some communities, activists say, any interaction with child welfare workers raises fears of having children taken away.

The new rules, known as general orders, act as a standing order to officers and define how they must operate when responding to domestic violence calls. According to a draft of the rules, police are to call Child Welfare if one of seven criteria is met.


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Though national focus is often on the racially biased ways boys of color are treated, girls of color face many of the same risks from the cradle through adulthood which impact their life chances for success. Like boys, girls of color who enter the juvenile justice, child welfare, education, and other systems often arrive traumatized and experience more trauma from the way they are treated inside systems.

recent report by the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. and the National Women's Law Center, Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity, details the barriers to educational success for these girls: stereotyping and perception; under-resourced schools; unequal access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities; overly punitive school discipline practices; the challenges of early pregnancy and parenting; and discrimination from school personnel. It also highlights sexual harassment, violence, and trauma and their harmful impact.

The level of gender-based violence girls experience and the way supposed "child-serving" systems treat girls of color compounds the harms they face. Systems often fail to see them as trauma survivors -- treating them instead as complicit in their victimhood, threatening, or unable to be rehabilitated. The story of mass incarceration and racial inequality is incomplete without understanding and acknowledging gender-based violence and the gender-specific burdens girls of color face as they attempt to survive these systems and succeed.


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OSLO, Norway — Taliban attack survivor Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel winner ever as she and Kailash Satyarthi of India won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for working to protect children from slavery, extremism and child labor at great risk to their own lives.

By honoring a 17-year-old Muslim girl from Pakistan and a 60-year-old Hindu man from India, the Norwegian Nobel Committee linked the peace award to conflicts between world religions and neighboring nuclear powers as well as drawing attention to children's rights.

"Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains but I will see the end of child labor in my lifetime," Satyarthi told The Associated Press at his office in New Delhi.

Since 1980, Satyarthi has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor, which he called a "blot on humanity."


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How internet abuse works: she displeases him and he tries to punish her. He posts doctored photos of her to the web. In one, a noose is near her head. In another, her children appear to be performing sex acts. He emails graphic threats about violating her with a chainsaw. He sneers that she is too fat to be loved, and then — missing the irony — calls her a slut. He distributes her Social Security number online. He posts lies about a prostitution bust. Posing as her, he solicits sex in online ads and includes her home address so men knock on her door at all hours. Maybe he’s anonymous but often he doesn’t bother hiding his identity. Why worry? He knows that in his corner of the web, women who complain about harassment are the enemy.

Kathy Sierra complained. She was one of those who called for help.


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Por Olga Villalta, periodista feminista 
Sala de Redacción (Guatemala), 
A pesar de los esfuerzos que realizan organizaciones de la sociedad civil que 
trabajan en la atención y defensa de los derechos de la niñez, nos enfrentamos a 
funcionarios que siempre manifiestan miedo a que la niñez y las/os adolescentes 
crezcan en su autonomía personal. 
No me explico por qué si desde el gobierno anterior quedaron impresos manuales de 
educación sexual para utilizar en las escuelas la ministra de Educación no autoriza que sean 
distribuidos. La educación integral en sexualidad ayudaría a las niñas a entender dónde termina 
el afecto del adulto y dónde comienza el abuso. 
De manera contradictoria, nuestro marco jurídico permite que una niña asuma la maternidad y casarse 
(con autorización de sus padres) a los 14 años, pero no se le permite ser ciudadana sino hasta los 18 años.
Asumir la maternidad y paternidad por parte de las personas debería estar sujeta a que estas cuenten 
con las habilidades y capacidades necesarias para cumplir con esta función. No me refiero a prohibir 
el ejercicio de la sexualidad y el derecho a reproducirnos como especie, sino a que la sociedad en su 
conjunto tiene la responsabilidad de dotar a la niñez y adolescencia de las herramientas informativas, 
emocionales y científicas que les permitan prepararse para el ejercicio de la sexualidad de forma 
placentera, enriquecedora y responsable. 

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Informe de Amnistía Internacional: Al borde de la muerte: Violencia contra las mujeres y prohibición del aborto en El Salvador


Tiene como consecuencia la muerte de cientos de mujeres y niñas

Madrid, 08 oct. 14. AmecoPress.- El reciente informe de Amnistía Internacional titulado Al borde de la muerte: Violencia contra las mujeres y prohibición del aborto en El Salvador, describe cómo la restrictiva ley del país tiene como consecuencia la muerte de cientos de mujeres y niñas que se someten a abortos clandestinos. La criminalización de esta práctica también ha provocado que aquéllas de quienes se sospecha que se han sometido a un aborto se enfrenten a largas penas de cárcel.

