The actual state of sexualized violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The actual state of sexualized violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By — May 18, 2016
When the Democratic Republic of Congo was dubbed the “rape capital of the world” in 2010 by Margot Wallström, the former UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, understandably the government of DRC was not happy. Besides that, putting one country above all others when it comes to violence against women is a debatable move: So many places have horrifying records of rape and impunity for such cases. But Wallström had good reason for aiming her words at what is unambiguously a truly terrible place for women. more »
The color of lawlessness: Sexual abuse by police, nationwide

The color of lawlessness: Sexual abuse by police, nationwide

By — May 4, 2016
I was stopped by the police one night in January 2015 as I rode the New York City subway. I was making the long trip back downtown from Washington Heights at around 2 a.m. and had fallen asleep. Suddenly, I jolted awake to find an NYPD officer standing over me. The officer asked me to step off the train. I asked him why. He insisted I do it. more »
Rape and sexualized violence in war: The vexing issue of causation and some reflections from Bosnia

Rape and sexualized violence in war: The vexing issue of causation and some reflections from Bosnia

By — April 26, 2016
Refugees. Srebrenica. The siege of Sarajevo. Burning villages such as Ahmići and Stupni Do. The Omarska camp. Captured in these words are some of the most powerful and lasting images of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. The media captured many of the crimes committed in this conflict, while one particular set of crimes typically occurred behind closed doors. more »
‘There’s no news hook’: Q&A with Amanda Sperber on trying to cover rape in South Sudan

‘There’s no news hook’: Q&A with Amanda Sperber on trying to cover rape in South Sudan

By — April 15, 2016
The scale of sexualized violence in South Sudan has been described by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as “shocking.” In a March report, the office counted more than 1,300 rapes in just five months in 2015 in a single area of the country, Unity State. And this number is only “a snapshot” of the real total, with women and girls being considered “a commodity” by soldiers. more »
How to build a rape case: From gathering testimonies to collecting forensic evidence

How to build a rape case: From gathering testimonies to collecting forensic evidence

By — April 7, 2016
When former radio host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges in a high-profile trial in March, the Canadian judge wrote, “The evidence of each complainant suffered not just from inconsistencies and questionable behavior, but was tainted by outright deception.” He also suggested that willful deception was to blame rather than faulty memory, according to CNN. more »
Storify: Using video to document human rights abuses

Storify: Using video to document human rights abuses

By — April 1, 2016
On Wednesday, WMC Women Under Siege hosted a Twitter chat with Matisse Bustos Hawkes, associate director of communications and engagement for Witness. The chat was about documenting human rights violations and introduced the new Witness manual, “Video as Evidence Field Guide,” that can help people working in the field to potentially film human rights abuses. more »

The Index: Peacekeeper rape, by the numbers

By — March 18, 2016
Number of allegations of sexualized violence reported in 2015 against United Nations personnel, according to the UN: 99 ... Number of confirmed attacks on women and children by the UN in countries with peacekeeping missions: 69 more »
The role of women in building peace: Q&A with Mary Robinson

The role of women in building peace: Q&A with Mary Robinson

By — March 8, 2016
The Honorable Mary Robinson is the founder and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. She was the first female president of Ireland from 1990-1997 and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002, and is a global leader on issues of women’s empowerment and human rights. In July 2013, I sat down with her to discuss climate justice and the role of women in the fight for peace. more »
Covering trauma while respecting the story

Covering trauma while respecting the story

By — March 2, 2016
James Dawes writes in the preface of Evil Men: “How can we look at violently invasive and traumatic events with respect and care rather than sensational curiosity? How do profoundly private injuries fit into our mercilessly public spaces? At the center of the answers to these questions is a single, structuring paradox: the paradox of trauma." more »
‘An amorous lump of flesh’: Female genital mutilation continues in an unexpected country

‘An amorous lump of flesh’: Female genital mutilation continues in an unexpected country

By — February 25, 2016
A middle-aged woman, her face not shown, her hands painted with henna, is talking about “haraam ki boti,” Hindi for “an amorous lump of flesh.” She is referring to the clitoris in female genitalia that a number of cultures around the world believe must be cut to control or tame sexual desire in women. more »