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Rise of Golden Dawn: A presage of doom

The undisguised extremism promoted by Golden Dawn is a chilling watershed in Greece’s post-war democracy. Fascist gangs are turning Athens into a city of shifting front lines, seizing on crimes and local protests to promote their own movement, by claiming to be the defenders of recession-ravaged Greece.

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‘The People’s Association – Golden Dawn,’ usually known simply as ‘Golden Dawn,’ is a right-wing extremist political organization in Greece. It is led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos and has grown considerably since its inception to a widely known Greek political party with nationwide support.

 

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is gaining popularity in the midst of the country’s deepening financial crisis. The group has been implicated in torture cases, and for inciting a wave of racial violence sweeping the country.

 

An opinion poll published by KAPA Research in October showed that support for the extremist political group had grown from 7.5 percent of the population in June to 10.4 percent currently.

 

The Golden Dawn emerged from political obscurity into the mainstream in May after winning 7 percent of the vote in the Greek parliamentary elections. Since then, the country has reportedly witnessed an upsurge in racial violence connected to the right-wing group.

 

The party entered the international spotlight after some of its members reportedly participated in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims. Its publication praises the Third Reich and often features photographs of Hitler and other Nazis.

 

Golden Dawn has manipulated a weak Greek state and disastrous austerity management by European bureaucrats to become, according to recent polls, the third most popular political party in the country — a noxious omen for the euro zone and a worrying challenge and counterpoint to the very idea of the E.U. itself, which received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Three years ago, Greeks ignored Golden Dawn, seeing its members as neo-Nazi thugs waging war against migrants and giving it a miserable 0.29% of the vote. Last year, however, Golden Dawn — rebranded as an anti-austerity party — won nearly 7% and secured 18 of the 300 seats in Parliament. Its ascent has continued in opinion surveys despite its parliamentary deputies’ being filmed attacking immigrant vendors and demanding that all non-Greek children be kicked out of day-care centres and hospitals.

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As the cash-strapped government struggles to offer its citizens basic services, Golden Dawn has set up parastate organizations to police the streets, donate to Greek-only blood banks and help unemployed Greeks find jobs.

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The party has also promised to cancel household debt for the unemployed and low-wage earners. “Soon we’ll be running this country,” says Ilias Panagiotaros, a beefy 38-year-old army-supply-shop owner who is now a Golden Dawn parliamentary deputy representing Athens.

 

Public Love from Fear

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“The people love us.” says Ilias Panagiotaros. Golden Dawn draws much of that love from fear. Greece is now the main entry point for at least 80% of the EU’s un-documented migrants. Frontex, the EU border-patrolling agency, estimates that 57,000 illegal immigrants slipped into Greece last year and more than 100,000 entered in 2010. Many travel through Turkey, often via a land border that Golden Dawn wants to plant with land mines. Some seek asylum, and because of EU rules, those who want to apply for refugee status must do so in their country of entry — in this case, Greece — which often takes years to review the applications. As Europe turns a blind eye to the immigration crisis, many impoverished foreigners find themselves trapped in an economically crippled country that can’t sustain them.

 

Some Greeks no longer want to be hospitable. In the past year, gangs of vigilantes, many sporting Golden Dawn’s black shirts, have beaten and stabbed hundreds of migrants, according to human-rights groups.

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In June 2012, a number of them broke into the Piraeus home of Abouzeid Mubarak, 28, an Egyptian fisherman, bashing him with iron rods until he fell into a coma. “It was a hate that was inhuman,” says Mubarak, who is still recovering.

 

Ali Rahimi, a 27-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, was hanging around with friends outside his building in central Athens when more than a dozen Greeks approached. Several men set upon Mr. Rahimi, one with a knife. Panicked, he fled into his apartment and fought back, managing to push the men out the door. He found blood gushing from just above his heart, one of five stab wounds in his back and chest.