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Nueva ciberacción a favor de los derechos sexuales y reproductivos de mujeres y niñas

La represiva y desfasada prohibición total del aborto por parte del gobierno destroza las vidas de mujeres y niñas en El Salvador, empujándolas a abortos inseguros y clandestinos u obligándolas a llevar a término peligrosos embarazos, ha declarado hoy Amnistía Internacional. Las que ponen fin a sus embarazos, además, se arriesgan a pasar años en la cárcel.



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The first time I was ever sexually harassed on the job, it was while waiting tables. The second, third, fourth, and fifth times I was sexually harassed on the job, it was while waiting tables. The first time, I reported it to my boss, but it happened so often that I stopped telling her about it. I learned to just grit my teeth and bring the assholes their beer.

Of all the sexual harassment claims that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives every year, fully 37 percent of them come from one place: the restaurant industry. That makes the restaurant industry the largest source of sexual harassment claims to the EEOC in the nation – and that’s before you account for the fact that sexual harassment is underreported. 


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This manual is intended for use by rape crisis advocates and other victim service providers who work with survivors of sexual abuse in detention. This manual addresses the concerns that advocates have for working in prisons and jails and offers advice for helping survivors who are still incarcerated. 

The concerns addressed in this report include ensuring advocates’ safety while working in the facility; providing services to people who may seem dangerous or who may have committed sex crimes; adapting interventions and advocacy strategies for the corrections environment; working with unfamiliar populations, including people who have not traditionally sought help from rape crisis centers; and expanding services with no new staff or funding.

The manual begins with an overview of the problem, describing those individuals most at risk for sexual abuse while in custody. The following sections of the manual cover The Importance of Advocates, Overcoming Barriers to Providing Services Behind Bars, Guiding Principles to Serving Survivors in Custody, Hospital Accompaniment for Survivors, Hotline Services for Inmates, Prisoner Correspondence, and In-Person Services in Detention Settings. Notes


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Domestic violence prosecutors across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief following the March 26, 2014, decision of the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Castleman. The decision ensures that individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, including those convicted under state or tribal statutes in- corporating the common-law definition of battery (which includes physical force resulting in only slight injury, as well as offensive touching), will be subject to the federal prohibition on possession of firearms under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).  Click here to continue reading.

Prosecuting Intimate Partner Sexual Assault
Webinar | October 29, 2014 | 2:00PM-3:30PM EDT
Presented by John Wilkinson and Christopher Mallios, Attorney Advisors, AEquitas
Two-thirds of women who were physically assaulted by an intimate partner were also sexually assaulted by that partner. Perpetrators of intimate partner sexual assault derive power over their victims from diverse sources. They often use prior abusive conduct to control and compel their victims. They know and exploit their victims’ vulnerabilities to commit their crimes and prevent disclosures. Perpetrators also rely on the justice system’s belief in common domestic and sexual violence myths to escape accountability. To effectively counter these and other challenges, prosecutors must employ strategies that overcome the common dynamics upon which perpetrators rely. 

This presentation will discuss the prevalence of, and common dynamics of, intimate partner sexual assault; will examine ways in which prosecutors, in partnership with other allied professionals, may need to expand their practices to adequately and holistically care for these victims; and will summarize the legal issues relevant to the prosecution of intimate partner sexual assault. 

Click here to register for this webinar.

How can we best disarm the batterer?

AEquitas, in partnership with the Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP), has commenced a special initiative with the goal of improving practices to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic violence offenders. If you or a colleague is a prosecutor having expertise with firearms issues in domestic violence cases (removals, returns, forfeitures of weapons and firearms permits, etc.), we need your input as we examine practices and procedures to disarm abusers. 

Prosecutors interested in participating in this project, which will initially consist of a series of discussions about obstacles and creative solutions to enforcement of the laws prohibiting possession of firearms by domestic violence offenders, should send an email totgarvey@aequitasresource.org.

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Arlena Lindley’s boyfriend Alonzo Turner beat her for months and murdered her child — so why was she sent to prison for 45 years? A BuzzFeed News Investigation.

