Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


Publication cover


Interpersonal violence – in all its forms – has a grave effect on children: Violence undermines children’s future potential; damages their physical, psychological and emotional well-being; and in many cases, ends their lives. The report sheds light on the prevalence of different forms of violence against children, with global figures and data from 190 countries. Where relevant, data are disaggregated by age and sex, to provide insights into risk and protective factors.

General Information

Author:UNICEFPrice:FreeNo. of pages:206Publication date:September 2014Publisher:UNICEFISBN:978-92-806-4767-9


                                                                                                For further information
Please contact: pubdoc@unicef.org


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Jennifer Norris testifies on Capitol Hill before a sparsely attended House Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual misconduct by basic training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Editor's note: Mary F. Calvert won the 2013 Canon Female Photojournalist Awardfor this body of work and is showing it at the 2014 Visa Pour l'image in Perpignan, France. Calvert also just won the Alexia Foundation 2014 Women's Initiative Grantto help fund her related project, Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans.

Women in the US military are being raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in record numbers. An estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the military in 2012, the last year that statistic is available; only 1 in 7 victims reported their attacks, and just 1 in 10 of those cases went to trial.

According to mental-health experts, the effects of military sexual trauma (MST) include depression, substance abuse, paranoia, and feelings of isolation. Victims spend years drowning in shame and fear as the psychological damage silently eats away at their lives. Many frequently end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless, or take their own lives.

In 2013, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act, which was designed to change the ways the military prosecutes sexual-violence crimes and restricts commanding officer's power to set aside or overturn convictions for sexual violence. But in March 2014, the bill fell 5 votes short of the 60 required to avoid a filibuster.

In May, the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for fiscal year 2013 found that reports of sexual assault were up 50 percent. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has implemented a variety of measures to combat sexual assault, including the examination of gender-responsive and appropriate military culture, a review of alcohol policies and sales, the evaluation and improvement of sexual-assault prevention and response training for commanders, and encouraging more male victims to report sexual assaults.

But the violence of rape and the ensuing emotional trauma are still compounded by what victims see as the futility of reporting the attacks to their commands. 


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AWID is excited to introduce a new manual for rights activists facing religious fundamentalist opposition to their work. This user-friendly resource manual brings together the innovative research and analysis produced by AWID's Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms (CF) program over the past six years, drawing on the experiences of hundreds of women's rights activists in diverse regions of the world.

This manual covers key areas of AWID’s research, including understandings of religious fundamentalisms; factors that lead to their growth; the impacts on women’s rights and human rights; and strategies used to counter religious fundamentalisms. It also includes concrete examples, visuals, and a series of discussion questions and participatory activities to encourage reflection on how religious fundamentalisms affect the day-to-day work of activists and how to strengthen activist responses.  

Our hope is that this manual will offer an accessible resource to inform and inspire dialogue, strategies, and advocacy on the issue of religious fundamentalisms. 

Note: This resource has been produced for rights-based activists and organizations only and is not meant for public dissemination. If you would like to request a soft-copy of this publication, please contact us at cf@awid.org


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 Clamor social y legislativo para endurecer castigos

El asesinato en febrero de 2013 de la periodista Hanaly Huaycho por su esposo, el teniente de la policía Jorge Clavijo, aceleró el trabajo en el Poder Legislativo para poner a punto una ley que liquidara, de una vez por todas, los asesinatos de mujeres en Bolivia.
Unas semanas después, el presidente Evo Morales promulgó la Ley 348 para Garantizar a las Mujeres una Vida Libre de Violencia, la cual, en uno de sus artículos aclara que “el Estado Plurinacional asume como prioridad la erradicación de la violencia hacia las mujeres, por ser una de las formas más extremas de dominación en razón de género”.
Al mismo tiempo agrega que “los órganos del Estado y todas las instituciones públicas adoptarán las medidas y políticas necesarias, asignando los recursos económicos y humanos suficientes con carácter obligatorio”.
La norma es clara y, si se analiza con detenimiento, cada uno de sus artículos va encaminado a poner un alto a la violencia doméstica, un mal enquistado en la sociedad boliviana desde tiempos inmemoriales, cuando las mujeres eran sólo un objeto más, propiedad del hombre de la casa.
Por unos meses reinó el silencio y aunque se registraron miles de denuncias por violencia doméstica, parecía que los casos de feminicidio habían pasado a un segundo plano, pero llegó agosto de 2014 y los indicadores aportados por las autoridades dejaron sobre el tapete la verdadera realidad.


