For just the price of a 2nd class stamp, join our urgent campaign to end sexual violence in DR Congo:
All of us who work and volunteer within the Rape Crisis movement are intimately connected to the ongoing war in DR Congo. Not only are many of us working with Congolese women in our Centres who are suffering the effects of rape and torture but we also know that this conflict has left over a million rape survivors. Only tackling the root causes of the armed conflict will be effective to reduce sexual violence. This is the biggest war in history, which has killed over 6 million Congolese, created terrible poverty and millions of refugees, as well as generating horrific levels of sexual violence. Bradford Congo Campaign has produced a postcard so your vital action will only take 5 minutes and cost just the price of a 2nd class stamp. If you prefer to write something fuller to the Foreign Secretary, BCC has also written a template letter. Our postcards and letters must arrive before 17th June 2013.
Please join our letter writing campaign. We aim to get thousands of letters to William Hague by the time the G8 leaders meet in the UK on June 17th.
We are writing because the UK has the Presidency of the G8 and the publicity surrounding William Hague's visit to Dr Congo with Angelina Jolie in the lead up to the G8 Foreign Minister's Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, adopted in London on 11th April 2013. Sexual violence on the scale we see in the DR Congo is a direct result of the armed conflict. Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war particularly against Congolese women and also inflicted on children and men. Only tackling the root causes of the armed conflict will be effective to reduce sexual violence.
The consecutive armed conflicts that are fought in the DR Congo are proxy wars for illegal access and control of coltan, cassiterite, beryllium, niobium, andesine, europium ruthenium, oil, diamonds, gold, zinc, cobalt, copper, silver, cadmium, uranium, and other rare and new metals found in exceptional concentration in the DR Congo's soil. Mobiles, smart phones, computers, MP3 players and many manufactured items sold in the UK made with resources mined in DR Congo. Report after report provides the evidence of the role of foreign governments and multinational companies in the armed conflict and the link between armed conflict for control of mineral resources and sexual violence.
It's a challenge to get thousands of letters to William Hague by June 17th but we can take the time to attend to the biggest war in history that has killed over 5 million Congolese, created terrible poverty, led to millions of refugees and left over a million rape survivors. Please print the letter sign & send, photocopy it, post on facebook, tweet, speak at meetings and to family and friends.
Bradford Congo Campaign
Download the letter here:
More than 10,000 women and children will take to the streets of central London on Saturday, 9 March, 2013. The march, organised by Million Women Rise (MWR), is holding up a mirror to the truth of male violence against women in all its forms, bringing women together to say enough is enough.
Women from across the UK will meet at 12 noon outside Selfridges on Oxford Street making their way to Trafalgar Square at 3pm for the rally.
This year we have already seen the rape of millions of women throughout the world and we are only in March. We have heard the German authority’s apologies to a teenage girl for sending her to a brothel to get work. We saw the gang rape and murder of a 17 year old girl in South Africa and the protest from our sisters there. We have witnessed the Irish government commit murder of a woman who was denied her human right to an abortion. Indian women continue to expose the violence they experience after the gang rape of a young woman who is now dead. Women in Egypt have spoken out against state sponsored violence against women. UK Government statistics revealed less than one rape survivor in 30, who goes to the Police in the UK, will see her attacker brought to justice. We cannot forget women in DR Congo or the British Government support for Rwanda and Uganda, two Governments named by the UN as assisting, arming and directing militia’s in the east of DR Congo responsible for mass rape in this war for mineral wealth.
Ministry of Justice funding for new Rape Crisis Centres
Rape Crisis (England and Wales) warmly welcomes today’s announcement from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that it intends to fund two new Rape Crisis Centres.
These two groups, awarded a total of over £700,00 over the next three years, will provide specialist sexual violence support to women and girls whose lives have been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time. One will be based in Lincoln and cover Lincolnshire:
"We are delighted to have received funding from the Ministry of Justice and welcome this opportunity to set up the first Rape Crisis Centre in Lincolnshire. The funding will allow us to provide invaluable services to support women and girls in Lincolnshire who have experienced rape and sexual violence whether recently or in the past. The Centre will provide a helpline and face-to-face support to women and girls across Lincolnshire so that no matter where a woman lives she will be able to get the help she needs.” - Alison McGowan: firstname.lastname@example.org
The other will be based in Taunton and cover the four local authority areas of Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset (BANES):
“We’re delighted that the Ministry of Justice is able to fund ‘The Sulis Project’ which will provide essential services for women who have experienced rape or sexual violence at any point in their life in Somerset, North Somerset, BANES and South Gloucestershire. The three year funding commitment acknowledges the importance of ensuring services for all survivors and means that women will have access to locally based holistic services that meet their particular needs which, for too long, have been absent in these areas.” - Dawn Taylor:email@example.com
Ms Lee Eggleston, Chair of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) said:
“Sexual violence has devastating consequences that can last for years and even decades. It is vital that women and girls affected have access to the specialised, independent, confidential support that Rape Crisis Centres provide, so that they can rebuild and move forward positively with their lives. Up until now, such support has not been available in these areas or, at best, women and girls have had to travel into the next county or metropolitan area, with some journeys taking hours, to receive the services they want and need. In 2013, access to Rape Crisis support should be a right, not a privilege. This is a significant day both for survivors in Lincolnshire and Somerset and for the Rape Crisis movement as a whole.”
The new services that will be set up with this funding include confidential telephone helplines and one-to-one face-to-face support and they will be tailored to meet the needs of local women and girls.
Today’s announcement of £4 million from the MoJ marks the next step towards the Coalition Government’s commitment to fund 15 new rape support centres and provide funds for existing rape support services.
“In recent years, the MoJ has provided chronically under-resourced Rape Crisis Centres with dedicated funding to support their core work for the first time in our movement’s 40-year history of providing specialist services to women and girls. Their commitment to our new Centres has also helped us fill some of the gaps in services that previously existed and so reduce the impact of the ‘postcode lottery’ for sexual violence survivors.
However, existing Rape Crisis Centres face an increasingly uncertain and challenging future as we move rapidly towards a new local commissioning landscape. Lack of clarity around the agendas of the new Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to be introduced from April this year, leave many of our members concerned about their ability to secure local funding to continue providing their vital services.
RCEW’s vision is of world where every woman and girl is free from the fear and experience of sexual violence. Until that day, our work remains essential.”
Government statistics released last month revealed that 85,000 women are raped and over 400,000 are sexually assaulted across England and Wales each year. RCEW encourages any woman or girl whose life has been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time to visit its website for details of her nearest Rape Crisis services, including advocacy.
To find out more about how you can support the work of the Rape Crisis please go to: www.rapecrisis.org.uk/donations1.php
Forced 'infidelity check' not rape: Swedish court
Published: 21 Feb 13 09:36 CET cross posted from WND
A Swedish court has ruled that a 28-year-old man who ripped off his girlfriend's trousers and underwear to perform an "infidelity check" is not guilty of rape or any other sex crimes.
The man had previously been convicted of rape by a lower court after he tore off his girlfriend's clothes and forced his fingers into her genitals on suspicion that she had been unfaithful, legal trade publication Dagens Juridik reported.
The lower court had also convicted the man of several other charges related to repeated assaults and threats directed against girlfriend in a relationship that had been marked by jealousy and suspicion.
But upon reviewing the case, the Svea Court of Appeal threw out the rape conviction, arguing that the man's actions weren't sexual in nature.
Both the man and his girlfriend testified that the act was an attempt to ascertain whether or not the woman had engaged in sexual activity with another man.
"His action can therefore not be seen as having a sexual character such that it can be regarded as a sexual act according to the criminal code," the court wrote in its ruling.
The appeals court instead found the man guilty of unlawful coercion and reduced his jail sentence from two years and eight months to 14 months in prison.
The woman's defence attorney slammed the court's ruling for how it might affect similar cases in the future.
"There is a risk that a perpetrator may claim an act didn't involve any sexual desire and thus hide behind the argument even if the truth is otherwise," attorney Marianne Jargenius told the Metro newspaper.
It remains unclear whether or not the new court ruling will also be appealed.
oringinal article: http://www.thelocal.se/46324/20130221/#.USdwT664atM
Laila Ali is a British-Somali journalist based in Nairobi
I wrote a story about a young Somali woman brutally gang-raped by government soldiers, hoping that her bravery in telling such a painful story would bring attention to the awful rape problem there. Instead, the government used my article to jail a rape victim for 'insulting the state'! Now I'm asking all of us to stand together to end the epidemic of rape by security forces. please support the petition below
My name is Laila and I'm a journalist. I recently wrote a story about a young woman brutally gang-raped by government soldiers in Somalia, hoping that her bravery in telling such a painful story would bring attention to the awful rape problem there. Instead, the government used my article to jail a rape victim and another journalist covering the story for 'insulting the state'!
Rape is horrific, but to be raped when the only authorities you can turn to for justice are your rapists -- it's the most crushing powerlessness. But together I think we can bring her hope. That's why I started a global petition on the Avaaz site, becauseSomalia's government depends heavily on financing from other governments, so the international community can press them to stop the cover up and bring real reforms to end the epidemic of rape by security forces.
Our call for change could really work, but it needs to be big. UN envoy Zainab Bangura has told us that she will directly deliver our petition to donor countries and Somalia's President. Help by signing and forwarding this email -- let's show these women that they're not alone, and that no one has the authority to rape them:
The brave young woman was accused
By Robyn Curnow, cross- posted from CNN
CNN's Greg Botelho, Leonie Elliott and Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.
February 9, 2013
(CNN) -- A dog would have been treated better than Anene Booyson, her neighbors said.
The 17-year-old South African girl was gang raped then mutilated to death in Bredasdorp, a tiny, rural town about two hours southeast of Cape Town, authorities said.
It's the kind of story that happens too often in South Africa, where a provincial official said violence against females is "systemic." Some 71% of women report having been victims of sexual abuse, the government notes.
But for whatever reason -- perhaps the sheer brutality, perhaps a new awareness to the matter -- the rape and killing of Booyson has been different. It has stirred outrage in Bredasdorp and, in fact, throughout South Africa, from people shocked that a young woman like Booyson could suffer so much.
"I don't know what we must do, but we must do something," said Sophia Europa, from Bredasdorp, fighting off tears. "Otherwise, there is no use giving birth to a baby boy if men treat women lower than animals."
A security guard found Booyson's body February 2 at a construction site not far from where she lived, police Capt. F.C. Van Wyk said.
Booyson's injuries were so severe that her family asked authorities not to give details, said Faiza Steyn, a Western Cape Health Department spokeswoman.
Opinion: End culture of rape in 2013
Million Women Rise call all women to join together in a critical mass to say
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
MILLION WOMEN RISE
Holding up a mirror to the world about the truth of male violence against women in all its forms and "celebrating our Re-Sis-Stance"
This year we have already seen the rape of millions of women throughout the world and we are only in February, we have heard the German authorities apologies to a teenage girl for sending her to a brothel to get work
Many of you have been at the ongoing protests supporting the voices of women of India after the gang rape in India of a young woman who is now dead
“Don’t teach me what to wear – teach your sons not to rape”
The brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman student on a bus in Delhi on 16 December has led to protests on an unprecedented scale.
• What are the implications of the protest movement in India and how can we support it?
• What are the changes being demanded at a legal, political and social level?
• How do we resist the colonial and racist responses to these events in Britain?
• What do the Delhi protests mean for struggles against gender violence in Britain and globally?
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Women in Prisons in a state of Global Crisis! Vigil on Christmas Day 25th December 2013 to remember women in the UK and around the world. 3 - 4.30pm Holloway Prison
join us for the Holloway prison vigil on Christmas day
25th Dec 2013
3 - 4.30 pm
Outside Holloway Women's Prison
London - N7 0NU.
The World Health Organisation published a report, in conjunction with the United Nations, highlighting the special needs of women in prison.
“When a woman goes to prison, she enters a male-dominated society in which the needs and conditions of women are not taken into account”, said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, in a statement following the report. “The result is that women pay a much higher price with their health than men do.
“Women who are sent to prison bring with them a complex set of problems, needs, anxieties, traumas, illnesses and types of dependence. A prison setting worsens these problems and increases the vulnerability of most of these women.
“A woman going into prison is likely to be a mother and is usually the primary or sole carer for her children. While she is imprisoned, her family may break up, resulting in her children ending up in state care institutions or alternative care.
“She is also more likely to harm herself or commit suicide than male prisoners, which is the reverse of what happens in the community.
“She has probably had traumatic experiences, often starting already in early childhood, such as sexual, mental and physical abuse or violence. Half of imprisoned women have also experienced domestic violence.”
*Statistics attributed to the International Centre for Prison Studies
‘Community solutions for non-violent women offenders should be the norm’, according to the Corston Report (2007). It concluded that “There must be a strong consistent message right from the top of government, with full reasons given, in support of its stated policy that prison is not the right place for women offenders who pose no risk to the public”
Women represent 5% of the overall prison population. The number of women in prison in England and Wales stood at 4,211 in December 2011.
Between 2000 – 2010, the women’s prison population increased by 27%.
Most of the rise in the female prison population can be explained by a significant increase in the severity of sentences. In 1996, 10% of women convicted of an indictable offence were sent to prison, in 2010 14% were.
One in four women in prison has spent time in local authority care as a child.
Nearly 40% of women in prison left school before the age of 16 years, almost one in 10 were aged 13 or younger.
30% of women were permanently excluded from school.
Over half the women in prison report having suffered domestic violence and one in three has experienced sexual abuse.
In the 12 months to June 2011 80% of women entering custody under sentence had committed a non-violent offence.
Women serve longer prison sentences than men and for less serious offences. 28% of women in prison had no previous convictions – more than double the figure for men (13%).
Women account for 47% of all incidents of self-harm inside prisons.
30% of women (as compared to 10% of men) have had a previous psychiatric admission before they come into prison.
51% have severe and enduring mental illness, 47% a major depressive disorder.
83% of women in prison stated that they had long-standing illness, compared with 32% of the general female population. 73% were on medication on arrival at prison.
Prior to imprisonment 85% of women were smokers, 75% had used illegal drugs and 40% drank alcohol in excess of the recommended limits.
It is estimated that more than 17,240 children were separated from their mother in 2010 by imprisonment.
Maintaining contact with children is made more difficult by the distance that many prisoners are held from their home area. This is particularly acute for women given the limited number of women’s prisons; in 2009 there were 753 women held over 100 miles from home.
‘Community solutions for non-violent women offenders should be the norm’, according to the Corston Report (2007). It concluded that “There must be a strong consistent message right from the top of government, with full reasons given, in support of its stated policy that prison is not the right place for women offenders who pose no risk to the public”.
Because of those figures, we believe that there are many possible points of intervention along the way, before women become entangled in the criminal justice system. There should be a range of easily accessible services in place to meet the needs of offended against, abused and disadvantaged women and girls so that they do not end up in the criminal justice system.
We believe the majority of women should be dealt with in the community in programmes specifically designed to meet their needs. Imprisonment should be used only in cases where women pose a threat to public safety. Prisons, for these women, should be small local units in urban areas offering a range of services including in-reach by community health, housing and social services and enhanced opportunities for keeping in touch with family and other support.
More than 625,000 women and girls are held in penal institutions around the world, either as pre-trial detainees or having been convicted and sentenced,with the U.S. holding about one-third of this population . The female prison population is growing in all five continents. Although women constitute a very small proportion of the total prison population, on average between 4 and 5 per cent globally, the WHO states the number of women in prison is increasing rapidly. The total in the 187 countries whose figures were shown in the first edition of the World Female Imprisonment List (2006) has increased by more than 16%, with the largest increase being in the Americas (up 23%) and the smallest increase in European countries (up 6%)*
Women in Prison a global Crisis
“The fact that the female prison population continues to rise, and indeed has risen by a considerable 16% since our last edition of the List in 2006, is a cause for serious concern. Given the high financial and social cost of imprisoning women, the data should prompt policy makers in all countries to consider what they can do to limit the number of women in custody. Excessive use of imprisonment does nothing to improve public safety.”
Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies.
Holloway prison vigil on Christmas day, 2013
3 - 4.30 pm
Outside Holloway Prison
London - N7 0NU.
Million Women Rise in Solidarity with Women in Prison: