formerly known as
Womens Liberation Front


Welcome to, formerly known as.Womens Liberation Front.  A website that hopes to draw and keeps your attention for  both the global 21th. century 3rd. feminist revolutution as well and a selection of special feminist artists and writers.

This online magazine will be published evey six weeks and started February 1st. 2019. Thank you for your time and interest.

Gino d'Artali
chief editor
and radical feminist











                                                                                                            CRYFREEDOM 2019/2020

PART 5:  International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
July 31 2021 untill July 1 2021 and more.


PART 6:  International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
August 18 2021 untill September 1 2021 and more.


PART 7: 
International media about the atrocities
against women worldwide.
Sept 30  2021 to Sept 1 and some August parts.




Also visit Afghani Womens Resistence
July 7 untill August 18 2021

Part 2 will be published around 15 Sept. 2021 because the resistence is becoming bigger and spreading more in Afghanistan




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

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


18 untill 28 August 2021


Al Jazeera
28 August 2021

<<From: Inside Story
Is the Taliban up to the security challenges in Afghanistan?
Dozens of people killed in bombing outside Kabul airport by ISIL affiliate.

Nearly 200 people were killed in an attack outside Kabul’s airport, including at least 13 US military personnel. Many more were also wounded. The attack claimed by an ISIL (ISIS) offshoot came as little surprise to many who had been warning of a security threat in the area for days.>>
Watch the Al Jazeera video here:

Al Jazeera
27 August 2021
Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos.

<<The threat of ISKP in Afghanistan has been underestimated.
The Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate could derail Taliban efforts to establish security and stable rule.

On August 26, two suicide bombers killed 72 Afghans and 13 members of the US military at Kabul airport amid evacuation efforts. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIL (ISIS), claimed responsibility for the brutal attack and thus put itself in the international media spotlight.

Although foreign media started paying attention to this group only now, ISKP has been terrorising Afghans since 2015 and it will continue to do so after the August 31 withdrawal of US troops.

There are two aspects of this attack that need to be considered. First, ISKP attacked the airport primarily to discredit its rival, the Taliban, in yet another escalation of the larger conflict between Sunni extremist armed groups. Second, ISKP made it clear that the Taliban will find it hard to keep its promises to ensure the safety and security of civilians, especially women and minorities under its rule.

A conflict between Sunni non-state actors

The emergence of ISIL, the umbrella organisation that includes ISKP, has often been attributed to sectarian dynamics and Sunni-Shia conflicts from the Arab world to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The problem with blaming violent conflict in this region on tensions between the two sects is that it ignores how the armed group has had a long, bloody legacy of stoking intra-Sunni conflict.

ISIL was formed by defectors from al-Qaeda in 2014 in Syria who then attacked their parent organisation and its Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. ISKP was formed primarily by defectors from the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2015, who then went on to attack the Afghan branch. In both cases, the defectors considered their former organisations not extreme enough or not committed enough to attack fellow Sunnis, who they considered deviants, or Shia Muslims.

Essentially the conflict between ISIL and its affiliates on one hand, and al-Qaeda and the Taliban on the other, represents an oft-ignored intra-Sunni conflict among extremist groups. Both Syria and Afghanistan are zones of insecurity that have allowed the formation of multiple extremist non-state actors, essentially religious warlords. Since these non-state actors are so close ideologically, their legitimacy is threatened as long as the other rival exists, and thus must be eliminated immediately. Defeating their violent competitors delivers the benefits of monopolising the jihadist narrative as well as gaining new recruits.

This is the conflict ISKP is gearing up for with the Taliban, as the US withdraws. While ISKP numbers have dwindled to 2,000, it can still challenge the legitimacy of the estimated 60,000-strong Taliban. With its forces spread thin across Afghanistan, the Taliban would be particularly vulnerable to violent terror tactics by its splinter.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
26 August 2021
Rachel Thompson

<<Unacknowledged rape: the sexual assault survivors who hide their trauma – even from themselves. Surveys suggest a large proportion of women have experienced sexual assaults that they labelled as a misunderstanding. This has serious psychological repercussions and increases the chance of being victimised again.

The morning after it happened, I said a cheery: <Good morning,> to my university roommate, as if nothing was wrong. <How was last night?> she asked. <So fun,> I lied. The truth was that the night before I had feared for my life. I didn’t articulate it, but deep down I knew that what had happened had felt violating, degrading and not what I signed up for. Yet it took me a whole decade to realise what had really happened: I had been sexually assaulted. So that morning when my roommate asked me excitedly: <Do you think you’ll see him again?> I said: <I hope so.> That part wasn’t a lie. My limited understanding of consent and sexual violence at that time, and my overall sexual inexperience, meant I believed I was to blame for what had happened, that perhaps I just didn’t know <how sex usually is>. On top of all that, I had feelings for the guy. For the next 10 years, I would speak about <bad sex> or <grey-area experiences>. I would start sentences with: <This doesn’t really count, but …> or: <I wasn’t raped, but …> as if I didn’t have the right to the trauma I had buried. Then the #MeToo movement gained widespread prominence in 2017 and something shifted.

<That’s trauma,> a therapist said to me when I finally opened up about the events that had taken place years earlier. Hearing those words gave me permission to feel the weight of what I had endured at 19, to understand why anxiety lurked close to the surface of my body. A voice inside my head finally said: <That was sexual assault.> At 33, I know that now. My experience is one that many survivors of sexual violence share. Research suggests that it can take years – sometimes decades – for some survivors to realise or accept that their experience amounts to sexual assault or rape. Psychologists refer to this as <unacknowledged rape” or <unacknowledged assault>. One study on the subject from the US estimates a staggering 60% of female university students have experienced unacknowledged rape. Other studies have determined that between 30% and 88% of all sexual assaults go unacknowledged by survivors.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
24 August 2021
By Joye Hayden

<<Gagged: How shame and silence meet in control of women’s bodies. When we do not take into account a woman’s reason for choosing an abortion, we strip her of her agency and voice. For abused women, it is simply another form of tyranny. In 1985, then-US President Ronald Reagan implemented the Mexico City Policy. It blocked US federal funding for foreign NGOs that shared information or counselling on abortion and sometimes birth control and became known, by its opponents, as the global gag rule. It reflected in macrocosm the kind of tyranny that often occurs in the lives of abused women. In 1985, I had been with my abuser, Scott*, for two years. One night, not long after I had stopped taking birth control pills because they had started to make me feel severely nauseous, Scott insisted we have sex without protection. My period had just ended, but I knew my body and could feel a specific cramp that indicated I was ovulating. Scott told me I didn’t know anything about “how this works”. He made me doubt what I knew. He made me believe he knew more about my body than I did. He argued and yelled. He gripped my biceps and shook me until I finally agreed out of fear. Six weeks later, as I stood in my doctor’s office, I prayed she would tell me I wasn’t pregnant. I could hear her voice, but I was staring out of the window. I lost myself right there in the examining room. I was in the clouds, flying high, flying fast, heading north in my mind, past Loon Mountain and Saint Johnsbury, into Canada. I wanted to be anywhere but in my body. I left the doctor’s office in a daze. Scott was at home waiting for the results. But I didn’t want to go home, so I put the truck in gear and drove west, over the border into Vermont. Although I was alone, driving the truck, I felt like I was not even in it. I was out of my body, floating somewhere in the sky.

It is not that I just did not want to go home at that moment. The truth was I did not want to go home ever. If only I could just keep driving. I did not want this pregnancy. I could not subject a baby to Scott’s irrational and unpredictable anger. I knew I would never be able to keep a baby safe. By the time I was 12, I knew I did not want children. I had learned by then that parents are not capable of protecting their children from tragedy. By that age, I had been molested by an uncle, a family doctor, and a babysitter’s teenaged son. On top of that, my oldest brother had drowned when he was nine. I was already convinced that we were in this life alone and unable to count on anyone but ourselves. I never dated until college, and then, rarely. In fact, I did not have consensual sex until I was 25 years old. Twenty-five, and falling in love with a man I had no idea would abuse me for the next several years. I pulled off the main road and parked next to the Connecticut River. It was mid-July, but I felt cold to the bone. I picked up the pamphlets on nutrition and pregnancy expectations the doctor had stuck in my hand before I left her office. There was also a handwritten note with two phone numbers on it. She had told me during my exam that at that time abortions were not available in New Hampshire. How did I not even know that? If I decided to have one, I would need to travel to Boston or central Vermont. And I was one of the lucky ones. I was white; I had a job. We had a vehicle. Even though Scott and I often struggled to get enough money to pay the bills, we were in a position that afforded us the option of an abortion. We also had parents who would assist us financially when needed. If I chose to have an abortion, I could both raise the money to pay for it, although I would lie about the reason, and be able to drive out of state to receive the service. Many women in the state would have no choice. Even if they had access to the money, public transportation in rural areas of New Hampshire was often non-existent.>>
Read more here:

Read also these articles embedded in the article:

Seven attempts: What it takes to leave an abuser.

Five steps to leaving an abusive relationship.

Al Jazeera

24 August 2021

<<All-women’s Islamic choir smashes gender taboos in Egypt. Nema Fathi says her female choir group is determined to challenge deep-rooted taboos about women singing religious songs in public.

The words of the Islamic hymns being rehearsed in a small studio just outside Cairo are well known among Egyptian Muslims, but they have never sounded so different. Here, they are being sung by women. Songs in praise of God and Islam’s Prophet Mohammad are a common religious custom in Egypt and the Middle East, but they are almost always performed by men and boys. The members of Al Hur, Egypt’s first all-female Muslim recitation choir, are determined to change that – challenging deep-rooted taboos about women singing in public or reciting from the Quran in the socially conservative country. <Having women in the Muslim religious chanting field not only breaks social stereotypes about female chanters. It also gives a new, distinctive style to an art that has long been dominated by only men,> said Al Hur founder Nema Fathi, 26. Sitting on chairs in the wood-panelled studio during a recent rehearsal, seven young women and girls scanned the lyrics on their mobile phones before closing their eyes and belting out the hymns, accompanied by a piano and drums.

Widespread attacks’

Fathi practices a religious musical form known as <inshad>, or chanting, in which religious sayings and praise for God and the Prophet Mohammed are sung. While the practice has both secular and religious uses in the Middle East, nasheeds are almost always sung by men, while women who perform music or sing publicly are often viewed as promiscuous. That makes female performers even more taboo, and Fathi said she faced repeated criticism since she launched Al Hur in 2017 after connecting with other women and girls who wanted to follow their passion for the musical form.

<Since the choir’s founding, we’ve faced widespread attacks by some leading Muslim chanting figures who discouraged us from taking this step,> she said.

<Some told us that the voice of a woman is dishonourable. ‘How can girls sing religious songs?’ they said. But we challenged ourselves to make this band a success,> Fathi added. A shortage of time and money has also weighed on the choir’s ambitions. Fathi pays about 500 Egyptian pounds ($32) an hour to hire the studio, where she offers free weekly rehearsals lasting between three to five hours.

Still, choir members have to pay for transport to attend rehearsals and about 50 concerts over the last four years.

That has worn down membership from 30 to only 10 at present. <Most of them got married and started to take care of their families,> said Fathi, adding that the women’s husbands had not supported their membership of the group.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
24 August 2021
By Bilal Kuchay

<<Married to ex-Kashmir rebels, Pakistani women now in a limbo.
Hundreds of Pakistani women who married former Kashmiri rebels now find themselves without a state.

Kupwara, Indian-administered Kashmir – Ambreen Rehman is longing to visit her birthplace: her maternal grandparents’ home in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Eight years have passed and the 37-year-old resident of Kupwara in Indian-administered Kashmir has little hope she will ever make it to the house across the border. Kashmir is divided into areas administered by India and Pakistan, who rule over parts of it but claim it in its entirety. A de facto border, called the Line of Control (LoC), divides the disputed region between the two nuclear powers.

Like a caged bird’

For the past eight years, Rehman has been opening the window of her room in Kupwara’s Drugmulla village to look at the conifer-covered mountains. <Beyond that lies my heart,> she told Al Jazeera. <I am like a caged bird, flapping my feathers with the steel frame and looking forward to flying back.> As she looked wistfully outside the window, dusk fell, the mountains turned dark and her view vanished. Rehman’s ordeal began in 2013 when she embarked on a journey to Indian-administered Kashmir with her husband and former rebel, Abdul Majeed Ahanger, and three children. In the 1990s, hundreds of Kashmiri men crossed the LoC to join camps on the Pakistani side that were training Kashmiri rebels to fight against the Indian security forces. The armed rebellion that began in 1989 aims to either merge India’s only Muslim-majority region with Pakistan or create an independent country. Ahanger, now 42, had crossed the highly militarised LoC in 1999. He later decided to live with his relatives in Muzaffarabad, where he worked as a tailor. In 2002, he married Rehman. No longer a rebel, he longed to return to his homeland and loved ones on the Indian side. An opportunity arrived in 2010, when the government of Indian-administered Kashmir announced an amnesty programme for the ex-rebels who had crossed over to the Pakistani side, but had given up the armed rebellion <due to a change of heart and are willing to return>.
Read more here:

The Guardian
23 August 2021
Ashifa Kassam

<<‘So scared’: woman describes effort to save relatives in Afghanistan. Disappointment as much as fear and dread felt by members of Afghan diaspora as they try to get family out.

A UK-based Afghan woman whose relatives worked with US and Nato forces and international humanitarian organisations has described a frantic effort from afar to try to protect her family amid fears they will be targeted by the Taliban. <I haven’t slept for a week or so … There are tremendous threats against their lives,> said the woman, whose mother remains in Afghanistan along with seven of her siblings. <I cannot tell you how much I have cried in the last four or five days. Every single day.> It is an undertaking echoed across the Afghan diaspora and beyond as people scramble to save loved ones amid reports of the Taliban going door-to-door as they search for people who work with the former Afghan government or western countries.
<It’s not just my family. It’s millions of Afghans who are suffering,> said the woman, who worked for the Guardian in the past, and whose name is not being published in order to protect her family.
One of her brothers is a military officer who worked in the intelligence department. Another worked for US and Nato forces and most recently was part of the cabinet of the former president Ashraf Ghani. A third adopted brother is a pilot, who spent the last 20 years working with the coalition forces. Most of them are in hiding in Kabul, as is a sister in the country’s eastern Khost province. She spent years working for the humanitarian organisations, USAid and Care International. Efforts to have them evacuated have so far proven futile. <We’re applying to every site that we can, but nothing,> the woman said. <No responses, no news. They’re stuck.> The fragile situation has taken a toll on her elderly mother, exacerbating an existing heart condition. <My mother is worried to death. I have two nieces, nine and 14 years old, who are in the house with her.> The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan has put women in the country on edge, their concerns heightened by reports of some universities being closed to women and gunmen entering workplaces to order women to return home. Along with fear and dread is a profound sense of disappointment. For two decades, the woman’s siblings had risked their lives in the hope of carving out a country that would defy all that the Taliban stood for – only to watch that hope evaporate in a matter of days.>> 
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
23 August 2021
Melissa Fung

Women's Rights.

<‘I am very afraid’: Women on the front lines of a new Afghanistan>

Reporter Mellissa Fung reflects on what’s at stake for women under Taliban rule. This was not the story we set out to tell. We had been investigating the killings of women in Afghanistan since the United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020.

Such killings have been rising, with record numbers documented by the United Nations: 219 women killed in the first six months of this year, compared with 138 during the same period in 2020.

But it seemed very few people had been held accountable for these murdersIn July, we spent two weeks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, learning about the lives of those who had been killed, talking to women living in fear and trying to get answers from the authorities. But as we were putting our story together, the country unravelled, the Afghan president fled, and the Taliban took over the presidential palace. The messages from friends started coming in on the morning of Sunday, August 15. <The Taliban have taken over our neighbourhood.> <They are in our mosque, telling us to wear the hijab if we go out.><I am at home. I can hear gunfire. We just pray.> Their desperation was palpable. Meanwhile, Taliban leaders were officially assuring the world that there would be a peaceful transition.

Women in charge of their destinies.

I first came to know Afghanistan in 2006, embedding with the Canadian forces in Kandahar five years after the deployment of NATO troops there. I always wanted to know how the women were doing, since the war had been sold to us with the shiny promise of “liberating” them from the Taliban’s brutal rule. Over the years, I witnessed tentative girls I met growing into assertive young women, and assertive young women maturing into confident professionals – women who knew they had control over their own destiny.> >>
Read the article and watch the video she made here:

Al Jazeera
23 August 2021
News Women's Rights

<<The secret cameras recording women in Spain.

In 2019, some women were secretly recorded urinating and the video was posted on porn websites. Now, the women are seeking justice.

Every August, in a small town called San Cibrao, in the northern region of Galicia, Spain, people gather to celebrate a local yearly festival: the A Maruxaina. Finding a toilet during the event, which brings together thousands of people, can be challenging – forcing many to go to discreet alleys instead. In 2019, a group of women were secretly recorded while doing it. The videos were posted on porn websites. Now, the women are seeking justice.>>
Watch the reporting video here:

Al Jazeera
22 August 2021
By Ylenia Gostoli

<<The mental health cost of Poland’s abortion ban. Seven months after severe restrictions against abortion came into effect, women are struggling with the emotional toll of the near-total ban.
Listen to this story here:

The Guardian
22 August 2021
Yvonne Roberts

<<END FEMICIDE. What happens to the children of women killed by men?

In the latest part of our series, we highlight the lack of official support in the UK for traumatised youngsters and those left to pick up the pieces. But, amid the grief, is there still hope for the future?

Susan Dela Cuesta, 57, and her partner, David Crouch, 78, will soon know if they have full custody of their one-year-old granddaughter. The child’s mother, 20-year-old Caroline Crouch, was killed on 11 May this year, by her husband, Charalambos Anagnostopoulos, 33. Initially, he had claimed that intruders had murdered his wife. “One thing that makes me even more sad than her death is the fact that our daughter will grow up without remembering her beautiful mother,” he said, before his arrest, at Crouch’s funeral.

Her diaries revealed that she had been in an abusive, controlling relationship. Now, it seems likely that the little girl will grow up not in Athens but on the island of Alonissos, her maternal grandparents’ retirement home. <There,> her grandmother said, <she will not be known as a killer’s daughter.>

She is one of many children each year, hidden behind headlines about killings, who are left motherless by femicide. Families and friends will struggle to take on the role of carers, hit by a juggernaut of sudden loss and unexpected added responsibility.

Their stories are just some of those now being highlighted by the Observer, as part of its collaboration with the Femicide Census, a database that includes a 10-year review of all female killings. Activist and former solicitor Clarrie O’Callaghan, and Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of Nia, a sexual and domestic violence charity founded the census. They have been helped by pro bono support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international law firm, and consultants Deloitte. The aim of our collaboration is to try to reduce the rate of femicide. One woman is killed by a man every three days, a statistic unchanged for a decade.

<The least the government can do is to establish precisely how many children are affected and produce an action plan to meet their needs. Currently, that is not happening,> says O’Callaghan.She and Ingala Smith estimate that at least 80 children a year in the UK are left motherless by femicide. <Bereavement through violence has a profound impact on children, even more so when the perpetrator is your father,> says Ingala Smith. <In addition to the trauma of loss, there are the questions of identity, loyalty and genetic inheritance.> Emma Radley of Winston’s Wish, a charity that supports bereaved children, says that many of them <puddle jump’>. <One minute they will be in the depths, crying , wanting to know, ‘Where’s Mummy?’, the next they will be asking if they can go out and play. It can make adults think, ‘It’s OK now’. And it may not be. It can have a domino effect on a child’s entire life.>
In the UK, in what is still the only major study of children affected by one parent killing the other, six-year-old Harry was asked to draw what he saw when his father shot his mother and later killed himself.
<Are you sure you want to see it?> Harry asked. <I can only draw sad faces.> Often, children stay silent in case the pain is too much for their new carer and they are abandoned again.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
21 August 2021
Belen Fernandez
Contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

<<Women’s rights and the US’s ‘civilising’ mission in Afghanistan.

The US imperial endeavours in Afghanistan and anywhere else in the world have never benefitted women and their rights.
In July, former United States president and war criminal turned portrait artist George W Bush bewailed the impending withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, nearly 20 years after he ordered the invasion of the country. Afghan women and girls, Bush warned, would suffer “unspeakable harm” on account of the American departure – an ironic assessment, to say the least, coming from the man who kicked off a “war on terror” that has thus far killed more than 47,000 civilians (including women) in Afghanistan alone and displaced millions.

To be sure, the plight of Afghan women at the hands of the Taliban has from the get-go offered a handy pretext for US military devastation.

Long before the 9/11 attacks even transpired, US politicians, celebrities and self-declared feminist activists had been pushing for a <liberation> of women in Afghanistan that conveniently dovetailed with imperial geostrategic interests. As if <B-52 carpet bombing>- to borrow the New York Times’ terminology – has ever been good for female humans, much less any other organism. In November 2001, the month after the launch of Bush’s invasion, then-First Lady Laura Bush charitably took to US radio waves to assure listeners that the <fight against terrorism> was simultaneously a <fight for the rights and dignity of women>, and that the plight of Afghan women and children was a <matter of deliberate human cruelty carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control>.
Never mind that the same thing can be said of invading US forces who carry out <matters> like bombarding a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz with a Lockheed AC-130 gunship, incinerating patients and decapitating medical staff.
In her radio address, the first lady went on to righteously affirm that <civilised people throughout the world are speaking out in horror, not only because our hearts break for the women and children in Afghanistan but also because, in Afghanistan, we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us>.>
Read more here (also about the violation of womens rights and atrocities in Argentina, Palestine and Lebanon, all carried out with a carte blanche from the USA):

Al Jazeera
20 August 2021
Emma Graham-Harrison

<<Desperate crowds, empty flights and rage in Afghanistan at governments who failed to plan.
The US and UK say evacuations are gathering pace, but there seems to be little sign of that in Kabul.

This is the reality of what has unfolded in Afghanistan this week, as the Taliban has returned to govern the country after 20 years.  For Afghans who have spent all that time fighting within Afghan organisations for the values the west claimed to promote, including democracy and women’s rights, there is even less chance of getting out. They have no foreign organisations to sponsor the visas they need to flee. I am devastated. It is failure upon failure, said Shaharzad Akbar, who leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Her organisation has spearheaded the fight against both Taliban and government abuses for two decades, and some of its staff have paid the ultimate price; several of its activists have been killed in targeted assassinations by the militants in recent years. Not a single one had been evacuated from Kabul yet, she said. Some have been offered flights, and tried to reach the airport, some – including elderly and disabled people – have been twice, to no avail. They were now poised, Akbar said, in a horrible balance of fear: terrified of staying, and terrified of the consequences of trying to leave. <Right now when colleagues have flights, I have to convince them to go to the airport. They have tried once, twice and they have failed and so they dread going again,> she said. And the journey is only getting harder, as the Taliban consolidate control of the city.
<Female heads of household, women travelling alone, they are getting more and more harassment.>

Inside and outside Kabul there is growing rage and despair at the failures of a crippled evacuation programme that in its current state risks leaving most of the most vulnerable Afghans behind.
<What’s happening is a fiasco. We should all hang our heads in shame,> said Rachel Reid, a human rights consultant working with Afghan organisations.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
20 August 2021
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Nyasha Chingono

<<Zimbabwean man charged with rape after girl, 15, dies giving birth. Death has caused outrage in country where one in three girls are likely to be married by 18, despite ban. Zimbabwean police have charged a man after a 15-year-old girl died while giving birth at a church shrine last month. Hatirarami Momberume, 26, has been charged with raping Anna Machaya, whose death provoked outrage in the country and was condemned by the UN. The girl’s parents, Edmore Machaya and Shy Mabika, have been charged with obstructing justice and falsifying identification documents to conceal their daughter’s age. Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed that Anna died on 15 July and was buried at a shrine in the rural area of Marange, in eastern Zimbabwe. The police also said this week that the teenager’s name was not Memory, as had been previously reported.
Investigations are in progress with a view of unravelling all the facts in this case, read a police statement seen by the Guardian. The 15-year-old’s death caused widespread outrage from Zimbabweans and the international community, with girls’ rights organisations calling for quick action to protect teenage girls from sexual predators.
Zimbabwe’s constitutional court bans marriage under the age of 18, but the UN says that one in three girls are still likely to be married before reaching that age.
According to Amnesty International, a fifth of maternal deaths in Zimbabwe occur among girls aged 15 to 19.
An online campaign #justiceformemory is trending on Twitter in Zimbabwe, and a petition to stop child marriage has received more than 92,000 signatures so far. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, African Union goodwill ambassador on ending child marriage, told the Guardian: <I am angry and outraged because child rape and child marriage should have no place in our modern society. We have all the laws, and the knowledge to prevent [it]. It’s so painful that as a country, we have left this practice to fester unchecked.> Gumbonzvanda called for swift action from authorities.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
19 August 2021
<<From: 101 East
Afghanistan: No Justice for Women

With the Taliban back in power, 101 East investigates the fight for justice for Afghanistan’s women.
The Taliban has seized control and fears for the women of Afghanistan are rising.
In recent years, women have been assassinated across the country, targeted by those who believe they should stay at home and stay silent. Dozens of female students were killed by bomb blasts at their school; judges and journalists shot by gunmen; activists killed by car bombs.
With no one held accountable for many of the deadly attacks, the killings are a stark warning of what the future could hold. 101 East investigates the fight for justice for Afghanistan’s women as the Taliban returns to power.
Watch a video here:

Al Jazeera
20 August 2021

<<Taliban conducting ‘targeted door-to-door visits’: UN document Confidential UN threat assessment report says group making door-to-door visits of people who worked with US and NATO forces.

Excerpt from the above article:<<Women have also been assured their rights will be respected, and that the Taliban will be “positively different” from their brutal 1996-2001 rule. But with thousands of people still trying to flee the capital on board evacuation flights, the intelligence report for the UN confirmed the fears of many.
The Taliban has been conducting <targeted door-to-door visits> of people who worked with US and NATO forces, according to the confidential document by the UN’s threat assessment consultants seen by the AFP news agency.
The report, written by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, said the group’s fighters were also screening people on the way to Kabul airport.
<They are targeting the families of those who refuse to give themselves up, and prosecuting and punishing their families ‘according to Sharia law’,> Christian Nellemann, the group’s executive director, told AFP.
<We expect both individuals previously working with NATO and US forces and their allies, alongside with their family members to be exposed to torture and executions.>

Lives under threat’

The Taliban has denied such accusations in the past and has several times issued statements saying fighters were barred from entering private homes.
It also insists women and journalists have nothing to fear under their new rule, although several media workers have reported being thrashed with sticks or whips when trying to record some of the chaos seen in Kabul in recent days.
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Kabul, said the UN report contradicted the group’s assurances.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
20 August 2021

<<As Taliban returns, Afghan influencers go dark on social media.
Prominent social media influencers go dark or flee, while residents and activists scramble to scrub their digital lives.

Sadiqa Madadgar’s social media looked much like any other successful young Afghan influencer’s until the Taliban stormed into Kabul and upended her dreams. The return of the group has sent a shockwave through Afghanistan’s social media. Prominent influencers have gone dark or fled, while residents and activists are scrambling to scrub their digital lives. A former contestant on the reality singing competition <Afghan Star>, Madadgar amassed a huge following with her stunning vocals and down to earth, girl-next-door persona. A devout Muslim who wears a headscarf, she spent her days uploading videos that transfixed Afghan youngsters, winning her 21,200 subscribers on YouTube and 182,000 followers on Instagram. In one video, she giggles as she struggles to cut open a watermelon. On another, the 22 year old is singing a haunting folk tune in a cafe while a friend plays guitar. On a recent trip to the city of Kandahar – the Taliban’s birthplace – she filmed herself sharing a pizza with girlfriends. On Saturday, Madadgar posted her first overtly political post on Instagram.

<I don’t like to express my pain online but I’m sick of this,> she wrote. <My heart is in pieces when I look at the soil, my homeland which is being destroyed slowly before my eyes.> 
The following day, the Taliban seized Kabul, and Madadgar stopped posting. Millions of Afghan youngsters – in particular women and religious minorities – fear that what they once put online could now put their lives in danger.
Few can forget the first time the Taliban imposed its ultra-conservative version of Islamic law on Afghanistan between 1996-2001.
Women were excluded from public life, girls could not attend school, entertainment was banned and brutal punishments were imposed, such as stoning to death for adultery. Ayeda Shadab was a fashion icon for many young Afghan women with 290,000 followers on Instagram and 400,000 on TikTok. Each day, she would model the latest outfits that were stocked in her upscale Kabul boutique.
In one of the most recent videos from her range, she posed in an asymmetrical sheer ball gown as Dua Lipa’s infectious dance track “Levitating” played in the background.

But she had no illusions about what a Taliban regime would mean for fashionable women entrepreneurs like her. <If the Taliban take Kabul, people like me will no longer be safe,> she told German broadcaster ZDF in a recent interview. <Women like me who don’t wear a veil, who work, they can’t accept them.> She was so terrified of the Taliban’s return that she had to flee, telling followers recently that she had relocated to Turkey.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
19 August 2021
Shah Meer Baloch in Islamabad

<<Hundreds of men in Pakistan investigated over mass sexual assault on woman. Lahore police open case against 300-400 unidentified people captured on video. Police in Pakistan have opened cases against hundreds of unidentified men after a young woman was sexually assaulted and groped by a crowd of more than 400 men in a park in Lahore as she made a TikTok video.
The shocking assault was captured on several videos, which went viral and showed a mob descend on the woman as she was in Lahore’s Greater Iqbal park making a TikTok video with friends. In broad daylight, the men picked up the young woman and tossed her between them, tearing her clothes and assaulting and groping her. The woman registered a case against 300 to 400 unidentified persons with Lahore police, according to the case report seen by the Guardian.
<The crowd pulled me from all sides to such an extent that my clothes were torn. I was hurled in the air. They assaulted me brutally,> the woman said in a statement to the police. She said the crowd also stole her money, earrings and a phone.
The footage prompted a wave of disgust and anger in Pakistan. The country’s information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, said arrests were being made. Some perpetrators have been identified through CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts. Chaudhry said: <We are working on it full throttle. Prime minister has taken notice also.> Activists, politicians, celebrities, Amnesty International and people across Pakistan expressed their anger over the assault. The chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said the incident should <shame every Pakistani> and that it <speaks to a rot in our society>.

Women protest against the killing of women, in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan.

Pakistan must take concrete steps to protect women from violence.

The Pakistani singer Farhan Saeed said he was <disgusted, furious, heartbroken, ashamed that the men of this country keep doing these horrible acts every other day> The Pakistani senator Sherry Rehman said a recent implosion of violence against women suggested the problem was worsening in Pakistan. <Most cases are mostly either ignored, buried or brushed aside in the patriarchal culture of silencing the victim,> she said. Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The Karachi-based organisation War Against Rape estimated that less than 3% of rape cases lead to convictions..
Read more here:

The Guardian
19 August 2021
Global development is supported by
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
By Tracy Mc Veigh

<<Joe Biden delaying the exit of American forces from Afghanistan by just a month could have made a significant difference to the outcome of continuing peace talks with the Taliban leadership, according to one of the negotiators.
Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan politician and women’s rights activist, said the chaotic withdrawal undermined all leverage that the US and the Afghan government had had with the Taliban at the talks in Qatar.

<Afghanistan is the victim of back-to-back mistakes,> she said.

From her home in Kabul, Koofi, who has been the subject of two assassination attempts, said: <President Biden could have delayed this to wait for a political settlement – for even just another month, just get the political settlement first. They could have come to a deal.> She said the abrupt departure had needlessly put many more people at risk.
<We all want international forces to leave>, she said. <It’s not sustainable or logical from any point of view to have a foreign force protecting your country, but this is so untimely for the US to have chosen now, in the middle of negotiations and before we get a settlement.<If the Americans were to stick to their political leverage, pressing the Taliban and using all sources of pressure against them, then I think they would have come to a negotiated settlement.>
She said the lifting of UN travel sanctions, enabling the Taliban leadership to be in Doha for talks, had also been poorly managed and had allowed them to garner support. <They used the travel to strengthen their own position; they went to China, Russia, Iran [and] Turkey to bolster their support and enjoy the standing and the position they want.
<That is why I think the world must watch the situation unfolding very carefully. To ensure there are no blank cheques as they ignore human rights.>
A former member of parliament in Kabul and the first female vice-president of Afghanistan’s National Assembly, Koofi said she did not want to flee abroad despite the high risk she faced, but that she feared greatly for Afghan’s women and girls.
<Women feel abandoned; men feel abandoned; women feel betrayed. World leaders were not honest in what they said.>
She said she still felt hope for women in the country. <Women are resilient and can still be the agents of change in Afghanistan. They want to contribute to a better Afghanistan, to help build their country, and it’s different this time.
<They are able to do things better. They are not part of the destruction of their country, but part of the construction of their country. They have not fought militarily.
<Yesterday in Kabul, there was a demonstration, just 6 or 7 women, but it shows how women will raise their voice. And I think they will, to bring the world’s attention to what is imposed on them. Women just want equal rights and respect.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
18 August 2021
Lauren Aratani in New York and agency

<<R Kelly was in criminal court on Wednesday for his long-anticipated federal trial on charges of sexual abuse and racketeering, with a prosecutor describing the disgraced R&B singer as “a predator” who used his fame to entice girls, boys and young women before dominating and controlling them. <This case is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot,> assistant US attorney Maria Cruz Melendez told the jury in Brooklyn, New York, as she explained the evidence to be revealed at the trial. <This case is about a predator.> More than a decade has passed since Kelly was acquitted in a 2008 child sexual abuse images case in Chicago. It was a reprieve that allowed his music career to continue until the #MeToo era caught up with him, emboldening alleged victims to come forward. The women’s stories got wide exposure with the Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly, which premiered in January 2019. The series explored claims of how an entourage of supporters protected Kelly and silenced his victims for decades. Melendez told the jury on Wednesday that Kelly invited children and women to join him after shows by distributing backstage passes. Once he had them alone, Melendez said, he <Mdominated and controlled them physically, sexually and psychologically>.
The prosecutor said Kelly would often record sex acts with minors as he controlled a racketeering enterprise of individuals who were loyal and devoted to him. <What his success and popularity brought him was access, access to girls, boys and young women,> she said. Kelly’s attorney, Nicole Blank Becker, portrayed her client as a victim of women, some of whom enjoyed the “notoriety of being able to tell their friends that they were with a superstar. <He didn’t recruit them. They were fans. They came to Mr Kelly,> she claimed. <They knew exactly what they were getting into.>
Kelly, 54, has pleaded not guilty on all charges.>> 
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
August 17 2021

<<Uganda scraps controversial anti-pornography ‘miniskirt’ law.
Constitutional court throws out a controversial law whose provisions included a ban on wearing miniskirts in public. Uganda’s constitutional court is scrapping a controversial anti-pornography law whose provisions included a ban on wearing miniskirts in public, in a decision hailed by women’s rights campaigners. The judgement on Tuesday said that the 2014 legislation, which had been dubbed the <anti-miniskirt law,> was <inconsistent with or in contravention of the constitution of the republic of Uganda.> 
<Sections … of the Anti-Pornography Act are hereby declared null and void,> Justice Frederick Egonda-Ntende said in Monday’s ruling, which also struck down the powers of a nine-member committee tasked with enforcing the law. The legislation criminalised any activity deemed pornographic, from wearing short skirts to writing risque songs, and led to increased public harassment of women who wore clothing considered too revealing.
In 2014, Ugandan pop star Jemimah Kansiime was arrested for performing in a music video that showed her in her underwear. Currently on trial, she faces up to 10 years in jail, although the future of the case is unclear because of the new ruling. Women’s rights activists welcomed the verdict, which followed street protests by campaigners calling for the legislation to be dropped <This has been a bitter struggle and we are grateful [that] those who believe in the rights of women have emerged victors,> Lillian Drabo, one of the nine petitioners who challenged the law, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
Voices for justice is supported by
Humanity United
Caleb Quinley
Tue 17 Aug 2021
<<The woman on a mission to expose torture in Thailand’s troubled south.
Despite the risks, Anchana Heemmina wants justice for victims of the Malay Muslims’ decades-old insurgency – and for herself.
Much of Anchana Heemmina’s work involves listening to stories of immeasurable pain, all part of her campaign to stop the cycle of violence that has long haunted Thailand’s troubled southern provinces.