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Domestic violence is a tragic feature of millions of women's lives. But in Thailand, new efforts are underway to better protect women from violence at the hands of their partners by training police cadets in investigating domestic violence. Produced by UNTV for UN Women, this piece follows one young woman cadet as she gets her first close-up look at a case of abuse.

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The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) is a non-profit organization that brings together individuals or agencies working to establish or improve oversight of police officers in the United States. 

The Professional Standards Committee, on behalf of the Board of Directors, undertook an ambitious and important project to create detailed profiles of civilian oversight agencies/entities across the United States. The Committee’s goal was to compile profiles of oversight agencies representing different models of oversight, using a standardized set of criteria (adapted from the agency profiles found in CACOLE’s compendium of all oversight agencies in Canada). Each profile includes attachments and/or links to websites containing relevant original documents related to an agency’s scope, authority and operations. A major goal of this project was to provide individuals or groups who are establishing oversight with models of enabling legislation, regulations, procedures, etc. Below is the list of those profiles that have been prepared to date. Click each agency’s name to access its profile.


Making Civilian Oversight of Police Work for Victims of Violence Against Women and Children
Experience of Criminal Justice System Abuses by Gender, Info-graphic


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Lydia Cacho is an award-winning investigative journalist, writer and activist. Her reporting focuses on violence against women in her home country of Mexico. Her latest book is Slavery Inc.: The untold story of international sex trafficking.

In the West, slavery is often seen as a dark part of the colonial past. Although it’s illegal in all countries, it remains alive and well—and is growing dramatically. Impervious to recession, it forms a thriving part of the globalised sex industry run by organised crime. International trafficking of women and children for sex is a multi-billion dollar business that won’t be anywhere near ‘abolition’ until those who make money from its operations and buy its services think again about what being complicit in slavery means. 

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In 2012, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) published a national compendium of law enforcement strategies to reduce the demand for commercial sex. The following explores the merits of a demand reduction approach; discusses strategies commonly used in the United States; and provides helpful links to guidance, evaluations, and best practices for implementing demand reduction strategies in jurisdictions.


Access the full report, A National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, including helpful implementation guidance.

The study also resulted in a user-friendly, publically available website containing this information and a database:www.demandforum.net.


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This is a comprehensive overview of the prevalence of rape in prison, with a focus on Pennsylvania prisons, along with the features of prison culture and inmate attitudes that facilitate prison rapes.

Abstract: After a brief review of studies of the prevalence of rape in custodial facilities, both male and female, this paper notes that regardless of the accuracy of the statistics, it is clear that there is a pervasive fear of such victimization, and this dominates inmate social interactions in prison. The discussion of what constitutes sexual assault includes the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections definition, which is “any acts or attempts to commit acts which involve sexual contact, sexual abuse or assault, the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thighs, or buttocks." The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections prohibits any form of sexual harassment or sexual contact with an inmate. After reviewing the prevalence and features of prohibited sexual contact in prison, the paper considers characteristics of the prison culture that influence inmate sexual behavior. Prison culture has a defined social category known as homosexual, but all inmates who engage in same-sex behavior are not considered homosexual. Prison culture distinguishes the category of homosexual into groups known as “homosexuals,” “gays,” “queens,” and “straights.” These categories are defined. This is followed by a discussion of “sexual violence in the prison environment,” which states that first-person accounts suggest that many rape attempts are perpetrated against young, newly incarcerated individuals who lack experience with violence or prison culture. This section also discusses motivating factors for sexual behavior, consensual versus coerced or forced sex, protective pairing, and bartering and trading for sex. Other topics addressed in this paper are sexual assault among female inmates and juvenile inmates, victim reporting of sexual assault, common reactions of inmates to sexual victimization, and the characteristics of sexually aggressive inmates. 37 references



Building Partnerships Between Rape Crisis Centers and Correctional Facilities to Implement the PREA Victim Services Standards


This report summarizes key issues and suggestions from a forum that discussed how correctional facilities and rape crisis centers can cooperate in implementing the sexual-assault victim services specified in the standards for implementing the Prisoner Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Abstract: Rape crisis center is a term that denotes the many community-based sexual assault victim advocacy agencies across the county; however, sexual assault victims in corrections may not identify their assault experience as being one that rape crisis centers address. Training is required in order for the staffs of both rape crisis centers and corrections facilities to understand the relevance of such a partnership for victims of sexual assaults that occur in prisons and jails. The forum discussions provide guidance on conducting such training. Partnering efforts should then begin with the common goal of safety and appropriate services for in-prison sexual assault victims. It would be useful for correctional systems to assist their facilities in identifying and reaching out to rape crisis centers for the purpose of developing agreements that specify the services that rape crisis centers can provide for sexual assault victims in correctional facilities. Two discretionary grant projects from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime are piloting efforts to implement PREA victim services provisions and more generally facilitate a victim-centered, coordinated approach to sexual assault in corrections. Appended listing of forum participants and forum agenda

                          SEE GUIDE PDF HERE

SEE ALSO:                  


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   Lanza AI campaña para exigir a las autoridades que actúen

Debido a que al menos seis de cada 10 mujeres migrantes son víctimas de violencia sexual durante su tránsito por México, Amnistía Internacional (AI) lanzó hoy la campaña “Paso Migratorio” a fin de visibilizar este flagelo.
AI explicó que la campaña tiene por objeto visibilizar los obstáculos que enfrentan mujeres, niñas y niños migrantes para ejercer sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos, durante su paso por el país.
Violencia sexual, embarazos no deseados, trata de personas, limitado acceso a servicios prenatales, nula información sobre anticonceptivos, escaso apoyo institucional e impunidad, son los principales problemas que enfrentan las migrantes en su tránsito por México, señalaron integrantes de la organización en conferencia de prensa.
Dijeron que AI busca implementar mecanismos de actuación en las estaciones migratorias que permitan identificar a mujeres, niñas y niños que hayan sufrido alguna violación, para que reciban atención adecuada, y “presionar” al gobierno federal para que establezca políticas públicas y estrategias con visión de género.


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Policy and Procedure Recommendations

The arrest of a parent can have a significant impact on a child, whether or not the child is present at the time of the arrest. Depending on age and quality of the relationship with the parent, children may feel shock, immense fear, anxiety, or anger towards the arresting officers or law enforcement in general that may linger for many years and have long term consequences. 

Over the past two decades, increasing emphasis has been placed on examination of the effects of these events on children of various ages and the ways in which law enforcement can make sure that involved children are not overlooked. But clear guidance for law enforcement agencies has not been widely available until now.

This report, an initiative of the Deputy Attorney General and White House Domestic Policy Council and sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, goes to the heart of the matter by providing detailed policy and procedure recommendations and an in depth look at the potential impact of parental arrests on children, whether they are at home at the time or not.

For more information, contact Phil Lynn at 703-836-6767 ext. 324.

PDF File:

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents - Final_Web_v2.pdf

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The grass is fraying around the edges in Washington, D.C.'s Franklin Square Park, but the trees are more important. They offer much-appreciated shade to the homeless people who sit below.
Many of the park benches are occupied by homeless men — but there are a few women too. Susan, sitting amid her bags in the park's northwest corner, is one of them. She's been on and off the streets of Washington since 1995 and asked that her last name not be used because she was in an abusive relationship and doesn't want her whereabouts known.
Susan says life on the streets is a constant battle for all homeless people, but for women it's particularly hard. On top of the everyday challenges of finding food and a safe place to sleep, she says, women face the threat of sexual violence and cruelty.
In nearly two decades on the streets, Susan, with graying hair and bright eyes, has learned some tough lessons.
Lesson One: Don't Look Like A Woman


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Police officer Daniel Holtzclaw worked the evening shift, from four in the afternoon until two in the morning, patrolling the northeastern part of Oklahoma City. Between February and June he allegedly sexually assaulted at least seven women while on duty, including a 57-year-old grandmother who says she was forced to give Holtzclaw oral sex after he pulled her over. According to police chief Bill Citty, Holtzclaw coerced the women, all of whom were black, into sexual acts by threatening to arrest them.

“They’ve pretty much got power in the palm of their hand. And it’s your word against theirs,” one resident of the neighborhood Holtzclaw patrolled told a reporter. Another said that rumors of the assaults had been circulating for weeks.

News of Holtzclaw’s arrest last Thursday was overshadowed by the police brutality occurring in Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, and the crackdown on people protesting his death highlighted endemic problems of racial profiling, brutality and militarization within American law enforcement. Several writers pointed out after Brown’s death that women of color are often left out of these stories of police violence. Sometimes that violence is lethal. In many other cases it’s sexual in nature.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Philip Stinson, a professor at Bowling Green State University and the principle investigator for a Department of Justice–funded research project on police integrity, about sexual assault by police officers. “There are many opportunities for someone, if they were a predator, to engage in crimes of sexual violence that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of the power and authority they have [as a police officer].”



One Week in the Hidden Epidemic of Police Violence Against Women

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Report claims police and council agencies failed victims, some of whom were threatened with guns and gang-raped


The report concluded: "No one knows the true scale of the child sexual 
exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative 
estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited 
over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013." 

In response, Rotherham council, which commissioned the report, said it 
accepted the findings, including the statement that failures "almost 
without exception" were attributed to senior managers in child 
protection services, elected councillors and senior police officers. 

It accepted that failures were not down to "frontline social or youth 
workers who are acknowledged in the report as repeatedly raising 
serious concerns about the nature and extent of this kind of child abuse".



South Yorkshire police face new criticism over handling of major Crime,HMIC report finds under-fire police force failed to investigate allegations of major crime including rape and sexual assault



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   Falta estudios con visión de género para abatir trata de personas

Debido a que los estudios en México sobre trata de personas y explotación sexual con enfoque de género son prácticamente nulos, expertas feministas presentaron el Centro de Documentación e Investigación sobre  mujeres en situación de prostitución “Josephine Butler”.
Las impulsoras del proyecto son Fabiola Bailón, historiadora e investigadora del Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas de la UNAM, y Verónica Caporal, perita antropóloga de la Fiscalía Especial para los delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (Fevimtra), de la Procuraduría General de la República.
Ambas son coautoras del libro “Diagnóstico del ciclo vital de mujeres en situación de prostitución y su relación con el proxenetismo”, el cual fue publicado recientemente y deriva de una investigación cualitativa y entrevistas a mujeres en situación de prostitución en diferentes lugares de México.
La importancia del proyecto de documentación, comentaron las especialistas durante la presentación, es que las feministas intervengan en las discusiones sobre las medidas que los gobiernos toman de manera coyuntural para “supuestamente” erradicar la trata de personas.


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John Meekins has been a corrections officer in Florida for more than nine years. Throughout his career, he has often heard female inmates talk about being prostituted and held captive by pimps—a situation he initially considered a consequence for many drug abusers.

However, he started asking more questions and soon discovered many of these women are victims of human trafficking. With further inquiry, he also learned about a network of female prisoners who are actively recruiting inmates on behalf of outside pimps.

How Pimps Are Reaching Inside Prison Walls
woman sitting in jailMeekins discovered that pimps are using these inside recruiters to identify vulnerable women who are getting out of jail soon. Much of the communication between pimps and recruiters comes right through the prison mailroom. He has read dozens of letters written by pimps to their recruiters specifying how many women they must recruit and how much they will be paid for their services.


