Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


Public housing tenants in Baltimore who alleged they were sexually harassed and abused by maintenance workers will share up to $8 million in a settlement of a class-action lawsuit that exposed poor living conditions in the subsidized complexes.

City Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano pledged sweeping changes Friday to ensure that all residents can live in "peace and dignity" without being subjected to "the atrocious behavior of a small group of people who inflicted indignity of an indescribable nature."

"Mistakes have been made here, and some of them very serious," Graziano said at a news conference. He said he has instituted new precedures to guarantee that future cases are fully investigated and employees receive ongoing sexual harassment training. In addition, a new computerized system will allow tenants to request repairs without going through housing authority staff.

The lawsuit, filed in September, said maintenance workers at several complexes demanded sexual favors in exchange for making repairs. When the women did not comply, they said, the repairs were not made — exposing them to unsafe conditions such as mold, lack of heat and risk of electrocution.

Graziano, who has run the city's housing authority for 15 years, did not offer an explanation for the alleged abuse and harassment. He said only that the agency took the strongest possible disciplinary action against the employees involved. A lawyer for the plaintiffs said all of the workers in question have been fired.

Housing Authority reaches settlement agreement in sex-for-repairs scheme

The settlement, which officials called the largest in a sexual harassment case under the Fair Housing Act, will be paid in large part from the housing authority's reserve account, which is funded with about $50 million in federal dollars. A portion, $850,000, will be paid by the housing authority's insurance plan.



New housing rule protects most vulnerable women from sexual harassment in their home 

* Sex Harrassment and Fair Housing Tool Kit

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A film by Karin Venegas

A deeply personal documentary, UNAFRAID gives voice to four, diverse rape survivors and takes a historic look back at the pioneering treatment center where they now receive counseling. In her directorial debut, Karin Venegas highlights the work of two unsung feminist heroes in the movement for victims’ rights at the height of 1970s feminism and the Women’s Movement. From breaking victims’ silence to the revolutionary invention of the rape kit, this powerful film intimately explores the impact of rape and the capacity of ordinary individuals to effect change. 

Although frequently referenced in popular culture, few audiences know of the rape kit’s feminist origins. UNAFRAID is the first film to address the grassroots genesis of this important tool, which not only made it easier to convict in the criminal justice system but which helped shape our very cultural acceptance of rape as a serious crime, worthy of prosecution and compassionate treatment. 

Together, UNAFRAID’s collage of voices aims to lift the stigma that traps victims in silence – and to remind its audience that social change is indeed possible. Essential viewing for Criminal Justice, Law and Women’s Studies Classrooms.


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Crearán tribunales especializados para tratar violencia contra la mujer

Las instancias serán específicamente para tratar temas concernientes a la mujer y equidad de género.

En junio de 2016 comenzarán a funcionar los nuevos tribunales especializados contra la violencia sobre la mujer y equidad de género, luego de que este lunes la comisión de legislación de la Asamblea Legislativa aprobara un dictamen favorable para esta moción que introdujo el mes pasado la Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ). 

Serán tres las nuevas instancias que se crearán, una en la zona central que también mirará los casos de la zona paracentral del país, un segundo tribunal estará en la zona occidental y el tercero en la oriental. 

Estas nuevas instancias judiciales verán todos los delitos concernientes a violaciones en contra de las mujeres, es decir los que contempla la Ley de Igualdad, Equidad y Erradicación de la Discriminación en contra de las Mujeres y la Ley Especial Integral para una Vida Libre de Violencia contra las Mujeres. 

“Se necesitan mecanismos importantes para defender a nuestras mujeres no solo de un proceso sistemático de discriminación, sino ahora también de violencia física e integral y ahora hasta con la vida de las mujeres”, dijo el diputado de ARENA, René Portillo Cuadra. 



*** El Salvador Deemed Too Dangerous For Peace Corps, But Not For Deportees

*** The Numbers Of Mothers And Kids Picked Up At The Border Are Rising Again, Many of them are fleeing the ongoing violence in Central America.



