Globally, up to one out of every three women will experience physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime. Gender-based violence (GBV)—which includes sexual violence—is an issue worldwide, and during armed conflicts or humanitarian crises the risks to women and girls are often heightened. Although survivors of sexual violence are not exclusively female, rape and other types of sexual violence predominantly affect women and girls. Rape is frequently used as a form of torture and as a weapon of war, and often results in unwanted pregnancy. Despite this commonly cited fact, women who become pregnant as a result of rape are often unable to access the care that they need because of U.S. legislative barriers to safe abortion, namely the Helms Amendment. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Amnesty International
LESVOS, Greece – Shirin, an Afghan journalist, was once shot at by the Taliban. After fleeing near-fatal attacks in her country in the hope of finding safety in Europe, she now lives in constant fear in a transit refugee camp in Greece. She is, in fact, just one of many women who have fled harm and persecution, only to face new fears of sexual harassment and violence in the camps on the Greek islands.
“We are treated like animals. I’d rather be shot again than endure these conditions,” Shirin, not her real name, told Amnesty International at the Kara Tepe camp on the island of Lesvos.
It was 18 months ago that the Taliban shot at Shirin’s car. Initially, she fled to Kabul, where she found another journalism job, this time behind the camera. “It’s very dangerous for a woman journalist in Afghanistan,” she said. She continued to receive threats over the phone, and eventually it became too much. She left Afghanistan for Europe. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Gopika Bashi, @gopikabashi, Women’s Rights Researcher, Amnesty International India
On 24 August, Amnesty International India launched a petition regarding two Dalit sisters who had been ordered to be raped and paraded naked by a khap panchayat – an unelected village council – in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh in northern India, as ‘punishment’ because their brother had eloped with a married woman from a dominant caste.
Amnesty offices around the world circulated similar petitions, so that our supporters globally would have an opportunity to take action. Over 500,000 people have so far signed these petitions.
Some media organizations have subsequently released reports which have questioned the petition. Some have said that members of the gram panchayat – the elected village council – and members of the dominant caste have denied the allegations. Others have claimed that Amnesty did not investigate the case.
Unfortunately, these reports have taken the attention away from the situation of the sisters themselves, who along with their family still fear for their safety. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Magdalena Medley, Development & Policy, International Coordination and Member Advocacy Assistant and Debbie Sharnak, Argentina Country Specialist
Argentina’s society will not tolerate losing one more woman to gender based violence. Not even one.
That is what the social media campaign #NiUnaMenos is all about. The hashtag #NiUnaMenos, meaning not even one less (woman) represents the support Argentinian society has for these victims and their families. As it went viral on Twitter we can see that they are not going to tolerate this type of violence, they will not stay silent. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Amal Habani, Winner of Amnesty International USA’s 2015 Ginetta Sagan Award
In July 2009 when my colleague was arrested and tried for wearing trousers in Khartoum, I could no longer stay silent.
Women and girls in Sudan are constantly confronted with obstacles imposed by the public order regime that hinder their freedom of movement, their freedom of association, and their ability to make personal choices on a daily basis. As a Sudanese woman, I had always encountered these problems and as such, aspired to become a journalist to speak out for social change.
By Debbie Sharnak, Argentina-Paraguay country specialist
On August 27, 2014, Paraguay took a huge step forward in promoting the rights of domestic violence survivors when they released Lucia Sandoval from prison. Sandoval had been in jail for over three years on the charge of homicide after she defended herself against an abusive husband. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
There’s little doubt that you’ve repeatedly heard about the incessant global epidemic of violence against women and girls; I am certain you’ve seen one too many horrific headlines highlighting unthinkable instances of gender-based violence around the world.
Like me, you’re also undoubtedly distressed by the violence and simultaneously weary of the struggle to end it. It is overwhelming and daunting to grasp how we can work to effectively end this widespread human rights abuse.
But we cannot give up on our efforts. With every day that passes, violence continues to devastate the lives of countless more women and girls in every part of the world. We must continue to push for a solution. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Each year on International Women’s Day, the world celebrates the acts of courage and determination of women worldwide. It’s a global celebration of the accomplishments, legacy, and rights of women.
What International Women’s Day also highlights, however, is the continued struggle for women’s rights. And no one knows that better than women’s rights defenders like Bahareh Hedayat of Iran and Norma Cruz of Guatemala. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By: Cindy Ko, Ending Violence Against Women Fellow; DC Legislative Coordinator
This Valentine’s Day, show your love for humanity and demand change for women and girls: join Amnesty International and V-Day, a global movement dedicated to ending gender-based violence, for the annual One Billion Rising Revolution campaign to end violence against women and girls. In a world populated with over 7 billion people, one in three women will be physically, sexually, or otherwise abused during her lifetime: that’s a staggering one billion women and girls who have experienced violence. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By: Alice Dahle, Co-chair, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist
On December 24, the first ever international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) regulating the sale of conventional arms and ammunition will go into effect. The treaty will require that before authorizing a sale of arms and ammunition across international borders, governments must assess the risk that the weapons will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, undermine peace and security, or engage in transnational organized crime. If an exporting country knows there is an “overriding” risk that the arms will be used for these purposes, the sale is prohibited.
In another break-through, the ATT is also the first legally binding international agreement that makes the connection between the international arms trade and gender-based violence (GBV). Only recently has the gendered aspect of armed violence been recognized. During the drafting of the treaty, Amnesty International joined with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), and Oxfam to enlist the support of both governments and civil society for inclusion of a gender dimension in the treaty. As a result of these efforts, Article 7(4) of the ATT makes it mandatory for arms exporting countries to assess the risk that their weapons will be used in the commission of GBV and deny authorization of any sales that present an “overriding” risk. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST