The death from gang rape of a 23-year-old student has turned a spotlight on India’s gender norms. In response, Human Rights Watch has come out with a series of policy recommendations for India. But without effective enforcement, these laws won’t even move the needle on acts of violence against women.
A recent California decision shows why updating our sex crimes laws should be a top priority of 2013.
If I heard this story about anyone else, even then, I would have zero hesitation in applying the label “rape.” But at the time, and for a long time afterword, I was unable to view my own rape for what it actually was.
Peru has more reported cases of rape and sexual violence than any other country in South America. Eight in ten of these victims are minors. Women and girls in this situation are faced with two options: seek an illegal abortion and risk going to jail or carry the pregnancy to term.
Faced with polls saying that eight in 10 Americans think abortion should be legal when a pregnancy results from rape, anti-choice activists are actually pushing for more public discussion of the issue. It’s part of a long-term campaign to try to change Americans’ minds and to bring the country closer to banning abortion in nearly all cases.
I recently held a seminar on rape in war with military lawyers from across the world. We talked through a number of obstacles to prevention and elimination of sexual violence, but at the end of the seminar everyone agreed that the biggest of them all is silence.
Rape, and other forms of violence and abuse such as birth control sabotage or pregnancy coercion, are acts that seek to strip power from women and inhibit their decisionmaking. This election-year, where are the real conversations about violence against women, not just idiotic statements about rape?
“Abortion exceptions” are human rights violations and bad public health policy. Any administration that banned abortion “with exceptions” would force every single woman who needs an abortion to live a nightmare scenario: hope that you qualify and can actually get an abortion, or be denied access altogether. Today, all over the country, many women are already living that nightmare.
It seems they can’t help themselves. One after another, not inconsequentially right-wing, white, male politicians continue to pontificate on the choices women should, and should not, be able to make in the aftermath of a rape. For John Koster, that is in the aftermath of “the rape thing.”
Richard Mourdock argued in a debate that women who have been raped should not have access to abortion services because their pregnancies are a “gift from god.” As a survivor of childhood sexual violence, I disagree with him completely.