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Lo aseguró Fernanda Gil Lozano, Diputada Nacional para el Parlasur por el Frente UNA, en referencia al informe “Desaparición en Democracia (diagnóstico sobre la búsqueda de personas de 1990 a 2013)” realizado y difundido hace pocas horas por la Procuraduría de Trata y Explotación de Personas (Protex), y la asociación civil Acciones Coordinadas Contra la Trata (ACCT).

El trabajo refleja que en Argentina hay un total de 3231 niñas, adolescentes y mujeres adultas desaparecidas y que el grupo etario que concentra mayor número de desapariciones es el de 12 a 18 años, con una tendencia aún más marcada en el caso de mujeres adolescentes. La mayoría de los casos se deben a hechos de violencia de género, de trata de personas y de problemáticas intrafamiliares.
Florencia Penacchi, María Cash, Marita Verón, Sofía Herrera y Érica Soriano han sido casos resonantes pero los datos muestran que hay 3226 mujeres más en la mismas condiciones.
Al respecto, la histórica defensora de los derechos de la mujer expresó que “en nuestro país, aún en democracia, sigue desapareciendo gente muy fácilmente” y agregó que “con el aumento de las redes de trata de personas son muchísimas las mujeres que desaparecen diariamente”.
En cuanto a los malos resultados de las búsquedas, reclamó que “falta un sistema de datos unificado que permita dar con ellas, de manera rápida y eficaz”.
Por su parte, la flamante parlamentaria regional afirmó que “la fuga de los hermanos Lanatta y de Víctor Schillaci toma repercusión mediática por los tintes cinematográficos del escape y por la notoriedad de la causa del triple crimen y sus supuestas vinculaciones políticas” pero agregó que “no debe llamar la atención lo difícil que es recapturarlos porque en Argentina es una constante que la gente desaparezca como si se la hubiera tragado la tierra”.


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To understand the source of the Bundy's self-righteous anger, it's helpful to examine their religious views, which are rooted in a maverick strain of fundamentalism found throughout rural Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. I became intimately familiar with this worldview when I was conducting research for the book Under the Banner of Heaven.

My book tells the true story of two brothers, Dan and Ron Lafferty, who killed their sister-in-law and her infant daughter 32 years ago. Dan was sentenced to life in prison. Ron was sentenced to death. Dan claims they murdered this smart, compassionate woman and her baby because God commanded them to do so.


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Bangladeshi lawyer Sara Hossain

In Bangladesh, women whose actions fall foul of religious conventions have long been subject to punishment by fatwa. Sara Hossain hopes her trailblazing work can tip the balance back in favour of the secular legal system

by Lipika Pelham

Hena Akhter was 14 when she was whipped to death for allegedly having an affair with a married man. There was uproar in local and international media at the time of her death in 2011, followed by a fervent call to outlaw so-called fatwa violence in Bangladesh.

The high court ruled that Hena’s body should be exhumed to determine the extent of the violence to which the young girl was subjected. A second post-mortem examination found that she died of septicaemia due to severe internal injuries. The court ordered an investigation, which led to several arrests, including that of the Muslim cleric who issued the fatwa.

That outcome was only made possible by the pioneering work of Sara Hossain, a prominent barrister in the supreme court of Bangladesh. Her campaign to challenge punishments handed out by village shalish courts under fatwas – religious orders inspired by sharia law – has led to groundbreaking rulings based on secular rather than Muslim values.


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This special collection includes a carefully selected set of articles, fact sheets, guides, laws, regulations, reports and surveys related to this important intersection of domestic violence and employment. It is offered as an additional tool to assist advocates working on and interested supporting survivors of domestic violence in the employment arena, and to assist those interested in employment issues related to ending violence against women. In addition to resources on domestic violence and the workplace, included in this collection are key resources related to employment issues affecting all women in the workforce. Direct links to the documents are provided from this page. Contact the NRCDV with your comments and content suggestions.


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Federal and state laws intended to protect religious freedom are increasingly being used by social conservatives to impede access to reproductive health services like abortion and contraceptive care. A new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review makes the case that more clarity and protections are needed to balance competing interests and prevent potential abuse of these laws…CONTINUES

As of the end of 2015, 21 states have enacted their own versions of the RFRA


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Entrevista a la Lic. Gretchen Kunher, Directora del Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, A.C.


Somos información y vinculación, y tenemos el objetivo de crear conciencia e informar sobre diversos factores vinculantes a la trata de personas, así como ser un espacio de análisis ciudadano de acciones y políticas públicas que favorezcan, impulsen y/o promuevan la prevención de violencia de género y trata de personas.

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The masculine imperative of demanding respect

One imperative of masculinity is that you may not allow another person to show you disrespect. As I have demonstrated in my research, police officers sometimes punish disrespect because they believe “a challenge to their respect is a challenge to their manhood.” For many police officers, disrespect requires an escalation in force.


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Integrantes de la Red de Artistas Únete, que convocó a participar en el Flash mob Acción por la No violencia de Género, en el Día Internacional para la Eliminación de la Violencia contra las Mujeres, en La Habana, Cuba. Crédito: Jorge Luis Baños_IPS.

LA HABANA, 29 dic 2015 (IPS) - Activistas e investigadoras dedicadas al estudio de la violencia de género en Cuba consideran cada vez más necesaria una ley integral que proteja a las víctimas y prevenga el flagelo, ignorado públicamente hasta hace pocos años en este país caribeño.

La legislación es necesaria “porque aun cuando el ideal de nuestra sociedad se basa en la justicia y la equidad, persisten desde lo social expresiones de violencia contra las mujeres que se invisibilizan y contribuyen a la impunidad del maltratador”, explicó a IPS la psicóloga Valia Solís.


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Members of the Red de Artistas Únete artists network, which organised a “no to gender violence” flash mob on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Havana, Cuba. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

HAVANA, Dec 31 2015 (IPS) - Activists and researchers dedicated to the study of gender violence in Cuba insist on the need for a comprehensive law to protect the victims and prevent the problem, which was publicly ignored until only a few years ago in this socialist Caribbean island nation.

Legislation is necessary “because even when the ideal in our society is justice and equality, there are social expressions of violence against women that have been kept invisible, which contributes to the impunity enjoyed by the abusers,” psychologist Valia Solís told IPS.


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It is an early start for 42-year-old Magdalena Urbano Blas. Every weekday morning, her alarm clock goes off at four o'clock.

She prepares lunch for her two children, 10-year-old Diego and Viviana who is about to turn 15. She kisses them goodbye and her father walks her to the bus stop.

Her journey to work as a house-keeper involves three buses and takes two hours from her home in the south of Mexico City.

Magdalena works eight hours a day, cleaning a wealthy family's apartment and looking after a toddler.

After work, she makes the long journey back in the evening, only to start all over again before dawn the next day.


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Film Synopsis:

Zara, a successful African doctor living in Wales is determined to stay away from her childhood memories and this now threatens her commitment to marry Alex, a gentleman she truly loves. Her mother, a missionary to Africa, has been unable to get Zara to go with her for her yearly medical aid trips to Africa. When her mother falls ill and unable to make a crucial trip and Zara discovers there is a strong possibility her long lost daughter might still be alive in Africa, she steered in a new direction to face and conquer her darkest fears. Her trip to Africa becomes inevitable.

Back in Africa, thirteen- year old Halima’s poor parents make her marry Sani, an old 60 year old man. With no idea of sex or its intricacies, she goes through a dreadful ordeal as her new husband repeatedly rapes her. Pregnant and after the delivery of her child, young Halima suffers a condition known as Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF). A health nightmare suffered by over 800,000 other women just like her, she is ostracize and abandoned by her husband, family and community. It is a period of rejection, isolation and despair for Halima. This story is full of intrigues, suspense, unbelievable surprises and the joy of reconciliation and the power of the human spirit that is guaranteed to put a smile on people’s face.


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On a cold, rainy night in Tokyo -- Japanese schoolgirls line the streets.

Shivering in short skirts they pass out fliers for "JK" or "joshi-kosei," cafes in which adult males pay for the company of girls as young as 16.

    "Most are in their 30s, 40s and 50s," says 18-year-old Honoka.

    The girls, all dressed in their actual high school uniforms, earn about $8 dollars an hour to socialize and serve food and drink to men often more than twice their age.




    Japan bans possession of child abuse images but law excludes anime

    South Korea, Japan Reach Deal On Women Forced Into Sexual Slavery

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    Lejos de contenerse, la problemática mantiene a la capital como un punto de origen, tránsito y destino de la trata de personas

    Lejos de contenerse, la problemática de la prostitución en la Ciudad de México crece a otras zonas distintas a las tradicionalmente conocidas y mantiene a la capital como un punto de origen, tránsito y destino de la trata de personas.

    Se calcula que en la capital del país hay 250 mil mujeres y niñas en situación de prostitución, cifra superior por ejemplo a las 145 mil personas que usarán al día la Línea 6 del Metrobús o igual a la tercera parte de las que se mueven en la Red de Transporte de Pasajeros (RTP).

    Del total de mujeres que ejercen esta actividad, el 88% no son originarias de la Ciudad de México; nueve de cada 10 empezaron a ser prostituidas desde los 12 años y el 99% son explotadas por redes de proxenetas y padrotes.

    Un diagnóstico elaborado por la Coalición Regional contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe indica que las mujeres son traídas a la Ciudad de México de estados como Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, Tabasco, Quintana Roo y Veracruz.

    El estudio, presentado en 2012, también refiere que son traídas de países del centro y sur de América como Chile, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador y Argentina, aunque también de Europa del Este y Asia como Rumania, Bulgaria, Rusia y China.


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    Families are best to address radicalization before it escalates into violence

    Edit Schlaffer and Ulrich Kropiunigg feature the research on concerned Mothers and the implementation of the Mothers School against extremism model in the Marhall Center publication per Concordiam.


    » Download


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    La violencia de género es la violencia del patriarcado

    Esclarece aspectos conceptuales clave para entender los basamentos que sostienen este problema social y que es necesario visibilizar para poderlos desmontar y enfrentar

    La Habana, 15 dic. 15. AmecoPress.- “La violencia de género tiene género y es masculino, porque se ejerce para legitimar y defender el poder y el dominio patriarcal”, asegura Clotilde Proveyer Cervantes, profesora del Departamento de Sociología de la Facultada de Filosofía e Historia de la Universidad de La Habana y precursora de los estudios sobre esta materia en Cuba.

    Personalmente comprometida con los esfuerzos por poner fin a la violencia contra las mujeres, Proveyer Cervantes esclarece aspectos conceptuales clave para entender los basamentos que sostienen este problema social y que es necesario visibilizar para poderlos desmontar y enfrentar.


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    This training bulletin is the first in a series developed from the law enforcement perspective, to improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults perpetrated against people with disabilities. This information is designed to be helpful for any professional whose work intersects with the criminal justice system, to ensure that people with disabilities who are victimized have equal access to information, programs, and services - and that they are treated with fairness, compassion, and respect. Everyone involved in the criminal justice and community response system plays a critical role in providing that access and fair treatment.

    Responding to Victims with Disabilities

    dispatchingofficerTypically, police officers are taught to approach victims with disabilities and the investigation "like they would in any other case." The hope is that victims who have a disability will be treated with the same respect as other victims, and this is an important goal we all need to support.  However, when training for law enforcement focuses solely on respect, police officers are left wondering what they should actually do when they are assigned to investigate a crime against a person with a disability. This training bulletin series is designed to provide the information, resources, and referrals that officers and investigators need to improve the response to crime victims with disabilities, particularly those who have been sexually assaulted.


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    NOTE: Video content doesn't get started until 16 minutes into video

    Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today a new guidance from the Justice Department designed to help law enforcement agencies prevent gender bias in their response to sexual assault and domestic violence, highlighting the need for clear policies, robust training and responsive accountability systems.

    Note, the video for this program has not yet been captioned.  Please check back shortly for the captioned version.

    An unedited transcript compiled from captioning is available[external link] while this video is being close captioned.

    Press Release

    The Guide PDF: Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

    Attorney General’s Remarks

    Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta’s Remarks

    Principal Deputy Director of the  Office on Violence Against Women Bea Hanson’s Remarks

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    The human rights experts concluded that the country falls far behind most others.

    Lt. Gov Kay Ivey/Guillermo Padres Elias/Flickr

    A delegation of human rights experts from Poland, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica spent 10 days this month touring the United States so they can prepare a report on the nation's overall treatment of women. The three women, who lead a United Nations working group on discrimination against women, visited Alabama, Texas and Oregon to evaluate a wide range of U.S. policies and attitudes, as well as school, health and prison systems. 

    The delegates were appalled by the lack of gender equality in America. They found the U.S. to be lagging far behind international human rights standards in a number of areas, including its 23 percent gender pay gap, maternity leave, affordable child care and the treatment of female migrants in detention centers.

    The most telling moment of the trip, the women told reporters on Friday, was when they visited an abortion clinic in Alabama and experienced the hostile political climate around women's reproductive rights. 


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    For over two decades we’ve had a close-up view of the inner workings of our Sheriff’s Dept. through the eyes of our clients.  The experiences of the women, mostly young, immigrant women of color, have all along revealed severe civil rights flaws permeating the Sheriff’s Department.

    Despite all efforts toward reform from the outside, - whether through petitions, protests, firsthand accounts, or the decades of lawsuits, - the Sheriff has mostly responded by burrowing deeper into defensiveness and defiance of human rights, bunkering behind the impunity that’s been granted by a succession of roll over DA’s, a lapdog press that won’t dig, a Board of Supervisors that writes the checks and sings praises, and a public finding refuge in disbelief.

    The Visible Fin of the Shark that Lurks Below

    Now, not at all surprisingly, comes an October 5th, 2015 lawsuit that reads like a shocking dispatch from the violent rampages of a third world totalitarian regime


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    "I was jogging but my feet froze when I saw her." 

    That's what one bystander in Lebanon said upon seeing a young girl in a wedding dress posing with what appeared to be a groom old enough to be her grandfather.

    This shocked reaction was one of many captured in a video released this week by Lebanese women's rights organization Kafa -- a video that also shows many pedestrians stopping to congratulate the man on his marriage. 

    For four years, Kafa has been campaigning against Lebanon's reservations to adopting Article 16 of the United Nations' 1979 Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which protects women's and girls' choice in marriage. Article 16 of CEDAW mandates that countries grant men and women equal rights to choose their spouse, enter into marriage and manage familial affairs.

    The photo shoot -- and resulting video -- was a social experiment Kafa staged to gauge Lebanese people's attitudes toward child marriage. "Kafa" is the Arabic word for "enough."


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    Taking the Lead: Sexual Violence Survivors Forging Hope in Colombia follows the stories of sexual violence survivors and women human rights defenders dedicated to breaking the silence around sexual violence in Colombia. These survivors and defenders mobilize by using art therapy, community gatherings and the media to speak out about sexual violence and urge justice for perpetrators. Their work is gaining momentum across the country, with survivors calling loudly for a world where women’s bodies are not used as battlefields. Together, they are forging hope in Colombia.

    LEARN MORE: http://www.stoprapeinconflict.org/joi... 

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