 

Mr. Rahimi survived and is staying put for now. But his friend, Reza Mohammed, who was also injured in the attack, is considering what was once unthinkable: moving back to Afghanistan, which he feels would be safer than Greece. 

 

Parts of Athens feel like a war zone. Racist gangs cruise the streets at night in search of victims. Themis Skordeli, a member of the group that is accused of stabbing Mr. Rahimi, ran unsuccessfully for Parliament on the ticket of Golden Dawn.

 

A few blocks down the street, a crowd was leaving a mosque after Friday Prayer. At the mention of Golden Dawn, immigrant men began lifting their shirts to show their scars. A short, sullen-looking young man with a cut across his nose and freshly sutured cheek bone was pushed forward by the crowd. Just the night before, he said, he was beaten and cut with a knife by “fascists.”

 

“Go into the Omonia police station,” said another man. “You will see how violence is going on.” Several blocks away, I walked into just such a scene. As I stepped out of the elevator at the police station, I saw an officer screaming at a black man and backhanding him hard across the shoulder.

 

In Athens, Sayd Jafari owns a cafe frequented by fellow Afghans. It has been repeatedly ransacked by mobs of black-clad attackers wielding sticks, chains and knives and performing fascist salutes.

 

Like others who have been assaulted, Mr. Jafari is also contemplating returning home to Afghanistan. “There, maybe someone has a bomb hidden on his body that he detonates,” he says. “Here, you don’t see where the knife that kills you comes from.”

 

It’s now common to see police lineup immigrants from South Asia and Africa in public squares and along streets in central Athens. Those without legal-residency permits are arrested and sent to detention centres to be deported.

 

Police claim they have detained nearly 42,000 people since August, though only about 3,400 were arrested for not having residency papers. They defended the crackdown, which was strongly denounced by human-rights groups, by comparing undocumented migrants to the Dorian invaders who purportedly brought down the Mycenaeans in 1100 B.C.

 

The most recent example of fascism shown by Golden Dawn in its series of discriminating activities is when it said a visit to Greece by American Jewish Committee leader David Harris is meant to ensure further “Jewish influence over Greek political issues” and safeguard the interests of “international loan sharks.”

 

David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), is leading a Jewish delegation to the region to meet with several Greek leaders, including Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. During the meetings, Harris expressed his “concern and solidarity for Greece during the crisis.”

 

“The only solidarity of this gentleman is to his compatriots – the international loan sharks, who are humiliating the Greek people. His concern most likely is related to the inability of Greece to make the payments of the predatory interest rates of the vile loans,” Golden Dawn said in a statement, adding: “We do not need the crocodile tears of a Jew.”

 

Its leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, uses the Heil Hitler salute and has denied the existence of gas chambers at Nazi death camps during World War II. Another lawmaker read a passage from the anti-Semitic hoax “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

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The attack on Harris and a separate article titled “Absolute Evil” that was published on the party’s website Friday appeared to be a hardening of Golden Dawn’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, apparently in anger over pressure from Jewish groups to get the Greek government to reign in the party. The “Evil” statement said that blaming Golden Dawn for Greece’s woes constituted an attempt to divert attention from the real culprits for Greece’s financial crisis.

 

“They are none other than those who possess most of the international wealth. The people behind the international loan-sharks,” the statement said. “Everyone knows they belong to a certain race, which presents itself as a victim, while in reality it is the perpetrator. Everyone knows that they are none other than those pulling the strings behind the marionettes. They are the absolute evil for mankind.”

 

The second statement ended with a threat.

 

“The time will come when the nationalists of the Golden Dawn will take revenge like the horsemen of the storm, and all of them, being the absolute evil, will pay!”

 

Not content to proselytizing in their homeland, Golden Dawn has started to expand worldwide.

