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PART 1: International media about the
atrocities against women worldwide
from March 1 untill April 25 2021

 


PART 2: International media about the
atrocities against women worldwide from April 26 untill April 12 2021
 


PART 3: International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
June 3 2021 untill April 16 2021

 

 


PART 4 : International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
June 29 2021 untill November 15 2020.


 

 


PART 5: International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
July 31 2021 untill June 30 2021.


PART 6 AUGUST 31 2021 all the way down to AUGUST 1 2021
and more down to November 2017

CLICK HERE ON HOW TO READ THE BELOW

When one hurts or kills a women
one hurts or kills hummanity and is an antrocitie.
Gino d'Artali

WELCOME TO PART 5 JULY 2021 OF GLOBAL ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN
THANK YOU.


When one hurts or kills a women
one hurts or kills hummanity and is an antrocitie.

and: My mother (1931-1997) always said to me <Mi figlio, non esistono notizie <vecchie> perche puoi imparare qualcosa da qualsiasi notizia.> Translated: <My son, there is no such thing as so called 'old' news because you can learn something from any news.>
Gianna d'Artali

WELCOME TO PART 5 OF INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY 2021 WHICH GOES ON THIS PAGE WHERE I LEFT IN PART 4 JUNE 16 2021 BUT NOW CONTINUE JULY 31 untill JUNE 30 2021.THANK YOU.

The Guardian
Associated Press in Taipei
31 Jul 2021

<<Pop star Kris Wu detained on suspicion of rape. Beijing police detain the ex-boy band member after social media allegations of date rape.
Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been detained by Beijing police on suspicion of rape.
The 30-year-old former member of the Korean boyband EXO had previously been accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the accusation. The teenager said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under 18 but gave no indication whether or not they were younger than China’s age of consent of 14.

A statement from police said that Wu had been <criminally detained> on suspicion of rape <in response to relevant information reported on the internet> including that he “repeatedly lured young women to have sexual relations”. It gave no other details.
The news was trending as the most searched topic on social media site Weibo on Saturday night, and some users online started commenting on Wu’s account, telling him to <Get out of China!”>
Wu is a Canadian citizen, according to the police statement. He shot to fame as a member of the K-pop boyband EXO, before leaving in 2014 to launch a successful solo career as a singer, actor, model and variety show judge.
The official paper of the Chinese Communist party, the People’s Daily, weighed in on the case, saying in a short opinion post online: <Having a foreign nationality is not a protective talisman, and no matter how big the name is, there is no immunity.>
The teenager publicised her accusations on social media and later in an interview with internet portal NetEase. A day after that interview appeared, at least 10 brands including Porsche and Louis Vuitton broke off endorsement and other deals with Wu.

According to the interview, she thought she was meeting Wu for a career opportunity. Instead, his staff forced her to drink. She said that, as someone who did not go to bars, her alcohol tolerance was low and she was drunk after two drinks. The next morning, she woke up in Wu’s bed, where he was kind to her and promised to take care of her, she said.
The teenager said that was the beginning of what she had thought was their relationship. In March, however, he stopped returning her messages.
At first, she said she felt sorry for herself. But after she learned that there were other women who had been treated similarly, she said she felt there were others who were worse off.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/31/pop-star-kris-wu-detained-on-suspicion-of

The Guardian
July 29 2021
Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson and Maina Vai in Apia30

<<‘Women have not been able to hold these positions’: Samoa’s first female PM gets down to the job. After months of political turmoil, following the country’s most contentious election, Fiama Naomi Mata’afa is ready to get to work.

The prime minister’s office in Apia, the capital of Samoa, which overlooks the harbour, has just been vacated by the man who held the job for 22 years.
The bookshelves are still empty, but the room is filled with bunches of flowers, sent by well-wishers keen to congratulate the new incumbent.
This week, after the most contentious election in the Pacific country’s history and three months of political turmoil and legal battles, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, the first woman to hold the country’s most senior role, moved in.
In her first in-person interview with foreign media, Fiame told the Guardian there was <a lot of excitement> among women and girls after her victory in the April election.
Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has been ruled by the court of appeal to be the country’s new, and first female, prime minister. Samoa’s political crisis ends and first female prime minister installed after court ruling.
<I was asked: ‘How important was it? Did I see my appointment as something important for women and girls?’ I said: ‘Of course it is.’ In the sense, if you see someone in that position, it makes it something that can be done. So, you know, for a very long time, women have not been able to hold these kinds of positions. So I’m very pleased then to have been able to. I suppose it’s role modelling, that it can be done.>

The milestone is particularly significant in the Pacific, which has the lowest rate of female representation in politics anywhere in the world, with just 6% of all MPs being women regionally. Three countries in the world have no women in parliament. All of them – Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia – are in the Pacific.
Fiame is only the second woman to lead a Pacific Island country, after Hilda Heine, former president of the Marshall Islands.
Asked which world leader she most admires, Fiame pointed to another female leader. <I quite like the German lady: Merkel,> she said. <I think she’s an excellent leader, she’s very focused, she conducts herself, you know, is an ordinary citizen, she’s not one for pomp and ceremony.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/30/women-have-not-been-able-hold-these-position-samoas-first-female-pm-gets-down-to-the-job

The Guardian
29 July 2021
Cath Clarke

<<‘Stop patronising me and give me an interview’: the female journalists speaking up for India’s poor
India’s only all-women news organisation is the subject of an award-winning documentary. The film-makers explain their inspiring courage and energy.

A woman explains how a group of four men repeatedly broke into her house and raped her; six times so far. Did she go to the police? Yes, but officers refused to investigate. Instead, they threatened her and her husband. <These men can do anything. They can even kill us,> the victim says to the reporter, Meera, who is filming on her smartphone. As Meera leaves, the woman’s husband tells her that she is their only hope. <We don’t trust anyone except Khabar Lahariya.>
Khabar Lahariya is India’s only all-female news organisation. Based in Uttar Pradesh, its journalists passionately believe in reporting rural issues through a feminist lens.
After interviewing the rape victim, Meera walks to the police station where the officer in charge squirms, feebly making excuses for inaction on the case. Meera is filming him, so he can’t send her packing – like his officers did the victim. This is grassroots journalism at its finest: uncovering stories of discrimination and exposing abuses of power.

What makes Khabar Lahariya’s success even more stunning is that most of its journalists – like many of the ordinary people whose stories they report – are Dalits, the lowest status in India’s caste hierarchy. Their situation is especially dire in rural areas such as this corner of Uttar Pradesh, where the organisation opened in 2002. It began as a temporary project funded by an NGO to train women in a village to write a newsletter. The idea was that their voices were missing from mainstream media; what might their stories look like if someone bothered to pay attention? When funding ended, the organisation lived on.
Now, Khabar Lahariya is the subject of a documentary, Writing With Fire, filmed over five years by the wife and husband team Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh. Their film features upsetting interviews with victims of violence, but it’s an inspiring portrait of a team of exceptionally talented and committed women. The film-makers pitched up at the organisation in 2016 as Meera and her colleagues began transitioning from print to digital. The process was particularly difficult in a newsroom where some staff members were semi-literate, and others had never used a smartphone.

The film-makers were shocked by the caste discrimination they saw, says Ghosh. <We have been making films across India for 12 years together, but this was an eye-opener. You go into the interior heartlands, and you realise how structured and organised the practice is.> What interested them was seeing how the reporters, who are doubly discriminated against – first as Dalits, then as women – took on systems of oppression. <Men in positions of power are used to seeing Dalit women cleaning their toilets. They’re not used to seeing them with mobile phones, challenging them about accountability and governance. It stumps them,> he says with a grin. The group’s most popular YouTube posts have 8m hits.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/jul/29/stop-patronising-me-and-give-me-an-interview-the-female-journalists-speaking-up-for-indias-poor

The Guardian
29 July 2021
Lorenzo Tondo in Montedoro

<<Lucia Mantione: murdered Sicilian girl finally given funeral after 66 years.
Catholic church had denied 13-year-old girl sexually assaulted and killed in 1955 a funeral due to arcane rule.

There had never been so many people at a funeral in the history of Montedoro, a village suspended in time among wheat fields and abandoned sulphur mines in central Sicily. Its 1,500 inhabitants had waited for this moment for more than half a century, and on Wednesday gathered in hundreds in solemn prayer in the village church around a small white coffin.
Inside were the remains of Lucia Mantione, a 13-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered in 1955 and for whom the Catholic church for 66 years, in its application of an arcane principle, had forbidden a funeral.
<This is the day of Lucia’s redemption and the redemption of Montedoro,> said Rosa Alba, 73, who knew Lucia as a child and for years led the battle to persuade the church to recognise its error and allow the girl’s funeral in the village.
It was a cold afternoon on 6 January 1955 when Lucia, nicknamed Luciedda, left her home to buy a box of matches. Not seeing her return, her mother searched for her for hours, calling for her in the streets and the countryside.

<I remember that day like it was yesterday,> said Alba. <In a second, everyone knew in town. ‘Lucia is missing,’ they cried. I was terrified.>

Lucia never returned. Her body was found on 9 January in a farmhouse 1km from Montedoro. The autopsy confirmed she had been strangled while fighting off her assailant. That evening, her father, a sulphur miner, knocked on the door of Don Vito Alfano, the parish priest of Montedoro, to arrange Lucia’s funeral. The priest refused, citing a Catholic law that forbade funerals for those who died a <violent death> >>.
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/29/lucia-mantione-murdered-sicilian-girl-finally-given-funeral-after-66-years

Note from Gino d'Artali: I was born in Sicily two years after her murder and lucky my mother and I was/am an atheist but the church 'buried' my mother in a Western country in a mass grave of which I knew nothing about because they did not inform me at the address I was living at at that time!!

Al Jazeera
29 July

<<Malta responsible for Daphne Caruana Galizia murder: Inquiry
Maltese government failed to recognise risks to journalist’s life and take reasonable steps to avoid them, inquiry concludes.

An independent inquiry into the car bomb murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found the state responsible for her killing because it had created a <culture of impunity>.
The inquiry’s 437-page report, published on Thursday, said officials had failed to adequately protect Caruana Galizia from threats to her life prior to her death in October 2017. Caruana Galizia was killed in a huge explosion as she drove out of her home.
Prosecutors believe top businessman Yorgen Fenech, who had close ties with senior government officials, masterminded the murder. Fenech, who is awaiting trial for association to murder, denies all responsibility.
Three men suspected of setting off the bomb were arrested in December 2017. One has since pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain and is serving a 15-year jail term. The other two are awaiting trial.
The self-confessed middleman has turned state witness and was granted a pardon.

‘Collapse in the rule of law’

The inquiry, conducted by one serving judge and two retired judges, found that a culture of impunity was created by the highest echelons of power within the government of the time.
<The tentacles of impunity then spread to other regulatory bodies and the police, leading to a collapse in the rule of law,> said the panel’s report, which was published by Prime Minister Robert Abela.
It said the state had failed to take reasonable steps to avoid real and immediate risks to Caruana Galizia’s life. It was clear, the inquiry board said, that the assassination was either intrinsically or directly linked to Caruana Galizia’s investigative work.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/29/malta-responsible-for-daphne-caruana-galizia-murder-inquiry
and 3 more articles about the subject with links to it on the same page.

The Guardian
28 July 2021
Arifa Akbar

<<The outspoken
Islam
Sajda Mughal: The woman who survived 7/7 - quit her job and fights for a better world.

Sajda Mughal was on her daily commute to her dream job in City recruitment on the morning her world was turned upside down. It was a July day in London, 16 years ago, one that throbbed with the summer heat, and Mughal was running late for work. She ducked into Turnpike Lane tube station in north London, as she usually did, and boarded the Piccadilly Line train. The one thing she did differently that morning was not getting into the first carriage of the train. <Every day until 6 July 2005, I would sit in that first carriage. Maybe it was a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or maybe I knew the first carriage was where I’d get a seat. But, on that particular day, I was late, so I rushed on to the platform and, instead of doing my usual thing, I just got on.>
This detail became all-important when, a few stops later, at King’s Cross, the 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay got on to Mughal’s train, boarding the first carriage, and blew himself up. <Twenty-six people died, most of whom were in the first carriage,> she says.

For a while, surviving the bombing left Mughal, then 22, emotionally incapacitated. She was signed off work, needed counselling and is still unable to travel on public transport without feeling anxious. But alongside the trauma, there was a profound – and audacious – recalibration of her life choices.
Mughal is a Muslim with a strong religious ethos, and she was shaken to the core when she discovered who had been responsible for the carnage that day. <The fact that it was carried out by Muslim men was incomprehensible to me. My first feeling was: ‘Why would you do that? This is not what Islam teaches us.’ There was a level of anger there.>
There have been times when I have thought to myself: ‘Is this the place for my two young British girls?’
But her experience on 7/7 also left her with a determination to make a difference. She left recruitment, as much as it hurt to abandon the career she loved, and took over the JAN Trust, a charity for black, Asian and minority ethnic women and mothers. It provides support, advice and counselling in Haringey, north London, and Mughal turned it into a dynamic NGO. At the trust, she spearheaded campaigns to prevent radicalisation in the UK and beyond, and raised community awareness of extremism – first Islamist and then rightwing terror.

