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Mass Rapes To Mass Protests: Violence Against Women In 2016

From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It’s a day to reflect on the pain and resilience of survivors. And it’s a day to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and pillage in neighboring Central African Republic. Bemba was found guilty under the concept of ‘command responsibility’, in which civilian and military superiors can be held criminally liable for crimes committed by troops under their control.In Senegal, a court convicted Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, of personally committing rape as an international crime. In May, decades after his victims started fighting for his prosecution, Habré was convicted of torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to life in prison.

But despite these victories, impunity for violence against women remains a massive problem. Around the world, Human Rights Watch documented horrific violent attacks on women, with the attackers facing no punishment.

In Nigeria, government officials and other authorities raped and sexually exploited women and girls displaced by the conflict with the armed group Boko Haram. In Jordan, there was a spike in so-called ‘honor killings’, murders of women or girls by relatives for acts supposedly impinging family ‘honor’. In South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burundi, armed combatants gang raped women and girls. In Nepal, child marriage, as well as rape and physical abuse of child brides, is common.

And in some countries, reports this year revealed sexual violence that has continued for years. In the United States, military service members have faced not only sexual assault, but also retaliation if they reported the abuse. In Burma, the military has committed rape and other sexual violence relating to the country’s decades-long civil wars. Women raped in Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence have been unable to obtain reparations or justice. The list of horror goes on.

The past year also saw contrasts in how governments address violence against women in legislation. Some countries, like Haiti, have no laws specifically criminalizing domestic violence. Others, like Morocco, are still discussing a draft domestic violence law. But some countries have strengthened legal protections. China, for example, started implementing its December 2015 domestic violence law, and Brazil set tougher penalties for ‘femicide’, or gender-motivated killings of women and girls.

(Courtesy Huffingtonpost)

 

1 Comment for “Mass Rapes To Mass Protests: Violence Against Women In 2016”

  1. gabriella

    In Asian countries where women are shackled to their husbands’ purse-strings, and have few rights; domestic violence may be a serious issue.

    However, in the West where the “debate” has been hijacked by the Lesbian and Feminist lobby, the boot may be on the other foot. And, it may be men who in fact need ‘protecting’. Men can often find them selves deprived of their rights and subject to an unsympathetic court system, manipulated by women expert at exploiting society’s perception of them as the weaker sex.

    Yes, women need protecting, but without the pendulum shifting exclusively in their favor.

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