The first thing Latricia Chance saw when she walked up to the apartment that October morning was a toddler, alone and shoeless, eating cereal on the doorstep. It was her friend Arlena Lindley’s 3-year-old son, Titches. Chance said hello. Titches, his mouth full of food,said nothing.

Inside, she greeted Lindley and her boyfriend, Alonzo Turner. Chance knew the couple had gone through trouble in the past, and something seemed off between them now — it just wasn’t clear what. Then Turner stepped outside and dragged Titches into the living room. Titches had soiled his light-blue pajama pants.

Turner, a 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound factory worker, ordered the toddler to bend over and touch his toes. He whipped him with a thick leather belt, then threw him against the wall. Titches hit his head so hard that he spat out some of his breakfast. Turner took Titches by his neck and wiped his face in the half-eaten cereal. With Titches on his back and crying, Turner pressed his foot to the boy’s chest. Then he picked him up, dragged him to the bathroom, pushed his face into the toilet, and flushed.

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Save the Date 
March 26 – 27, 2015

Nuestras Voces (our voices)
National Bilingual 
Sexual Assault Conference

La Posada Hotel - Laredo, TX

The Nuestras Voces National Bilingual Sexual Assault Conference is the only national sexual assault conference to include a complete workshop track in Spanish.

All workshop proposals are due by August 29, 2014:

Submit a workshop proposal in English.
Submit a workshop proposal en español.

Past Nuestras Voces (our voices) Conferences:2013 Nuestras Voces Iowa Conference in Pictures

Nuestras Voces National Bilingual Sexual Assault Conference (2011)

Nuestras Voces: Wise Latin@s en la lucha (2010)

Nuestras Voces: Transformation and Collaboration en la Comunidad (2008)

Nuestras Voces: Empowerment and Healing in la Comunidad (2005)

Nuestras Voces Conference Pinterest Board 

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Though teen birth rates have dropped in the past several decades, more than 750,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 still get pregnant in the United States each year. But what would happen if young women were simply given free birth control and educated about the best contraceptive options available to them?

Researchers with the Washington University School of Medicine set out to tackle that question, and the answer, they found is clear: When teenagers have access to free, long-acting contraception, pregnancies, births and abortions plunge well below current national averages.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, took place over a five-year period and included more than 1,400 girls, ages 15 to 19, from the St. Louis area. Researchers provided the teens with basic contraceptive counseling, presenting the most effective options first -- namely, long-acting reversible methods like intrauterine devices and implants.

After counseling, 72 percent of the participants in the so-called Contraceptive CHOICE Project chose long-acting reversible methods, while the remaining 28 percent went with other forms, including the birth control pill. The project provided all the teens with their choice of contraception for free.

The researchers then followed up with the teenagers to see whether the education and access to birth control had any effect. What they found was striking: Between 2008 and 2013, the average annual rate of pregnancy among teens enrolled in the study was 34 per 1,000 -- compared to 158.5 per 1,000 among sexually active teens in the United States in 2008.

Similarly, abortion rates were significantly lower among teens in the study -- just 9.7 per 1,000, compared to 41.5 per 1,000 among sexually active teen girls nationwide.



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Interview with Kaohly Her of Hnub Tshiab, Sasha Cotton of Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community; and Guadalupe Lopez of MN Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition. An early version of this chapter, later to be incorporated in Unfinished Business: Future of the American Women's Movement.

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El domingo 28 de septiembre se conmemoró el Día por la Despenalización del Aborto en América Latina y el Caribe, fecha acordada por las feministas desde 1990.
Cientos de actividades se realizaron a lo largo y ancho del continente. En la Ciudad de México el punto de reunión fue el Hemiciclo a Benito Juárez, ex presidente mexicano que defendió el Estado laico y lo consagró en la Constitución.
Muchas de las acciones que se desarrollan se centran en la demostración de las terribles consecuencias de la criminalización del aborto en la vida de las mujeres, y los perfiles de quienes recurren a esta práctica.
Lejos de lo que se cree, diversos estudios y encuestas revelan que las mujeres que se practican un aborto son católicas, están casadas o viven en pareja, y tienen dos hijos en promedio. Nada que ver con la imagen que se ha propagado sobre la supuesta liviandad de quienes recurren a él.


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