Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


Trabajadoras confeccionan ropa deportiva de una marca estadounidense en una maquila de la Zona Franca de San Bartolo, en el municipio de Ilopango, en el este de El Salvador. En la planta trabajan 350 personas por cada turno de ocho horas, 80 por ciento mujeres, que ganan el salario mínimo. Crédito: Edgar Romero/IPS

SAN SALVADOR, 19 mar 2015 (IPS) - Compañías textiles que confeccionan ropa para marcas transnacionales en El Salvador son acusadas de aliarse con pandilleros para amenazar de muerte a los trabajadores y romper sus sindicatos, según denuncias de personal afectado recabadas por IPS y por agrupaciones internacionales.

Trabajadoras que pidieron reserva de sus identidades señalaron que desde 2012 se intensificaron las amenazas en el sector, aprovechándose del clima de violencia que impera en este país centroamericano.

“Me llamaban por teléfono, y me decían que me saliera del sindicato, que dejara de andar de revoltosa”, dijo a IPS una empleada en la empresa LD El Salvador, ubicada en la Zona Franca San Marcos, un complejo de fábricas al sur de esta capital.

“Me llamaban por teléfono, y me decían que me saliera del sindicato, que dejara de andar de revoltosa… Me dijeron que eran homeboys (pandilleros) y que si no me salía iba aparecer colgada de uno de los árboles que están afuera de la empresa”: trabajadora en empresa LD El Salvador.


Ella trabaja como operaria de máquinas de coser desde 2004 y está afiliada al Sindicato de la Industria Textil Salvadoreña (SITS). Unas 780 personas laboran en la compañía, de capital coreano, que produce prendas de vestir para las firmas Náutica y Walmart.


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State legislators across the country are pushing to make it much harder for the public to obtain police officer body camera videos, undermining their promise as a tool people can use to hold law enforcement accountable.

Lawmakers in at least 16 states have introduced bills to exempt video recordings of police encounters with citizens from state public records laws, or to limit what can be made public. Their stated motive: preserving the privacy of people being videotaped, and saving considerable time and money that would need to be spent on public information requests as the technology quickly becomes widely used.

Advocates for open government and civil rights are alarmed.


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

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Marie Ashe  , 

Suffolk University Law School,  Anissa Helie CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice


Religio-legalism – the enforcement of religious law by specifically-religious courts that are tolerated or endorsed by civil government – has long operated against women’s interests in liberty and equality. In the 21st century, religious tribunals – Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim – operate throughout the world. Almost all are male-dominated, patriarchal, and sex-discriminatory. Harms to women produced by Muslim or sharia courts have come into focus in recent years, but present realities of religio-legalism operating through Christian and Jewish – as well as Muslim – religious courts in Western nations have been under-examined. This essay documents controversies concerning sharia-courts that have arisen in Canada and in the United Kingdom during the past decade and also looks at concurrent developments relating to sharia and to other-than-Muslim religious courts in the US.

Religious courts – Christian, Jewish, and Muslim – have in common that they assert original or exclusive jurisdiction over certain matters. In calls for “official recognition” of sharia courts, proponents have advanced a religious-equality argument, claiming that denial of that status to Muslim tribunals would violate the governmental obligation to avoid discrimination among religions. At the same time, sharia-related controversy has raised sharply the question about the implications for women’s liberty and equality rights that are produced by governmental accommodations of the religious-equality and religious-liberty interests asserted by all religious entities enjoying governmental recognition. 

While recognizing the legitimacy and weight of the complaint against inequitable treatment of religions, we argue here that whenever governmental action to “resolve” sharia-related conflict adopts the avoidance of discrimination among religions as its single goal and therefore expands its “official recognition” to include additional religious courts, it will have the effect of enlarging religions’ power and at the same time exacerbating harms to women. 

Referencing feminist writings that have documented the global spread of religious fundamentalisms from the 1990s to the present and that have exposed capitulations of liberalism to those fundamentalisms, we call for reconceptualization of the law-religion-women nexus. We urge recognition that governmental goals of equitable treatment of religions and protection of women’s rights will together be served not by expansions of governmental engagements with religion, but by retrenchment from religio-legalism. Thus, we urge, in policy and in law, clear prioritization of the protection of women’s rights and concurrent retreat from the formal recognition of all religious courts and of civil-law enforcement of the orders of any such bodie


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This music video captures a day in the real life of Maryann Aguirre, a fierce woman of color from the Eastside of Los Angeles. The video follows her as she faces the daily challenges of work, single motherhood, & the pressure of being a leader in her community. However, she faces those obstacles with hope, patience & dignity.

