violence

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Emergency hotline for female genital mutilation started in EU

With SOS, the FGM Task Force now has a child protection project started, which is unique in Germany and Europe.  It focuses on the concrete protection of girls from a very specific violence: female genital mutilation.

In Germany alone, need up to 50,000 under-age girls are classified as endangered.  Up to 80% of these girls actually are subjected to the mutilation.  To protection, they could not count so far with few exceptions.

The experience of recent years have shown that people who have specific information about planned or have already become committed genital mutilation, often do not know whom they can turn to.  Even authorities and youth respond often uncertain and hesitant when girls at risk must be protected.

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TheCall Ministries From USA Intends To Fuel Homophobia In Uganda

[via IGLHRC]

Urgent Call To Action: Stop Thecall Ministries From Fueling Homophobia In Uganda Through Their May 2, 2010, Crusade

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemns Lou Engle's upcoming crusade scheduled for May 2, 2010. The crusade could cause incalculable damage, as it is designed to label homosexuality as a "vice" in Uganda and to incite people to "fight" against this "vice" in society. In the context of an already inflamed extremist religious movement against homosexuality in Uganda sparked off by American evangelicals, the inflammatory preaching of Lou Engle and his associates is likely to incite further violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.

Sexual Minorities Uganda calls on all human rights defenders, organizations, religious communities and leaders, governments, and civil society, globally to take action to ensure that Lou Engle and his associates do not set foot in Uganda and that the Call Uganda does not proceed with this inflammatory and hate-inducing plan. While Sexual Minorities Uganda supports freedom of worship, we recognize the need for restriction on any speech that incites hatred and violence against a minority group. If a prayer event is to be held in Uganda, it should be done in a manner which encourages Christ-like love and acceptance and does not incite hatred and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

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Photo Exhibit of trafficking survivors - Pain To Power

[via Neww Polska]

Trafficked women redraw their portraits with a new identity through the lens of photographer Achinto Bhadra.  Hemlata Aithani captures the metamorphosis.

From brothels to mainstream, it has been a journey of transformation captured through the lens — the journey of 126 young women rescued from the red light areas in Kolkata and rehabilitated. Capturing their metamorphosis from ‘pain to power’, as they portrayed themselves in characters they could identify with, was acclaimed photographer Achinto Bhadra. At an exhibition organised at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi, he displayed 50 out of the 126 portraits he had created.

While the striking compositions, colour, costumes, make-up, expressions and captions made each portrait captivating, the exhibition for the most part was about the successful reintegration of the young subjects into society; their newly-gained independence; their determination to start life afresh; and how they see themselves and what they identify with.

The photographs were part of a project that began five years ago by the Kolkata-based NGO, Sanlaap, with support from Terre Des Hommes Foundation, Switzerland. “Sanlaap has been working for the past 21 years against the trafficking of girls and women... working with girls rescued from brothels.... and children of commercial sex workers and helping them to come back to main society,” says Indrani Sinha, director, Sanlaap.

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Sex Workers Rights in Macedonia: You Must Know About Me - Excerpts [video]

By: Violeta Krasnic

In Macedonia, as throughout the world, sex workers are pushed to the margins of society by a combination of prejudice, discrimination, and violence.  Yet, the fact that a person sells sexual services cannot be used as justification for the denial of their fundamental rights, to which all human beings are entitled.

“You Must Know About Me” is a first-hand account of sex workers’ experiences and aspirations off and on the streets.  While dealing with harassment and violence from clients, pimps, and the police, sex workers strive to counter hostile public attitudes by speaking out and fighting for their rights.  The video calls for zero tolerance of violence against sex workers and the coordinated response of institutions to the actual needs of sex workers.

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Organisation Intersex International Position Statement on Genital Cutting

Organisation Intersex International Position Statement on Genital Cutting

Intersex refers to atypical internal and/or external anatomical sexual characteristics, where features usually regarded as male or female may be mixed to some degree. This is a naturally occurring variation in humans. From the late 1950's onwards, starting in the USA, intersex infants and children were increasingly subject to cosmetic surgeries intended to ensure that their genital appearance and internal gonads conformed to that usually expected for their assigned gender. This also tended to entail hormone treatments aimed at conforming them to those associated with being "male" or "female."