Her work striving for human rights and to prevent torture by state authorities has put Heemmina’s life in danger.

It started when her brother-in-law was arrested in 2008, accused of killing state security forces in the south of the country, where an insurgency has for decades been seeking independence or greater autonomy for the region’s Malay Muslim minority. He was imprisoned for two years before being acquitted of all charges in 2010. The ordeal rocked Heemmina’s family. But it also sparked something in her – the desire to help families who had experienced a similar ordeal. Heemmina’s days often start with a phone call or text notifying her of someone who alleging abuse in state detention. With her notebook and phone, she will visit their home to record their testimony. <They use many ways of torture: beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation; they cover their heads with plastic bags,> Heemmina says of claims that Thai security forces abuse suspected combatants. <They also use isolation and intimidate them in many other ways.> Through Duay Jai, the rights organisation that Heemmina founded in 2011, she has documented almost 150 cases of torture in Thailand’s <deep south>.
<They have mental health and physical problems,> she says of the prisoners when they are released. <Because they were isolated from the community for so long, when they come back, they often have problems with domestic violence in their families,> she says. <This is not good for the peace process. Because many of the men become very angry and then want revenge. Sometimes they want to use violence.>
Heemmina says that the military’s use of torture is a symptom of Thailand’s long-running internal conflict.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
17 August 2021
By Zaheena Rasheed and Arwa Ibrahim

<<Taliban says won’t seek revenge, will respect women’s rights.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says group want peace, will respect women’s rights under Islamic law.
The Taliban held its first official news conference in Kabul since the shock seizure of the city, declaring on Tuesday it wished for peaceful relations with other countries. <We don’t want any internal or external enemies,> the movement’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said. The spokesman asserted that the rights of women will be protected within the framework of Islam.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
17 August 2021
<<Women’s rights will be protected: Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid asserted that the rights of women will be protected within the guidance of Islamic law. <The women are going to be very active in the society, but within the framework of Islam,> he said in response to a question from an Al Jazeera correspondent.>>
As quoted here:

Note from Gino d'Artali: What the spokesman really says is that the women must wear a full body covering burqa again and also that girls will not allowed to school, highschool or univerity. (Remember Malala Yousafhai's <One pencil, one book, one teacher?> Read her stories here:
M.Y 1 and M.Y. 2

The Guardian
17 August 2021
Sirin Kale


It’s so normalised you think it’s part of your job’: the woman who lifted the lid on harassment in TV.
Dawn Elrick set up an Instagram account for women to share their stories of workplace abuse and bullying in TV and film – and she has been inundated.
Dawn Elrick had only been working as a runner in the TV industry for a few months when two male assistant producers told her they’d like to spit roast her. She was 22. She didn’t know what spit roasting meant so, that evening, she Googled it. “When I realised what they had said,” says Elrick, who is now 43, and works as a producer in Glasgow, <I felt so horrible.> She dreaded having to go back to work the next day.
A few years later, Elrick was working on an entertainment show. A presenter would pull her in for bear hugs, grabbing her buttocks as he did. At the wrap party, he cornered her. “He said that he wanted to come on my face,” Elrick remembers. She did not feel that she could complain to her supervisors. “It was such a busy production,” she says. <Everyone was trying so hard to get through it … No one had the space to deal with it.>
A few years on, and the Jimmy Savile story had just broken, bringing the issue of inappropriate workplace behaviour into focus. Elrick decided to make a historical complaint about the TV presenter. <They said I would be told if he was in the building,> she says. <That didn’t happen.>

Elrick had largely rationalised these incidents as the grim cost of doing the job she has dreamed of since she was a teenager. <It’s so normalised that you think it’s part of your job, and something you have to put up with,> she says. <But it never sat easy with me.> However, something happened which changed her mind: in April 2021, the Guardian broke the story of multiple accusations of bullying and sexual misconduct against Noel Clarke, which he has denied, and 2,000 people signed an open letter, calling for an end to endemic harassment, bullying and sexual abuse in the UK film and TV industry.
Suddenly, change seemed possible. <'I thought, so many women have signed this open letter, and they must all have a story to tell,’> says Elrick. <I was angry, and sick of it.> She set up an Instagram account, Shit Men in TV Have Said to Me, and wrote the first few posts herself, based on her experiences of being harassed on TV sets, before sending it to a few trusted friends. <I thought I’d put up a few stories,> she says, <and leave it up for a week or two. But the submissions started coming in thick and fast.>
In just four months, the account has become essential reading. Hundreds of anonymous submissions detail what it’s really like to be a woman in the UK film and TV industry. They range from derogatory and sexually explicit remarks and professional achievements being disparaged and dismissed to, in extreme cases, sexual assaults.
<Who did you give a blowjob to get into such a senior position?> quotes one account. Another details a woman’s story of being locked in a room by a male producer at a party, who insisted on giving her a massage. <I had to fight my way out of the room,> she recounts, <and told him I’d scream and bite his arm if he didn’t let me go.> <My cock is throbbing sitting so close to you,> says another, quoting the words of an experienced male director. Another man told a colleague to come back to his hotel room, because he was <not a rapist any more. And besides, you’re unrapable anyway.> On one production, the location of a rape scene was dubbed <the Weinstein room> by directors.

Elrick has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of submissions.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
16 August 2021
Kate Banville

<<‘We see silence filled with fear’: female Afghan journalists plead for help.
Women in media in Kabul tell of trying to destroy traces of their identity as they brace for Taliban retribution.
When president Ashraf Ghani slipped out of Afghanistan with no warning, he took with him any glimpse of hope left for the nation’s women – especially those who are educated and outspoken.
Aaisha* is that and more. As a prominent news anchor and political talk show host, she has watched her life’s efforts crumble in what felt like seconds. <For many years, I worked as a journalist … to raise the voice of Afghans, especially Afghan women, but now our identity is being destroyed and nothing has been done by us to deserve this,> Aaisha said on Monday. <In the last 24 hours, our lives have changed and we have been confined to our homes, and death threatens us at every moment.>
<We see silence filled with fear of the Taliban around us.>
Female Afghan journalists tell of a once free and bustling Kabul now filled with silence and fear as they destroy traces of their identity and work to avoid Taliban militants.
Aaisha is one of dozens of female Afghan journalists who have communicated with the Guardian over the past weeks, documenting the fall of their nation to share the devastation with the world. Now they fear that reporting without fear or favour will be the very thing that costs them their future.
They constantly receive death threats from the Taliban, and from others who agree that women should not be treated as equal.
Through a scratchy phone connection, Fereyba* recalled the moment she heard that the Taliban were entering the gates of Kabul.

<I was outside of the home, and I just got a call from my brother saying ‘Where are you? You have to go home right now.’>
<And it was very scary. You cannot imagine the picture of the people and the eyes, and the faces and expressions.> Her voice choking, she said reports of women and girls being beaten, forcibly taken as wives and raped left her panicked that this could soon be her fate. <Firstly I am worried about myself because I am a girl, and also a woman journalist,> she said.

Outside a beauty parlour in Kabul last week.

Afghan women’s defiance and despair: ‘I never thought I’d have to wear a burqa. My identity will be lost’ <In provinces they took some girls for themselves and used them as slaves.> Zeyba* works for one of Afghanistan’s largest media networks, which meant she and her husband and children would be shown no mercy, she said. She said she and other journalists were frantically trying to send their identity documentation and work to embassies before destroying any trace of their existence, physically and online. The situation in Afghanistan has prompted the Australian journalists’ union to call for protection for Afghan colleagues. In a statement, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance said it stood with journalists in Afghanistan who were being targeted because of their work. It urged the Australian government to include media workers in any humanitarian visa offerings. Karen Percy, vice-president of the MEAA’s media section, said Australia had a responsibility to not walk away from a military mission <without regard for the consequences>.

<Journalists are targets for retribution and the situation is clearly deteriorating rapidly,> she said.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
15 August
A Kabul resident

<<An Afghan woman in Kabul: ‘Now I have to burn everything I achieved’. A university student tells of seeing all around her the ‘fearful faces of women and ugly faces of men who hate women’. Early on Sunday morning I was heading to university for a class when a group of women came running out from the women’s dormitory. I asked what had happened and one of them told me the police were evacuating them because the Taliban had arrived in Kabul, and they will beat women who do not have a burqa. We all wanted to get home, but we couldn’t use public transport. The drivers would not let us in their cars because they did not want to take responsibility for transporting a woman. It was even worse for the women from the dormitory, who are from outside Kabul and were scared and confused about where they should go. Meanwhile, the men standing around were making fun of girls and women, laughing at our terror. <Go and put on your chadari [burqa],> one called out. <It is your last days of being out on the streets,> said another. <I will marry four of you in one day,> said a third.With the government offices closed down, my sister ran for miles across town to get home. <I shut down the PC that helped to serve my people and community for four years with a lot of pain,> she said. <I left my desk with tearful eyes and said goodbye to my colleagues. I knew it was the last day of my job.> I have nearly completed two simultaneous degrees from two of the best universities in Afghanistan. I should have graduated in November from the American University of Afghanistan and Kabul University, but this morning everything flashed before my eyes. I worked for so many days and nights to become the person I am today, and this morning when I reached home, the very first thing my sisters and I did was hide our IDs, diplomas and certificates. It was devastating. Why should we hide the things that we should be proud of? In Afghanistan now we are not allowed to be known as the people we are. As a woman, I feel like I am the victim of this political war that men started. I felt like I can no longer laugh out loud, I can no longer listen to my favourite songs, I can no longer meet my friends in our favourite cafe, I can no longer wear my favourite yellow dress or pink lipstick. And I can no longer go to my job or finish the university degree that I worked for years to achieve.
I loved doing my nails. Today, as I was on my way home, I glanced at the beauty salon where I used to go for manicures. The shop front, which had been decorated with beautiful pictures of girls, had been whitewashed overnight.

All I could see around me were the fearful and scared faces of women and ugly faces of men who hate women, who do not like women to get educated, work and have freedom. Most devastating to me were the ones who looked happy and made fun of women. Instead of standing by our side, they stand with the Taliban and give them even more power. Afghan women sacrificed a lot for the little freedom they had. As an orphan I weaved carpets just to get an education. I faced a lot of financial challenges, but I had a lot of plans for my future. I did not expect everything to end up like this. Now it looks like I have to burn everything I achieved in 24 years of my life.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
15 August 2021
Hannah Summers

<<UK MPs urged to ban ‘virginity repair’ surgery as well as virginity testing.
Exclusive: abusive practice should also be outlawed in health bill to protect women, say gynaecologists.
The government’s pledge to outlaw virginity testing will be undermined unless fake surgery touted as <virginity repair> is also banned, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has warned. Last month ministers committed to criminalising the invasive and unscientific <tests> offered by some private clinics to determine whether someone is a virgin through an examination to see if the hymen is intact. However, there are no plans to ban a procedure the same doctors claim can “restore virginity” by constructing a layer of skin at the entrance to the vagina to create the illusion of an unbroken hymen.
Typically girls and women are forced into the surgery known as <hymenoplasty> by their relatives, who want to present them as a <pure newborn virgin> who will bleed on their wedding night.
In 2020, an investigation by the Sunday Times identified 22 private clinics across the UK charging up to £3,000 for the procedure, which is performed under local anaesthetic. During the course of a year, about 9,000 people in the UK had searched Google for <hymenoplasty> and related terms, it found.
The RCOG claims efforts to ban virginity testing will be compromised if procedures that <repair or reconstruct> the hymen are not also made illegal. Dr Edward Morris, the RCOG president, said: <We believe both procedures should be banned in the UK. Neither have any medical benefit and both are harmful practices that create and exacerbate social, cultural and political beliefs that attach a false value to women and girls in relation to their sexual history.> <A ban on virginity testing is undermined without a ban on hymenoplasty, as the two practices are inextricably linked.> >> 
Read more here:

The Guardian
15 August 2021
Women report Afghanistan is supported by
Humanity United
Zainab Pirzad and Atefa Alizada from Rukhshana Media

<<Afghan women’s defiance and despair: ‘I never thought I’d have to wear a burqa. My identity will be lost’.

In a market in Kabul, Aref is doing a booming trade. At first glance, the walls of his shop seem to be curtained in folds of blue fabric. On closer inspection, dozens and dozens of blue burqas hang like spectres from hooks on the wall. As the Taliban close in on Kabul, women inside the city are getting ready for what may be coming. <Before, most of our customers were from the provinces,> says Aref. <Now it is city women who are buying them.> One of these women is Aaila, who is haggling with another shopkeeper over rapidly inflating burqa prices. <Last year these burqas cost AFS 200 [£2]. Now they’re trying to sell them to us for AFS 2,000 to 3,000,> she says. As the fear among women in Kabul has grown, the prices have risen. For decades, the traditional Afghan burqa, mostly sold in shades of blue, was synonymous with Afghan women’s identity around the world. Usually made of heavy cloth, it is specifically designed to cover the wearer from head to toe. A netted fabric is placed near the eyes so that the woman inside can peer out through the meshing but nobody can see inside. It was enforced strictly during the Taliban regime in the late 1990s, and failure to wear one while in public could earn women severe punishments and public lashings from the Taliban’s <moral police>. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, even though many continued to choose to wear the burqa in adherence to religious and traditional beliefs, its rejection by millions of others across the country became a symbol of a new dawn for the country’s women, who were able to dictate what they wore for themselves again. Today, there are burqas in the streets of downtown Kabul but women are also dressed in an array of different styles, many mixing traditional materials with colourful modern patterns and fashion inspiration from across the region. <Afghan women are some of the most naturally stylish women in the world,> says Fatimah, an artist and fashion photographer. <When you go on to the streets of Kabul today you see this amazing mix of different fabrics and nods to centuries-old traditions mixed with very modern styles and inspirations. It’s this beautiful, creative spirit that was just full of hope for the future.> Now the seemingly unstoppable advance of the Taliban has once again seen the burqa pulled out of dusty storerooms and cupboards by women who remember life under the militants’ rule.>>
Read more here:

Read also:

The Guardian
13 August 2021
Women report Afghanistan is supported by Humanity United.

<<Women report Afghanistan. Nowhere to go’: divorced Afghan women in peril as the Taliban close in.
As horror stories emerge from areas that have fallen to the Islamist militants, women living alone fear they have no route of escapeby Lida Ahmadi of Rukhshana Media. Here’s an old saying in Afghanistan that encapsulates the country’s views on divorce: <A woman only leaves her father’s house in the white bridal clothes, and she can only return in the white shrouds.>
In this deeply conservative and patriarchal society, women who defy convention and seek divorce are often disowned by their families and shunned by Afghan society. Left alone, they have to fight for basic rights, such as renting an apartment, which require the involvement or guarantees of male relatives. Despite the social stigma and barriers to independence, there are divorced women living in Afghanistan today. Women like Roqia* and Tahira*, who divorced seven and eight years ago respectively, and now share an apartment. Together, Roqia and Tahira have weathered many storms and supported each other, united by their similar experiences.>>

PLEASE Read more here:

Al Jazeera
13 August 2021
<<From: The Stream
Bonus edition: Kashmir, deep sea mining, femicide in Pakistan

Looking back at the week on The Stream, this show goes behind the scenes to look at how life has changed for Kashmiris since the Indian government revoked the region’s special status. We continue a debate about deep-sea mining and share highlights from our discussion about violence against women in Pakistan.>> 
Watch and listen to more here:

The Guardian
August 13 2021
Victoria Bekiempis and Lucy Osborne

<<Former model Carré Sutton sues Gérald Marie over rape accusation. Lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, says Sutton was ‘trafficked’ by ex-Elite Model boss to ‘wealthy men across Europe’.
Ex-model Carré Sutton has filed a lawsuit alleging that Gérald Marie, the French former modeling agency boss, repeatedly raped her at his Paris apartment when she was just 17 years old.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Manhattan federal court, also maintains that Sutton was <trafficked by Marie to other wealthy men around Europe>.

Gérald Marie in his Elite Model Management office in Paris in 1991.

He wanted to control me completely’: the models who accuse Gérald Marie of sexual assault. Sutton is filing her lawsuit under New York state’s Child Victims Act, a law that permits survivors of childhood sexual abuse to sue their attackers, regardless of how long ago they were abused. The deadline for filing claims under this act ends at midnight Friday. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s many accusers, filed suit against Prince Andrew in New York on Monday under the same law. Giuffre says Andrew sexually abused her at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, as well as other locations, in 2001 when she was 17. The prince has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Sutton is one of many women who have accused Marie of sexual assault while he helmed Elite Model Management’s European operations. French authorities are investigating their claims, and have previously invited 11 women to Paris to meet investigators. Marie’s attorneys have previously responded to allegations against him by saying he was <extremely affected by the accusations made against him, which he contests with the utmost firmness … He intends to actively participate in the manifestation of the truth within the scope of the opened criminal investigation.>

Elite Model Management’s founder, the late John Casablancas, has also been accused of repeatedly engaging in abusive and exploitative sexual conduct, announcing, for example, that he was dating a 16-year-old model.
Sutton, an actor and former model, claims that she fell prey to Marie shortly after she became involved with the now-defunct talent agency. At age 16, she was “discovered by a modeling agent with connections to Elite in New York City” – when she was a living on her own in California’s Bay Area.
<I was from a broken family, and I had turned toward modeling because I was a runaway teen and had dropped out of school,> Sutton said at a press conference on Friday. <Looking back, it is so clear to me that my background was part of what made me vulnerable to abuse and to trafficking.> After sending photos to Elite, the agency flew her to New York City for modeling. She arrived there in 1986, at age 17, after learning that Casablancas <was interested in her>. Elite housed Sutton in a <models apartment which was shared with five other young models> and <was given a small stipend which barely covered food>. When Sutton failed to receive any paid photo shoots, Casablancas said <her look was not making the cut> and that he would only give her one additional week <on his dime> >>.
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
August 13 2021
Kaelyn Forde

i.e. some excerpts/quotes from the article selected by Gino d'Artali

<<‘COVID-zero’ China, jobs galore, and a woman rises as Cuomo falls. We gather the numbers to know from the week’s biggest economic news stories so you can impress your friends.

...17 percent

The average gender wage gap per hour worked in Latin America before the pandemic – and it’s likely gotten worse. Women in the region are falling further behind as COVID-19 exacerbates historic inequities, makes the informal work many rely on more precarious and erases the hard-won economic gains they’ve already made. Al Jazeera’s Megan Janetsky spoke to women in Bogota, Colombia who clean houses, care for children and perform other informal work about how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted every aspect of their lives.>> 
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Women's Media Center
12 August 2021

They’re also emboldened by media narratives, which, according to analysis by the Bosnian Media Center, has shifted from <reporting about victims to reporting on criminals,> with some mainstream media accusing them of <uncivilized behavior, drug use, traumatizing the local population, constant fights, and robbing citizens.>

<We can talk about negative reporting in two ways,> said Amer Dzihana, a professor in media law and the sociology of journalism. <The first is generalization. When media reports about crime, they usually do so by citing people by their names; in the case of crimes committed by migrants, the reporting defaults to mentioning their immigration status. So, the entire population is targeted. In addition, media sometimes runs fake stories or stories that are not entirely verified, the most famous example being ‘news’ that migrants have killed swans and ate them.>

Admittedly, in places like northwestern Bosnia, where refugees and migrants have settled into smaller communities, some security and infrastructure issues have arisen; this, Dzihana told us, <is where we see the increase in negative reporting.>

<[But] when it comes to mainstream media in the rest of Bosnia,> said Dizhana, <reporting is often mired with misconceptions, with media from the Republic of Srpska perceiving migrants as a direct threat.> >> 
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The Guardian
12 August 2021
Daniel Hurst Foreign affairs and defence correspondent

<<‘I pray for her’: Australian broadcaster Cheng Lei no closer to release a year after being detained in China.
Friends rally support from Canberra to Washington to ask Chinese government to show compassion to Lei who is separated from her children. Two months before she was detained by Chinese authorities on opaque national security grounds, the Australian journalist Cheng Lei was catching up with her colleagues from the state-owned China Global Television Network (CGTN) for dinner. Gathering at a Japanese restaurant in Beijing, the group enjoyed multiple courses and a few drinks, while sharing banter about work. The 13 June 2020 dinner was the last time Tadek Markowski, then an assignment editor at the English language channel CGTN, saw his colleague in person before her world was turned upside down. Cheng’s mood was <very light>, Markowski recalls, and there was no indication that she might soon be in the security agencies’ crosshairs. <Oddly enough, the topic of Hong Kong came up, and I knew that the channel had been referred to [regulator] Ofcom in London for what was perceived to be biased coverage,> Markowski says.
In the discussion that followed, Markowski suggested China was <going way too hard, way too soon> in its crackdown in Hong Kong.
<But Cheng Lei, for her part, was adamant about the fact that Hong Kong was now back in the fold of China, it’s just another province, and that the rest of the world shouldn’t expect that Beijing would go on giving it preferential treatment for ever.>
Part of what made Cheng a good journalist, says Markowski, was that she was able to look at any given story from both sides. Born in China, the Australian citizen was <lucky to be able to span cultures> A lover of Vegemite and Aussie Rules football – she follows the Richmond Tigers – Cheng would attend the Anzac Day service with her children and partner each year. The annual services were organised by the Australian and New Zealand embassies in Beijing and brought expats together. It was, Cheng’s former colleagues say, <a complete shock> when they later read in the foreign press that the anchor of the global business program had been detained amid growing tensions between Australia and China.
<It was like a bombshell,> says Markowski, who had been with CGTN and its predecessor channel since 2013 but moved back to Australia in September 2020.
<And it reverberated through the newsroom – a kind of quiet descended on the planning desks, the assignment desks, the set. Nobody was quite sure how to react to the news.>

No contact with her children

Friday marks the first anniversary of Cheng’s detention. Cheng, who is now 46, was held for the first six months in a form of coercive custody known as <residential surveillance at a designated location>. She was formally arrested in February this year on <suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas>, according to Chinese authorities, but no further details about the accusations or any potential court dates have been released.>> 
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.Al Jazeera
August 11 2021

<<Amnesty: Rape survivors describe slavery, mutilations in Tigray. Severity and scale’ of sexual crimes committed by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops amount to war crimes, the rights group says. Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have raped hundreds of women and girls during the Tigray war, subjecting some to sexual slavery and mutilation, human rights group Amnesty International has said in a 36-page report. Drawing from interviews with 63 survivors, the report (PDF) published on Wednesday sheds new light on a scourge already being investigated by Ethiopian law enforcement officials, with at least three soldiers convicted and 25 others charged. Some survivors said they had been gang raped while held captive for weeks on end. Others described being raped in front of their family members. Some reported having objects including nails and gravel inserted into their vaginas, <causing lasting and possibly irreparable damage,> Amnesty said.
<It’s clear that rape and sexual violence have been used as a weapon of war to inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on women and girls in Tigray,> said Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard. <Hundreds have been subjected to brutal treatment aimed at degrading and dehumanising them.>
<The severity and scale of the sexual crimes committed are particularly shocking, amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.>

All of us were raped’

Northern Ethiopia has been racked by violence since November after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops into Tigray to topple its regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). He said the move came in response to TPLF’s attacks on federal army camps. As the conflict deepened, the humanitarian toll spiked, with aid workers struggling to reach populations that were now unreachable. Currently, 400,000 people are facing famine-like conditions in Tigray, according to the United Nations. Alleged perpetrators of rape include government soldiers, troops from neighbouring Eritrea – which has backed Abiy – as well as security forces and militia fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region, Amnesty said. More than 12 survivors told Amnesty they were raped by Eritreans only, while others said Eritreans and Ethiopians had worked together.
<They raped us and starved us. There were too many who raped us in rounds,> said one 21-year-old survivor who reported being held for 40 days.
<We were around 30 women they took … All of us were raped.>
Acts of sexual violence were widespread and intended to instil fear and <humiliate> the victims and their ethnic group, Amnesty noted.
Soldiers and militia frequently used <ethnic slurs, insults, threats, and degrading comments>, the group said. Several survivors said that their rapists had told them, <This is what you deserve> and <You are disgusting>.

Investigations ongoing

The AFP news agency had previously interviewed multiple survivors of gang rape perpetrated by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. Amnesty on Wednesday said health facilities in Tigray had “registered 1,288 cases of gender-based violence from February to April 2021”, although doctors note that many survivors do not come forward. Survivors still suffer significant physical and mental health complications, Amnesty said. While many complained of physical trauma such as <continued bleeding, back pain, immobility and fistula>, others tested positive for HIV after being raped, the group said.>>
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The Guardian
12 August 2021
Ellen E. Jones

<<Film Sabaya: the shocking documentary filmed inside Syria’s notorious al-Hawl camp With car chases and shootouts, it may feel like a Hollywood action flick, but, as the director, Hogir Hirori, explains, the film is really about the exploited women and girls there.
In August 2014, after Islamic State (Isis) militants attacked the Sinjar district in northern Iraq, Hogir Hirori realised his calling. Although he had been living in Sweden since 1999, his home town was only about two hours’ drive from Sinjar.

<When Daesh [Isis] attacked, I realised that I could tell these stories in a really specific way,> he says, speaking via video from Stockholm. <I knew the culture and the language, and I’ve been a refugee all my life, so I had the understanding and the insights to do these documentaries very well.> Hirori had trained in media production and worked in Swedish television, but he had never before addressed an international audience. The news coming out of Sinjar changed all that.

Sabaya is the third feature documentary Hirori has made about the consequences of war in northern Iraq, and the fate of the long-persecuted Yazidi people. In 2016, The Girl Who Saved My Life told the story of Hirori’s initial return to the region to document the refugee crisis; 2017’s The Deminer was a nerve-shredding portrait of a Kurdish bomb-disposal expert. In Sabaya, Hirori embeds with a group of unfathomably brave volunteers who infiltrate the dangerous al-Hawl detention camp in Syria in the hope of rescuing some of the estimated 7,000 Yazidi girls and women who have been sex-trafficked by Isis since 2014. The sprawling facility is home to more than 62,000 people, according to recent UN estimates, 80% of whom are women and children.

<It was actually my wife [Lorin Ibrahim] who had this idea to go down to Syria to find out what happened to these women and girls,> says Hirori. Ibrahim is a reporter for Swedish radio and, like her husband, has first-hand experience of life in a conflict zone. <She was 11 years old when she fled from Syria, and it took her three years to reach Sweden.> As the security situation in Syria deteriorated, the couple, who have two small children, changed their plans: “We realised that it was just too dangerous to bring anybody else in, so I decided that I was going to do everything, all the logistics, myself.>
Hirori has deep roots in this part of the world. Yet even he was unaware of the extent of what these kidnapped women – known as <sabaya> – had been through. <It was sort of a taboo to talk about,> he says. He has since come to understand the heavy significance of the term: <It’s been around since ancient times … [It] encompasses [the idea] that you have the right to take these girls in times of war and use them as you please: they clean your house, you can have sex with them.> The victims, too, are brainwashed into this way of thinking, as Hirori explains: <Almost all the young women I met were kidnapped at a very, very young age. They’ve told me: ‘But don’t you understand? We were traitors in our religion. We didn’t follow Islam, and this is God’s punishment; this is what we were destined to do.’ So that’s why it takes such a long time for them to get out of that mental state, and this hell that they’ve been living in.>
The plight of the Yazidis – recognised as a genocide by several international bodies – was widely reported on in 2014, but, seven years on, thousands of girls and women remain missing, abandoned by the rest of the world. This rescue mission has fallen to the Yazidi Home Center (YHC), a tiny volunteer organisation based in Syria and represented in Hirori’s film by Mahmud, a tall, stoic presence, who is constantly struggling for reception on his mobile phone, or in hushed conference with his colleague Ziyad. As Hirori is careful to point out, Mahmud and Ziyad are not the only ones engaged in this urgent work. Indeed, it is the women who go undercover to infiltrate the al-Hawl camp – many survivors of trafficking themselves – who take on the greatest risk. For safety reasons, Hirori says, their names and images could not be included in the film. <We decided only to make a portrait of Mahmud and Ziyad. But it’s important for me not to raise anybody up as a hero. I just wanted to document exactly what was going on in their everyday lives.> >>
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The Guardian
12 August 2021
Sarah Johnson
and Rights and freedom is supported by Humanity United

<<Sex workers fighting for human rights among world’s most ‘at risk activists’.

Exclusive: Front Line Defenders report says rights defenders working in sex industry face ‘targeted attacks’ around the world.

Sex worker activists are among the most at risk defenders of human rights in the world, facing multiple threats and violent attacks, an extensive investigation has found. The research, published today by human rights organisation Front Line Defenders, found that their visibility as sex workers who are advocates for their communities’ rights makes them more vulnerable to the violations routinely suffered by sex workers. In addition, they face unique, targeted abuse for their human rights work. Drawing on the experience of 300 individuals in Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, El Salvador and Myanmar, the report focuses on cases of sexual assault, threats from managers and clients, raids on homes and offices, physical attacks and police surveillance endured by sex workers undertaking human rights work. The services the activists provide to fellow sex workers include: negotiating access to brothels, conducting gender rights training, offering legal and health counselling, reporting experiences of violence, and campaigning for freedom of movement and free choice of employment for those seeking to leave sex work. Erin Kilbride, research and visibility coordinator at Front Line Defenders and lead author of the report, said: <Sex worker rights defenders take extreme personal risks to protect their communities’ rights to access justice, healthcare, housing and food, while responding to the immediate threats of police and domestic violence, discrimination, criminalisation and structural poverty.>
Often these activists were the only people able and willing to provide health education in locations in which sex was sold, the report found. They ensured treatment for sex workers who would otherwise be left with crippling injuries and life-threatening illnesses.

The services the activists provide to fellow sex workers include: negotiating access to brothels, conducting gender rights training, offering legal and health counselling, reporting experiences of violence, and campaigning for freedom of movement and free choice of employment for those seeking to leave sex work.

Erin Kilbride, research and visibility coordinator at Front Line Defenders and lead author of the report, said: <Sex worker rights defenders take extreme personal risks to protect their communities’ rights to access justice, healthcare, housing and food, while responding to the immediate threats of police and domestic violence, discrimination, criminalisation and structural poverty.>

Often these activists were the only people able and willing to provide health education in locations in which sex was sold, the report found. They ensured treatment for sex workers who would otherwise be left with crippling injuries and life-threatening illnesses.
Activists’ role in creating community networks and defending sex workers’ right to assemble were also highlighted in the repot. <Coming together, even in private, is a radical, resistant, and dangerous act for defenders whose very identities are criminalised,> it said.
Defenders interviewed said they had been subjected to violations above and beyond what are typical for sex workers in their area. These included torture in prison, threats by name on the street, targeted abuse on social media and demands for sex in exchange for an advocacy meeting with a police commissioner. They also faced attacks from clients.>>
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The Guardian
12 August 2021
by Ruchi Kumar
and Women report Afghanistan is supported by Humanity United.

<<‘For as long as we can’: reporting as an Afghan woman as the Taliban advance. A collective of female journalists are battling to make women’s voices heard as the Islamist militants tighten their grip on the country. Despite years of development, investment and progress in the Afghan media industry, 28-year-old Zahra Joya often found she was the only woman in a newsroom. <It was a lonely space, dominated by men who made the decisions about which stories were important, and which were not,> she says. Joya, who is from the persecuted Hazara community, felt she faced discrimination because of her ethnicity and sex. <There were so few women journalists in Kabul,> she says. <There would hardly be women reporters covering political events or press conferences even though these stories affect us greatly.> Determined to disrupt this male-dominated landscape, in November last year, Joya started Rukhshana Media – a news website telling stories of Afghanistan’s women, written by Afghanistan’s women. She chose the name as a tribute to the victims of Afghanistan’s patriarchy and all the women overlooked in the country’s history.

<In 2015, a girl named Rukhshana from Ghor province was accused of adultery and running away from home. She was escaping forced marriage,> says Joya. <The boy who accompanied her was given 100 lashes for ‘insolence’ for the same crime, but Rukhshana was stoned to death. Since the day I watched the video of her public stoning, her story stayed with me.> In its brief existence, Rukhshana has told powerful stories of Afghan women’s struggle, offering the platform to local female journalists. They have written about women’s reproductive health, domestic and sexual violence, and gender discrimination, among other things. <It is often the case that stories of Afghan women are decided by Afghan men or international journalists in the outside world. And while our presence in Afghan media is celebrated as an example of ‘women’s empowerment’, not much attention or space is given to us for defining what story should be covered,> Joya says.
For example, Afghan media reports on rape cases, but they never report [on] what life looks like for survivors. That is what we are interested to tell> she says. <At Rukhshana Media, we are trying to define the story from the perspective of Afghan women.> Joya’s journey to becoming a journalist was riddled with challenges. As a young girl, growing up during the Taliban regime in the 1990s, she was forced to dress as a boy to be able to go to school. <The Taliban had closed down all the girls’ schools and only boys were allowed to go. I was adamant I wanted to study, so I would dress up as a boy and took on the name ‘Mohammad’ and enrolled at the school,> she says.
<I do not want us to return to those days,> Joya says. <Which is why Rukhshana exists. It is my hope, my effort, to build a stronger Afghanistan which includes our voices, the voices of its women.> >> 
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Al Jazeera
12 August 2021
Ali MC

<<Australia’s ‘invisible’ homeless women

Domestic and family violence is the number one cause of homelessness in the country, where almost 50 percent of those experiencing homelessness are women, often accompanied by children.

Melbourne, Australia – <My homelessness is directly related to domestic violence, because I would just up and leave,> says 47-year-old Naomi, who asked that we only use her first name. An Indigenous woman who was raised in inner-city Melbourne, Naomi is a tough talker whose energy and assertion belies years of hardship. Now living in Queensland, Australia’s most northern state, Naomi describes her experiences of homelessness and family violence on a lengthy phone call. <Domestic violence was normalised for me because I saw it growing up,> she says matter-of-factly. Growing up with her Indigenous mother and Irish father, she would experience severe domestic violence, often fuelled by alcohol. Mum – don’t get me wrong, I love her with all my heart – but I just didn’t understand growing up as a young girl, she was just crazy,” she says sadly.

<Like, she’d get on the grog [get drunk] and she’d just be absolutely crazy. And her and Dad would just go for the kill, and just get in these drunken rages.>

Naomi did not know it then, but her mother was part of the <Stolen Generations> – Indigenous children who were forcibly taken from their families – and grew up in a mission run by non-Indigenous nuns. Indigenous children often suffered extreme abuse in such institutions, where conditions were harsh and punishments severe. Along with the pain of separation from family, the dislocation from their culture and heritage, the trauma that the <Stolen Generations> experienced has often resulted in alcohol and drug use, domestic violence and homelessness, all of which impacts the next generation. After her parents split up, Naomi found herself homeless at age 14 and found accommodation in various hostels around Melbourne.

<I worked in lots of factories in Richmond. I just found good little jobs where I could support myself,> she says. <But I wasn’t old enough to rent a house, so I had to stay in these little hostels and couch surf.>

She describes the hostels as <always dingy with random people, old people. I was pretty young. It was a bit scary.>

Domestic violence and a housing shortage. Stories like Naomi’s are not uncommon in Australia.>>
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Al Jazeera
12 August 2021
Amy Walters

<<Belarus Olympic defector Tsimanouskaya auctions medal on eBay.

In interview with Al Jazeera, the 24-year-old sprinter explains why she is parting with one of her medals as she recounts her recent ordeal.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, the Belarusian Olympian defector who missed her moment at the Tokyo Games, explained why she is auctioning one of her medals to support other Belarusian athletes and recounted her recent ordeal. <I made the decision to put my medal up for auction to help athletes that are in need of support or any kind of help and the money will go to the [Belarusian] Sports Solidarity Foundation. In turn, the foundation will help athletes organise gatherings and competitions,> the 24-year-old sprinter told Al Jazeera’s podcast show, The Take. Tsimanouskaya caught the world’s attention on August 1, when she refused to obey her team’s orders to leave Tokyo early and board a Belarus-bound plane, saying she feared for her safety in her homeland.

The officials say she was suffering mental health issues, a claim she denies. <Had I returned to Belarus, two things could have happened. I would either be sent to a psychiatric hospital or to jail,> she told Al Jazeera. She had trained for the 200m sprint, but the drama meant she did not participate in her Olympics race this year. The silver medal she is parting with, awarded from the team relay at the 2nd European Games 2019 in Minsk, has gone up for auction on eBay, with a starting price of $21,000. So far, there is one bid.

Journey from Tokyo.

Tsimanouskaya, 24, says that in Tokyo, her coaches asked her to run an additional distance race – the 4x400m relay – because other team members were ruled out having not had enough doping tests. <I tried to inquire about it with the head coaches who simply ignored me. At that moment, I felt complete disrespect towards me and my hard work. Emotions took over and I spoke out about it on my Instagram.> After she went public on Instagram, the coaches held discussions with her. <And then, they came to my room and said that an order had come in to remove me from the Olympics and not let me compete in the 200m, and that I had to be sent home, and that I had to say that I got an injury, return home and be silent so that I wouldn’t be punished.>
What followed was a frightening and confusing journey.>>
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The Guardian
Women report Afghanistan is supported by Humanity United
11 August 2021

<<Women report Afghanistan.

Sometimes I have to pick up a gun’: the female Afghan governor resisting the Taliban.

Salima Mazari, one of only three female district governors in Afghanistan, tells of her motivation to fight the militants. by Zainab Pirzad.
It is early morning in Charkint, in the northern Balkh province of Afghanistan, but a meeting with the governor is already well under way to urgently assess the safety of the 30,000 people she represents. Salima Mazari has been in the job for just over three years, and for her, fighting the Taliban is nothing new, but since July she has been meeting with the commanders of her security forces every day as the Islamist militants’ attacks across the country increase. As one of only three female district governors in Afghanistan, Mazari has attracted attention simply by being a woman in charge. What sets the 40-year-old apart, particularly amid the recent wave of Taliban violence, is her hands-on military leadership. <Sometimes I’m in the office in Charkint, and other times I have to pick up a gun and join the battle,> she says. Her job means not only managing the day-to-day bureaucracy, but also organising military operations. <If we don’t fight now against the extremist ideologies and the groups that force them on us, we will lose our chance to defeat them. They will succeed. They will brainwash society into accepting their agenda,> she warns. Mazari was born in Iran in 1980, after her family fled the Soviet war in Afghanistan. After graduating from university in Tehran, she held different roles at universities and the International Organization for Migration, before deciding to head to the country her parents left decades ago. <The most painful thing about being a refugee is the lack of sense of your country,> she says. <No place is your country.>

We’ve faced Taliban attacks longer than the recent surge in violence and we’ve managed to keep them out of Charkint.

In 2018, she learned there was an opening for the position of district governor of Charkint, <my ancestral homeland>, as Mazari describes it. Encouraged by colleagues and family members, she applied for the post. With her experience and qualifications, she was among the leading candidates. Her determination to work for the people of her district ensured that she was soon appointed. <Initially, I was worried that as a female governor I might be discriminated against, but the people surprised me,> she says. <The day I was officially received in Charkint as the district governor, I was overwhelmed by the support.> Few women step out of their house here without a full hijab or a burqa, or a male guardian. To assume the role of district governor was no simple feat, and she soon found herself leading battles she had not expected.
<We lack basic facilities such as access to healthcare. To manage security, we should have at least seven police ranger cars, two Humvees equipped with light and heavy weaponry. However, we have far fewer resources, even though we’ve requested them from the central government many times. My pleas have gone unheard,> she says.>> 
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Al Jazeera
11 August 2021

<<From Middle East to India, women ‘violated’ in Pegasus phone hack
Activists say deploying the software in countries with few privacy protections and restricted freedoms poses a particular risk to women.

Dozens of women across India, the Middle East and North Africa who were likely targeted for surveillance by governments using Pegasus spyware are now at a heightened risk of being blackmailed or harassed, tech experts and victims say. Developed by Israeli tech firm NSO, Pegasus turns a mobile phone into a surveillance device – using its microphone and cameras and accessing and exporting messages, photos and emails without the user’s knowledge. Deploying the software in countries with few privacy protections, restricted freedom of expression, and broadly conservative societies can pose a particular risk to women, rights activists warned. <A woman being targeted for surveillance is different from a man being targeted because any information can always be used to blackmail or discredit her,> said Anushka Jain at the Internet Freedom Foundation in New Delhi, which is providing legal assistance to two activists – including a woman – who were targeted. <Women already face harassment online. If they think they can be surveilled, they may self censor even more and will simply be afraid to speak up,> said Jain, an associate counsel. A leaked database of 50,000 phone numbers that were possibly compromised between 2017 and 2019 included dozens of phone numbers belonging to women – 60 from India – among them journalists, activists and homemakers, according to Indian news portal The Wire.

One potential target was a former Supreme Court employee who accused then-Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment, although judges later dismissed the complaint. Several members of her family were also on the list. <She was not a public persona, so she was being surveilled for no other reason than that (complaint),> Jain said of the woman, whose identity has not been publicly disclosed. <It’s a massive invasion of her privacy,> Jain told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Indian authorities have declined to say whether the government had purchased Pegasus spyware for surveillance, only saying that <unauthorised surveillance does not occur>. In an emailed statement, an NSO spokesperson said that it undertakes <vigorous pre-sale human rights and legal compliance checks to minimize the potential for misuse> and has cut access to clients who have been found to be abusing the technology. The spokesperson declined to say whether any of those shutdowns were linked to the use of material gathered through Pegasus to blackmail or otherwise intimidate women.>>
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Al Jazeera
11 August 2021
By Megan Janetsky

<<As pandemic drags on, Latin American women lose even more ground The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen existing gender gaps, exacerbate precarious labour conditions and erase progress made by Latin American women workers.

Bogota, Colombia – Elcy Gomez’s monthly rent cheque has turned into a ticking time bomb. The mother of three was just starting her own herbal medicine business when the coronavirus pandemic hit. As COVID-19 lockdowns in Bogota stretched on, her work evaporated, plunging her family into debt. With a diabetic husband and children in their early 20s just entering the workforce, Gomez shouldered most of the economic burden. For a year and a half, her family has scraped together small sums of money, just enough to pay for their small apartment in the far reaches of the city and put food on the table.

Gomez’s stress is etched on her 55-year-old face, and her situation hasn’t gotten better as the pandemic wears on.

When her latest rent cheque was due on August 4, she said she didn’t even have the first 100,000 pesos ($25) to put towards it. The apartment costs $200 per month.<We don’t have anything right now to pay our bills,> Gomez told Al Jazeera. <Until now, we haven’t been able to get anything.> She begged her landlord to give her more time to pay, just as she’s had to routinely do over the course of the pandemic. Gomez fell eight months behind on rent payment at her last apartment before moving to this one, which is cheaper — but she is still struggling to scrape together the money. Gomez is not alone. Low coronavirus vaccination rates — combined with some of the highest infection rates in the world — threaten to prolong the economic crisis caused by the pandemic in Latin America, and push the region into what the International Monetary Fund and other authorities warn could become a <lost decade>.

Structural issues and new risks.

Women, who have always suffered more precarious labour conditions, are among the most disproportionately affected by that turmoil. Experts worry that the pandemic is not only deepening endemic gaps, but also setting women back in years of progress in a region that already lags behind on gender equality. <With working women, the pandemic not only affected them by worsening structural problems they already faced; it also created new risks,> said Maria Adelaida Palacio, a leader at the Bogota-based feminist research group Sisma Mujer. The root of the problem comes from structural inequalities that stretch back far before the health crisis, explained Palacio. The pay gap between men and women across the region already stood at 17 percent on average for each hour worked pre-COVID, United Nations figures show. Yet the 30 years leading up to the pandemic were marked by the exponential growth of women entering the workforce in the region. Gomez was among the women who felt like they were making strides as she launched her new business and began social work projects in other areas of the country. <We [women] were the ones who were going to lead the orchestra, as I like to say,> she remembered. <But we couldn’t because of the pandemic. It was like an illusion. Like I thought I could do something, but in reality, no.> It was a far cry from where she had been decades earlier, when she landed in Bogota after being forcibly displaced by armed-group violence in her home in the Cesar region in northern Colombia.>> 
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The Guardian
10 August 2021
Women report Afghanistan is supported by Humanity United.

<<‘Please pray for me’: female reporter being hunted by the Taliban tells her story.

A young female journalist describes the panic and fear of being forced into hiding as cities across Afghanistan fall by Anonymous, as told to Himkat Noori. Two days ago I had to flee my home and life in the north of Afghanistan after the Taliban took my city. I am still on the run and there is no safe place for me to go. Last week I was a news journalist. Today I can’t write under my own name or say where I am from or where I am. My whole life has been obliterated in just a few days. I am so scared and I don’t know what will happen to me. Will I ever go home? Will I see my parents again? Where will I go? The highway is blocked in both directions. How will I survive? My decision to leave my home and life was not planned. It happened very suddenly. In the past days my whole province has fallen to the Taliban. The only places that the government still controls are the airport and a few police district offices. I’m not safe because I’m a 22-year-old woman and I know that the Taliban are forcing families to give their daughters as wives for their fighters. I’m also not safe because I’m a news journalist and I know the Taliban will come looking for me and all of my colleagues. <I’m a 22-year-old woman and I know that the Taliban are forcing families to give their daughters as wives for their fighters The Taliban are already seeking out people they want to target. At the weekend my manager called me and asked me not to answer any unknown number. He said that we, especially the women, should hide, and escape the city if we could. As I was packing I could hear bullets and rockets. Planes and helicopters were flying low over our heads. There was fighting on the streets right outside the house. My uncle offered to help get me to a safe place, so I grabbed my phone and a chadari (the full Afghan burqa) and left. My parents would not leave even though our house was now on the frontline of the battle for the city. As the rocket fire intensified they pleaded for me to leave because they knew the routes out of the city would soon be shut. So I left them behind and fled with my uncle. I haven’t spoken to them since as the phones are not working in the city any more. Outside the house it was chaos. I was one of the last young women left in my neighbourhood to try to flee. I could see Taliban fighters right outside our house, on the street. They were everywhere. Thank God, I had my chadari, but even then I was afraid they would stop me or would recognise me. I was trembling as I was walking, but trying not to look scared. Just after we’d left a rocket landed right next to us. I remember screaming and crying, women and children around me were running in every direction. It felt like we were all stuck in a boat and there was a big storm around us.> >> 
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
11 August 2021
Anna Davies

<<Cuomo resignation: The women who rise after powerful men fall. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is the latest man forced out of power in the United States by #MeToo claims that are reshaping the political, business and media landscape.
As powerful men fall, women are increasingly stepping up to take their places, often elevating a brand or business in the process. Such is the trend in the United States, where the #MeToo movement continues to force politics, business and media to take sexual harassment claims seriously, rather than sweep them under the rug. This week, outgoing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joins a long line of men whose departure from power in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal created space for a woman to ascend. In 2017, a surge of investigations, lawsuits and reports of sexual misconduct led to more than 200 powerful men in the US losing their jobs. By mid-2018, nearly half of their replacements were women, according to an analysis by The New York Times. While the #MeToo movement has helped boost female representation from the upper echelons of government to the C-suite, there is still a way to go to close the gender power gap. The number of women running Fortune 500 companies climbed to 41 this year, according to the latest annual list compiled by Fortune Media. That is a record, but still miles away from gender parity. Here are a few high-profile men who lost their positions amid misconduct scandals, and the women who replaced them.

Out: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

In: New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned from office after he was accused in a report released this month of harassing 11 women. At the time of resignation, Cuomo was facing impeachment proceedings, but it’s unclear if those will continue. If impeachment is successful, then Cuomo would be unable to run for state office in the future. He could also get slapped with civil lawsuits from his alleged victims.

Cuomo was replaced by Kathy Hochul, the current New York lieutenant governor, who will become the first woman to hold the highest office in the state when Cuomo formally steps down on August 24. Hochul, a Democrat, has served as lieutenant governor since 2015 and was previously a federal congressional representative. She won her congressional seat in a special election after her predecessor, Chris Lee, resigned after he allegedly sent shirtless photos to a woman he met online while currently married.

IN: Today co-anchor Hoda Kotb

Matt Lauer, the former co-anchor of the Today show, was fired in November 2017 over allegations of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace”. Allegations included sexual assault in Lauer’s office. Lauer was replaced by Hoda Kotb alongside co-host Savannah Guthrie. Kotb originally filled in as an emergency replacement, a move made permanent in 2018 partially due to her high ratings.

Out: PBS host Charlie Rose...>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
10 August 2021

<<New York Governor Cuomo resigns amid sexual harassment claims. Resignation comes after a New York state investigation concluded Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned after a state investigation found he had sexually harassed 11 women, leading to mounting legal pressure and widespread calls for him to step down from fellow Democratic legislators and President Joe Biden. Cuomo, who had served since 2011 as governor of the fourth most-populous US state, made the announcement on Tuesday after New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier this month released the findings of a five-month probe. Investigators said he subjected women to unwanted kisses; groped their breasts or buttocks or otherwise touched them inappropriately; made insinuating remarks about their looks and their sex lives; and created a work environment <rife with fear and intimidation>.

Cuomo’s resignation will take effect in two weeks.

More to follow…>>
Read more here:

and 3 more links from Al Jazeera about this topic.

And also:
The Guardian
10 August 2021
Rebecca Klein and agencies

<<Andrew Cuomo: how would an impeachment process work?The governor is facing calls for dismissal after a report found he sexually harassed 11 women. But how does impeachment work?

New York governor Andrew Cuomo is on the brink of being impeached by the state legislature and, if he doesn’t resign first, he could lose the job he has held for a decade.

New York's Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul attends a May Day pro-labor and immigration rights rally, May 1, 2018, in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces possible impeachment following findings from an independent investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James. If the governor resigns or is impeached, Hochul stands poised to become New York's first female governor in a state whose last three male governors have been marred by scandal.

Kathy Hochul: the lieutenant governor taking over for Cuomo.

An investigation by state attorney general Letitia James concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and violated federal and state workplace laws against harassment and retaliation. Criminal investigations have since, separately, got under way. If Cuomo is impeached, it will be only the second time in New York state history. Governor William Sulzer was impeached less than a year into office in 1913 and ousted, accused of financial impropriety and perjury, while he blamed a political conspiracy against him. The assembly aims to wrap up its own examination of the evidence “as quickly as possible,” according to Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat who said it was clear Cuomo could no longer remain in office. The assembly’s judiciary committee will hold two hearings, on 16 and 23 August, and will weigh the material against Cuomo, including harassment, retaliation and also potential abuses of power carried out by him and his administration. The governor denies any misconduct. Cuomo and his lawyers have been asked to submit any evidence in his defense by the end of the week. It could be early September when the judiciary committee decides whether to draw up articles of impeachment – essentially a list of charges – and the assembly then votes on whether formally to impeach.

Here’s how it would work:


The New York state assembly, the lower house of the state legislative body, based in the state capital of Albany, is currently engaged in a behind-the-scenes impeachment inquiry. This began in March when James opened her investigation, to decide whether to recommend impeaching the governor – effectively a process of the legislature charging a public official for misconduct and prompting a special trial.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
9 August 2021

<<Senior aide to New York’s Cuomo quits amid assault scandal. Resignation follows investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed women in ‘toxic’ workplace.
A senior aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on Sunday in the wake of an official investigation that found the governor of the northeastern state sexually harassed 11 women. Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, was linked in the state attorney general’s report to efforts to cover up Cuomo’s actions and retaliate against one of his accusers. Her name was mentioned 187 times in the 168-page report that was released on Tuesday. <Personally, the past 2 years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented colleagues on behalf of our state,> she said in a statement that was issued on Sunday night. The report found that Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to 11 women in violation of the law, prompting local prosecutors to launch a criminal investigation and re-igniting calls for him to resign or be impeached. Cuomo has so far resisted widespread calls for him to step down, including from fellow Democrats such as President Joe Biden, but he could soon face impeachment and removal from office by state legislators. The New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee has scheduled a meeting to address impeachment proceedings on Monday at 9:30am local time (13:30 GMT). Meanwhile, a former assistant who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo last week on accusations he groped her in the Executive Mansion in Albany is speaking publicly for the first time in a televised interview to be broadcast on Monday, saying the governor <needs to be held accountable>. Brittany Commisso, one of the 11 women Cuomo is accused of sexually harassing, was identified only as <executive assistant #1> in the report. She told state investigators that Cuomo fondled her breast on one occasion, the most serious allegation the governor faces. She also said he rubbed her backside while taking a photo. Last week, she filed a criminal complaint with the Albany sheriff’s office. The sheriff, Craig Apple, told reporters on Saturday his agency and the county district attorney’s office would conduct a thorough investigation before determining whether a criminal charge is supported. In an interview with CBS News and the Albany Times-Union scheduled to air on Monday morning, Commisso said she filed the report to hold Cuomo responsible for his actions.

<What he did to me was a crime,> she said in an excerpt released by CBS on Sunday. <He broke the law.> >>

Read more here:

and 4 more articles published by Al Jazeera about the subject.

The Guardian
8 August 2021
Kari Paul

<<Activision Blizzard.
Activision Blizzard scandal a ‘watershed moment’ for women in the gaming industry.

California’s legal action could mark step towards fixing culture of harassment, experts say. or women at Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s most famous video game companies, showing up to work meant navigating near daily episodes of humiliation, sexual harassment, and even physical abuse, according to a bombshell lawsuit that has prompted a reckoning within the gaming industry. The claims paint a disturbing picture of life for female employees: rampant sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation, and a <frat boy> workplace culture where men objectified women’s bodies and openly joked about rape. The lawsuit was brought by California’s department of fair employment and accuses the multi-billion dollar company – whose output includes Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush – of violating the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws. The fallout has been swift and widespread. This week the company’s president and its head of human resources stepped down after hundreds of employees staged a walkout and thousands signed a petition demanding a response to the scandal. And it’s far from over. Observers say the revelations could be a <watershed moment> for an industry that has long struggled with sexism and a chronic lack of diversity. <What seems to be different now is the fact that people are recognizing these issues as being systemic and repeated rather than episodic,> said Amanda Cote, a professor at University of Oregon who studies sexism and gender identity in the video game industry. <People seem to be calling for change across the industry, rather than just at one company at a time.>

A ‘frat boy’ workplace culture.

While the gaming industry is not necessarily known for its inclusive workplaces for women or people of color, the lawsuit’s allegations were particularly harrowing, said Cote. <This is a particularly egregious lawsuit, but unfortunately I was not really surprised,” she said. “We have known for quite some time that sexism pervades many areas of gaming.> The lawsuit alleges female employees were routinely kicked out of lactation rooms so men could hold meetings. They were criticized for leaving the office to pick kids up from daycare while men played video games. One female employee noted that male employees would frequently approach her at the office and comment on her breasts.
The lawsuit contains a harrowing example of the alleged 'frat boy' atmosphere – a workplace tradition called the <cube crawl>, in which male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol as they <crawl> their way between office cubicles and engage in inappropriate behavior towards female employees. In another incident, male co-workers at a holiday party allegedly passed around nude photos of a female colleague who was having an inappropriate relationship with her supervisor. Such behavior took place with impunity, while serious discipline was rarely enforced, the lawsuit alleges. The case cites Alex Afrasabi, the former creative director for World of Warcraft, who was allegedly known to harass female colleagues and repeatedly bragged about his hotel room, which he called the <Cosby suite>, in reference to Bill Cosby. Afrasabi could not be reached for comment. Executives made aware of his behavior told Afrasabi to participate in verbal counseling, in what amounted to <a slap on the wrist>, the lawsuit alleges. Meanwhile, the employees who spoke out were often targeted in retaliation, including being <deprived of work on projects, unwillingly transferred to different units, and selected for layoffs>, the lawsuit says. Beyond the crude jokes and offensive comments, women say Activision Blizzard fostered an environment in which their work was less valued and their careers overlooked. The company’s workforce was just 20% female, while all executive level positions are held by white males, the lawsuit alleges – including the CEO and president roles. Women have been systematically paid less than their male counterparts, offered fewer promotions, and overlooked for appointments to leadership roles, the lawsuit alleges.

<Very few women ever reach top roles at the company,> the lawsuit reads.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
The Observer
8 August 2021


Amia Srinivasan: ‘Sex as a subject isn’t weird. It’s very, very serious.

Interviewster Rachel Cooke.

With her debut book, The Right to Sex, a 36-year-old Oxford don is dazzling everyone from Vogue to Prospect magazine. She discusses porn, gender dysphoria – and why her students are no snowflakes.

If All Souls is one of the most inordinately beautiful colleges in Oxford – its bone-white gothic, best peered at by mere mortals from nearby Radcliffe Square, is the work of the great Nicholas Hawksmoor – it’s also one of the oddest and most rarefied. Famously, it has no student body. Each year, however, a small number of recent graduates who would like to become so-called prize fellows may apply to take a famously difficult and inscrutable exam during which, as a tour guide I followed earlier put it, they must “write an essay on a single word, like coconut”. As my eavesdropping also revealed, TE Lawrence, AKA Lawrence of Arabia, passed this exam, but Harold Wilson failed it.

In her lovely, wood-panelled room in All Souls – its current tenant wears Adidas sneakers and likes a good martini, but it still makes me think of patched corduroy and sherry – Amia Srinivasan laughs heartily. “Right,” she says. <Those guides. They always come up with things like: everyone here is a priest, or everyone is a man. Or they tell people: ‘Stephen Hawking is in there right now.’ At least the exam thing is sort of true.> Having taken it successfully herself in 2009 – she had to write around the word <reproduction> – Srinivasan was a prize fellow at the college until 2016, when she became a lecturer at UCL (the one-word riff component was abandoned the following year). Now, though, she’s back. Last January, she took her up her post as the Chichele professor of social and political theory at All Souls, a job once held by Isaiah Berlin. She is both the first woman, and the first person of colour, to hold it. At just 36, she is also its youngest ever incumbent.

Oxford is notoriously stodgy and unchanging; this morning, still eerily quiet thanks to the ongoing absence of tourists, it feels more than ever like a film set. But while the All Souls website (the college isn’t that rarefied) does indeed soberly include “epistemology and philosophical methodology” among her several research interests, Srinivasan’s reputation outside the university is at this point built on rather more racy matters. Thanks to her much-praised new book, The Right to Sex, a collection of essays that takes on such thorny subjects as pornography, student-teacher relationships and the rise of the incel “community”, the media has decreed her to be philosophy’s hottest property. The current issue of Vogue describes her, with utmost breathlessness, as “a star” who will change the way we think of sexual consent, while in Prospect, a magazine you might expect to be a bit more sanguine about these things, she is depicted as the single-handed saviour of analytic philosophy, at least when it comes to what people do when they’re naked. <Sex is [now] where the action is,> writes her eager young interviewer, ahead of his <tutorial> with her.

Actually, it must be thrilling to be taught by Srinivasan. I bet the air crackles. But I’m also interested in what her fellow dons make of her. If this were a David Lodge campus novel, the excitement, not to mention the envy, would be throbbingly palpable at dinner. <Well, David Lodge had a lot right,> she says, laughing again. <I haven’t been into dinner since the book has really been a thing, but I’m sure there will be… conversations.> I shouldn’t tease, though: she doesn’t regard Oxford as parochial – on the inside, she insists, it feels very <alive> – and it’s only thanks to the university, after all, that she is able to work on such vexed topics in the first place.

<This room is very beautiful,> she says. <It’s symbolic of the space and distance one gets as an academic to work. But we also teach students who are at the cutting edge of culture, and someone in my position could never not be in touch with that. It’s a productive dialectic for me, being able to engage with students for whom these matters are politically urgent. I’ve never thought about the weirdness of sex as a subject. To me, it’s just something that is politically very, very serious. If you’re steeped in the history of feminist thought, it doesn’t occur to you to think that such discussions wouldn’t have a rightful place here.>>
Read more here:

The Guardian
8 August 2021

UN condemns child marriage in Zimbabwe as girl dies after giving birth.


Death of Memory Machaya, 14, who gave birth at church shrine, prompts outrage among citizens and activists.The United Nations has condemned the practice of child marriage in Zimbabwe following the death of a 14-year-old girl after she gave birth at a church shrine, an incident that caused outrage among citizens and rights activists. The case has brought to the fore the practice of child marriage within Zimbabwe’s apostolic churches, which also allow polygamy.

The government has traditionally turned a blind eye to child marriage. Zimbabwe has two sets of marriage laws, the Marriage Act and Customary Marriages Act. Neither law gives a minimum age for marriage consent, while the customary law allows polygamy. A new bill being debated by parliament seeks to synchronise the laws, ban marriage of anyone below 18 years and prosecute anyone involved in the marriage of a minor. The UN in Zimbabwe said in a statement it <notes with deep concern and condemns strongly> the circumstances leading to the death of Memory Machaya, the 14-year-old girl from the rural area of Marange in the east of the country. <Sadly, disturbing reports of the sexual violation of underage girls, including forced child marriages, continue to surface and indeed this is another sad case,> the UN said.
One in three girls in Zimbabwe are likely to be married before turning 18, said the UN, whose office in Zimbabwe groups all 25 of its agencies operating in the country. Police and Zimbabwe’s gender commission said they were investigating the circumstances that led to the girl’s death and burial. Local media reported the girl died last month but the case came to light only last week after angry relatives, who were barred by the church’s security from attending her burial, told their story to the state-owned press.

Reuters could not reach Johanne Marange church for comment.

The apostolic churches, which shun hospitals, attract millions of followers with their promises to heal illnesses and deliver people from poverty.

Zimbabweans expressed outrage on social media.

<What you see today, ie a young girl forced to marry, get pregnant, & dies, is not an aberration! It is part of the same continuum. Female persons are not seen as fully human, with individual rights, choice, rights to control our own bodies,> tweeted Everjoice Win, a feminist and rights activist.>>
Read all here:

and read also this related article by The Guardian:

Al Jazeera
8 August 2021
By Zaheena Rasheed

<<Tokyo 2020 is being billed as the <first gender-equal Olympic Games ever>.

With nearly the same number of male and female athletes, and a sporting schedule that gives equal visibility for men and women’s events during primetime hours, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it took deliberate action to make sure this year’s Games constitute a <landmark in gender equality>, both on and off the field of play.

But analysts say the rhetoric and the reality are <miles apart>.

From the sexualisation of uniforms and sexist portrayals in the media to women having to fight to bring their breastfed children to the pandemic-restricted Games, analysts say discrimination remains rife. <This idea of equal numbers can actually conceal the fact that there’s still so much more to be done,> says Michelle O’Shea, senior lecturer at the School of Business at Western Sydney University in Australia. <Yes, we’ve got women on the pitch and in the arena. But their experiences are still very concerning.>

Much of this has to do with a history of women’s exclusion in sport. When the first modern Olympics was held in 1896 in Athens, Greece, women were deliberately barred from taking part.

At the time, the founder of the IOC, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, argued an Olympics with women would be <impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and indecent>. The Games, he said, were created for <the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athleticism> with <female applause as a reward>. <Straight away, you can see the kind of exclusion that women were up against as part of the Olympic movement,> says Jordan Matthews, senior lecturer in Sport Development at the University of Chichester, United Kingdom. <If they were allowed in at all, it was to applaud the male athletes who were actually taking part.>


But women fought back, he says.

Under pressure from athletes such as French rower Alice Milliat who even launched a separate Olympics for women, the IOC began including more and more female events. Still, for years, women were <confined to more aesthetic events> or <even play and dance routines> such as swimming, figure skating and fencing. <The idea around this was that it was more suitable to female biology and less threatening to dominant images of femininity around the time,> says Matthews. <Women weren’t expected to run too far because they might sweat and we don’t want them sweating. They might not throw things as far because we don’t want them to damage their internal organs.>

Over time, the IOC did cede ground to women athletes – albeit reluctantly.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
6 August 2021
Joshua Cooper



What Saudi prisons can tell us about the kingdom’s rulers. Conditions in Saudi Arabia’s prisons and detention centres starkly expose the true nature of Mohammed bin Salman’s rule.

Note from Gino d'Artali:

I can only quote a small part which is: <<Yet it is outside the formal Saudi prison system, in unofficial places of detention, that some of the worst violations have taken place under Mohammed bin Salman. These have included the mistreatment of hundreds of business leaders and others held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh in 2017, and the torture and sexual harassment of women’s rights activists the following year in a secret facility nicknamed <the hotel> or the <officer’s guesthouse>. New details of abuse continue to come to light, such as the case of human rights activist Mohammed al-Rabiah, who underwent months of torture following his arrest in early 2018. He was recently sentenced to six years in prison for his activism, and a ruling is expected on his appeal this month. Another case that surfaced recently actually involved torture inside a royal palace. Following his arrest in 2016, preacher Sulaiman al-Dowaish was taken to the basement of a palace in Riyadh, to cells kitted out with torture equipment and managed by members of Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage, where he was beaten until drenched in blood. Nothing has been heard of al-Dowaish since the last reported sighting of him in July 2018. And yet despite such shocking accounts coming to light, the Saudi authorities remain intent on denial and deflection. In 2019, a request from British MPs to visit Saudi prisons to investigate reports of torture was ignored. More recently, in the sham trial of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, the court dismissed the torture inflicted on her during her detention.

With justice denied for the countless victims inside Saudi Arabia, it is up to the international community to ensure accountability. Although the murder of Jamal Khashoggi shook the world in 2018, today the picture is more mixed, with yawning gaps between rhetoric and action. The European Parliament recently passed a resolution calling on EU member states to hold Saudi Arabia to account over its human rights record; meanwhile, the Biden administration’s pledges to <recalibrate> US-Saudi ties now appear increasingly unlikely to be fulfilled. But as Mohammed bin Salman continues to portray himself as a reformer and champion of Saudi women, let’s remember the fate of growing numbers of Saudi prisoners, many arrested merely for questioning his policies, and judge the crown prince as he deserves to be judged.>> 
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
6 August 2021

<<IOC expels Belarus coaches over Tsimanouskaya scandal.
Olympics governing body cancels accreditation of two Belarusian coaches after failed bid to force sprinter home.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stripped two Belarus coaches of accreditation over their role in Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s removal from the Tokyo Games. Athletics head coach Yury Maisevich and team official Artur Shimak have left the Olympic Village after being asked to do so, the IOC said on Friday. <In the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus (NOC) who are still in Tokyo, and as a provisional measure, the IOC cancelled and removed last night the accreditations of the two coaches,> the body said in a statement posted on Twitter.

<They will be offered an opportunity to be heard.>

The IOC’s move came five days after Tsimanouskaya, a 24-year-old sprinter, refused to board a plane bound for Belarus, claiming she feared for her safety in her homeland. She says she was hustled to Tokyo’s Haneda airport as part of her team’s bid to force her on the flight home.
Maisevich and Shimak would return to Minsk immediately, the NOC said, adding that the pair could appeal the decision and hoped to continue a dialogue with the IOC. The committee has previously said coaches withdrew Tsimanouskaya from the games on doctors’ advice about her emotional and psychological state – a claim she dismisses.


The drama first unfolded on Sunday, when Tsimanouskaya refused to board the Minsk-bound plane, and instead sought protection from Japanese police. The scandal has again focused attention on political discord in Belarus. Tsimanouskaya on Wednesday flew to Poland, where she and her husband have been granted humanitarian visas.>>
Read more here:

and 4 more articles (links to them on the page) by Al Jazeera and concerning the topic.

The Guardian
5 August 2021 
Joan Smith

Domestic violence

What do many terrorists have in common? They abuse women. Groundbreaking research shows that extremist attackers are often united in their violent misogyny, whatever their ideology. Five years ago, I began to notice that the perpetrators of some of the worst terrorist attacks had something in common. A high proportion shared a history of assaulting wives, girlfriends and other female relatives, sometimes involving a whole series of victims, long before they attacked total strangers. In the summer of 2016, for example, when just two terrorist attacks in Florida and the south of France left 135 people dead and hundreds injured, both perpetrators claimed to be Islamists. But I was struck by the fact that each had a horrific record of domestic violence. A year later, there were four fatal attacks in the UK and all six perpetrators turned out either to have abused women or, in one case, to have witnessed his father abusing his mother and sister. There were striking similarities between the histories of Darren Osborne, the rightwing extremist who drove a van into worshippers leaving a mosque in north London, and Khalid Masood, the Islamist who staged an attack on Westminster Bridge. Both men had criminal records for violent offences – and both had abused women. I thought these cases challenged conventional wisdom about terrorism, which holds that it is all about ideology. Many fatal terrorist attacks actually appeared to be an escalation of violence that had been going on, sometimes for years, against members of the perpetrator’s family. I was convinced that the police and MI5 needed to change the way they assessed the risk posed by suspects, treating a history of domestic violence as a very significant red flag.

When I raised this with the authorities, however, I encountered scepticism and disbelief. So I decided to write a book, using published sources to piece together a woeful catalogue of men who had humiliated, beaten and sexually assaulted women long before they became notorious as terrorists. It was published in 2019 and this time senior figures at counter-terrorism policing and the Home Office listened. They commissioned groundbreaking research using data on just over 3,000 referrals to the Prevent programme in England and Wales in 2019 – adults and children who had caused concern to teachers, social workers and family members because of a possible vulnerability to radicalisation (V2R). The results of what came to be called Project Starlight have not yet been published, but I have been given access to them – and they are stunning.>>
Read more here:

Al Jazeera
5 August 2021
Natali Alcoba

<<Argentina’s new pensions programme pays women for caregiving.
A new government programme in Argentina aims to redress the gender wage retirement gap by boosting pension savings for women who worked as paid and unpaid caregivers.

For 60-year-old Maria Luisa Suarez, retirement is a dream she will never realise. It is not for lack of hard work. Since moving from the Argentine province of Santiago del Estero to the capital, Buenos Aires, at the age of 17, she’s found gainful employment at a bakery, run a general store and cleaned other people’s homes to help make ends meet. In between, she stayed home with her children when they were little, and juggled caring for them with extra shifts she picked up when her former husband lost his job. But the vast majority of the income she has earned over her lifetime has been paid by the hour and unregistered. While that helped her keep more of what she earned at the time, it also resulted in paltry pension contributions.

<I didn’t realise it meant that when it came time to retire, I was going to be short,> Suarez told Al Jazeera.

Her situation is not unique. The Argentine government estimates that more than 300,000 women between the ages of 59 and 64 are unable to retire because they haven’t accumulated the necessary pension contributions.

That shortfall is driven in large part by a structural division of labour that underpins many societies including Argentina’s. Women end up participating less in the formal workforce because they are taking on the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities at home.

For many, like Suarez, the work they engage in is also performed under more precarious and informal conditions — another disadvantage when it comes to saving for retirement. But the Argentine government is seeking to redress that gender inequity by assigning a pension contribution value to the time people have spent raising children. The programme, launched this week, marks the first time the role of an unpaid caregiver has been recognised by the Argentine state as something akin to work. The policy is expected to enable 155,000 more women to collect a pension immediately. As of August 1, women can earn the equivalent of one year of social security contributions for every child they have raised, or the equivalent of two years per child who has been adopted or has a disability. The contribution increases to the equivalent of three years per child if the woman previously received a low-income child subsidy. The programme is available to any woman who is at least 60 years of age and who has not been able to accrue 30 years of pension contributions.

Recognising the value of caregiving.

Once someone turns 65 in Argentina, they are entitled to collect a pension from the state, even if they did not make contributions during their working life. But at around 23,000 pesos a month ($237), it is below the poverty line and less than the pension received by those who retire under the general scheme, which is built on worker contributions, and includes this new programme.>>
Read more here:

Note from Gino d'Artali: Bad ass Nancy Pelosi (Usa democrat and chairmen of the house of representatives 'sic', She's a woman!) strikes again!!

But first this:

The Guardian
David Smith in Washington and agencies
3 August 2021

<<Biden calls on Cuomo to quit after damning sexual harassment report. New York governor accused of harassment by 11 women.
President leads calls from both parties for Cuomo’s resignation.

Joe Biden has led calls from both parties for New York governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after an investigation found he had sexually harassed 11 women. US issues 60-day eviction moratorium for areas with substantial Covid transmission - as it happened. New York’s attorney general Letitia James unveiled the results of an investigation on Tuesday that showed Cuomo engaged in unwanted groping, kissing and hugging and made inappropriate comments to multiple women. <I think he should resign,> the president told reporters at the White House hours after the results of the investigation were published. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for a fact. I’ve not read all that data. Asked about Cuomo’s attempt to defend himself by using an image in which he is making physical contact with Biden himself, the president said: <Look, I’m not going to flyspeck this. I am sure there were some embraces that were totally innocent, but apparently the attorney general decided there were things that weren’t.>

He acknowledged: <I’ve not read the report. I don’t know the detail of it. All I know is the end result.>

Earlier on Tuesday, the White House said the findings were <abhorrent> . <I don’t know that anyone could have watched this morning and not found the allegations to be abhorrent. I know I certainly did,> White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters later on Tuesday. Biden had previously said Cuomo should resign if the allegations were shown by an investigation to be true. Biden’s comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called on Cuomo to resign, as did several New York Democrats – including both the state’s US senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries and Mondaire Jones. In her statement, Pelosi said a thorough investigation had been concluded. She said: <As always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth. Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign.>>
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and click here for more info about her and why I call her 'Bad Ass':

The Guardian
4 August 2021
Anna Koslerova

<<Rights and freedom.
Women's rights and gender equality

Illegally sterilised Czech women to be offered compensation Hundreds of mostly Roma women were threatened, tricked or bribed into being sterilised until 2012 Women sterilised without their consent are to be offered compensation in the Czech Republic after President Miloš Zeman signed a bill into law this week. The women, most of whom were Roma, will be awarded 300,000 Czech crowns (£10,000) from the government as compensation. Gwendolyn Albert, a human rights activist who was one of those campaigning for the change, said: <This means the wrongdoing committed against all who have been sterilised without their informed consent is acknowledged and can be redressed.> Social workers used incentives and threats to force women to undergo the procedure from 1966 until 2012. No one knows how many women were affected, but campaigners believe there were several hundred victims. The incentive programme ended with the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, but women in labour continued to be misled into unwittingly signing consent forms before caesarean births – or in some cases were not told that they had been sterilised after the delivery. Others were misled into believing it had been a <life-saving> procedure. It was not until 2012 that Czech law was changed to require a cooling-off period between a patient requesting sterilisation and it being carried out. The Czech Republic’s first-ever public defender of rights, or ombudsman, collected more than 80 testimonies regarding sterilisations for which the consent had been invalid. In 2005 the ombudsman’s final statement was published; assessing the health ministry’s response to the cases, it recommended that compensation be awarded.

The Czech health ministry will administer the compensation claims, although it has yet to announce when the process will begin. Victims who can demonstrate that they received benefits during the pre-1990 era for undergoing the procedure will be eligible for compensation on that basis. Those sterilised after 1990 will be asked to describe what happened to them and to support their claims as best they can.

For Elena Gorolová , 51, a social worker from Ostrava who was sterilised at the age of 21, the move marks a historic win.
<We fought long and hard to win this battle; some of the women are now old, while others have passed away. I am glad they will get to see the light of justice,> she told the Guardian.
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Al Jazeera
4 August 2021
Zafar Aafaq

<<Dalit girl allegedly raped, killed and forcibly cremated in India.
Nine-year-old girl’s family alleges she was gang-raped and murdered by a Hindu priest and his associates in New Delhi.

New Delhi, India – A nine-year-old girl belonging to India’s marginalised Dalit community has been gang-raped, murdered and forcibly cremated in capital New Delhi, her family alleges. The gruesome incident sparked a fourth day of protests in the city on Wednesday, in the latest case of sexual violence targeting the former <untouchable> community, which falls at the bottom of India’s complex caste hierarchy. The girl’s family alleges a Hindu priest working at a local crematorium and his associates raped her and then cremated her body without their approval on Sunday. The family, along with other Dalits and activists, is camping on a road in New Delhi’s Nangal neighbourhood, demanding justice.
The police say they have arrested four accused and opened an investigation into the incident.

Your daughter is dead’

The girl, who cannot be identified as per Indian law, had gone to get drinking water from a water cooler at the crematorium, her mother told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

<Her father had gone to the market to buy vegetables. An hour passed but she did not return and I got anxious. So I rushed to the crematorium where the priest told me: ‘Your daughter is dead,'> she said. <I was shocked and asked the priest to tell me how my daughter could die. I told him I wanted to take her to the police station and hospital but he refused, saying, ‘Don’t do that. I will give you money but let’s settle the matter here. You will not be able to fight the case.'>
The girl’s mother said Radhey Shyam, the 55-year-old priest, told her that her daughter died of electrocution while filling the water.

<But I felt he was lying,> she told Al Jazeera. She insisted on seeing her daughter’s body.

<She was lying lifeless,> recounted the mother, her voice breaking. <There were bruises on her body, her face was pale and her clothes were wet.>
The priest and his associates, meanwhile, locked the gates of the crematorium and forcibly cremated the girl’s body, despite protests from the helpless mother. As soon as word of the incident spread, the girl’s father and their neighbours rushed to the crematorium. They caught the priest and the three others, who, according to local media reports, confessed to raping the young girl.

The police arrived a little later and took the accused into custody. Cases of gang rape, murder and sexual offences against a child have been registered against the suspects, while the crematorium has been sealed. Since Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators have taken to the streets in New Delhi, demanding the death penalty for the four men accused of the crime. The girl’s family and the residents of Nangal have blocked the highway outside an army cantonment in the area. The protests are likely to snowball across the country, with some Dalit groups announcing demonstrations against the atrocities faced by the community, particularly Dalit women.
<This is not an isolated incident. It’s just that it came to light. Sexual violence against women, particularly those from backward classes, is common in this country and they have to struggle hard to get justice,> New Delhi-based women’s rights activist Suman Dixit, who has joined the family in protest, told Al Jazeera. India is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. Home ministry data from last year says a woman is raped every 15 minutes in the country. An overwhelming number of sexual and other forms of crimes target the Dalits. In September last year, the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the Hathras district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh shook the country, triggering fierce protests. In that case, police were accused of forcibly cremating the teenager’s body in the dead of the night and against the wishes of her family, who were allegedly locked up in their house. Despite India’s stringent anti-rape laws, activists and feminists say the situation on the ground has not improved. A report published by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) in September last year said close to 400,000 incidents of violence were reported between 2009 and 2018, a 6-percent increase from the previous decade.>>
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where you can find another link to an Al Jazeera article about other topics that should have your interest

Al Jazeera
3 August 2021

<<COVID likely to lock India’s women out of job market for years

Azim Premji University report finds 47 percent of women who lost jobs last year have been made permanently redundant.COVID likely to lock India’s women out of job market for years. Azim Premji University report finds 47 percent of women who lost jobs last year have been made permanently redundant. Savitri Devi has been searching for work since she lost her job at a garment factory in India’s capital New Delhi, along with half her coworkers, when sales plummeted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year. The 44-year-old has tried her luck repeatedly – and unsuccessfully – near her home in Okhla, an industrial hub with thousands of small factories and workshops, where there was previously plenty of unskilled jobs for women. <I am ready to take a salary cut but there is no work,> Devi said outside her one-room home in a slum of about 100 families, just a few kilometres away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office. Devi is one of approximately 15 million Indians who have been made redundant in an economic slowdown that has hit women disproportionately, trade union and industry leaders said.
Most employed women in India are in low-skilled work, such as farm and factory labour and domestic help, sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic. That has been worsened by an anticipated slow economic recovery, the closure of thousands of factories and a sluggish vaccination rate, which affects women more. These factors are expected to undermine their attempts to return to the workforce.
<Whatever social and economic gains Indian women had made in the last decade, it has been largely wiped out during the COVID period,> said Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, one of the largest trade unions in India.
The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to deepen economic stress in India, which was already in its worst recession for 70 years. With the vast majority of Indians working in the informal sector, precise estimates of job losses are difficult.

But in a country without a comprehensive welfare system or pandemic-related support for small businesses, several industry bodies have reported widespread redundancies over the past year.
The Consortium of Indian Industries (CIA), which represents more than one million small firms, said women make up 60 percent of the job losses. A report by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University found that 47 percent of women workers who lost their job between March and December – before the second wave of the virus hit in April – were made permanently redundant.
That compared with about 7 percent of male workers, many of whom were able to either return to their old jobs or take up independent work such as selling vegetables.>>
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Al Jazeera
2 August 2021

<<US shot putter Raven Saunders in first Olympic podium protest.
Athlete known as the ‘Hulk’ crosses arms in an ‘X’ to show support for ‘oppressed people’.

US shot putter Raven Saunders has risked disciplinary action after making the first podium protest of the Olympic Games.

The 25-year-old athlete, who was nicknamed 'Hulk' in high school after the Marvel superhero, crossed her arms in an <X> gesture during Sunday’s medal ceremony at the Olympic Stadium after claiming silver in her event on Sunday. US media outlets reported that Saunders, who is Black and an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights, said her gesture was made in solidarity with <oppressed people>.

After clinching her silver medal, Saunders said she wanted to represent <people all around the world who are fighting and don’t have the platform to speak up for themselves.> Saunders’s protest is the first test of International Olympic Committee rules which ban protests of any kind on the medal podium at the Olympics. The IOC tweaked its rules regarding athlete protests ahead of the games, saying that peaceful protests before competition would be allowed. However the Olympics governing body has maintained a strict rule against protesting on the medal podium. The IOC is in contact with World Athletics, the international governing body for the sport, and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a news conference on Monday. It is unclear what sanction, if any, Saunders may face. Updated IOC guidelines released last month say that disciplinary consequences for protests will be <proportionate to the level of disruption and the degree to which the infraction is not compatible with Olympic values>.

The USOPC said before the games it would not sanction its athletes for protesting.>>
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Al Jazeera
1 August 2021
Rana Husseini

<<Murdered women: A history of ‘honour’ crimes. Throughout history, women have been held responsible for upholding the ‘honour’ of their families – often with deadly consequences.

On a hot summer day in late May 1994, I drove to an eastern suburb of Jordan’s capital, Amman, to investigate the reported murder of a 16-year-old schoolgirl by her own brother.

With limited information, questions roiled my mind as I drove up the hill towards the neighbourhood. Why had this girl’s life been cut short by her brother? What had her final thoughts been?

My questions would soon be partially answered by a man who was walking through the neighbourhood when I arrived. <Yes, I know why she was killed,> he answered calmly as if talking about the weather: <She was raped by one of her brothers and another sibling murdered her to cleanse his family’s honour.>

I asked him again if what he was saying was really true.

<Yes, it is true. That is why she was killed,> the man answered me, before ushering me to the house where the murder took place. The same <justification> was used by the girl’s uncles when I sat with them to discuss the murder. Her name was Kifaya (“enough”) they told me. <She seduced her brother to sleep with her and she had to die for that,> they said. That sentence rang in my head throughout my career as a senior reporter at the Jordan Times and as an activist on this topic. A few months later, I was assigned to cover court hearings on homicides in Jordan. Again, I came across dozens of stories of women who had been murdered by their male relatives for reasons related to so-called <family honour>. Some of these cases I investigated, including Kifaya’s.

Io my surprise at that time, the majority of perpetrators would get away with little more than a slap on the wrist. Their sentences would range from three months to two years in prison. But in Kifaya’s case, the court rejected the <rape excuse that was uttered by her brother and handed him a 15-year prison term for manslaughter>, as I wrote in my report for the Jordan Times. It was an unusually harsh sentence for its time. But that sentence, like most of those relating to <honour> crimes, was later cut in half because the victim’s family dropped their legal claims against the defendant, who was, of course, also a family member. While sentencing has gradually become more severe over the years, it is still possible in Jordan for defendants to have their sentences cut in half if the victim’s family drops the charges.

Locked up for being a victim.

My career has exposed me to another unjust consequence of women being threatened with harm or murder by their family members. In Jordan, dozens of women used to be locked up in prison, without charge, for indefinite periods in <administrative detention>. In other words, the state was imprisoning them to stop them from being killed or harmed. The logic, surely, should have been to imprison the person who threatened them. But that is not what happened. I discovered that this practice also took place in Yemen, when I went there to visit a women’s prison for my work in the late 1990s. Thankfully, Jordan no longer locks women up for being at risk of an <honour> crime – they are now sent to a safe house known as <Dar Amneh> instead, but this cruel practice only came to an end in 2018. My reporting and activism on this topic began with Kifaya’s story. And my resolve only grew with each new story I heard. I took it upon myself to become the voice of those women who were unable to tell their own stories and to examine and expose the root causes of these types of murders. If a wife violates her duty, she shall be ‘devoured by dogs’ Violence against women has been documented throughout history. Most of the ancient civilisations – among them the Assyrian, Roman and Sumerian – had penal codes that condemned <women adulterers and their partners> while allowing men to publicly have mistresses with little or no punishment at all.
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and 4 more articles by Al Jazeera on the same topic

Womens media centre
A more than worthwhile article to read:

<<Harris’ Weighty Assignments Could Prove Helpful in Presidential Bid.
July 21, 2021 
Nichola Gutgold

Read all here:

Women's Media Center
July 28, 2021
Shazia Z. Rafi

<<Heat waves, wildfires, floods, severe drought, and a global pandemic are threatening our lives, deluging our health systems, and bringing the global economy to a near halt. But over the last several years, one source for remedies to these problems — ecofeminists (activists whose work incorporates ecological, health, and equality campaigns) — have moved from protesting outside the halls of power to become elected legislators writing and passing the environmental protection frameworks that they campaigned for and that our planet desperately needs.

Women’s groups have long been at the forefront of citizen activism for the environment and health, starting with a generation that not only read Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring but adopted it as a manifesto. Their motivation was the urgency of environmental damage from nuclear testing; their protests were entwined with nuclear disarmament campaigns. In Germany, a young ecofeminist, Petra Kelly, founded Die Grünen, the first Green Party, in 1979. In 1982, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for <forging and implementing a new vision uniting ecological concerns with disarmament, social justice, and human rights.> She was elected to the Bundestag (German parliament) in 1983 and reelected in 1987. <I remember hearing her speak in Southern Tyrol; she was very, very charismatic,> says Marijana Grandits.

Grandits was the director of Europahaus, a nonprofit campaigning to protect the rainforests, when the Austrian Green Party asked her to join their slate of candidates. The Austrian Green Party emerged from two successful activist campaigns — to shut down a planned nuclear power plant, and to protect an ancient forest from destruction for a hydro-power plant. <We students sat in protest for days in the December cold, and we succeeded,> she says. <Today the forest is a national park. I joined [the] party 1986 and I took that activism to Parliament.>

In the United States, former Rep. Bella Abzug, Democrat from New York, in 1991 co-founded the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), which brought women in the thousands together in Miami to prepare policy positions for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Summit) in the Women’s Action Agenda 21.

The Rio Summit and its five-year reviews strengthened the global Green Parties across all continents. <Ecological issues were mainstreamed across politics by the Greens,> recalls Grandits. These Green MPs pushed their governments for strong environmental protection laws and eventually led negotiations for the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which by November 2016 achieved the fastest ratification of any global agreement.>>
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Dear reader: you call the below 'old news' ?

My mother Gianna d'Artali once said this to me: " 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.>

Women's media centre
21 July 2021
Nichola Gutgold | POLITICS

<<Harris’ Weighty Assignments Could Prove Helpful in Presidential Bid.

Now that Kamala Harris has had a few months on the job as vice president, stories are appearing that describe her assignments as impossible. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, in “Kamala Can’t Win,” argues that Harris is set up for failure, no matter what. The Week asks bluntly if the president is deliberately setting Harris up for failure with the assignments he has given so far, and NBC asserts that by taking on tough tasks, Harris has made her political future riskier than it would be if her portfolio had less challenge and controversy. No doubt her history-making role is fraught with all the tension of a modern vice president with the additional scrutiny that comes from being the first woman and first person of color in the role. Harris is facing double-binds every which way she turns.

But being given challenging tasks — maybe even seemingly impossible ones — is the best way for Harris to be seen as presidential, something that has eluded every woman ever vying for the presidency in the history of the United States. Will Harris be a more electable (a word that often haunts women running for president) presidential candidate in the future by asking for a diversified portfolio of work, to be involved in all meetings, and to have a seat at the table?

We can go all the way back to 1964, when Margaret Chase Smith was described as “the quiet woman,” who landed in politics the old-fashioned way: over her husband’s dead body; or we can rewind just a bit to the 2020 election, when each of the six women — the most ever running for president at one time — was considered unpresidential for one reason or another (including Kamala Harris). Each of the women in 2020 faced some kind of misogyny in her efforts to be president, from Elizabeth Warren being too old, to Marianne Williamson being too woo-woo, and just about everything in between.

When John Adams described his vice presidency by saying, “In this I am nothing,” he was observing that for him, at the time, the vice presidency was nothing more than a security position just in case the president died in office. For years the vice president was seen as one of the most underemployed people in the country — complete with a cushy salary, a nice office, Secret Service protection, and a gorgeous residence, but, alas, not much to do. It may be one of the reasons so few advanced to the presidency. In the past, presidents were not likely to give their vice presidents many governing assignments, maybe because of the old “upstaging” problem that so many powerful leaders fear. Nelson Rockefeller famously described his vice presidency with: “I go to funerals. I go to earthquakes.”

Kamala Harris is not just going to funerals and earthquakes. Instead, she has been given hefty assignments. Whether they are impossible or not, I believe her active vice presidency will serve her well if she chooses to run for president in the future. Here’s why: >>
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Womens media centre
July 14, 2021
Shaistha Khan

<< <I Will Not Be Silenced: Women in Kuwait Fight Back Against Violence.

On April 20, a Kuwaiti woman, Farah Hamza Akbar, was brutally murdered in broad daylight. Her perpetrator had been harassing and threatening her for allegedly refusing his marriage proposal. Akbar filed two separate complaints with the police; but despite being arrested and later released on bail, he persisted. On that fateful day, the harasser crashed into Akbar’s car, abducted her, stabbed her in the chest, and dumped her body outside a hospital in Kuwait City.

In a viral video, Akbar’s sister — a lawyer who had sought protection for her — was seen wailing that their pleas to the authorities went ignored; the harasser did what he had promised he would.

The video sparked an outrage in Kuwaiti society, signaling the ever-present and persistent problem of harassment and gender-based violence that women in the country are subjected to on a daily basis. <All of us know somebody that has either died or been in a near-fatal accident because a man was following them and trying to push them off-road,> says Noor Al Obaid, a human rights activist.

<I cannot drive or walk down the street without being harassed and catcalled. It’s become a norm now,” she says. “When Akbar was killed, people realized the magnitude of the situation and how unsafe the country is for women.>

A social media movement

It was only three months earlier that an online campaign akin to #MeToo had sparked a nationwide movement. In an impassioned video, blogger Ascia Al Faraj spoke to her 2.5 million followers about the harassment she experiences and witnesses on a daily basis. Following Al Faraj’s viral video, Shayma Shamo, a medical doctor, founded Lan Asket (I will not be silenced), an Instagram account and hashtag for victims to anonymously share their stories of sexual harassment, violence, and abuse.

<In Arab culture, shame acts as a shroud that prevents people from sharing their stories. We are shamed into silence,> explains Shamo. <Kuwait didn’t have a safe space for people to openly share. I wanted to remove that barrier and show that being silent is no longer an option.>

Overnight, the account blew up with people sharing their stories, and soon Kuwaiti society was openly talking about a taboo topic. <For the first time, so many conservative girls were having online and offline discussions about this unavoidable topic — everyone was talking about it,> says Najeeba Hayat, a friend of Al Faraj and an activist who joined forces with Al Faraj and Shamo.>>
Read more here:

Womens media centre

May 26 2021 
Dr. Asia A. Eaton

<<SHIELD Act Would Be First Federal Law on Intimate Image Abuse.

You’re probably familiar with the term <revenge porn.> It’s when a jilted boyfriend plasters his ex’s nude images on social media, right? Unfortunately, that misnomer doesn’t do justice to the growing crisis of intimate image abuse affecting women and men of all ages across the globe. Intimate image abuse is not a matter of revenge — it’s a matter of sexual violence.

Better terms include <nonconsensual porn> or <image-based sexual abuse.> These terms are more fitting because the nature and consequences of intimate image abuse mirror other forms of abuse. In my own research as associate professor of psychology at Florida International University and head of research for Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), colleagues and I found that nonconsensual porn in intimate relationships shares features of in-person relationship violence. Specifically, it can be perpetrated to maintain power and control over victims. In one case, a 34-year-old Michigan perpetrator posted intimate images of his ex-girlfriend online, saying he would keep posting the photos until she returned his belongings. This example illustrates both emotional abuse and coercion.

Research also finds that victims of intimate image abuse suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and physical health problems. They have to obtain restraining orders, change jobs and residences, and endure public judgment and humiliation. Survivors have described the experience as “torture for the soul,” causing isolation, existential threat, social rupture, constrained liberty, and constant fear and vigilance.

Sadly, this form of abuse has become common in the U.S., with research finding that as many as one in 12 adults have been victims of nonconsensual porn. Nonconsensual porn is also a gender-based form of violence, with women being victimized at a greater rate than men (~1.4 times as likely). Since COVID-19, unfortunately, these numbers have likely increased. Calls to the CCRI crisis helpline in the U.S., for example, increased 38.39% since the start of the pandemic, while calls to the U.K. hotline increased 22%.

Though laws exist in most U.S. states criminalizing nonconsensual porn, many of them fail to protect all victims. For example, some laws require evidence that the perpetrator intended to cause the victim harm. Aside from being an unusually difficult standard to meet, not all intimate image abuse is done for reasons of anger or vindication. Some perpetrators disseminate the images to gain popularity or social status. Others, like Hunter Moore, founder of the now-defunct online pornographic site Is Anyone Up?, do it for financial gain. Another loophole in existing state laws is the failure to include all the ways intimate image abuse can be perpetrated (e.g., through text messages).

Thanks to the tireless efforts of victim advocates, however, a comprehensive legal approach to this crime is finally on the table: the SHIELD Act (for <Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution>).>>
Read more here:

Contra Corriente
20 06 2021
By Vienna Herrera
Edicted by Jennifer Avila

<<In 2010, Victoria suffered a miscarriage and rushed to hospital. She didn’t know she was pregnant. Then hospital staff reported her to the authorities for abortion. The ensuing legal battle lasted eleven years. When her name was revealed by the media, she had to leave town. She was unable to get a steady job for years and has dealt with post-traumatic stress ever since. During her public trial in April this year, the prosecutor requested an acquittal due to a lack of evidence, and the court agreed. She asked to remain anonymous in our interview to avoid even more stigmatization and discrimination.

Victoria* doesn’t remember much about the day she was accused of abortion. She had been experiencing severe abdominal pain for several hours and went to El Progreso Hospital to be treated. She waited there for hours for medical attention, holding her eight-year-old daughter’s hand. She remembers the blood in the bathroom and feeling anguish and fear. Another painful memory suddenly surfaces ? she had been handcuffed to her hospital bed, her wrists purple from the tight restraints. She spent a week like that, detained in her own hospital bed while recovering from the miscarriage. She overheard the nurses calling her a <cow,> and some refused to treat her.

In 2010, Victoria was charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Público – MP) with the abortion <of a 20-week-old unborn,> when the medical staff at the hospital decided she looked suspicious. She had sought treatment after experiencing abnormal bleeding in her bathroom.

<I was afraid that they might kill me, based on the way they treated me. They accused me, they called the police, and they called me a slut. I insisted that I hadn’t done anything wrong. I didn’t even know [about the pregnancy] because I have problems with my period. Sometimes I expect it on a certain date and it comes on another,> said Victoria.

The first part of her trial took place on April 22 and the second part on May 6. The psychiatric and psychological experts called to testify described her mental state on that day as emotional shock.

The Criminalization of Abortion in Honduras study (in Spanish) by the Somos Muchas (We Women are Many) and Optio organizations, presents the results of their research on Honduran women prosecuted for abortion between 2006 and 2018. The study indicates that in 64% of these cases, health care workers were the ones to report suspected abortions.

Read our report: National Congress Seeks to Bullet-Proof Honduras’ Abortion Ban

Victoria has been receiving financial, emotional and legal support for about three years from Somos Muchas and Optio. In the course of conducting their abortion study, these two organizations also decided to provide support services for defendants in ongoing abortion cases.

Merary Avila, a lawyer with Somos Muchas and Victoria’s legal representative, notes that there is a political motive for providing these support services. <I insisted that we represent these defendants in order to put names, faces, and real stories to all those statistics in our reports … We want to shine a spotlight on the discrimination and injustices suffered by these women, and then see how we can obtain reparations for them.>

Victoria’s trial was rescheduled five times over several years, instead of the usual two or three postponements. The court indicated that these postponements were approved to provide the prosecution with enough time to gather the necessary evidence to fight the case against Victoria. In the end, the MP did not present any new evidence.>>
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Women's Media Center
February 21 2019

<<With a record low number of responses to its annual diversity survey — 17.3 percent of newsrooms responded — the American Society of News Editors’ latest tally found that women comprised 41.7 percent and people of color 22.6 percent of the overall workforce in those responding newsrooms.

Sports desks at 75 of the nation’s newspapers and online news sites earned a “B+” for racial diversity, a “D+” for gender and racial diversity, combined, and a sixth consecutive “F” for lack of gender equity, according to the “Racial and Gender Report Card,” commissioned by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

A record number of women are working in TV news, including as news directors; but fewer women and people of color are employed in radio news, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Women owned 7.4 percent of the nation’s commercial TV stations, according to the federal government’s most recent tally.

Women were general managers of 17.4 percent of the nation’s AM and FM stations, according to Mentoring Inspiring Women in Radio.

Articles exploring sexual assault and harassment at 14 of the nation’s largest newspapers surged by 30 percent during the 15 months after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual crime hit headlines, according to the Women’s Media Center.

Women at the four most widely circulated U.S.-based newspapers penned an average of 15 percent of guest-writer op-eds on international issues during 1996, 2006 and 2016, according to the Foreign Policy Institute.

Twenty-eight female journalists in the United States and 47 of their news counterparts in four other nations said online harassers directed lewd comments, sexual solicitations and rape threats against them, according to the University of Texas Center for Media Engagement.>>
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Women's Media Center
07 November, 2017 
Soraya Chemaly, Marya Stark

<<What women politicians’ online harassment tells us about degraded democracy.

Earlier this year, in a little remarked upon episode, the nation was exposed to how differently men and women politicians are treated in media. In September, Senator John McCain was showered with accolades after he voted against his party’s attempt to repeal Obamacare and urged his peers to espouse cross-party conciliation. McCain’s Johnny-Come-Lately stake in the ground came, however, in the wake of the consistent, longer-standing, and defiant intra-party opposition of two other Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who were motivated, in part by their pro-choice stance.

For their efforts, the women were viciously attacked online and off as traitors to their party. Members of their own party made comments about beating them for their insolence, and threatened other violence and political retaliation. <I'm tellin' ya,> Georgia GOP Representative Buddy Carter, announced on national television, <Somebody needs to go over to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass,> a colloquial reference to beating, as punishment. Texas GOP representative Blake Farenthold claimed that if Murkowski and other women GOP senators were men he would challenge them to duels. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke sent what Alaska GOP senator Dan Sullivan called a <threatening message,> suggesting that his department would penalize Murkowski’s home state of Alaska in response to her vote. Online, the women were, among the milder examples, <old hags> and <lying feminazi's (sic).> President Donald Trump, taking a moment out of a day in which he graphically described the violent mutilation of girls and told a sexually suggestive story to a crowd of more than 40,000 people at a Boy Scout Jamboree, took time to tweet about Murkowski, in a depressingly familiar dog-whistle tactic for generating a cascade of online vitriol.

Collins and Murkowski are, quite literally, among some of the last Republican women standing in Congress and treatment like this, at the hands of their own party, does little to encourage women to join the GOP fold. The harassment that they faced is typical for women in politics, regardless of their political affiliations. A 2016 Inter-Parliamentary Union survey of women in legislatures around the world found that:

· 41.8% report wide distribution of <extremely humiliating or sexually charged images>

· 44.4% receive death, rape, beating and abduction threats

· 32.7% harassed through exposure to persistent unwanted and intimidating messages

· 61.5% believe that the primary objective of the harassment they face is to dissuade women from pursuing political leadership positions

The treatment of these two Senators illustrates this hostility, but it also illuminates two problems rarely clearly linked to hostility towards women: political polarization and degraded democracy.>>
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