The REMIX was a special collaboration with YUKICITO, member of Los Angeles DJ Crew, LA JUNTA SOUND SYSTEM. 

Shot & Edited by Elefante
Directed & Produced by Las Cafeteras
Remixed by Yukicito of La Junta Sound System
Original Song “Mujer Soy” by Las Cafeteras



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2015 Releases


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 Feminism Inshallah: A History Of Arab Feminism
A film by Feriel Ben Mahmoud 
The struggle for Muslim women’s emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. This groundbreaking documentary recounts Arab feminism’s largely unknown story, from its taboo-shattering birth in Egypt by feminist pioneers up through viral Internet campaigns by today’s tech-savvy young activists during the Arab Spring. Moving from Tunisia to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, filmmaker and author Feriel Ben Mahmoud tracks the progress of Arab women in their long march to assert their full rights and achieve empowerment. Featuring previously unreleased archival footage and exclusive multigenerational interviews, FEMINISM INSHALLAH is an indispensable resource for Women’s Studies, Global Feminism, Middle East and Islamic Studies.More.

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It Was Rape 
A film by Jennifer Baumgardner
U.S. sexual assault statistics are startling—and have remained unchanged for decades. The latest White House Council on Women and Girls report reveals that nearly one in five women experiences rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Among college student victims, who have some of the highest rates of sexual assault, just 12 percent report incidents to law enforcement officials. In earlier studies, 15% of sexual assault victims were younger than 13; 93% of juvenile victims knew their attacker.  More.




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The burial of a woman who was brutally killed in Kabul for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran, saw Afghan women break with tradition on Sunday and help to carry the 27-year-old’s coffin to its final resting place.

The woman, now named as Farkhunda, was beaten to death by a mob in Kabul last week following accusations she had burned a copy of the Koran. The mob of men threw her body off a roof after beating her, ran over it with a car, set it on fire and then threw it into a river next to a well-known mosque in their brutal attack.


SEE ALSO: The lynching a woman in broad daylight in present-day Kabul



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Empowering Female Human Rights Lawyers around the world: This is a video about the first gathering of the Bertha Justice Initiative Women’s Working Group (WWG), which met in October 2014 for one week at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin. This week included a public panel discussion on the topic “Being a Radical Female Lawyer: Challenges and Vision”.


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Gender incompetent policies and hierarchical understandings of rights dominate global economic governance programmes. Integrating a feminist political economy into the analysis reveals the interconnections of structural inequalities that underlie women’s subordination.

Book cover. Author Yakin Erturk.BOOK: Violence Without Borders: the paradigm, policy and practical aspects of violence against women, 

Due out April 2015The continuation of the war on women in an escalated and violent fashion in many parts of the world has provoked me to write a book reflecting on my human rights monitoring experiences of the past two decades. One of the central challenges of the book, Violence Without Borders, has been to unpack the hierarchy of rights that deny women access to critical resources so needed in enhancing their capacity to resist transgressions on their rights. This article stems from a chapter of the book which argues that introducing a feminist political economy approach into the analysis can unravel the missing link in women’s human rights.

The problem

The recognition of violence against women (VAW) as a human rights violation was a turning point in the human rights movement. The 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women affirmed that “…violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and … violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position…”.

Since the adoption of the Declaration, violence against women rose to prominence on national and international agendas at the expense of compromising its feminist content as the responses to the problem became dominated by a welfare oriented approach. Thus VAW is treated in a selective, compartmentalized and isolated manner, largely disconnected from gender inequality and women’s socio-economic rights, which impedes their capability to escape violence.



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NACIONES UNIDAS, 16 mar 2015 (IPS) - Este año, la Plataforma de Acción de Beijing y la Resolución 1325 del Consejo de Seguridad cumplen 20 y 15 años, respectivamente. Aunque ambas se comprometieron a aumentar la participación de las mujeres en la construcción de la paz, el avance en ese sentido ha sido escaso.