Today, at 39, she looks like a true survivor as she bounds out of her taxi. Warm and ebullient (<I talk a lot and think a lot>), she is married with two daughters and was awarded an OBE in 2015. But the legacy of her trauma is there in the terrible detail with which she remembers the day of the bombing.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/28/sajda-mughal-the-woman-who-survived-77-and-began-fighting-extremism

Al Jazeera
By Sasha Borissenko
27 Jul 2021

<<New Zealand nurses mull new offer after strike over pay, hours
Bosses offer new deal after burned out and stressed nurses threaten strike over increasing workload and low pay.

Wellington, New Zealand – In the 25 years Lisa* has been a healthcare assistant, short-staffing has only got worse.
Her typical day involves changing a patient’s dirty linen, clearing their rubbish, escorting them to and from the bathroom, helping them with their exercises, and feeding, walking, and washing them.
<You can’t complete the patient care because there’s just not enough of you,> Lisa told Al Jazeera. <It means you feel like you’re failing people, and it’s not fair to them or us.>
Weary from years of trying to fit 10 hours of work into an eight-hour shift, Lisa is one of more than 30,000 nurses, midwives, and healthcare assistants working in New Zealand’s District Health Boards (DHBs) who have been negotiating with the government for the last year to improve pay and working conditions.
<It’s the workload we’re not happy with and it has to change,> she said. <The number of patients is so big that it’s impossible to plan or to keep up with demand.>

The last collective agreement – covering nurses, midwives, and health care assistants working for DHBs – expired on July 31 last year. New Zealand’s 20 DHBs fund and provide health services in the country.
In June, healthcare workers went on strike when employment talks between the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and DHBs broke down.
The union wants an increase of 17 percent to the total amount of money paid on salaries, as well as for nurses to have sick leave when they need it, and for consideration to be made for what they describe as an unsafe working environment.
A subsequent offer was tabled and rejected in July, which led to a vote for strike action on July 29, as well as in August, and September. The government then revised the offer and the union has suspended its strike plan while nurses consider the new proposal. Health Minister Andrew Little says the union’s decision is a positive move.
<The offer] has been approved by a group of 120 nurse delegates for circulation for ratification and it has led to the [union] withdrawing their strike notices. That’s encouraging, but in the end, the decision is in the hands of the nurse membership.>

Overwhelmed by work.

Jessica* is a registered nurse living in Hawke’s Bay. She loves nursing – a job she says she would even do <for free> – but is rushed off her feet every day by work she says is physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/27/new-zealand-nurses-mull-new-offer-after-strike-over-pay-hours

The Guardian
July 27 2021
Myriam François

<<‘I felt violated by the demand to undress’: three Muslim women on France’s hostility to the hijab
In France, a new law could seriously restrict women’s rights to wear headscarves in public, and there are fears that it will entrench Islamophobia.
Last October, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, laid out the vision behind a new, deeply controversial bill. The government claimed a minority of France’s estimated 6 million Muslims were at risk of forming a <counter-society> and the bill was designed to tackle the dangers of this <Islamist separatism>.
It is meant to safeguard republican values, but critics, including Amnesty International, have raised serious concerns that it may inhibit freedom of association and expression, and increase discrimination. The new law, say critics, will severely affect the construction of mosques, and give more discretion to local authorities to close local associations deemed in conflict with <Republican principles>, a term often wielded against Muslims specifically. But one of the most controversial points is extending the ban on women wearing headscarves in public sector roles, to private organisations that provide a public service. Further amendments were tabled prohibiting full-length swimsuits (“burkinis”), girls under 18 from wearing the hijab in public, and mothers from wearing hijabs on their children’s school trips. These were subsequently overturned, but the stigma they legitimise lives on.

This month, the EU court of justice said that EU companies can, under certain conditions, ban employees from wearing a headscarf. While Macron’s government has been at pains to insist the new law isn’t aimed at any particular religion, many Muslims fear exactly that.
<We are seeing a justification of a breach of freedom and fundamental rights in the name of security – a weaponisation of secularism,> says the French legal scholar Rim-Sarah Alouane. <It’s a deformed legal monster, which aims not only to contain Muslims but to erase them from the public sphere.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/27/i-felt-violated-by-the-demand-to-undress-three-muslim-women-on-frances-hostility-to-the-hijab

Al Jazeera
26 July 2021

<<Al Jazeera condemns raid on its office by Tunisian forces
Al Jazeera Media Network dubs closure of its office in Tunis a ‘troubling escalation’ that will impede coverage of events in the country.

Here’s the full statement by the Qatar-based Network:
Tunisian security forces raided Al Jazeera Media Network’s office in Tunis and expelled all journalists. At least 10 security personnel barged into the office without warrants, confiscated keys to the office and did not allow journalists back into the building to retrieve their personal belongings.
The security personnel did not explain why the office had been raided, merely saying they were following orders.
Al Jazeera considers this action by the Tunisian authorities as a troubling escalation and fears it will impede fair and objective coverage of unfolding events in the country. Al Jazeera calls on the Tunisian authorities to allow its journalists to operate unhindered and be allowed to practice their profession without fear or intimidation.
The Network values the solidarity of human rights and media organisations for their condemnation of these actions against Al Jazeera’s bureau in Tunisia.
In a world in which the media and journalists face increasing threats, Al Jazeera views this as an attack on press freedom as a whole.>>
Watch a video Al Jazeera made here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/26/al-jazeera-condemns-bureau-raid-by-tunisian-security-forces

The Guardian
July 26 2021

<<The authority gap: why women still aren’t taken seriously.
When journalist Mary Ann Sieghart set out to document the ways that women are held back by a cultural presumption of their inferiority, she found reams of data to support her case – and heard stories of how it affects even the most successful women in the world. She explains why the authority gap persists, and asks what we can do about it.
From the very beginning of her career as a journalist in the 1980s, Mary Ann Sieghart found herself pushing against a set of assumptions which accorded her less authority than her male peers – and and led to her being viewed as bigheaded if she showed the same ambition and confidence as they did. When she came to write a book about how experiences such as hers still shape women’s lives, she found a huge range of empirical evidence that confirmed the existence of those prejudices. And when she asked some of the most accomplished women in the world – from Bernardine Evaristo to Hillary Clinton – she learned that they had all experienced the same <authority gap>, no matter how remarkable their CVs.

Sieghart speaks to Rachel Humphreys about why the authority gap remains a pervasive phenomenon, and what tactics women can use to try to circumvent it. We also hear excerpts from some of Sieghart’s interviews, featuring examples of the problem perpetrated by everyone from literary prize judges to restaurant staff to ... the pope.>>
Read/see and listen to more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2021/jul/26/the-authority-gap-why-women-still-arent-taken-seriously-podcast

Al Jazeera
July 26 2021

<<Tunisia police storm Al Jazeera office in Tunis
Security forces involved in the raid said they were carrying out instructions and asked all journalists to leave.

Tunisian police has stormed Al Jazeera’s bureau in the capital Tunis, expelling all the staff, after President Kais Saied late on Sunday ousted the government in a move his foes called a coup. At least 20 plain-clothed police officers entered the office on Monday, Al Jazeera journalists in Tunis reported, saying the officers did not have warrants for the raid.
<We did not receive any prior notice of the eviction of our office by the security forces,> Lotfi Hajji, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Tunisia, said.
Security forces involved in the raid said they were carrying out instructions from the country’s judiciary and asked all journalists to leave.
Reporters said they were ordered by security officers to turn off their phones and were not allowed back into the building to retrieve their personal belongs. The officers confiscated the keys to the office.
Al Jazeera said it views the raid as <an attack on press freedom> in a statement published later on Monday.

<Al Jazeera considers this action by the Tunisian authorities as a troubling escalation and fears it will impede fair and objective coverage of unfolding events in the country,> the network said.
<Al Jazeera calls on the Tunisian authorities to allow its journalists to operate unhindered and be allowed to practice their profession without fear or intimidation.
<The Network values the solidarity of human rights and media organisations for their condemnation of these actions against Al Jazeera’s bureau in Tunisia.

<In a world in which the media and journalists face increasing threats, Al Jazeera views this as an attack on press freedom as a whole.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/26/tunisia-police-storm-al-jazeera-office-in-tunis

The Guardian
25 July
Andrew Anthony

<<Meet Julie K Brown, the woman who brought down Jeffrey Epstein.

It was by focusing on his silenced victims, says the dogged Miami Herald reporter, that she was able to help bring the billionaire sex offender to justice after police and prosecutors had failed.
has observed, <is one of the few places left in America where you can still drive around in a Rolls-Royce convertible and not get laughed at.> It’s an unironic island, filled with the super-rich and famous, plastic surgeons and, of course, the former US president, Donald Trump, who holds court at his ostentatious Mar-a-Lago resort.
A satellite of Miami, the island prides itself on its many flamboyant charity balls, but no amount of good-cause fundraising can remove the whiff of corruption that hangs heavy in the subtropical air. If money talks in most places, in Palm Beach it speaks with a confident authority that’s seldom questioned. Never has that understanding been more egregiously demonstrated than in the case of the inscrutable financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In 2008 Epstein was sent to prison, having pleaded guilty to the charge of procuring for prostitution a girl below the age of 18. It was the culmination of a three-year investigation, involving first state and then federal authorities. The local police had uncovered evidence that Epstein had sexually coerced and abused scores of young women and girls, some as young as 13 or 14. There were also a number of testaments to rape.

But all throughout the prosecution seemed reluctant to take Epstein to court and the police were always one step behind their target. For a start, Epstein appeared to be tipped off that he was going to be arrested. When the police arrived at his Palm Beach mansion, six computer hard drives had been removed, along with video recordings from his internal closed circuit system. The police were never able to gain access to this potential evidence.
Florida is notorious for its harsh prison system and lengthy sentencing. Someone accused of Epstein’s alleged crimes might have been looking at 20 years in a gang-dominated penitentiary. Instead he received an 18-month sentence, of which he served less than 13 months in a private wing of the county jail. He was granted immunity for himself and four assistants for any related charges, was awarded daily work release, in which he was driven to his office by his own driver, and at night he was allowed to sleep with his jail door open. He also had access to another room where a television had been installed for him.
How did he get off so lightly? And how was he able to return to his gilded world of billionaire friends and celebrity playmates without any real stigma attached to his name? These were the questions that Julie Brown, an overworked and underpaid investigative journalist at the Miami Herald, kept asking herself towards the end of 2016.

<I wanted to do a story on sex trafficking,> she recalls on a Zoom call from New York, <but every time I googled Florida and sex trafficking, a story about Jeffrey Epstein came up.>
As she delved deeper, she realised just how far the authorities had bent over backwards to accommodate Epstein and his battery of well-paid lawyers. Although they seemingly had enough evidence to support his prosecution for much more serious crimes, they offered him a <sweetheart deal> on a relatively minor charge. Brown’s intrepid work led to a three-part Herald series in 2018 on Epstein that would encourage federal authorities to reopen the investigation and to arrest the financier.
As the world knows, in August 2019 Epstein would die in the grim Metropolitan Correctional Center prison in New York – whether from his own hand or another’s remains the subject of much speculation – and eventually his former girlfriend and social aide, Ghislaine Maxwell, would be tracked down to her New Hampshire hideout and charged with related crimes.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/25/meet-julie-k-brown-the-woman-who-brought-down-jeffrey-epstein

The Guardian
23 July 2021
Andrea Simon

<<The scale of violence against women demands a better response than Priti Patel’s.

This is a pivotal moment, and it will take much more than the Home Office’s proposals to bring about lasting change. After the shocking murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman and many other women in the past year, the government has finally published its latest strategy to prevent violence against women and girls. We’ve had similar strategies in place in England since 2009, but the latest one has been delayed by over a year. It comes at a pivotal moment, in which the shared experiences of being a woman or girl – of being followed, harassed, assaulted and having freedoms curtailed because of the threat of men’s violence – has led to outpourings of anger and protests on the street.
The Home Office’s public call for evidence to inform its new strategy drew more than 180,000 responses, the vast majority after it reopened following Everard’s murder. It comes after last month’s government rape review, which carried an apology for the shamefully low rates of prosecutions, and the release of an Ofsted review that found that sexual harassment has become normalised in schools and colleges.
With so much riding on getting the response to violence against women and girls in all its forms right, the strategy is a significant milestone and an opportunity to coordinate decisive action from all parts of the state. Across policing, education, health and transport, we’ve seen a raft of measures announced.

However, when it comes to the crucial issue of gender inequality and how it intersects with other disadvantages and impacts on Black, minority ethnic, migrant, disabled and LGBT survivors of abuse, the strategy falls disappointingly short – and meaningful funding for specialist women’s services is largely absent.
It is good to see a call for radical change that reflects the seriousness and scale of violence against women and girls. A proposed public campaign to raise awareness, targeted at challenging the behaviour of perpetrators, could move us towards addressing the misogyny and gender stereotypes that underpin male violence against women. It will be essential for government to work closely with specialist women’s organisations to achieve this.
Additional support for teachers to deliver compulsory relationship and sex education is much needed. And for the government to properly implement the Ofsted recommendations on sexual harassment there needs to be, as a minimum, dedicated funding for teacher training.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/23/violence-against-women-priti-patel-home-office

El Jazeera
July 23 2021
By Faras Ghani

<<Tokyo 2020: Nigara Shaheen on her journey to Refugee Olympic Team
Shaheen, who was born in Afghanistan but grew up in Pakistan, will be part of the Refugee Olympic Team at Tokyo 2020.

Nigara Shaheen was born in Afghanistan but moved to Pakistan when she was just six months old. Her family, based in Jalalabad, fled the war in Afghanistan, walking for two days and two nights in 1993 to cross the border into Pakistan.
Eighteen years later, Shaheen decided to study at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul and set foot in the country for the first time since then.
On July 28 this year, Shaheen will make her Olympics debut at the women’s judo event, representing the Refugee Olympic Team at the delayed Tokyo Games.
Her dream of being an Olympian was nearly shattered earlier this month after a team official tested positive for coronavirus while the squad was training in Qatar’s capital, Doha. <It was hard,> Shaheen told Al Jazeera. <At one point, we thought we might lose the chance to compete [at the Games and be a voice to all the refugees. But we overcame it together as a family.>
Al Jazeera: What was your reaction when you found out that you will be going to the Olympics?
Shaheen: I always dreamt of competing at the Olympics and I was very committed to achieving my dream but there were times that I thought I will never be able to achieve it, especially during my time in Russia [for a Master’s degree] while all the judo clubs were shut due to coronavirus.
But I remember the day when the Refugee Olympics Team was announced, it took me almost a day to actually digest the fact that I was selected.

Al Jazeera: What obstacles have you faced in your journey to where you are?
Shaheen: I’ve been harassed and bullied a lot. In Peshawar (northwest Pakistan where Shaheen and her family live as refugees) and Kabul, we were scared and worried for our security. I’ve been targeted and received God knows how many threats on social media. There are Facebook pages created in my name posting stuff about me.
In Russia, I felt I was not welcomed into the society. I travelled there thinking I will be supported to train in judo but didn’t get the support I was expecting. While in Doha, Al Jazeera spoke to Shaheen about being an Olympian, her love for judo and the obstacles faced on the way to being where she is today. It’s been hard. But all those things have made me stronger. It was rough but if it wasn’t for all those things, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Al Jazeera: How has the support at home been?
Shaheen: I’ve been really lucky to have the immense support of my family. I’ve been attacked so many times on the way to training with my family but grateful because my parents knew my passion and always motivated me and were beside me no matter what.
Al Jazeera: How was it growing up in Pakistan?
Shaheen: When you’re a refugee in another country and very young, you feel you’re not so much integrated into society. As a kid growing up in Pakistan, I had a lot of anxiety and life was rougher than other kids around me. But sport really was a safe haven for me not just for my mental health but also for giving me the opportunity to integrate into society. Judo will forever be my love.

The article goes on but I want to quote one more thing from it:
Al Jazeera: By being there at the Olympics, what message are you able to give young Afghan girls?
Shaheen: My presence itself should give hope to all young Afghan girls that are dreaming of the Olympics. I have faced all the obstacles they are facing. But If I can do it, so can they. It is hard but nothing is out of the human capacity.

Find what you’re really passionate about and follow it no matter what.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/23/tokyo-2020-nigara-shaheens-journey-to-refugee-olympic-team

The Guardian
Kevin Rawlinson
22 July 2021

<<Women in UK Covid hotel quarantine will have female guards where possible
Decision comes after claims of sexual harassment by G4S security staff in hotels.

Women quarantining in UK hotels will have female guards wherever possible, the government has said, after several claims of sexual harassment by members of security staff.
The announcement comes after Labour demanded ministers take action over four women’s claims, reported by the BBC, that they were harassed by guards working for the outsourcing firm G4S during their stays in Covid quarantine.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced the changes to the system on Thursday. However, G4S has made clear it does not have enough female security guards to carry out the job, meaning two male guards would need to work together in a chaperoning system in some cases where women are staying alone.
This has prompted criticism from one woman who complained of harassment while quarantining. Sarah, 23, a medical student from Manchester, told BBC News: <Personally I would find two male guards more intimidating than just one lone guard. A group of male guards were talking about me when they clearly saw one male guard was being inappropriate with me. I don’t think it ensures the safety of women, rather it increases possible risk.>

Concern was expressed after the reports surfaced in late June. According to BBC News, the four women said guards mimed having sex while they were alone in a lift, and asked for hugs and selfies.
They also said security guards had asked them whether they were married and travelling alone, and followed them closely while they exercised, and one guard had stationed himself outside a bedroom, despite another guard being on duty there.
At the time the shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: <These are extremely concerning allegations. No one should face intimidation or sexual harassment – the government must urgently look into this issue with G4S and establish what has happened to make sure it never happens again.>
<Managed quarantine is one of the tools to help secure our borders, but travellers must be safe and not in fear of those who are supposed to be looking after them. We expect all parties to properly assist in any investigations.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/22/lone-women-in-covid-quarantine-will-have-female-guards-where-possible

Al Jazeera
July 22 2021
Belen Fernandez
Contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

<<Siglo XXI: My 24 hours in Mexico’s 21st-century migrant prison
I got to experience first-hand the fallout of US border militarisation policies.

On July 11, I found myself imprisoned at Mexico’s infamous Siglo XXI <migration station> in Tapachula – a city in the state of Chiapas near the border with Guatemala – which specialises in detaining US-bound migrants from Central America and beyond.
Mine was a curious predicament, to say the least, for a citizen of the United States, exempt as we usually are from the fallout of border militarisation policies that make the world safe for US imperialism.
I had come to Tapachula for four days to write about migrants. When I attempted to board my return flight to Mexico City, I was apprehended for visa irregularities of my own and loaded into a van bound for Siglo XXI, which means <21st century> in Spanish.

According to the Associated Press, the detention centre is said to be the largest in Latin America, and is a <secretive place off-limits to public scrutiny where … journalists aren’t allowed>.

Whoops.

The initial semi-enthusiasm I felt at the prospect of my impending exclusive view of the mechanics of the US-dictated migrant detention regime quickly began to dissipate, however, when I was informed that I would likely be deported to the homeland – which I had abandoned 18 years earlier on account of its general creepiness and adverse effects on my mental health.
Upon arrival at the facility, I was systematically relieved of all possessions minus a change of underwear, a clean shirt, a bag of cranberries, and a smattering of toiletries and other items.
A female immigration officer barked menacing orders to turn off my mobile phone and remove my bracelets, earrings, and the laces from my tennis shoes. When I broke down in tears and begged her to pretend to be human for a second, she assured me that this was all for my own “security” – although her tone did soften when she inquired after the gigabyte capacity of my decrepit iPod.
Then my pen was forcibly taken away, as well, and I was admitted to the innards of the damp and teeming detention centre, where the sense of suffocating claustrophobia was hardly helped by a near-total lack of face masks among the detainees despite ubiquitous coughing and other indications of malaise.
For those who were not already sick, illness-inducing meals were provided three times a day, requiring all detainees to first line up to wait to sign their names on a list before lining up to wait to receive the meal – such being the nature of arbitrary and bureaucratic power, with its need to exert order over dehumanised bodies.
To be sure, waiting is the primary activity of the approximation of life that occurs within the walls of Siglo XXI. In addition to the often seemingly interminable wait for liberation – I met women who had already been interned one month in the facility – there is also the waiting-within-waiting: for food, phone calls, toilet paper, showers.

In the morning, there is the wait for the decision for the door to be unlocked to the flea-infested prison yard, the highlights of which include a mango tree, a sports court with a single deflated ball, and perennial police surveillance from beyond the towering fence.
Answers to mundane and existential questions alike – <When can I have a book to read?>, <When will I know if I am being deported or will be granted asylum in Mexico?> – are never forthcoming, as immigration officials tend to prefer either the noncommittal <más tarde> (later) or the even simpler shrug.
And for women who have just endured perilous journeys after escaping hazardous conditions in their own countries – all with the hope of eventually making it to perceived safety in the US – the psychological torture of being condemned to indefinite and criminalised limbo is not necessarily conducive to a desire for self-preservation.
In other words, I now understand why they confiscate shoelaces.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/7/22/siglo-xxi-my-24-hours-in-mexicos-21st-century-migrant-prison

Al Jazeera
21 July 2021
By Emily Fishbein and Nu Nu Lusan

<<Myanmar women give birth in jungle as military lies in wait.

Heavily pregnant women displaced by fighting risk their lives to give birth after being forced from their homes in escalating conflict.
On a stormy night in June, Rosemary lay in the darkness of her home in a deserted village in Myanmar’s Mindat township, gripped by labour contractions as Mai Nightingale, a 25-year-old midwife, tried to stifle her cries.
<Only the two of us were left alone in the village. We closed all the doors and windows of the house and stayed quietly inside,> said Mai Nightingale. <When she felt pain, I put a blanket in her mouth because we feared that soldiers might hear her.> Like others interviewed for this article, Al Jazeera has used pseudonyms for Mai Nightingale and Rosemary for their safety.
Rosemary’s contractions had begun the previous night, but with soldiers approaching her village in southern Chin State, she and the other villagers fled into the forest. But there was no proper shelter from the unrelenting rain, so Rosemary and Mai Nightingale decided to take the risk of encountering soldiers and return the next morning.

<The situation didn’t favour delivering a baby,> said Mai Nightingale. <We saw Burmese soldiers walking towards our village but we couldn’t turn back because [Rosemary] was already exhausted.>
Rosemary’s husband did not dare accompany her for fear that, if seen, soldiers would mistake him for a member of a local armed group. Since a February 1 military coup, civilian defence forces, armed largely with hunting rifles and homemade weapons, have sprung up across the country to fight against the regime, and Mindat has been a hotspot of resistance since May.
In line with tactics the military has used for decades to quash an armed rebellion and terrorise the people, soldiers launched disproportionate attacks on Mindat including firing artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns into residential areas while imposing martial law, causing the town to empty, according to local media reports. Young men are particularly likely to be targeted.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/21/myanmar-women-give-birth-in-jungle-as-military-lies-in-wait

Al Jazeera
July 21 2021
By Robyn Huang and Matt Reichel

<<‘Journalism is sacred work’: Afghanistan’s front line reporters.
Afghanistan ranks as one of the world’s worst countries for journalism. Yet despite targeted killings and an uncertain future, reporters are not turning away from the profession.

Kabul, Afghanistan – It was about 8am on a Monday morning in April 2018 when Bushra Seddique felt the multi-storey apartment building she was living in with her family in Kabul’s Shash Darak district shake. Smoke billowed from the street below.
She barely had time to process what was happening as her father rushed the family out of the house, past the injured and the dead, but she remembers seeing journalists running, cameras in hand, towards the scene of the explosion.
Half an hour later, a second explosion went off; nine reporters who had arrived at the initial blast site were killed.

It was the first time Seddique, who is now 21, had witnessed the dangers Afghan journalists face. <It was traumatic, but inspiring to see their bravery and commitment,> she says.
At the time Seddique was in the second year of her journalism programme at Kabul University. She has now graduated and is embarking on her career with a mixture of determination and trepidation.
<Over the last few years, we have lost many journalists to bombings and targeted killings, and this is tragic and scary,> she explains. <It’s disappointing for me and anyone trying to grow their experience as a reporter.
<But I still want to continue,> she adds. <By choosing to pursue journalism, I already accepted the barriers and difficulties of working in this field in this country.>
Seddique understands why, despite the inherent dangers, Afghan journalists continue to pursue this career. She wants the world to see Afghanistan as more than just a conflict zone and hopes, through her journalism, to offer an alternative to the typical portrayals of her country in Western media.
<Afghanistan has so much ancient history and a vast wealth of culture. I want to tell untold stories of ordinary people,> she says.
<I believe that journalism is not just a job or subject,> she adds, emphatically. <Pursuing journalism is a desire for change and to help.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/7/21/journalism-is-sacred-work-afghanistans-front-line-reporters

Al Jazeera
July 20 2021
Natalie Alcoba

<<Ecuador at critical crossroads in push for abortion rights
In the largely conservative nation, women can be sentenced to up to two years in prison for having an abortion.

