(Conversation) – The sexual abuse scandal currently embroiling media mogul Harvey Weinstein has stunned the United States, with Hollywood and the fashion industry declaring that “this way of treating women ends now.” As an Argentinean woman who studies gender in the media, I find it hard to be surprised by Weinstein’s misdeeds. Machismo remains deeply ingrained in Latin American society, yes, but even female political leaders in supposedly gender-equal paradises like Norway and Switzerland have told me that they are criticized more in the press and held to a higher standard than their male counterparts. How could they not Read MoreRead More
Canada (Conversation) – After Heather Jordan Ross reported her sexual assault, she felt conflicted about mixing it into her standup comedy. She hated rape jokes, but she wanted to talk about her experience. Over beers, her friend Emma Cooper jokingly suggested they put together a comedy night that featured only survivors. The first show went up in Vancouver three weeks later. It sold out, and so did the next two. Rape is Real and Everywhere (RIR&E) was born. RIR&E has since played across Canada, made national and international news and even been the subject of a CBC radio documentary. Read MoreRead More
Sweden (Sputnik) – The sexual assaults and rapes that have plagued Swedish summer festivals for several years have spurred the authorities into action. A Swedish municipality is poised to arrange a “man-free” festival to avoid any harassment whatsoever, which goes against the grain of Sweden’s egalitarian, inclusive and gender-neutral ways, many argued. Earlier this summer, comedian and program leader Emma Knyckare proposed arranging a festival without men amid a seemingly incessant wave of sexual assaults, which earned Sweden, which sees itself as having “the world’s first feminist government,” the unflattering moniker of “the rape capital of Europe.” “What do you think of holding a super-cool festival Read MoreRead More
China (Global Voices) – Teasing the bride and groom on their wedding day is part of Chinese marriage custom. However, in recent years, that custom has been twisted in an alarming way in mainland China to include groomsmen sexually assaulting bridesmaids. The trend is in the spotlight thanks to two recent cases. The first is a viral video (content is disturbing) circulating on Chinese social media. The video shows a bridesmaid being restrained and sexually assaulted by two men in a vehicle in Xi’an city. The woman screams and struggles while the two men forcibly take off her underwear, laugh and command her to “make sex Read MoreRead More
US Congress has passed a bill that offers better protection for US military rape survivors, both during and after their service.
Human Rights Watch has released two reports on the plight of people raped or otherwise sexually abused while in service, the retaliation they face if they report such crimes, and how many end up being wrongfully discharged from the military. More than a dozen of our recommendations from these reports were included in the final draft of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including new whistleblower protections, a requirement that sexual assault survivors get a medical exam to check for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) before being involuntarily discharged from the military, and a number of improvements to the functioning of the Boards for Correction of Military Records (BCMR).
Thousands of US service members are sexually assaulted every year. Paradoxically, these survivors are 12 times more likely to suffer retaliation from their military peers than their attackers are to be convicted of a sex offense. But the problem doesn’t end during service. Many survivors were forced out of the military for having a “Personality Disorder” – a diagnosis that has symptoms similar to PTSD – making it difficult for them to access benefits to which veterans are entitled. The only way to correct these wrongful discharges is through the BCMR, which rarely overturns these decisions.Read More
A bill proposed by Turkey’s ruling party that would clear men of statutory rape charges if they marry their victims is being harshly criticized.
The bill would clear men found guilty of assaulting a minor as long as the act was committed without “force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” – and, of course, if the man then marries the victim.
Put forth by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (APK), it has already gotten preliminary backing in Parliament and is expected to be up for a second round of voting after a debate next week.Read More