From the early 1990’s to the present day, hundreds of intersex adults have come forward to say that they regard these medical practices as being extremely harmful to them, both physically and psychologically. Despite this high level of dissatisfaction, there has been little follow-up of adults who were treated this way as children, so without any clear understanding of outcomes, there is no real evidence upon which to justify this approach. On the contrary, the little evidence there is suggests that physiologically, functional outcome is poor. A study conducted in England of intersex people who electively chose to undergo such surgery as adults revealed that the large majority were dissatisfied; treatments resulted in physical pain and diminished sexual response, and were not able to provide them with the sense of normalcy which they hoped for.

There is no evidence that intersex variations alone will negatively impact the quality of life of the individuals who have them, nor that "normalizing" medical treatments are a solution. What evidence there is suggests the opposite; intersex adults who have not received unnecessary medical intervention have said they feel lucky to have "escaped" such treatments. They lack the psychological trauma from treatments imposed on others, and report satisfaction with their sexual response and their unique physical attributes. Such treatment is often justified from the assumption that intersex children and/or adults will be subjected to discriminatory behaviour because of their bodily differences; however, this is not necessarily correct, because their differences are sometimes only evident when naked, or not evident visually at all. Where differences are visible, this is no different than the situation of people from other minority groups. The solution to such challenges is not to alter the characteristics themselves, but to combat the prejudicial attitudes that stigmatise.

Cosmetic surgery on intersex genitals appears to harm intersex infants, children, and even adults, yet it still persists. As with male circumcision, it is often driven by parental desire to provide their children with bodies that conform to certain beliefs about how genitals should be. Also, the presumption that atypical sex anatomy will result in atypical sexual orientation and/or gender identity, homophobia and a fear of atypical gender presentation are seen by some intersex people as the motivation driving these surgeries. In many societies today, gender expression and sexual orientation are seen as a human right, and this is recognised by the UN. Performing unnecessary surgeries on infants and children in order to influence adult sexual orientation and/or gender identity outcomes should be seen as a human rights abuse. There is no evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity are affected by genital surgery one way or the other.

We seek recognition that all humans have the right to autonomy over their own bodies, including their genitals etc. Because infants and children are too young to assert their autonomy, they should not be subjected to unnecessary surgeries which may irrevocably harm them, and which they may not have chosen as adults. We recognise that cases requiring medical treatment for the maintenance of health or preservation of life should be managed as with any other situation where a child needs treatment. Intersex infants and children should be raised without cosmetic surgery and/or steroidal hormones until they are old enough to decide for themselves whether they wish to undergo these procedures and treatments or not.

We recommend avoidance of genital cutting, where possible, until a child can fully participate in decision making. This would be worked towards through communication between parents of intersex children, the children themselves, intersex adults, support groups, and clinicians who are sensitive to the needs of the child. Counselling should be available for those affected by the situation, to ensure they are fully informed and equipped to make the best decisions. Wider education about intersex as a human variation is also necessary; the cultural anxiety and social pressure that encourage surgery, hormone therapy and physical conformity need to be addressed. Through a process that includes education, communication, and counselling, then public shame will decrease, along with a reduction of cultural anxiety and social pressure, ultimately allowing people the liberty to maintain autonomy over their own bodies.

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Yemeni Women Subjected to Abuse

I was reading about the horrid death of a 12 year old girl who died of rape after being married sold off as a bride bitch for breeding and forced labor.  This practice is endorsed by holy men psychotic, ignorant and delusional brutes and imposed on the devoted followers dirt fucking poor and hopeless.  And no...this is not the exception to the rule, nor is the brutal rape of children limited only to one faith.  I'll go off later on the lunacy of trusting children with any adult - much less man who claims to represent and invisible friend in the sky and can't hold a real job of his own.

In the meantime, I did find this well crafted piece about women in Yemen and how the underlying sexism of that culture this whole fucking planet exists to suck the energy and life out of women and give only cruelty and indifference in return. 

Breaking the Silence” chronicles the lives and injustices against the Akhdam women in Yemen. The ‘Akhdam’ , singular Khadem, meaning "servant" in Arabic, are a social group in Yemen, distinct from the majority by their darker skin and African descent. Although they are Arabic-speaking and practicing Muslims, they are regarded as non-Arabs and designated as a low caste group, frequently discriminated against and confined to unskilled and menial labor. In a society already riddled with patriarchy and poverty, the distain and discrimination against the Akhdam renders Akhdam women easy targets of violence and abuse. Akhdam women are subject to hate-based attacks and sexual assaults without any type of legal or social recourse.

This video, produced by Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights and WITNESS, featuring the stories and voices of these three women, Haddah, Qobol, and Om Ali recounting their stories of violence, injustice and forced poverty uncover the legacy of discrimination the ‘Akhdam’ live with daily and the necessity for urgent action against these atrocities.