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This past week, a Florida pastor was arrested for failing to report the suspected sexual abuse of a child. Over a year ago, one of the three young victims informed the pastor of the ongoing abuse. Though he provided the victim with counseling, the pastor never reported the crime to the police because he “didn’t have proof”.

How does a pastor respond when informed of allegations concerning child sexual abuse? All too often the responses by pastors are too little too late.   Here is a simple rule that should be followed by pastors and everyone else: Immediately report allegations of child sexual abuse.   Not only will you potentially save the life of a child and stop the heinous acts of a predator, but you will also most likely be following the law.

Approximately 27 states specifically designate members of the clergy (pastors) as mandated reporters. Another 18 states designate all adults to be mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. This means that in almost every state of the country, pastors are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse or face criminal prosecution. Even in those limited circumstances when a pastor is not a mandated reporter, nothing prevents him/her from voluntarily reporting suspected abuse to the authorities.

Confessional - photo courtesy of Brian Allen via Flickr

 Show caption

Confessional – photo courtesy of Brian Allen via Flickr(Image source)

Perhaps the most confusing issue for most pastors related to reporting child sexual abuse is what to do when a perpetrator is the one who discloses the abuse. If a perpetrator confesses to sexually abusing a child to a pastor, every effort should be made by the pastor to insure that the offender immediately reports his/her crime to the authorities. This should certainly be the expectation if the perpetrator has expressed a desire to demonstrate repentance. Expressing repentance for a crime without voluntarily submitting to the civil authorities is manipulation, not repentance. The dark reality is that most offenders who confess abuse to a pastor won’t report themselves to the authorities. In those circumstances, the pastor has a fundamental decision to make; remain silent and protect a perpetrator, or report the abuse and protect a vulnerable


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Inocencia Robada es un documental que refleja la historia de dos primas, Erika y Estrella de 14 años, respectivamente, quienes cayeron en manos de la Trata de Personas. Relatan, con estricto apego a... la realidad, los momentos vividos durante su cautiverio. Tepetlixpa, Estado de México, es el pueblo de estas pequeñas, quienes vivían a unos metros de distancia la una de la otra, solían salir juntas a todos lados, estudiar, jugar, soñar, reír; pero en un instante, su vida cambio: el paraíso de la inocencia se convirtió en su peor pesadilla. Una pesadilla que se repite una y otra vez, aunque los personajes son diferentes, los unen algunas similitudes: son seres inocentes. Erika y Estrella pasaron a formar parte de una lista de más de 250 mil víctimas de Trata de Personas. Los vestidos de princesa y esa fiesta de 15 años que nunca llegó, se transformaron en bestiales ataques, brutales violaciones. Ya no eran princesas, eran esclavas sexuales, acompañantes de desconocidos con aliento alcohólico y tabaco, noches y días interminables. El instinto de supervivencia de Estrella, hizo que lograra escapar, llegara a casa, y aún en shock, acudiera a las autoridades para liberar a su prima de esa esclavitud. Estrella corrió con la suerte de que la policía del Estado de México, cumpliera con su deber y ambas niñas regresaran a casa donde las esperaban sus padres, sus osos de peluche, la paz y seguridad del amor de sus familias. "Inocencia Robada, El Documental", es el reflejo de la realidad que los niños, niñas y jóvenes enfrentan día a día, cuando son víctimas de trata de personas. Habla de la actuación oportuna de la autoridad, cuando si hay quien ejecute su trabajo con compromiso y muestra el avance que se tiene en esta materia, por la relevancia que este delito representa para el crimen organizado. Tepetlixpa, Estado de México. 27 de Enero de 2011.


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principle source, policemisconduct.net
Tuscaloosa, AL, August 21, 2014,  police officer,  Jimmy Darrell Smith, 33, accused of sexually assaulting & attempting to strangle his wife He was arrested by the Tuscaloosa County Homicide Unit on Thursday. http://ow.ly/AD6Vd 
Update: San Diego, CA, August 22, 2014, former San Diego police officer, Christopher Hays, 30,  pled guilty: accused of groping, illegally detaining several women. In addition to Hays, SDPD Officer Donald Moncrief was accused earlier this year of touching a woman inappropriately during an arrest in the South Bay and allegedly exposing himself to the woman. Meanwhile, former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos is currently serving prison time for sexual battery and false imprisonment charges he committed while in uniform as a police officer patrolling the Gaslamp from 2009 to 2011.   http://ow.ly/AD7d3 
Phoenix, AZ, August 20, 2014, Criminal & admin investigations launched into officer-involved fatal shooting of mentally ill woman http://ow.ly/ACznw 
Denver, CO, August 20, 2014, Denver Police Department officer, Mark Beluscak, 45, was arrested on child abuse charges http://ow.ly/ACrOn 
Oklahoma City, OK, August 21,2014, Oklahoma Police officer, Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw is in jail: accused of several on-duty sexual assaults: described as “disturbing” by chief http://ow.ly/ACoJx 
Update: West Columbia, South Carolina: August 19, 2014,  A police officer, Andrew Haney, 31, was found guilty of one count of lascivious acts with a 13-year-old girl. He faces a mandatory prison sentence of five years followed by years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. http://ow.ly/AxyKc
Savanna, Georgia: August 20, 2014,The assistant police chief, Bo Muhalland, has resigned after being accused of providing beer to three underage girls. He has been charged with three felony counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor. He’s also been charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and obstructing an officer. http://ow.ly/AxLKI
North Port, Florida: A police officer who kissed a 16-year-old girl faces unpaid suspension and probation for the act but will not be criminally charged. The teen and her father reported to the department that she was kissed by the officer against her will. http://ow.ly/AdaHr
Jemez Springs, New Mexico: August 18, 2014, The now-former police chief, already fired by the town for “questions of judgment,” has been indicted on criminal sexual penetration and other charges that occurred while he was the chief. http://ow.ly/AdbDZ
Update: Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 19, 2014, (First reported 08-06-14): 54-year-old Shannon Kepler, a Tulsa police officer, has pled not guilty to first-degree murder in the off-duty shooting death of his daughter’s boyfriend. http://ow.ly/Axxsu
Glendale, California: August 19, 2014, A Glendale police officer, Vahak Mardikian, 48,  on vacation in Las Vegas was charged with soliciting prostitution after a sting involving an undercover cop. http://ow.ly/AxEst
Palatka, Florida: August 19, 2014, A police detective, 48-year-old Reno Chevelle Fells, has resigned after being arrested in a prostitution sting. http://ow.ly/Avsfr
Update: Fayetteville, Arkansas August 15, 2014, (Previously reported 02-14-14): The fired police officer, Jamison Stiles, accused of raping a woman while on duty received five years probation in a plea deal with prosecutors. He will be required to register as a sex offender. http://ow.ly/Avptg
Emmett Township, Michigan: August 16, 2014, A police officer, 45-year-old Troy Estree, has been arrested by state troopers and is expected to be formally charged with two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct.The victim is allegedly a female teenaged relative who is under 16.  http://ow.ly/Asn7m
Tucumcari, New Mexico: August 15, 2014, Authorities say a state police officer, Isaac Vigil, has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He’s not allowed to perform any police duties and has had to turn in his police vehicle, badge and department-issued firearms. e ow.ly/As2U8

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“A mí también me violó el ejército de Guatemala” la afirmación estalla y no hay manera de eludir las esquirlas. Es la frase del cartel que promociona el 3er Festival Comunitario por la voz, la memoria y la vida de las mujeres en Huehuetenango, durante agosto de 2013, organizado por la colectiva Actoras de Cambio. Desde dicho rótulo una mujer vistiendo hüipil interpela y recuerda una cadena de violencias que aún no han sido reparadas. Heridas que no cierran, que comenzaron a fines de 1970 y se profundizaron hasta principios de 1980, contexto en el que se produjeron más de 600 masacres en las aldeas del seno de la población maya. 

Catarina Gómez habla en su idioma ancestral maya, pero en su discurso aparecen las huellas de la violencia en claro español: “Organización”, “violación”, “discriminación”, “mal trato”. Una compañera traduce: “las mujeres sí sufrimos el mal trato y luego de eso comenzó el narcotráfico y la violencia de otra manera. Se rompió mi silencio por que ya no quiero sufrir más, ya no quiero que regrese otra vez cómo fue en el 82 y las mujeres, los jóvenes, los chiquitos y todos aquellos que vienen atrás, no quiero que sigan sufriendo”. 

Una gran marimba con cuatro ejecutantes en un lugar privilegiado del salón comunal de Chaculá. El suelo regado con ramitas de pino. Del techo cuelgan globos y banderines. Si nadie avisara que es un espacio para que las sobrevivientes de la violación sexual de la guerra civil se encuentren a celebrar la vida, podríamos confundir el evento con una fiesta de quince años. Si sólo observáramos cómo las mujeres bailan entre ellas al ritmo dulce de la marimba, sin saber que muchas de ellas después de haber sido abusadas no por uno si no por una decena de soldados fueron esclavizadas por las tropas, pensaríamos apenas en un dulce daño alejado del verdadero latigazo que les tocó vivir no hace tanto. 

La colectiva Actoras de Cambio trabaja con estas mujeres desde 2004 con premisas claras: romper el silencio alrededor de la violencia y la violación sexual. ¿Cómo reparar con justicia momentos marcados con la violencia del fuego? Se trata, no sólo de relatar la violencia para sanar, si no también de “reapropiarse del propio cuerpo, de la sexualidad y lograr ser personas propositivas y generadoras de cambios” tal como definen Amandine Fulchiron y Liduvina Mendez, coordinadoras de los grupos de mujeres.


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The casket of 6-year-old Samenia Robinson is laid to rest alongside those of her mother, Detra Rainey, 39, and three brothers in Hillsboro Brown Cemetery in 2006. Detra Rainey’s husband was accused of fatally shooting her and his stepchildren inside their North Charleston mobile home. FILE/STAFF


More than 300 women were shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death over the past decade by men in South Carolina, dying at a rate of one every 12 days while the state does little to stem the carnage from domestic abuse.

More than three times as many women have died here at the hands of current or former lovers than the number of Palmetto State soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

It’s a staggering toll that for more than 15 years has placed South Carolina among the top 10 states nationally in the rate of women killed by men. The state topped the list on three occasions, including this past year, when it posted a murder rate for women that was more than double the national rate.

Awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered, South Carolina is a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse, a Post and Courier investigation has found.

Couple this with deep-rooted beliefs about the sanctity of marriage and the place of women in the home, and the vows “till death do us part” take on a sinister tone.



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The current crisis at the southern U.S. border has been all over the news as thousands of unaccompanied children have been apprehended. This crisis is yet another reminder of why we need comprehensive immigration reform and why immigration is a feminist issue.

While the majority of children apprehended at the border are boys, the number of girls is increasing at a startling rate. While from 2013 to 2014, the number of boys detained at the border rose eight percent, while the number of girls rose 77 percent, increasing from 7,339 to 13,008.  This year, 40 percent of children at the border were girls, up from 27 percent last year.

These girls and boys are all fleeing violence, extreme poverty, and high murder rates in their home countries. In addition to those threats to their security and wellbeing, women and girls also face gender-based violence.

There has been an increase in incidents of gender-based violence in Central America in recent years. Rates of femicide (the targeted, systematic killing of women and girls), sexual violence, kidnapping, forced disappearance and unjustified detention are on the rise in the region, causing thousands of women to flee Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico due to their well-justified fear of being raped, murdered or tortured.

Most of the unaccompanied girls apprehended at the U.S. border this year came from Honduras, where the pandemic of gender-based violence is particularly severe. Rates of gender-based violence in Honduras rose sharply after the 2009 coup d’état and during the subsequent regime of Porfirio Lobo. Between 2002 and 2010, the rate of femicide increased 257 percent and, today, the second most prevalent cause of death of women is gender-based violence.


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June 30, 2014

                                                                                                                                                           IN RESPONSE TO THE

85th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

11-29 August 2014

Geneva, Switzerland


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