 

Barely a month after their electoral victories, Golden Dawn launched a widely-criticized branch in Melbourne, Australia, home to one of the largest Greek populations outside of Athens. In October, several groups protested the opening of a Golden Dawn office in New York City, which had opened for the explicit purpose of building support for the party among Greek expatriate communities and collecting food and medicine to distribute in Greece – only for Greeks. And in Montreal, Golden Dawn is holding a Christmas food drive. The catch? They’re only giving food out to Greek Christians.

 

Golden Dawn members in the United States have told CBC News they plan to open chapters shortly in Chicago, in Connecticut and in Toronto.

 

What’s at stake is the health of European democracy, and the values and institutions on which it rests. But while the euro crisis touched off a scramble to halt a financial meltdown, European leaders have done virtually nothing to reverse the union’s dangerous political trends.

 

As recent polls show that its strength continues to grow, and its support runs as high as 50 percent among police officers, who routinely fail to investigate growing numbers of hate crimes.

 

Far-right ultranationalist groups are exploiting old enmities and new fears across the Continent. Although this is not the Europe of the 1930s, the disillusioned citizens of countries like Greece and Hungary have turned increasingly to simple answers, electing parties that blame familiar scapegoats — Jews, Gypsies, gays and foreigners — for their ills.

 

Maria Chandraki, 29, an unemployed beautician, hadn’t heard of Golden Dawn until the last election. “Their positions may be extreme,” she said, holding plastic bags of food she’d just received. “But the situation is extreme as well. So we need extreme measures.” She went on, “We can’t have so many nations and so many different sets of values and ideals under the same roof.”

 

Beneath the looming basilica of Athens’ largest church, middle-aged men and women in black Golden Dawn T-shirts were busy one bright September morning distributing food to needy Greeks. Kids ran across the courtyard, which was painted with the party’s unofficial platform: “Get foreigners out of Greece.” Clusters of fit, stoic young men in dark glasses ringed the perimeter.

 

Nikolaos Michos, a square-jawed Golden Dawn Member of Parliament with the build and tattoos of a heavyweight boxer, leaned against a bloodmobile watching. He wore a black polo embossed with the party’s Swastika-like logo. “We’re fighters and we’re not going to back down,” he said, referring to death threats from leftists and the burning of a Golden Dawn office. “But they’re not striking fear into us because every centre they destroy, we’ll build new ones,” he added.

 

European leaders must not cede the battleground in the war of ideas. They should publicly denounce parties that espouse racist doctrines and spew hate-filled rhetoric and clearly define and defend the shared values of an increasingly integrated Europe.

 

To do so, they must develop a pan-European approach to monitor hate crimes and investigate right-wing extremist networks that operate across borders. And the European Union must ensure that all member-states, old and new, respect the same criteria that countries currently aspiring to join the European Union are required to meet, especially maintaining the “stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities.” Otherwise, Europe faces the spectre of more xenophobic violence and the unravelling of the liberal democratic order that has drawn so many persecuted people to seek asylum and opportunity on European shores.

 

Nikos Katapodis, 69, can see the crossroads where his family has lived since 1863. A bald, chain-smoking funeral-home owner, Mr. Katapodis describes the Greek government with a string of expletives. The flood of immigrants over the last decade created ghettos in central Athens, he explains. Crime rates rose, property values dropped and bars appeared on second-floor windows. “It looks like a prison,” he said, nodding to the street. “Today it reminds me of the late 1940s,” he adds. “You see people scrounging for food in the trash cans.”

 

Although he didn’t vote for Golden Dawn, he sees it as “the only party that is actually doing things for the Greek people” — a cross between the welfare state and the Mafia. If he needed an escort to walk down the street or help paying for his cancer medicine, he’d call Golden Dawn. “They’re doing what the politicians should be doing,” he said. “There’s a hole, and they fill it.”