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Interview: Nancy Schwartzman, Director of "The Line"

Have you ever been coerced into sex with someone?  Have you ever coerced someone for sex? 

If so, you may have had your line crossed or crossed someone else's.

For those unaware of the film, "The Line" is about a woman (in this case, the filmmaker herself) who is raped and her efforts to confront her attacker.  The film also examines our cultural prejudices against rapists and those who are raped.

The expectations and judgments we place on others and ultimately ourselves are examined and questioned as Nancy views the impact of cultural projections arising from gender, power, language and identity. 

Running through all this is the ideas of consent and communication.  Where, when, what & how a person speaks to indicate their line of consent / no consent and this place is "The Line" that the film addresses. 

We all know what we are comfortable with and have some idea of what we'll experiment with and we probably know the things we're not comfortable with.  These things can alter over time, but the issue in this film is when a person feels like saying "No", do they have the language and the ability to say so?.  Social stereotypes may inform a person that they don't have the right to say no.  Or, they may feel that they "owe " compliance to someone because they said "yes" before or some other reason.  Many of us will have different answers to the same situation at different points in our lives.  But, for many people their line gets crossed and they are left with no idea of what happened or how to deal with it.

This film is a great tool for individuals of any sex, gender, age or class to view as a means to understanding their participation in the rape elements of our shared cultures.  I recommend it highly. 

The target audience is people wishing to understand boundaries and consent.  It is also being appled as a tool for educators, sex educators, activists and organizations or people working with gender based violence.

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What will be the next violation of human rights in Indonesia?

First there was the Aceh Legislative Council that passed the Qanun Jinayat punishing adultery and homosexual conduct with stoning to death and caning. Then there was the Constitutional Court decision upholding the Anti-Pornograhy law that criminalizes homosexuality, and leaves room to criminalize sensuality violating especially cultural minorities’ freedom of expression. Finally there came the mobs attacking the ILGA Asia Conference participants in broad daylight of Surabaya.

On March 23rd the Indonesian police cancelled the regional Asia Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) that was to be held in Surabaya through 26 – 28 March and was to be attended by more than 150 activists representing 100 organizations from 16 Asian countries. It is claimed that the police cancelled the conference due to pressures and threat of attacks from conservative Muslim groups, though in fact the duty of the police was to deter such attacks. As theinability of a state and its law enforcement units to protect the freedom of expression and association can only reflect institutional discrimination and systematic intimidation against human rights advocates.

On March 26th these groups did indeed attack the Conference participants in the Oval Hotel where they were trapped, having arrived in Surabaya unaware of the last minute cancelation, and unable to leave the city.

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“I’d rather die than go back to him”

SANAA, 21 February 2010 (IRIN) - It was every little girl’s dream - she was to get a new dress, jewellery, sweets and a party for all her friends.

What 10-year-old Aisha
(*not her real name) did not know was that after the wedding party she would have to leave school, move to a village far from her parents’ home, cook and clean all day, and have sex with her older husband.

“He took out a special sheet and laid me down on it,” Aisha told IRIN, wringing her small plump hands. “After it, I started bleeding. It was so painful that I was crying and shouting, and since then I have seen him as death.”

After a week of fighting off her husband every night, Aisha’s father was called. He had received 200,000 Yemeni Rial (US$1,000) for his daughter in `shart’, a Yemeni dowry, which he could not pay back.

“My Dad made a cup of tea and put some pills in it, which he gave me. The pills made me feel dizzy,” said Aisha. “My Dad told me to sleep with my husband, or he would kill me, but I refused.”

Instead Aisha broke a glass bottle over her head in a desperate attempt to stay awake. “My Dad hit me badly. I was bleeding from my mouth and nose,” she said.

After spending a few months in her husband’s home, where she said he would regularly drug her and beat her, Aisha managed to escape. Now, two years later, aged 12, she is unable to divorce him.

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"We Give A Damn" - Powerful New PSA Advocating LGBTQI Teens / Runaways

Equality. Get Informed. Get Involved. Give a Damn!

That's the message from the new website: http://www.WEGIVEADAMN.org.

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Cyndi Lauper, Anna Paquin, Elton John, Jason Mraz, Cynthia Nixon, Whoopi Goldberg, Wanda Sykes, Sharon Osbourne, Clay Aiken and Kevin Alejandro all give a damn about equality! 

(Music by Keaton Simons)

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