Ana Cristina Vera could tell countless stories of women she has helped extricate from the jaws of Ecuador’s severe anti-abortion laws, but the lawyer and feminist organiser always starts with one: Carla’s.
In 2014, on her way to work in the city of Esmeraldes, Carla – a name Vera, her lawyer, uses to protect her identity – fell down a set of stairs. She picked herself up, only to later discover that she was bleeding. She assumed it was her period, which was two weeks late, and got medication from a friend for the pain, Vera told Al Jazeera.
But days later, when Carla went to a hospital still in pain and with a fever, a doctor called the police upon hearing what had happened. <she told them she didn’t even know she was pregnant, but the police kept pressuring her and pressuring her,> said Vera.
Carla was eventually imprisoned, accused of taking misoprostol, a drug used to induce a medical abortion. She was charged with an abortion and spent four months in pretrial custody until Surkuna, a feminist collective in Ecuador that provides legal aid to women, found out about her case and sought her release.
The charge was eventually thrown out due to lack of evidence, said Vera. <This is the constant: women who are poor, who are looking for help, and who come up against a health and judicial system that is completely machista (<male chauvinist>) and discriminatory,> said Vera, who is also executive director of Surkuna.

Ban on abortion.

Carla’s story mirrors many contained in a report released last week by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that exposes the effect of Ecuador’s abortion ban, one of the harshest in Latin America.
<The criminalisation of abortion has a devastating impact on the lives and health of women and girls,> said Ximena Casas, Americas researcher for HRW and author of the report.
As has been seen in many other countries where abortion is illegal, outlawing the termination of a pregnancy does not stop it from occurring, said Casas. Rather, it makes it more dangerous, primarily for women who are low income and live in rural regions.
In Ecuador, the procedure is only permitted in cases where the life or health of the mother is at risk or if the pregnancy is the result of rape. The latter exemption came after the Constitutional Court in April decriminalised abortion in all instances of rape, a decision that was heralded as historic in a country where seven girls under the age of 14 become mothers every day, according to HRW.
But a woman found guilty of an illegal abortion still could be sentenced to six months to two years in jail in Ecuador, a conservative and predominantly Catholic country.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/20/ecuador-at-critical-crossroads-in-push-for-abortion-rights

The Guardian
July 19 2021
Erin McCormick

<<Survivors of California’s forced sterilizations: ‘It’s like my life wasn’t worth anything’
A new reparations program will compensate survivors of prison system sterilizations and the 20th century eugenics campaign.

It wasn’t until years after Kelli Dillon went into surgery while incarcerated in the California state prison system that she realized her reproductive capacity had been stripped away without her knowledge.
In 2001, at the age of 24, she became one of the most recent victims in a history of forced sterilizations in California that stretches back to 1909 and served as an inspiration for Nazi Germany’s eugenics program.
But now, under new provisions signed into California’s budget this week, the state will offer reparations for the thousands of people who were sterilized in California institutions, without adequate consent, often because they were deemed <criminal>, <feeble-minded> or <deviant>.

The program will be the first in the nation to provide compensation to modern-day survivors of prison system sterilizations, like Dillon, whose attorney obtained medical records to show that, while she was an inmate in the Central California women’s facility in Chowchilla, surgeons had removed her ovaries during what was supposed to be an operation to take a biopsy and remove a cyst.
The investigations sparked by her case, which is featured in the documentary Belly of the Beast, showed hundreds of inmates had been sterilized in prisons without proper consent as late as 2010, even though the practice was by then illegal.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/19/california-forced-sterilization-prison-survivors-reparations

The Guardian
July 18 2021
Martha Gill

<<Meghan, good luck with your feminist show but can I offer some tips?

The Duchess of Sussex is working on a Netflix series about notable women. Here are some traps to avoid.
Still smarting from its reckoning in 2018, Hollywood’s new politics is starting to seep out in its products. We have had a slew of feminist films and TV series and, in particular, feminism set in the past: The Favourite, The Queen’s Gambit, Little Women, Mary Queen of Scots. Last week, the Duchess of Sussex announced she would be <celebrating extraordinary women throughout history> with her own Netflix series – about the adventures of a 12-year-old girl who meets notable women from before her time.
This is of course all very welcome, yet why do so few of these titles read as feminist? Instead, turning historical events into contemporary liberal parables often seems to result in something rather unsatisfying – even unfeminist. Here are some classic pitfalls for Meghan to watch out for.
Dramas that set out to “celebrate extraordinary women” all tend to fall at the same hurdle. Eager perhaps to champion their protagonist, they can end up with the unintentional thesis that all it really takes to topple the patriarchy is one determined woman who reckons she is the equal of men. (Which rather invites the question: why didn’t any other women think of that?)>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/18/meghan-good-luck-with-your-feminist-show-but-can-i-offer-some-tips

Al Jazeera
July 18 2021

<<Esraa Abdelfattah: Egypt activist freed after nearly two years
Esraa Abdelfattah was arrested in October 2019 on charges of ‘spreading fake news’ and ‘collaborating with a terrorist group’.

Egyptian activist and journalist Esraa Abdelfattah, one of the symbols of the 2011 revolution, has been freed after nearly 22 months in pre-trial detention, lawyer Khaled Ali has said.
Ali, as well as friends of Abdelfattah, posted photographs online on Sunday of her being released from prison.
Abdelfattah was among several prominent journalists and activists released ahead of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important holidays in the Islamic calendar.
In 2008, Abdelfattah created an <April 6> Facebook page in support of striking workers and to call for political reforms, at the start of the mobilisation of mass protests that would lead to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak three years later.
Abdelfattah, 43, was arrested in October 2019 on charges of <spreading false news> and <collaborating with a terrorist group>.
Her detention sparked international condemnation, with the US calling it <scandalous>.

Abdelfattah, who was also previously jailed under Mubarak, walked free just hours after a surprise decision by the prosecution to release her.
She had opposed the Muslim Brotherhood when they took power in Egypt in 2012 and backed the 2013 protests that led to the removal of President Mohamed Morsi.
Under Egyptian law, pre-trial detention can be extended for up to two years.

Journalists, activists released.

Egyptian authorities have in recent months released detainees ahead of major Muslim holidays. Several other journalists and activists were released on Sunday, two days ahead of Eid al-Adha.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/18/esraa-abdelfattah-egyptian-activist-freed

The Guardian
Associated press
17 July 2021

<<Killer dubbed the ‘Hollywood Ripper’ sentenced to death for double murder
‘Death followed Michael Gargiulo everywhere he went’, says judge, in case which included the murder of the girlfriend of actor Ashton Kutcher.
A man dubbed the “Hollywood Ripper” has been sentenced to death for the home-invasion murders of two women and the attempted murder of a third in a much-delayed case stretching back 20 years.
Victims’ family members wept as Los Angeles superior court Judge Larry Fidler handed down the sentence to 45-year-old Michael Thomas Gargiulo on Friday.
<Everywhere that Mr Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed him,> Fidler said at the all-day hearing.

Gargiulo’s case received added attention because one of his victims was about to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial in 2019.
The sentencing, delayed by procedural issues and the pandemic, came nearly two years after a jury convicted Gargiulo and recommended his execution.
Gargiulo was found guilty of the murder of Ashley Ellerin, a 22-year-old fashion design student, in her Hollywood home in 2001 as she prepared to go out with Kutcher. At the trial, Kutcher said that he was late to pick up Ellerin, who did not answer her door.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/17/killer-dubbed-the-hollywood-ripper-sentenced-to-death-for-double


The Guardian
Kieran Pender
16 Jul 2021

<<‘She can do it’: Kiribati Olympic judo hopeful wants to combat domestic violence
Kinaua Biribo says she wants to empower women in the Pacific island nation, where almost 60% of men have perpetrated intimate partner violence.
Kinaua Biribo is unlikely to win an Olympic medal. When the elimination rounds of her judo category begin later this month, the 27-year-old will be a firm underdog; she has been knocked out in the first round of both of her international competition appearances to date.

But Kinaua, whom the Guardian is referring to by her first name as is culturally appropriate, has ambitions far grander than any Olympic medal. She wants to inspire the women of her Pacific homeland and combat the scourge of domestic violence.
In Tokyo, Kinaua will become Kiribati’s first-ever Olympic judoka. Her country – a collection of atolls spread across 3.5 million square kilometres of Pacific Ocean – only made its Olympic debut in 2004.
Dancing for a cause: Kiribati’s climate activist Olympic weightlifter.
As just the fourth female I-Kiribati Olympian in history, Kinaua is acutely aware of her role model status back home. Speaking from Budapest, where she has been since the World Judo Championships in June, Kinaua says that she relishes the position.
<I’m living the dream,> she says. <Representing Kiribati in the Olympics is a great step for me. Women are going to look up to me – ‘she did it, if she can do it, we can.’ That’s the main motivation for me.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/17/she-can-do-it-kiribati-olympic-judo-hopeful-wants-to-combat-domestic-violence

Al Jazeera
July 16 2021

<<Black congressional leader arrested in US voting rights rally
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Joyce Beatty was leading the protest inside the US Senate building.

A voting rights demonstration by Black women leaders at the United States Capitol has ended with the arrest of the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Representative Joyce Beatty was accompanied by dozens of demonstrators who marched to the US Senate on Thursday to demand the passage of federal voting-rights legislation.
The small rally came amid a raft of state-level voting laws that civil rights groups say disproportionately restrict people of colour and other groups by limiting voting hours, requiring photo identification to cast a ballot, restricting mail-in voting and allowing for partisan poll watchers.
Police responded when the group gathered in the atrium of the Senate building and began making arrests after some demonstrators, including Beatty, refused to vacate.
<Let the people vote,> Beatty wrote on Twitter after her release, along with a picture of a Capitol police officer putting her plastic handcuffs. <Fight for justice.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/16/black-congressional-leader-arrested-in-us-voting-rights-rally

The Guardian
July 15 2021
Lizzy Davies

<<When Bertha Zuñiga heard that a former Honduran army intelligence officer and businessman had been found guilty of collaborating in the murder of her mother, Berta Cáceres, she breathed a big sigh of relief. Five years after the environmental campaigner was assassinated by hired hitmen, this was the verdict her family and friends had been waiting for.
<I know there is still a long road, maybe very long and very hard, but to have achieved a guilty verdict against the [former] president of a corporation, [who is] connected to the armed forces: it is unprecedented in our country,> says Zuñiga, 30.
For her, last week’s conviction of Roberto David Castillo, the former head of the hydroelectric company Desarrollos Energéticos, or Desa, as a co-conspirator in the murder sends a clear message <of hope in a country of so much impunity and so much violence>.
But the fact that the message was needed shows how much work there is yet to do in a country regularly cited among the most dangerous places in the world to be an environmental or land defender.
<We have to continue the fight,> says Zuñiga, who took over her mother’s role as general coordinator of the indigenous rights organisation Copinh. <Our work, our struggle for justice in the case of our mother, will contribute to this important cause of ensuring there is no repetition of this kind of crime in our country.>
<To have achieved a guilty verdict against the former president of a corporation is unprecedented in Honduras> Bertha Zuñiga.

The murder of Cáceres in March 2016 briefly focused international attention on the situation in Honduras. The 45-year-old was killed after spending years opposing the construction of a hydroelectric dam in an area of western Honduras deemed sacred to the Lenca people.
But, despite the global outrage, there has been no improvement in the plight of Honduran activists, who complain of facing intimidation, ranging from harassment and smear campaigns to death threats and illegal detention. According to a new analysis, the number of incidents involving female human rights defenders rose from 203 in 2016 to 475 in 2017.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jul/15/will-caceres-verdict-help-end-honduras-cycle-of-violence

The Guardian
Sarah Johnson
15 July 2021

<<How public ‘apologies’ are used against domestic abuse victims in Chechnya
Activists say Ramzan Kadyrov’s regime uses televised confessions ‘under duress’ to hold back women’s rights, despite changes in society.

halimat Taramova, the 22-year-old daughter of a prominent Chechen businessman, sits demurely on a velvet sofa ornately embellished in gold. She is wearing a modest dress and a headscarf. With her on the sofa are three men dressed in suits. They are appearing on Grozny TV, the state television channel of Russia’s Chechen Republic.
Only a couple of weeks before the programme was shown on 14 June, Taramova fled her home, where she said she was subjected to violence after going against her family’s wishes. She sought help from a group of women’s rights activists, the Marem project , who let her stay in a flat owned by one of its members in the neighbouring republic of Dagestan. In a video released on social media on 6 June, she pleaded for the Chechen authorities not to come looking for her.
In a video, Khalimat Taramova pleads to be left alone by the Chechen authorities
<I, Khalimat Ayubovna Taramova, voluntarily left home to flee from regular beatings and threats,> she said in the video. <Please do not put me on the federal wanted list and do not disclose any information about my whereabouts, as those actions will pose a threat to my life.>

Days later, the flat where she was staying was raided by more than 20 men working for the Russian police and Chechen security forces, according to Svetlana Anokhina, a journalist and activist who was present. Two activists, including Anokhina, say they were beaten and detained, and Taramova was taken back to Chechnya.
In the state TV broadcast aired four days later, she is seen smiling and laughing, while glancing continuously to someone or something off camera. She says she’s <fine>, that her family is taking good care of her, that there had never been any abuse and hinted that she had probably been drugged because she was <in a fog> and could not remember much about going to Dagestan. She is flanked by her father, Ayub Taramov, and uncle. The head of the country’s human rights council, Timur Aliyev, is the third man present.
To the uninitiated this change in message from Taramova may seem odd, but it comes as no surprise to those in the region. <There’s no doubt that Taramova was there under duress,> says Tanya Lokshina, associate director for Europe and central Asia at Human Rights Watch. <Those who file complaints with official authorities or speak out about abuse are routinely forced to take their allegations back and apologise on camera. This is one of the tactics used by Chechen authorities to suppress dissent.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jul/15/how-public-apologies-are-used-against-domestic-abuse-victims-in-chechnya

Al Jazeera
July 15 2021
From: 101 East

<<The Widows of Everest.
We travel to Nepal to meet the Sherpa women defying tradition to conquer the world’s highest mountain.

Mount Everest is the ultimate mountaineering challenge. Climbers come from around the world seeking glory, but for those helping them scale the world’s highest peak, it can be deadly work.
Sherpa men die in disproportionate numbers, leaving behind widows who struggle to survive. Forced to become breadwinners, some women are defying tradition by breaking into the male-dominated world of Himalayan climbing.
Taking on Everest is part of a larger battle to overcome centuries of discrimination against women who have lost their husbands to the mountain. 101 East meets the Sherpa widows defying tradition to conquer the world’s highest mountain.>>
Watch the video:
https://www.aljazeera.com/program/101-east/2021/7/15/the-widows-of-everest

BBC Latin America
12 July 2021
By Eva Ontiveros

<<Elisa Loncón: From poverty to PhD to writing Chile's constitution.>>
Read her story here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-57733539

BBC Asia
28 June 2021
<<Papua's sacred forest for women only.>>
Read the introdutory and view the video here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-57614836

BBC Latin America
<<Women fight back against Peru's national sterilisation scheme>>
Read and watch the video here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-latin-america-44574885

Al Jazeera
July 15 2021
By Daisy Odey

<<A long way from home: The child ‘house helpers’ of Nigeria
Hundreds of underage girls work as domestic help in cities across Nigeria.

Kaduna State, Nigeria – The clouds are receding after a light drizzle on a damp May afternoon in Sabon Tasha, northern Nigeria. The front door to the three-bedroom bungalow is wide open to let in air, as the neighbourhood wades through one of its frequent power outages.
Inside, 12-year-old Aisha* moves around, doing chores and serving guests. She is one of many underage girls working as domestic help – commonly called 'house girls' – in cities across Nigeria.
A little light pours into the sitting room through two windows at the back as Aisha’s employer, Safiya (who asked that her full name not be used), sits talking to three visitors from Abuja – her eldest daughter who works as a teacher in the Federal Capital Territory, and two others. Aisha serves them saucers of peanuts and Safiya shouts at her to hurry up and leave whenever she feels the girl is lingering longer than necessary. She reminds her to sweep the kitchen.

Safiya is a widow and a civil servant in a government ministry. The lines around her eyes place her age at over 50, but the way she flits through the conversation, bantering with her guests, makes her seem much younger.
She talks in fluent English but switches to Hausa when addressing Aisha, her tone shifting with the language; sharp and curt for Aisha, but softer, friendlier and punctuated with frequent laughter as she relaxes back into conversation with her guests. On her fingers are a few gold rings and on her wrist two gold bracelets that jingle when she waves her hands as she speaks. Her hair is covered by a scarf but the edges reveal dark cornrows with a sprinkling of grey.
A bright orange hijab conceals much of Aisha’s tiny frame. She barely says a word to Safiya, but nods to acknowledge instructions. When called, she quickly reappears from a door hidden behind a brown curtain.

The village to the city.

Aisha was born in Buda, a village in Kano state, some 250km (155 miles) away, that is known for its maize and groundnut crops. Her father works on a farm during the planting and harvesting season. When the farming season is over, he picks up odd jobs wherever he can find them. Her mother is a housewife who also cares for a small farm of their own behind the house – a single building made from mud and straw. Like most rural settlements, there is no electricity or plumbing, and water is sourced from wells within the community.
Aisha moved to Kaduna a few months after she turned 10, with the help of an agent who had promised to find her work as a 'house girl' in the city. She was told that if she behaved well, after a while she would be enrolled in school, an opportunity she had never had before. At the instruction of her father, she had packed up her few belongings in a black polythene bag and followed the woman. That was two years ago. She has still never been inside a classroom.
Safiya, who is Aisha’s fourth employer, has two younger children, aged 12 and 14, and an elderly mother everyone fondly calls “Mama”. Aisha was specifically recruited to care for Mama although her responsibilities are not limited to this.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/7/15/a-long-way-from-home-the-child-house-helpers-of-nigeria

The Guardian
July 14 2021
Interview by Michael Segalov

<<Inside a women’s prison in Tbilisi: Olivia Arthur’s best photograph
‘There were groups of prisoners laughing and shouting – and then there was this woman on her own out by the stairs, just gazing out of the window’.

In the past 18 months, I have become increasingly fascinated by our obsession with locking people up, taking away each other’s liberty. Perhaps the pandemic gave me space to think more about prison systems, as we all spent time in isolation. My interest in prisons can be traced back to 2012, though, when I read about the Comayagua prison fire in Honduras, which led to more than 350 people dying. Those tragic stories – people locked in with no way to escape the flames – stuck with me.
My thoughts have also been shaped by becoming a mother, realising it’s only when I run out of options – or, more accurately, determination – that I send one of my children to their room and shut the door. Recently, I started reading prison memoirs by women: Brits, Italians, Egyptians, Americans, Russians and Iranians. Many write about brutal conditions, the difficulties in finding ways to survive, remain dignified and sane. Others reflect on whether, in locking women away, society might be trying to fix the wrong problem.
I’m fascinated by the difficult circumstances that led these women to prison – and why many of them end up returning. There is this line in Who Lie in Gaol, Joan Henry’s 1952 book about her time as a British prisoner, that spoke to me: <I thought of the good and the evil that is in all of us, and of the whirlpool of circumstance that had brought half a dozen women together in the night in a locked room in a building full of locked rooms.>>.
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/jul/14/inside-a-womens-prison-in-tblisi-olivia-arthurs-best-photograph

The Guardian
July 14 2021
Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá

<<Ecuador abortion laws discriminate against minority ethnic women – report
Criminalisation disproportionately affects indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian women and exacerbates inequality, says Human Rights Watch.

Gladys, an indigenous woman from rural Ecuador, went to hospital after injecting poison into her stomach to end her pregnancy. Doctors went straight to the police, and she was sentenced to two months in jail for having an abortion with consent.
Elsewhere in the South American country, a 20-year-old Afro-Ecuadorian woman went to hospital after a fall, and found out she was pregnant and miscarrying. She was swiftly arrested and spent four months awaiting trial, where she was cleared.
They are among the many women criminalised because of strict abortion laws in Ecuador that put the lives and health of women and girls – particularly those from poorer backgrounds – at risk, a comprehensive report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has found.
Abortion is illegal in the staunchly Catholic country except in cases where the life and health of the woman are in danger or the pregnancy is the result of a rape. In April the high court decriminalised the procedure in all cases of rape, loosening restrictions that had allowed abortion only in cases of rape if the woman had a mental disability.

Illegal abortions carry a sentence of up to two years in prison, and doctors who perform abortions can face up to three years behind bars.
The report, published on Wednesday, found that the country’s laws disproportionally affect indigenous and Afro-descendent women and girls living in poverty.
HRW reviewed 148 abortion cases between 2009 and 2019. It found 120 women and girls were prosecuted – the majority of indigenous or Afro-Ecuadorian descent – including 33 who served time in prison. About 12% were girls – and they almost always lived in poverty.
Women and girls charged with abortion often have their right to medical confidentiality violated, said HRW, and they face <significant obstacles> to accessing decent legal representation.
<The criminalisation of abortion not only undermines the ability of women and girls to access essential reproductive health services, but it also exacerbates inequalities and discrimination,” said Ximena Casas, women’s rights researcher at HRW. “Ecuador should remove all criminal penalties for consensual abortion. At a minimum, it should guarantee effective access to abortion on all legal grounds and stop prosecuting women and girls seeking essential medical care.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jul/14/ecuador-abortion-laws-discriminate-against-minority-ethnic-women-report

Al Jazeera
July 13 2021
By Jasmin Kamel
Director of the Middle East and Africa department at Albany Associates
Maimuna Mohamud
Independent researcher

<<Women must be included in conflict mediation in Somalia
The recent political tensions have worsened insecurity for Somali women. Going forward, they must be included in the political process.
On June 30, a much-anticipated announcement finally confirmed the timetable of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Somalia due to take place between July and October this year. The announcement comes after months-long disagreements between the government and the main opposition figures.

The parliamentary and presidential elections were due to take place last autumn, but difficulties in reaching consensus on the modality and timelines for the elections caused significant delays. The conflict took a sharp turn in February when the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, “Farmaajo”, sought parliamentary approval to extend his term in office. By April, armed clashes between government forces and armed groups loyal to different oppositional figures spread in parts of Mogadishu, the federal capital.
The violence that took place in Mogadishu had not been seen since the formal end of the transitional period a decade ago. As efforts to quell the conflict and put elections back on track are under way, the reverberating effects have already been felt by many.
But this dangerous slideback into conflict poses a great danger to Somali women and girls, in particular, as it significantly increases the risk of sexual violence and diminishes public spaces for women’s participation.

A threat to women’s rights and security.

These developments sadly hark back to the tragic periods of the early 1990s when countless women and girls were targeted, sexually violated and dispossessed from their homes.
As the conflict escalated in Mogadishu in late April, more and more women fled districts across the capital due to fears of either targeted or indiscriminate sexual attacks. Mogadishu is already host to large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from across the country, many of whom live in mostly unsafe, exploitative and unsanitary conditions, which were only worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Women and girls living in IDP camps face a higher risk of experiencing sexual violence.
Somalia’s acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations, Cesar Arroyo, expressed concerns over “mass displacements” in Mogadishu. The initial figures of displaced Somalis estimated was between 60,000 to 100,000 people following violent events of April 25. Although the numbers of displaced women and girls have not been reported, they are likely to make up the majority of a large and growing number of displaced Somalis since January, two-thirds of whom have been uprooted due to conflict.

Once women and girls flee their homes (often becoming displaced for a second or third time), many become even more vulnerable to sexual assault.
Conflicts that start in Mogadishu are known to quickly diffuse and police and security apparatuses in the different member states tend to be implicated in political conflicts. Women in neighbouring federal states may already be at greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
A study we released in January underscored that women, girls and IDPs in those regions that were previously under al-Shabab’s control continue to be at risk of intimidation, aggression and sexual violence because of lingering insecurity.
Apart from an increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence, the political crisis in Mogadishu could roll back important achievements for Somali women in the public sphere. Until recently, some progress was made in women’s participation in regional politics and peacebuilding efforts. A 2020 report released by the Christian Michelsen Institute in Norway noted the steady increase in the number of women in regional parliament, for example.

A revert to conflict would dwindle the chances of female political hopefuls securing nomination to the federal parliament. Months-long contestations of the electoral process and quibbles over the distribution of clan quotas had already made it difficult to secure the 30 percent quota allocated to Somali women – the implementation of which is often left at the discretion of traditional leaders and bickering elites.
Political settlements builton shaky grounds may result in a derailment of women’s security, wellbeing and hard-won achievements, especially in public life. Including women in de-escalation and mediation processes would be key, not only for getting the political process back on track, but also for improving women’s security and its sustainability.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/7/13/women-must-be-included-in-conflict-mediation-in-somalia

Al Jazeera
July 12 2021
By Asmita Bakshi

<<Sulli Deals: Indian Muslim women offered for sale in ‘auction’.
Photographs of more than 80 Muslim women put up for sale on an app are triggering outrage and calls for action.

New Delhi, India – On the night of July 4, Afreen Fatima participated in an online forum about the persecution of Muslims in India. No sooner had she wrapped up her session than her mobile phone was flooded with messages, informing the 23-year-old student activist that she had been ‘put up for sale’ on a fake online auction.

And she was not alone. Photographs of more than 80 other Muslim women, including students, activists and journalists, had been uploaded on an app called <Sulli deals> without their knowledge
The creators of the platform offered visitors a chance to claim a <Sulli> – a derogatory term used by right-wing Hindu trolls for Muslim women – calling them <deals of the day>.
<That night, I didn’t reply to the people who messaged me. I just logged out of my Twitter. I didn’t have the energy to respond,> Fatima told Al Jazeera from her home in Allahabad in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
She said that the incident came on a day a Hindu far-right man called for the abduction of Muslim women at a gathering in Pataudi, about 60km (31 miles) from New Delhi. <I was just so disturbed; I couldn’t sleep,> she said.
Thousands of miles away in New York, 25-year-old Hiba Beg had just returned from enjoying Independence Day celebrations in the city. That’s when she discovered her profile was also up for virtual auction on <Sulli deals>.
Even the physical distance from home in India was not enough to protect her from the immediate <feelings of dehumanisation and defeat>, said Beg, a student of policy at Columbia University.

GitHub, which hosted the app, took it down after public outrage and complaints. <We suspended user accounts following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies,> a GitHub spokesperson told Al Jazeera via email.
<GitHub has longstanding policies against content and conduct involving harassment, discrimination, and inciting violence.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/12/sulli-deals-a-virtual-auction-of-indian-muslim-women

Al Jazeera
July 12 2021

<<Palestinians demand release of jailed MP for daughter’s funeral
Rights groups say Israel should allow Khalida Jarrar to attend the funeral of her daughter Suha, 31, who was found dead in her Ramallah home.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have called on Israeli authorities to release Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian legislator serving a prison term, so that she can attend her daughter’s funeral.
Israeli prison services reportedly denied on Monday the request for Jarrar, a political prisoner, to attend the funeral, according to Palestinian activists and Israeli media.
Suha Jarrar, 31, was found dead on Sunday evening at her home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, reported Palestinian media. According to the reports, Jarrar died of a heart attack.
The young Jarrar was working as a legal researcher and advocacy officer at the Ramallah-based Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation. Some of her most prominent work focused on the environmental effects of Israeli occupation.
In a 2019 report, she argued that discriminatory Israeli policies impede Palestinians in the occupied West Bank from being able to adapt to climate change.
In an obituary, Al-Haq said that Suha was <a fierce advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom, and dignity>.

Al-Haq said it sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations calling for the <immediate and unconditional> release of Jarrar from Israeli prisons to bid farewell to her daughter.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/12/palestinians-demand-release-of-jailed-lawmaker-to-attend-funeral

Al Jazeera
July 12 2021
By Jacqueline Dooley

<<After losing a child: We are a family, but we grieve alone
My daughter’s absence was like a wound, raw and weeping. Everything we did together reminded us of who we had lost.

Once I got married and became a mother, I understood that my whole self wasn’t just about me any more. My life revolved around the other members of my familial collective? – my husband, and my two daughters. Four was the number that felt complete.
My world was driven by this new connected identity. We did things as a family, planned holidays as a family, and made decisions for the good of the family – mainly, the children – rather than the benefit of one specific part of the whole.
And we were whole. That’s how it felt to me? – whole and perfect and never alone. Yes, it could be overwhelming, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss that time when we all fit together like a perfect, seamless puzzle.

I took life for granted. I was perennially distracted. I was too wrapped up in the day-to-day bustle of raising the girls and keeping the family machine running to worry about what the future would look like. I stopped paying attention to each individual piece of the whole. I assumed the way we existed – as a family of four – would last forever.
That blurring of boundaries set me up for a massive identity crisis. It blinded me to the fragility of my family. It left me vulnerable to the devastating soul-deep loneliness that overwhelmed me when one of my children died.
Was it ever real? Was I deluding myself even then? I’m convinced that the version of my family that I’m remembering was, in fact, a dream.

I don’t know if other families have a sweet-spot moment in their existence the way mine did – or the way that I remember we did. We were far from perfect. We were a tangle of shoes, cluttered tables, dirty dishes, and dinnertime chaos. We were bedtimes and bath times and Pixar movies on Friday nights. We were oblivious to the privilege of our own oblivion.
I sat at the helm of that version of us – navigating the constant stopping and starting of school years, riding the crest of the seasons, wrapping my dear ones in holiday trimmings, and (of course) charting the growth spurts and milestones of my girls as the years passed.
This didn’t stop when my older daughter, Ana, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11. If anything, we became more tightly bound through long hospital stays, home isolation, a bucket-list of dream vacations, and the constant heavy certainty that she (we) wouldn’t survive. We crammed it all into the almost-five years between the day of Ana’s first hospitalisation and the day she died.

She died. Our world fractured. It wasn’t so much that we became suddenly, brutally, a family of three. It was more like we unbecame a family of four.
During the earliest days of deep grief, I floundered for a familiar family cadence that no longer existed, grasping for a way to survive the terrible pain of losing Ana. I was desperate to stitch the three of us back together, to find ways to reconnect with my husband and younger daughter, Emily.
At 12 years old, Emily had been intent on carrying on as if nothing had happened. She was watching me closely back then, no doubt afraid that if she looked away, I might disappear too.
Losing Ana destabilised the entire foundation of our lives. It reverberated through every peak and valley, changing how we each saw the world and interacted with each other. We became a table with three legs, a map missing one direction, a tripod of grief.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/7/12/after-losing-a-child-we-are-a-family-but-we-grieve-alone

Al Jazeera
By Jaqueline Dooley
4 oct 2020

<<The myth of the good mother
I could not fathom failing at the most basic measure of good motherhood. But some things cannot be fixed.

My idea of the good mother began long before I became a mother. The good mother was implied in the toys I played with, the TV shows I watched in the 1970s and 1980s, and the cultural cues I got from religion, family and community.
The good mother was kind, patient and endlessly compassionate. The good mother was happy too and, perhaps more importantly, her children were happy.
The good mother baked. She listened. She sacrificed. There was not much more to the good mother’s identity than motherhood itself and motherhood was enough.
I internalised the myth of the good mother throughout my early life, even when my understanding of myself had nothing to do with motherhood and my identity was still nebulous and ill-defined.

I did not count the days until I became a mother, did not picture my life being completed by a child, and did not define my personhood in the context of motherhood.
Then, at the age of 29, I suddenly wanted a baby. About a year after this desire manifested, I had my first daughter.
Impossible tasks
My younger daughter turned 16 in April. She is not happy. Her days, restricted by the pandemic and further restricted by her too-young-to-drive status, are filled with screens and anxiety.
Her junior year of high school will be entirely virtual. Her interactions with friends are mostly limited to Snapchat. She is an only child, not by birth, but because her sister died from cancer three years ago.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2020/10/4/the-myth-of-the-good-mother

Al Jazeera
July 11 2021
By Brian Knight

<<Anwar Ditta: The mother who took on the UK government and won.
It is 40 years since Anwar Ditta won her campaign against the UK Home Office and became one of the first to use DNA evidence to win the right to family reunification.
A photograph from 1982 shows the legendary late Labour MP, Tony Benn, marching in Trafalgar Square alongside the Namibian revolutionary, Sam Nujoma, the South African freedom fighter Oliver Tambo and a sea of male trade unionists holding banners denouncing apartheid and offering solidarity to the people of Namibia and South Africa. In the middle of this image stands a striking, yet petite lady: Anwar Ditta.

Today, Anwar, 67, is an unassuming housewife of Pakistani heritage who resides in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. But, between 1975 and 1982, she found herself at the centre of an anti-racist movement because of her fearless fight against Britain’s Home Office which had separated her from her three children in Pakistan.
Anwar’s story came to define an era of Asian anti-racist resistance, due to the explicit institutional racism it exposed within the British government. Her fight against the country’s racist immigration laws was by no means unprecedented. But what separated Anwar’s case from the many others like it was the rainbow coalition of support she managed to garner and her ability to mobilise people both nationally and internationally in her defence.
Her experience exposes Britain’s deeply shameful history of racism and the traumatic consequences many faced as a result of its prejudicial institutions.
Born in Birmingham, the UK’s second-largest city, in 1953, Anwar’s early years were mainly spent in Rochdale, where she lived with her younger sister, Hamida, and her parents.
Anwar’s mother, Bilquis Begum, and her father, Allah Ditta, were from Pakistan, born there while the nation was under British colonial rule. Spurred by curiosity, her father, who was born in 1921, left his teaching job in Pakistan and moved to the UK in the 1950s. When he arrived, he was employed as a bus conductor and foreman in a crystal factory while his wife, who moved to Britain a few years later, stayed at home with their children.

‘Treated worse than somebody accused of murder’

In 1967, when she was 14 years old, Anwar was married under Islamic law to 22-year-old Shuja Ud Din. His family had been renting a property from Anwar’s grandfather and the two families had become well acquainted by the time Anwar’s grandmother arranged the marriage. The couple had three children – Imran, Kamran and Saima.
Anwar had only very sporadic contact with her mother during her childhood. But, when her mother visited Pakistan in 1975, Anwar expressed her wish to travel back to Britain, her birth country. She also wanted to join Shuja who had been sponsored by a friend to live in Denmark before he moved on to the UK in 1974 where he lived with Anwar’s mother while he waited for her to arrive. Unaware of her legal rights as a British-born citizen to travel back to the UK with her children, Anwar and Shuja agreed to re-marry under British law, find a new home there and settle before applying for their children to join them.
In 1976, by which time they had a fourth child – a British-born daughter called Samera – Anwar and Shuja applied for their three children in Pakistan – now aged 6, 4 and 3 – to come to Britain.
That, she recalls, was when her <nightmare with [the] immigration authorities began>.

The Home Office made them wait two and a half years for the result of their application. In that time, Anwar and Shuja met with countless solicitors, organised pickets and even sought the help of the recently established Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
Anwar describes how emotionally shattering this time was as <the children [in Pakistan] were very small. My youngest child was breastfeeding when I left.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/7/11/anwar-ditta-the-mother-who-took-on-the-uk-government-and-won

Al Jazeera
10 July 2021
By Nikolaj Houmann Mortensen and Stefania Prandi

<<In Spain’s strawberry fields, migrant women face sexual abuse.
Farm bosses routinely sexually harass and exploit seasonal workers who pick the red fruit that lines shelves in European supermarkets, investigation reveals.
*The names of all workers in this article have been changed to protect their identities.

Huelva, Spain – It is mid-May and the hot air is filled with the sugary scent of strawberries mixed with fertiliser as Jadida*, a Moroccan woman, walks on the side of the road, a farm behind her. A large pair of sunglasses covers her face, almost entirely. Greenhouses surround her as far as the eye can see.
Jadida had told her colleagues she was going grocery shopping, so on the way back, she must pass by the shops, to avoid their suspicions, she says as she begins the interview.
Talking to the migrant workers who pick strawberries in Europe’s biggest red fruit producing region, the Huelva province in Spain, is not easy. The fields are fenced, and in many places there are surveillance cameras, guards and electric gates which close as soon as strangers approach.

But after these reporters handed out their phone numbers to a group of strawberry pickers in the area, inviting them to be interviewed, Jadida called back because she wanted to share her experiences of sexual abuse, allegedly by her supervisor.
At first, he was kind to her. But on her second day at work, he tried to persuade her to join him in his room. She refused, and he began calling her phone constantly. Eventually, he approached her when she was working in the fields and tried to pressure her into having sex with him.
Continuously rejecting him has had consequences. The supervisor now threatens to have her fired and sent back to Morocco.

<He tells the other bosses that I am lazy and not working. He gets me in trouble and accuses me of things that I haven’t done,> Jadida told Al Jazeera.
She is one of thousands of women – among them many Moroccans and Romanians – who each year spend three to six months picking strawberries, raspberries and blueberries underneath the <sea of plastic> of Huelva.
Al Jazeera, in collaboration with the Danish investigative media outlet, Danwatch, interviewed 16 female farm workers, all of whom had contracts with the seven largest red fruit producers who sell to well-known supermarkets in the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
Most workers recounted daily humiliations, such as penalties for taking toilet breaks, union busting and little or no protection against COVID-19. Several reported being subject to sexual harassment and blackmailed for sex.
According to Jadida, many of her colleagues do not dare to reject the supervisor.
The only other worker she knows who did so was frequently seen crying in the greenhouses and eventually moved to another part of the farm, Jadida claims.
<As soon as I get out of here, I want him arrested,> she says.

Strawberry pickers with temporary work visas have few opportunities to report harassment and abuse.
Most arrive as part of a bilateral <contracting in origin> agreement between Morocco and Spain which in 2019 alone, saw almost 20,000 Moroccan women pick Spanish strawberries.
According to the deal, migrants lose the opportunity to work in Spain if they leave their Spanish workplace for any reason.
Furthermore, it emphasises that the Moroccan state recruitment agency ANAPEC must ensure that migrant workers return to Morocco when the season ends. Scholars and NGOs say this is why ANAPEC demands that hopeful workers must show evidence that they have children under the age of 14 at home – so that they have something they must return to.
The women stay in small apartments – barracks and containers in between the greenhouses, far from any town centre.
Isolated and relying on temporary work visas, they are extremely dependent on their employers’ mercy, not only for security but also basic health standards, unions and local NGOs claim.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/10/in-spains-strawberry-fields-migrant-women-face-sexual-abuse

Al Jazeera
18 Nov 2020

<<Rape, abuses in palm oil fields linked to top cosmetic brands: AP
AP investigation on treatment of women workers in palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia finds sexual and other forms of abuse.
A 16-year-old girl describes how her boss raped her amid the tall trees on an Indonesian palm oil plantation that feeds into some of the world’s best-known cosmetic brands. He then put an axe to her throat and warned her: <Do not tell.>

At another plantation, a woman named Ola complains of fevers, coughing and nose bleeds after years of spraying dangerous pesticides with no protective gear.
Hundreds of miles away, Ita, a young wife, mourns the two babies she lost in her third trimester. She regularly lugged loads several times her weight throughout both pregnancies, fearing she would be fired if she did not.
These are the invisible women of the palm oil industry, among the millions of daughters, mothers and grandmothers who toil on vast plantations across Indonesia and neighbouring Malaysia, which together produce 85 percent of the world’s most versatile vegetable oil.
Palm oil is found in everything from potato chips and pills to pet food, and also ends up in the supply chains of some of the biggest names in the $530bn beauty business, including L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Avon and Johnson & Johnson, helping women around the world feel pampered and beautiful.

The Associated Press conducted the investigation focusing on the brutal treatment of women in the production of palm oil, including the hidden scourge of sexual abuse, ranging from verbal harassment and threats to rape.
The investigation was part of a larger examination that exposed widespread abuses in the two countries, including human trafficking, child labour and outright slavery.
Women are burdened with some of the industry’s most difficult and dangerous jobs, spending hours waist-deep in water tainted by chemical runoff and carrying loads so heavy that, over time, their wombs can collapse.
Many are hired by subcontractors on a day-to-day basis without benefits, performing the same jobs for the same companies for years – even decades.
<Almost every plantation has problems related to labour,> said Hotler Parsaoran of the Indonesian non-profit group, Sawit Watch. “But the conditions of female workers are far worse than men.>
The AP news agency interviewed more than three dozen women and girls from at least 12 companies across both countries. Because previous reports have resulted in retaliation against workers, they are being identified only by partial names or nicknames.
The Malaysian government said it had received no reports about rapes on plantations, but Indonesia acknowledged physical and sexual abuse appears to be a growing problem, with most victims afraid to speak out.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/18/rape-abuses-in-palm-oil-fields-linked-to-top-cosmetic-brands-ap

Al Jazeera
9 July 2021

<<UK police officer admits to murdering Sarah Everard
Prosecutor says 33-year-old victim was a ‘total stranger’ to the officer who has pleaded guilty to kidnap, rape and murder.
British police officer Wayne Couzens has pleaded guilty to murdering Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old woman abducted as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London.
Couzens previously admitted to kidnapping and raping Everard, a marketing executive who went missing on March 3.
Couzens entered a guilty plea to murder during a hearing at London’s Central Criminal Court on Friday, appearing by video link from Belmarsh high-security prison.
Bearded and wearing a blue sweatshirt, he sat with his head bowed and said <guilty ma’am> when asked how he pleaded to the charge of murder.
A major police investigation was launched after Everard’s disappearance.

Her body was found a week later in the woods more than 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of London, close to a piece of land owned by Couzens.

The search for Everard and news of her killing caused a nationwide outcry, with women sharing experiences of being threatened, attacked or simply facing the everyday fear of violence when walking alone.
Police in the UK capital came under criticism after some women attending a vigil for Everard were arrested for breaching coronavirus restrictions.
Couzens, 48, joined London’s Metropolitan Police in 2018 and had most recently served in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and parliament.
Prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens had never met Everard prior to kidnapping her from London’s South Circular road in a rented car, and that they were <total strangers>.
Judge Adrian Fulford said Couzens had previously only given an entirely false account of events, an elaborate story involving an Eastern European gang.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/9/uk-police-officer-admits-to-murdering-sarah-everard

And 3 more articles about Everard death.

The Guardian
7 July 2021
By Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul

<<Armed Afghan women take to streets in show of defiance against Taliban.
Women in north and central regions of country stage demonstrations as militants make sweeping gains nationwide.

Women have taken up guns in northern and central Afghanistan, marching in the streets in their hundreds and sharing pictures of themselves with assault rifles on social media, in a show of defiance as the Taliban make sweeping gains nationwide.
One of the biggest demonstrations was in central Ghor province, where hundreds of women turned out at the weekend, waving guns and chanting anti-Taliban slogans.
They are not likely to head to the frontlines in large numbers any time soon, because of both social conservatism and lack of experience. But the public demonstrations, at a time of urgent threat from the militants, are a reminder of how frightened many women are about what Taliban rule could mean for them and their families.

<There were some women who just wanted to inspire security forces, just symbolic, but many more were ready to go to the battlefields,> said Halima Parastish, the head of the women’s directorate in Ghor and one of the marchers. <That includes myself. I and some other women told the governor around a month ago that we’re ready to go and fight.>
The Taliban have been sweeping across rural Afghanistan, taking dozens of districts including in places such as northern Badakhshan province, which 20 years ago was an anti-Taliban stronghold. They now have multiple provincial capitals in effect under siege.
Even women from extremely conservative rural areas aspire to more education, greater freedom of movement and a greater role in their families, according to a new survey of a group whose voices are rarely heard. Taliban rule will take them in the opposite direction.

<No woman wants to fight, I just want to continue my education and stay far away from the violence but conditions made me and other women stand up,> said a journalist in her early 20s from northern Jowzjan, where there is a history of women fighting.>...
She said there were a few dozen women learning to use guns with her, and despite their inexperience they would have one advantage over men if they faced the Taliban. <They are frightened of being killed by us, they consider it shameful...
For conservative militants, facing women in battle can be humiliating. Isis fighters in Syria were reportedly more frightened of dying at the hands of female Kurdish forces than being killed by men. (Link to Peshmerga article by Gino d'Artali: http://www.cryfreedom.net/peshmerga.htm )>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/07/armed-afghan-women-take-to-streets-in-show-of-defiance-against-taliban

and here: rfel.org
November 12, 2016
By Radio Azadi

<<Afghan Women Take Up Arms Against The Taliban.
The leader of a fledgling women's militia in northern Afghanistan says dozens of volunteers have joined the fight since a handful of women recently took up arms to rebuff a Taliban attack on their community.
Women in the district of Darz-Aab, in Jowzjan Province, initially fought alongside local forces to prevent the antigovernment militants from overrunning the village of Shahtoot in late October.

Their ranks have since grown to as many as 45 women, locals say, many of whom have sold livestock to buy guns.
Fifty-three-year-old Zarmina, the wife of a local police officer who so far commands the female fighters, said she and the other women had no other choice.
<The number of police personnel was too small, so we had to take up guns alongside our husbands,> Zarmina told RFE/RL's Afghan Service. <As the Taliban attacked a police post, I put aside my scarf and fired from different places. I had 21 bullets and killed seven Taliban,> she claimed.>>
Read more here:
https://www.rferl.org/a/women-militia-springs-from-northern-afghan-firefight/28111869.html

Al Jazeera
7 July 2021
Jaclynn Ashly

<<‘Treated worse than animals’: Black women in pretrial detention
Thousands of women, many unable to afford bail, languish in US jails for months without a conviction, resulting in a prolonged domino effect that reverberates far outside the jail walls.
Atlanta, Georgia – Angela Holt was about three months pregnant when police arrested her in January 2020 after she got into a physical altercation with a man she says called her a <black monkey> at a shop.

She was charged with aggravated assault and held on a $15,000 bond – $1,600 of which she was expected to pay. Unable to afford bail, she spent about five months in the Union City Jail, the Fulton County Jail’s female-only facility located just outside Atlanta in the US state of Georgia.
There, she says she was surrounded by conditions no person should have to endure, let alone a pregnant woman. <We had a heroin addict vomiting everywhere and a mentally ill lady sleeping in her own faeces. We would have to clean up ourselves and the guards wouldn’t even give us gloves,> Holt says.
<They’re getting so overpopulated that they’re throwing the mentally ill, addicts, and everyone else in there with you. They don’t care,> she tells Al Jazeera. <I met people in there for petty reasons – things no one should be in jail for.>
Holt’s experience is not unique. It is a reality experienced by thousands of women in the United States. The pre-trial detention system has served to funnel scores of unconvicted women into jails because they cannot afford to post bail for their release. Black and brown women, who are more likely to be held in pretrial detention, especially face a prolonged domino effect that reverberates far outside the jail walls.
‘A warehouse’
The US uses jails as a <warehouse for people who have problems in our society,> says John Raphling, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Incarceration has become the <response to so many societal problems, like homelessness, mental illness, drug abuse and poverty,> he tells Al Jazeera.
With more than 2 million people locked up in jails and prisons and more than 4.4 million under parole or probation supervision, the US has the highest known prison population and the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world. A 2017 report by the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) found that mass incarceration in the US costs state and federal governments $182bn.
The number of women in US jails has grown at a faster rate than any other correctional population, increasing by more than 700 percent between 1980 and 2019. Black and Hispanic women are imprisoned at far higher rates than white women.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/7/7/treated-worse-than-animals-black-women-in-us-pretrial-detention

Al Jazeera
6 July 2021
Koraly Dimitriadis
...a Cypriot-Australian writer, poet and actress

<<No woman should be forced to endure an IUD
IUDs are invasive and risky. Britney Spears’ conservatorship highlights how women are expected to bear those risks.

Last month, the world listened as Britney Spears, the American singer and pop star, described in detail to a court her experience of being subjected to a conservatorship controlled by her father, James Parnell Spears. When Spears had a very public breakdown in 2007 it seemed appropriate her father take control to safeguard her estate. Over a decade later, however, her testimony raised hairs on my arms as I listened to her blow-by-blow account of an arrangement she calls <abusive>.
In a chilling scene reminiscent of something from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Spears revealed that she has been refused permission to remove an intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUD) which stops her getting pregnant. It is unclear whether Spears consented to have the IUD inserted, or how long she has had it, but one thing is clear. Under this conservatorship she apparently has no say on whether it remains.

Her revelation triggered memories of my own experience with an IUD and reminded me of how angry I am that women are just expected to embrace these invasive devices – in many cases inserted without any sort of pain relief (as Caitlin Moran so elegantly explained in her Times column). I would like to know where the IUD-male-equivalent is? It seems that, just like Britney’s father, patriarchy prefers us sterile at the expense of our health, at their pleasure – essentially, controlling our bodies.
The West is quick to judge the enforcing of sterilisation and contraception on women in other cultures – such as that of the Uighurs by the Chinese government – but in the US, the so-called <land of the free>, a woman of Spears’ stature and fame is being denied agency over her own body.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/7/6/no-woman-should-be-forced-to-endure-an-iud

Al Jazeera
5 July 2021

<<Berta Caceres murder: Court finds construction executive guilty
Honduran court finds David Castillo guilty of being a collaborator in 2016 murder of Indigenous activist Berta Caceres.

A Honduran construction firm executive has been found guilty of being a collaborator in the 2016 killing of Indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres, a court ruled on Monday, in what Caceres’ supporters welcomed as a “victory”.
David Castillo is the former head of Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA), which ran the $50m Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project.

Caceres, a longtime environmental activist and Indigenous leader, was fatally shot in 2016 in her home in the town of La Esperanza after leading opposition to the project, which would have built a dam on the Gualcarque River on the ancestral lands of her Lenca people.
Lenca activists had said the project would cause major disruptions to their water and food supply and that the builders did not consult the area’s Indigenous groups.
Seven other men have already been convicted and sentenced for playing a role in her killing, which drew international condemnation and widespread calls for justice.

Castillo was originally charged with being the mastermind behind the murder, but was found guilty of being a co-conspirator on Monday. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 3.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/5/berta-caceres-murder-court-finds-construction-executive-guilty-honduras

Al Jazeera
By Natalie Alcoba
7 Feb 2021

<<Honduras hardened its abortion ban. These women remain undeterred
Honduran Congress put a lock on decades-old ban on abortion weeks after Argentina legalised it in landmark decision.

In the days since the Congress of Honduras hardened its absolute prohibition of abortion, the ranks of a feminist organisation that has been campaigning for decriminalisation in the staunchly conservative nation have been swelling.
The new recruits to the women’s rights group, Somos Muchas, are mostly young women between the ages of 18 and 30 who have been moved into action by recent events. For local activists, it is a sign that change is still possible in a country with some of the most severe restrictions on abortion in the world.

<They did it out of fear,> said Neesa Medina, an activist with Somos Muchas, about lawmakers’ push to strengthen the prohibition. <Because they think they can ban the future. But you can’t ban the future.>
It has been forbidden to terminate a pregnancy in Honduras under any circumstance, even rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger, since 1985.
The Congress has now put a legal lock on that position by explicitly adding the abortion ban to its constitution, and setting the number of votes required in order to make a future change at the highest level – three-quarters of Congress.
A chorus of international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Parliament, sounded the alarm, and urged the legislative body to reconsider a move they said not only violates human rights standards but will inflict further harm on women and girls.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/7/honduras-hardened-abortion-ban-these-women-remain-undeterreduato

And 3 more articles by Al Jazeera on the Latin America situation i.e. subject.

TRTWORLD
5 July 2021

<<Judge Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault, California psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, spent hours testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. #Kavanaugh #Trump #ChristineBlaseyFord>>
Read more here:
https://www.trtworld.com/video/social-videos/kavanaugh-us-supreme-court-nominee-battling-sex-abuse-allegations/5baf31c458cd863d687705e5

And 3 more short intros to short headers and videos.

The Guardian
Andrew Roth in Moscow
5 Jul 2021

<<Russian supermarket faces backlash after pulling lesbian couple advert.
VkusVill apologises for promotion, saying it had ‘hurt the feelings’ of customers and staff.

An upmarket Russian supermarket chain has issued a public apology after it posted an advert featuring a lesbian couple who shopped at its store.

VkusVill’s decision to pull the ad has provoked an angry backlash from Moscow liberals and other Russian LGBTQ allies, who have criticised the supermarket chain’s “cowardice” and said they would be boycotting the store.

The chain was apparently more concerned about a conservative backlash for offering a modest portrayal of queer life in Russia. The ad was seen as a challenge to Russia’s <gay propaganda> law that bans the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”.
A VkusVill representative declined to answer questions from the Guardian about whether the supermarket chain had been pressed to pull the ad.
On Sunday VkusVill apologised for its <hurtful> photoshoot of a lesbian couple, Yuma and Zhenya, and their children, Mila and Alina, who said they enjoyed the supermarket’s onigiri rice balls with mushrooms and that their favourite product was the hummus.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/05/russian-supermarket-faces-backlash-after-pulling-lesbian-couple-advert

Al Jazeera
4 July 2021

<<Mapuche woman to lead body drafting Chile’s new constitution
Constitutional assembly picks academic Elisa Loncon to lead body drafting new text to replace Pinochet-era constitution.

The architects of Chile’s new constitution have chosen an Indigenous Mapuche woman to lead the process, as the country’s constitutional assembly was inaugurated on Sunday in the capital, Santiago.
University professor and activist for Mapuche educational and linguistic rights Elisa Loncon, a 58-year-old independent constituent, was picked by 96 of 155 delegates, including 17 Indigenous people, who make up the constitutional body.

The delegates were elected to draft a new text to replace Chile’s previous Magna Carta, which was produced during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

<I am grateful for the support of the different coalitions that placed their trust and their dreams in the hands of the Mapuche nation, who voted for a Mapuche person, a woman, to change the history of this country,> Loncon said.
Fed up with the political status quo and urging systemic reforms, Chilean voters in May elected dozens of progressive, independent delegates to redraft the constitution – dealing a surprise blow to conservative candidates who failed to secure a third of the seats to veto any proposals.

“The idea of this 155-member assembly is that it tries to encompass and represent all the diverse elements of Chilean society,” Al Jazeera’s Daniel Schweimler reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Two-thirds of the assembly must approve each article of the new constitution, he explained. The body will have nine months, with a possible three-month extension, to draft a new document that will be then put to a referendum.
<No group is big enough to veto those articles at the moment,” Schweimler said. “What we’re going to see over the next nine months to a year are a lot of negotiations; alliances, coalitions being formed, people trying to decide the best way forward.>
Although amended during the last decades, the previous version of Chile’s constitution was widely unpopular and viewed as a source of social inequality.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/4/indigenous-mapuche-woman-to-lead-body-drafting-chile-new-constitution

Al Jazeera
3 July 2021

<<‘Mockery’: Backlash after Ukraine women troops march in heels.
Defence ministry images showing women soldiers practising for parade in heels prompt a torrent of criticism.

Ukrainian authorities have been slammed after official pictures showed women soldiers practising for next month’s military parade in heels.
Ukraine is preparing to stage the parade to mark 30 years of independence following the Soviet Union’s breakup, and the defence ministry on Thursday released photographs of fatigue-clad women soldiers marching in mid-heel black pumps.
<Today, for the first time, training takes place in heeled shoes,> cadet Ivanna Medvid was quoted as saying by the defence ministry’s information site ArmiaInform.
<It is slightly harder than in army boots but we are trying,> Medvid said.

The choice of footwear sparked a torrent of criticism on social media and in parliament, and led to accusations that women soldiers had been sexualised.
<The story of a parade in heels is a real disgrace,> commentator Vitaly Portnikov said on Facebook, arguing that some Ukrainian officials had a <medieval> mindset.

‘Sexism and misogyny’
Another commentator, Maria Shapranova, accused the defence ministry of <sexism and misogyny>.
<High heels is a mockery of women imposed by the beauty industry,> she said.
Several Ukrainian lawmakers close to Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko showed up in parliament with pairs of shoes and encouraged the defence minister to wear high heels to the parade.
<It is hard to imagine a more idiotic, harmful idea,> said Inna Sovsun, a member of the Golos party, pointing to health risks.>>
Click here to read more:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/3/ukraines-women-troops-marching-heels-backlash

The Guardian
3 July 2021
Arwa Mahdawi

<<Bill Cosby, Britney, and a tale of two American justice systems.
Cosby becoming a free man on the same day Spears lost her latest battle to free herself from a man’s control is almost too on the nose.
A tale of two justice systems
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a good fortune and an expensive lawyer can get away with almost anything. See as exhibit one: Bill Cosby. On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned the disgraced actor’s sexual assault conviction on a legal technicality. Cosby had served two years of a three to ten-year sentence for a 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand; before Wednesday’s surprise reversal he had been expected to serve the maximum time after vowing he wasn’t going to show any remorse for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

It is highly unlikely that Cosby, 83, will ever see the inside of a prison cell again. While he has been accused of sexual misconduct by 60 women, the statute of limitations for all the accusers with enough evidence to bring a case had passed by the time they went public with the allegations. All except Constand. Now, according to Wednesday’s ruling, Cosby cannot be retried for Constand’s assault. In a statement the court said overturning the guilty verdict and blocking any further prosecution <is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.>

You know what? That statement is spot on: Cosby walking free is exactly what I’d expect from the US criminal justice system. There is a reason why the dozens of women who accused Cosby of misconduct took years to come forward; there is a reason more than two out of three sexual assaults are estimated to go unreported. Sexual assault victims often don’t come forward because they don’t expect to be believed or taken seriously by the legal system. And these suspicions are well-founded: according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network out of 1,000 sexual assaults, 975 perpetrators go free. Some even go on glitzy careers. A third of the six men on the US supreme court have been accused of sexual misconduct.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/03/bill-cosby-britney-spears-week-in-patriarchy

The Guardian
July 2 2021
Ed Pilkington in New York
<<Cosby release shows how prosecutors hinder sexual assault victims, advocates say
Bruce Castor’s disputed deal offering Bill Cosby immunity is under scrutiny, and indicative of hurdles facing women who seek justice.

The release of Bill Cosby from prison on Wednesday after his 2018 sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania supreme court has refocused attention on one of the big complaints of the #MeToo movement – the role of prosecutors in hindering female victims in their search for justice.

At the centre of the storm is Bruce Castor, a high-profile Republican lawyer who was district attorney of Montgomery county, Cosby’s home area, at the time the TV star was first investigated for drugging and molesting a woman in 2005. The reversal of Cosby’s sentence has shone the spotlight once again on Castor’s controversial handling of the case, which advocates say is indicative of the hurdles facing women nationwide as they try to hold abusers accountable.
Castor became headline news in January when he represented Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial following the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol. The Pennsylvania lawyer was widely ridiculed after a bizarre opening statement in which he referenced, among other things, his parents’ vinyl records collection.

Now he is under the spotlight once again over his disputed approach to the Cosby case. The lawyer faces criticism that he mishandled the original investigation in deciding not to prosecute the celebrity in 2005, and that he then made it impossible for later convictions to stick by effectively offering Cosby criminal immunity.
Castor was brought into the case soon after Andrea Constand, a former head basketball coach at Temple University, sounded the alarm over Cosby who she had regarded as a mentor. As the Pennsylvania supreme court describes in its factual history of the case, Constand was molested by the star at his home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, in January 2004 while she was unable to move or speak after the comic had encouraged her to drink alcohol and take three blue pills which he told her would <help take the edge off> her anxiety.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/02/bill-cosby-bruce-castor-prosecutors-sexual-assault-victims

The Guardian
2 July 2021
by Bethan McKernan , Vera Mironova and Emma Graham-Harrison

<<How women of Isis in Syrian camps are marrying their way to freedom.
Hundreds of foreign women with links to Islamic State in Syria’s sprawling al-Hawl detention camp have <married> men they met online and several hundred have been smuggled out of the facility using cash bribes gifted by their new husbands.

The camp’s inhabitants have been sent wire payments totalling upwards of $500,000 (£360,000), according to testimony from 50 women inside and outside Hawl, local Kurdish officials, a former Isis member in eastern Europe with knowledge of the money transfer network and a foreign fighter in Idlib province involved in smuggling.
The practice is a significant security risk inside Syria and for foreign governments who refuse to take their nationals home – but according to many interviewees, getting married is both easy and an increasingly popular escape method.
Antony Blinken (left) and the Italian foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, hold a joint news conference in Rome.
US pushes France and UK to take Isis fighters back from Iraq and Syria.
<Every day I get a man texting me asking if I am looking for a husband,> said one woman from Russia living in the camp. <Everyone around me has got married … although those who are still pro-Isis and pretend to be modest would deny it.>

Approximately 60,000 women and children who poured out of Isis’s last Syrian stronghold when the so-called caliphate fell in March 2019 are now detained in Hawl by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control the north-east of the country.
Their imprisonment is a rallying cry for Isis supporters across the world, and <marrying> one of the imprisoned women – even in a long-distance, online relationship – has become a badge of honour on the jihadists’ social media networks.
For men, it is a way to raise their social standing and help those in need. Most prospective husbands appear to have roots in Muslim countries but live in western Europe, where they are relatively well-off.
For the women of the camp, it is a way of securing an income that can make life in Hawl more bearable: the money is used for daily necessities such as nappies, food, medicine, phone credit and to pay other women to cook and clean.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/02/women-isis-syrian-camps-marrying-way-to-freedom

trtworld
July 2 2021
Kalpana Sunder

<<A new breed of Indian female artists challenge patriarchy and stereotypes.

Many young Indian artists are seriously engaging with topics like gender, sexuality, consent and other social issues that have gripped India.

A futuristic landscape titled ‘Pollution Punk’ depicts Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum. Another called ‘Naga district’ is a gigantic piece of 3-D art that has a giant serpent hovering above skyscrapers, with Indian script, on top of buildings. Digital artist Sam Madhu’s wild coloured pop art in shades of fuchsia pink and purple, have Goddess Kali in a T-shirt, and new-age Indian women talking about taboo topics from sexuality, to body shaming.

Art is activism and can be immensely effective in opening up conversations and dealing with oppression and gender-based violence. In recent times, many young Indian women artists have seriously engaged with topics like gender, inclusivity, sexuality, consent and patriarchy through their art.

Sam Madhu, 26, ( with 50.7 K followers on Instagram) started drawing and painting when she was in school in Chennai, finding her lessons boring and often filling her school notebooks with drawings. She attended the prestigious Parsons School of Design and worked as an Art Director, with social media campaigns, and found her mojo in digital art. >>
Read more here:
https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/a-new-breed-of-indian-female-artists-challenge-patriarchy-and-stereotypes-48023

Al Jazeera
30 June 2021
<<Fox News fined $1m for sexual harassment and retaliation
New York watchdogs fined Fox News $1m for violating sexual harassment and job retaliation laws, in a settlement that also included Fox suspending a policy that requires people who allege misconduct to enter into binding arbitration.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights has fined Fox News $1m, the largest penalty in its history, for violations of laws protecting against sexual harassment and job retaliation.

As part of a settlement agreement announced Tuesday, Fox also agreed to mandate anti-harassment training for its New York-based staff and contributors and to temporarily drop a policy requiring people who allege misconduct to enter into binding arbitration.
The penalty stems from an investigation that began in 2017 following several reports of what the commission called “rampant abuse” at the popular news and opinion outlet.
The first indication of problems at the channel came in 2016 when former anchor Gretchen Carlson charged that now-deceased network chief Roger Ailes had made unwanted advances and derailed her career when she rejected him. Both Ailes and former Fox personality Bill O’Reilly lost their jobs over misconduct allegations.
Several other women have come forward with lawsuits and their own harassment allegations, including former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly.
The $1m fine groups four separate <willful and wanton> violations that each carried a maximum penalty of $250,000. The commission would not identify the people involved in those cases, or whether there were more.
Human rights officials said they hoped the large penalty would deter bad behavior at any workplace.

<If people would dare to break the law and discriminate or harass people, there will be stiff penalties they would have to pay,> said Carmelyn Malalis, chairwoman of the city Commission on Human Rights.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/6/30/fox-news-fined-1m-for-sexual-harassement-and-retaliation


 

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