 

Authoritarian elements in the Greek government have a history of using far-right groups to outsource political violence against critics. Recent moves to rein in Golden Dawn came only after it grew too powerful to control and the state felt its own authority was challenged, explained Anastassia Tsoukala, a legal scholar. “They were bitten by their own snake,” she said. And Greece is not alone. Golden Dawn’s rise has parallels across Europe, and its significance should be of Continental concern.

A Wife who killed her Husband

Samarinda, East Kalimantan

December 20, 2011

Marsih, An employee of Resort City Police Samarinda, East Kalimantan, poured by gasoline and burned her own husband. She suffered burns up to 60 percent. The act was done in front of the child victim. It was done by Sumantri because he is reluctant to divorce from his wife. Not only Marsih,Sumantri also affected by a bolt of fire and suffered 40 percent burns. Both were treated at the Islamic Hospital Samarinda. Currently the police are still asking the details number of witnesses from the family. Perpetrator closely guarded for fear of escape.

Domestic Violence

Based on Act No. 23 of 2004 on the Elimination of Domestic Violence Law of Indonesia; domestic violence  is any action against a person, especially women, which result in misery or suffering physical, sexual, psychological, and / or negligence of household including threat to commit acts, coercion, or deprivation of liberty against the law within the domestic sphere.

Elimination of Domestic Violence Law was born through a long struggle for about seven years conducted the women’s movement activists of the share element.  In Indonesia, a formal legally, these provisions come into force since 2004. The mission of this Act is an effort, endeavor for the elimination of domestic violence. With this provision, means the state could attempt to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence, prosecution of domestic violence and protect victims of domestic violence.

Something that previously could not happen, because it is considered as an internal matter of one’s family. The reason is expressly said that, the action physical violence, psychological, sexual, and neglect of household (economic abandonment) done within the domestic sphere is a crime. These actions may be common and can occur between the husband to his wife and vice versa, or parents against their children. As legislation that requires special arrangements, in addition to criminal sanctions contained setting, this law also regulates the procedural law, the obligation of the state in providing immediate protection to victims who report. Thus, it can be said that this provision is an important legal breakthrough for efforts to uphold human rights, especially protection against those who have been harmed in a family or household order.

In numbers, wives who are victims of domestic violence was 96 percent, of the total 136 thousand more cases of violence in personal relationships. The pattern is dominated by domestic violence sexual and psychological violence. While physical violence is smaller in number under the economic violence. Violence against women also occurs during courtship, violence by ex-husband or ex-boyfriend, and against domestic workers. Violence against women as whole rise 263 percent to 143.586 cases during 2009 (January to December).

Causes of domestic violence

In Indonesia, domestic violence is difficult to resolve, it is because many people who do not know that their actions or action that they are received from their partner is included in domestic violence, and perpetrators may also feel that his actions were protected by the prevailing norms in society, that is not polite when intervene in the household of others when there are fights (internal matter). This norm has indirectly led to the perpetrator feel protected from state laws when they are apply to domestic violence.

It also can cause by:

1) The public raising boys by growing confidence that the boys should be strong, brave and intolerant.
2) Men and women are not positioned equally in society.

3) Perceptions of violence in the household must be closed because it is a family problem and not a social problem.

4) an erroneous understanding of religious teachings about the rules educate wives, wives to their husbands obedience, respect for the position of her husband resulting in the perception that men should control women.

5) Culture that wife relies on her husband, especially economics.

6) Personality and psychological conditions of husband who is not stable.

7) Have experienced violence in childhood.

8) Culture that men are considered superior and women inferior.

9) Doing imitation, especially the boys who live with parents who often do violence to his mother or himself.