Las últimas estadísticas disponibles muestran que las mujeres representaron solo nueve por ciento de las personas negociadoras en los procesos de paz realizados entre 1992 y 2011. Que los datos más recientes sean de hace cuatro años revela que hace falta más trabajo, incluso en áreas básicas como la recopilación de datos y los informes de la participación femenina en la construcción de la paz.

"La discriminación contra la mujer, especialmente la no participación y la no inclusión de las mujeres en la democracia es... una de las causas fundamentales de los conflictos armados": Bineta Diop.


A continuación, IPS resume cuatro motivos para priorizar la participación femenina en la mesa de negociación, según los debates desarrollados en el 59 período de sesiones de la Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de la Mujer (CSW, en inglés), que se celebra en Nueva York desde el 9 hasta el 20 de este mes.

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“There are certain problems that can’t wait, like violence against women,” Vice President Joe Biden said at the Maryland State Police Forensic Science Laboratory on Monday afternoon. 

Biden, accompanied by Senator Barbara Mikulski, toured the Pikesville facility before speaking to the press about their success in securing $41 million from the federal spending budget to help clear the country’s massive rape kit backlog. Biden deemed the effort “the single best expenditure we can initiate to prevent crime in addition to solving crime.” 

“The backlog” refers to the estimated 400,000 untested rape kits currently collecting dust on the shelves of police crime labs around the country — a figure that likely reflects far fewer than the actual number of untested kits, as law enforcement agencies are not required to report them. Thanks in large part to persistent survivors, storage facilities filled with rape kits have been discovered in a number of cities over the past few years.


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Ante la falta de voluntad de los gobiernos para cumplir sus compromisos a favor de las mujeres y el creciente fundamentalismo contra los derechos femeninos, la directora ejecutiva de la Asociación para los Derechos de las Mujeres y el Desarrollo (AWID, por sus siglas en inglés), Lydia Alpizar Durán, convocó a las feministas del mundo a cerrar filas para seguir avanzando por los Derechos Humanos (DH) de las mujeres, a tejer alianzas de largo plazo con otras luchas sociales, y a proteger a las defensoras humanitarias y las periodistas.
Tras su participación en el pleno de la sesión inaugural de la 59 sesión de la Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de la Mujer de la ONU (CSW, por sus siglas en inglés), que provocó la ovación de las presentes, tanto de las delegaciones oficiales como en el espacio alterno para las delegadas de grupos civiles, Alpizar Durán  –quien habló a nombre de las organizaciones feministas del mundo– criticó la “tibieza” de la declaración oficial sobre el balance a 20 años de la firma de la Plataforma de Acción de la IV Conferencia Mundial sobre la Mujer de Beijing, China.
“20 años después de Beijing, los gobiernos nos están diciendo hoy que no están listos para hacer el compromiso que se requiere y acuerdan un texto retórico, cuya retórica incluso está débil”, dijo la activista en entrevista con Cimacnoticia


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University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, March 9, 2015, 
U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-4


The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the almost daily news stories about abusive and violent police conduct are currently prompting questions about the appropriate use of force by police officers. Moreover, the history of police brutality directed towards women is well documented. Most of that literature, however, captures the violence that police do in their public capacity, as officers of the state.
This article examines the violence and abuse perpetrated by police in their private lives, against their intimate partners, although the public and private overlap significantly to the extent that the power and training provided to police officers by the state makes them significantly more dangerous as abusers. Intimate partner abuse by police officers is a systemic, structural issue created and fueled by the ways in which police officers are socialized and trained. Police officers are more likely than others to abuse their partners, and as a result of their training and their state imprimatur, police abuse of partners is more problematic and more potentially dangerous than abuse by civilians.
Changing the behavior of abusive police officers may be nearly impossible given the interplay of policing and masculinity. Policing is a male profession; it encourages and rewards many of the same notions of masculinity that underscore intimate partner abuse. Feminist theories about how intimate partner abuse serves a means of asserting control over one’s partner may not explain officer-involved domestic violence; intimate partner abuse in law enforcement may be part of a larger pattern of violent behavior justified by problematic notions of masculinity.
Moreover, the increasing militarization of police forces has given rise to a particularly pernicious type of masculinity, militarized masculinity, which is reflected in the attitudes and training of and methods used by police officers, both on the street and at home. Despite the high rates of intimate partner abuse by police officers, however, each incident is treated as an isolated event, rather than part of a systemic problem, and officers are largely able to act with impunity because of their centrality in the law and policy response to intimate partner abuse in the United States.
The state has a serious stake in this conversation, not only because it trains and arms abusers, but because it depends upon these same abusers to enforce the very laws that they are violating in their own relationships. The U.S. response to intimate partner abuse relies heavily on the criminal justice system to enforce domestic violence laws; this article asks whether criminalization can succeed as a policy when police officers are disproportionately committing intimate partner abuse.

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An overview of sex offender registration in the United States discusses such registration as a local activity, Federal minimum standards, the National Sex Offender Public Website, Federal law enforcement databases, Federal corrections, Federal law enforcement and investigations, and military registration. This overview of sex offender law and regulations in the United States is followed by a section that explains who is required to register as a sex offender. A separate section of the handbook addresses the registration of juvenile sex offenders. Court opinions regarding the retroactive application of sex offender registration and ex post facto consideration encompass significant decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and State courts. Other constitutional issues related to sex offender registration and notification are addressed in another section of the handbook. Other sections of the handbook consider community notification, the consequences of failure to register, residency restrictions, sex offender registration and notification in Indian Country, international relocation and registration, and miscellaneous issues. The latter section focuses on defamation, deportation, the relevance of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, homeless and transient sex offenders, HUD housing, impeachment, and sentencing enhancement under Federal law. 

Handbook pdf here


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Backlash: a strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development. 

What does the feminist backlash look like and who suffers most? 

The panel - which includes Chime for Change managing editor Mariane Pearl, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Beatrix Campbell, author of End of Equality - discuss whether the backlash is inevitable and what we can do to challenge it. 

The event is chaired by broadcaster and president of Women of the Year, Sandi Toksvig.


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Elizabeth A. Sheehy, University of Ottawa, Common Law Section, has publishedDefending Battered Women on Trial, at Defending Battered Women on Trial: Lessons From the Transcripts 1 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014). Here is the abstract.

In the landmark Lavallee decision of 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that evidence of “battered woman syndrome” was admissible in establishing self-defence for women accused of killing their abusive partners. This book looks at the legal response to battered women who killed their partners in the fifteen years since Lavallee.

Elizabeth Sheehy uses trial transcripts and a detailed case study approach to tell, for the first time, the stories of eleven women, ten of whom killed their partners and one who did not. She looks at the barriers women face to “just leaving,” how self-defence was argued in these cases, and which form of expert testimony was used to frame women’s experience of battering. Drawing upon a rich expanse of research from many disciplines, including law, psychology, history, sociology, women’s studies, and social work, she highlights the limitations of the law of self-defence, the successful strategies of defence lawyers, the costs to women undergoing a murder trial, and the serious difficulties of credibility that they face when testifying. In a final chapter, she proposes numerous reforms.

In Canada, a woman is killed every six days by her male partner, and about twelve women per year kill their male partners. By illuminating the cases of eleven women, this book highlights the barriers to leaving violent men and the practical and legal dilemmas that face battered women on trial for murder.

Abstract and Introductory essay pdf here. 

Link to the case R. v. Lavallee here.

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Menopause is a downright bizarre trait among animals. It's also rare. Outside of the human species, only the female members of two whale species outlive their reproductive lives in such a major way. Female killer whales typically become mothers between the ages of 12 and 40, but they can live for more than 90 years. By comparison, males of the species rarely make it past 50. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journalCurrent Biology on March 5 have new evidence to explain why, evolutionarily speaking, these select female whales live so remarkably long.

Older individuals serve as key leaders, directing younger members of whale society, and especially their own sons, to the best spots for landing tasty meals of salmon. In so doing, older females help their kin to survive. This leadership role takes on special significance in difficult years when salmon are harder to come by.

The researchers say the discovery offers the first evidence that a benefit of prolonged life after reproduction is that post-reproductive individuals act as repositories of ecological knowledge.


"The Females Call the Shots." 

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The sixth video of the UN Human Rights Office campaign to honour women human rights defenders in commemoration of Beijing+20.

Ms Touré speaks about her work with women in the context of the armed conflict in Mali. She explains the importance of ensuring at women have a place at the table when peace negotiations are underway. She also highlight that as women defenders, certain risks are assumed because they are women.

Join the campaign on Twitter with # reflect2protect

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The Barros case is being watched as a test case for Francis on the question of holding accountable bishops who covered up for pedophiles. Francis has already sent a Vatican investigator to the U.S. diocese of Kansas City, where Bishop Robert Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report a priest who had child pornography on his computer.

But the Vatican has taken no action against Finn, and no bishop has ever been publicly sanctioned for having covered up for an abuser.



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 March 6 at 6:30 AM

Jewel Allison is a poet and author of "Stealing Peace: Let's Talk About Racism." She is a graduate of New York University, a public speaker and a music educator.

Like many of the women who say they were assaulted by Bill Cosby, it took me two decades to gain the courage to reveal it publicly. His accusers – mostly white, so far – have faced retaliation, humiliation, and skepticism by coming forward. As an African-American woman, I felt the stakes for me were even higher. Historic images of black men being vilified en masse as sexually violent sent chills through my body. Telling my story wouldn’t only help bring down Cosby; I feared it would undermine the entire African-American community.


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Have you ever taken a look at your town's police recruiting materials? Because your town is likely to be getting exactly what they're looking for, and in too many cases that turns out to be hyper-aggressive, anti-social, verbally challenged males looking to make highly weaponized attacks on faceless communities. 

See for yourself! Take a look at these two police recruiting videos, each one stemming from a strikingly different policing philosophy. The first video makes clear how the recruitment message can be a hidden root source of our current policing problems. Imagine the kind of people attracted to that message, and imagine the kind of people who are repelled.The second video makes just as clear how the recruitment message itself can be a critical start to the long overlooked solution of attracting the right kind of person to policing in the first place.

Antioch, California Police Recruiting Video


No matter what aspect of police reform you're working on, whether it's ending police brutality,promoting unbiased policing, or ending disregard of violence against women, these two videos can crystalize your community's understanding of the issues more quickly and clearly than any speech.
Antioch Police, California Police Recruiting Video......

Peel Regional Police (Canada) Recruiting Video 2014.....

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El 61,2% arrastran síntomas de depresión

Madrid, 05 mar. 15. AmecoPress.- La ONGD Anesvad, la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM) y la London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) ha presentado hoy un estudio de víctimas de trata de seres humanos que revela la gravedad de los abusos y los complejos problemas de salud físicos y psíquicos en las personas abocadas a trabajos forzosos y la explotación en el sudeste asiático. El 61,2% de los encuestados reportan síntomas de depresión, informa medicosypacientes.com.

Su objetivo es el de radiografiar con detalle las consecuencias sobre la salud en aquellas personas víctimas de la trata de seres humanos con fines de explotación laboral o sexual en esta región del planeta.



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February 25, 2015 / 63(SS08);1-2

MMWR in Brief summarizes key points from "Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011." MMWR 2014;63(No. SS-8). Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6308.pdf. Adobe PDF fileCertain text might not have appeared in the original publication.




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In the 1980s, Dr. Vincent Felitti, now director of the California Institute of Preventive Medicine in San Diego, discovered something potentially revolutionary about the ripple effects of child sexual abuse. He discovered it while trying to solve a very different health problem: helping severely obese people lose weight.
Felitti, a specialist in preventive medicine, was trying out a new liquid diet treatment among patients at a Kaiser Permanente clinic. And it worked really well. The severely obese patients who stuck to it lost as much as 300 pounds in a year.
"Oh yeah, this was really quite extraordinary," recalls Felitti.
But then, some of the patients who'd lost the most weight quit the treatment and gained back all the weight — faster than they'd lost it. Felitti couldn't figure out why. So he started asking questions.
I remember thinking, 'Well, my God, this is the second incest case I've seen in 23 years of practice.' And so I started routinely inquiring about childhood sexual abuse. And I was really floored.
- Dr. Vincent Felitti, co-developer of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study


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Jessica Valenti is one of the most successful and visible feminists of her generation. As a columnist for the Guardian, her face regularly appears on the site’s front page. She has written five books, one of which was adapted into a documentary, since founding the blog Feministing.com. She gives speeches all over the country. And she tells me that, because of the nonstop harassment that feminist writers face online, if she could start over, she might prefer to be completely anonymous. “I don’t know that I would it under my real name,” she says she tells young women who are interested in writing about feminism. It’s “not just the physical safety concerns but the emotional ramifications” of constant, round-the-clock abuse.


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