Effort to recover the victims on domestic violence

Elimination of Domestic Violence Law is the first regulation governing the rights of victims. Rights of victims of domestic violence in the Elimination of Domestic Violence Law  in Article 10 which include the following:

1. protection of the family, police, prosecutors, courts, advocates, social institutions, or any other party either temporarily or based on the determination of a court protection order;

2. Health services in accordance with medical needs;

3. Special handling related to the confidentiality of the victim;

4. Assistance by social workers and legal assistance at every level of the examination process in accordance with the provisions of legislation; and

5. Spiritual guidance services.

Efforts to prevent domestic violence are a mutual obligation between the government and society. This corresponds to a locus of domestic violence in the private sphere, so the government cannot simply go in and monitor the household directly. And so we need community involvement in monitoring and preventing the occurrence of domestic violence in the neighborhood. The obligation of this community accommodated in articles 14 and 15 of Elimination of Domestic Violence Law. Even in chapter 15 are detailed on duty “every person who heard, saw, or know the occurrence of domestic violence shall make efforts in accordance with the limit of his ability to a) prevent the continuation of crime; b) provide protection to victims; c) to provide relief emergency; and d) assist the application process protection setting.

Article 44 of Law Number 23 Year 2004 on domestic violence.

  1. Anyone committing acts of violence,  physical within the domestic sphere as referred to in Article 5 letter a shall be punished with imprisonment of 5 (five) years or a maximum fine of Rp 15,000,000.00 (fifteen million rupiahs).
  2. In the event that acts as referred to in paragraph (1) resulted in the victim had fallen ill or serious injury, shall be punished with imprisonment of 10 (ten) years or a fine of not more Rp30.000.000, 00 (thirty million rupiahs).
  3. In the event that acts as referred to in paragraph (2) resulted in the death of the victim, shall be punished with imprisonment of 15 (fifteen) years or a maximum fine of Rp 45,000,000.00 (forty five million rupiahs).

It not only happens in Indonesia but even in developed and advance countries like Australia recently Rajini Narayan who killed her husband by burning first his penis and then him completely. Have a look at the full story what had gone between them and male who think himself always superior and powerful to woman. However it seems like slowly but gradually women are claiming their rights which they could have claimed much earlier.

A woman who burned her husband to death after “snapping momentarily” has become the third battered wife in seven years to avoid jail for manslaughter in Australian court history.

The Supreme Court today suspended Rajini Narayan’s six-year sentence for killing her cheating husband, Satish, in December 2008.

Justice John Sulan said the killing was due to “momentary” anger and “muddled” thinking, and that Narayan was truly remorseful for her actions.

“Although it is often said … that a suspended sentence is not a sentence at all, it’s a real sentence and can be brought into effect if there is a failure to comply with specified conditions,” he said.

“It is wrong to regard suspended sentences as letting an offender walk free as if he or she has not been punished.

“It seems (Narayan) has suffered a great deal already.”

Narayan, who sat with her back to the public gallery for much of the hearing, fought back tears as the sentence was announced.

Her eldest daughter ran to the front of the court room to embrace and kiss her mother.

Narayan, 46, is the third woman in seven years to avoid an immediate jail term for manslaughter.

In 2004, Riverland woman Gwenda Elaine Savcic received a suspended three-year term for killing her husband, Mark.

Savcic fatally stabbed her husband with a samurai sword after silently enduring 19 years of abuse at his hands.

Justice Ted Mullighan ruled the stabbing – the first time Savcic had ever stood up to her husband – was an act of “excessive self-defence”.

In 2009, Noreen Jessamine Weetra received a suspended five-year term for killing her partner, Ross Owen Calyun.

Police had been called to the couple’s home 10 times in three years before Weetra struck back, stabbing Calyun in the heart in front of her children.

Justice Margaret Nyland dubbed her actions “rare and exceptional”, and therefore deserving of a “merciful approach” in sentencing.

Narayan stood trial in the Supreme Court for murder last year.

Prosecutors had alleged she deliberately set her husband, Satish, alight in December 2008 after confronting him about his affair.

Narayan denied this, saying her intention was to “circumcise and purify” her husband  who had physically and verbally abused her for 22 years.

She said she wanted to “burn a dot on his penis” with petrol and an “angel candle” she had been given by a fortune teller so that he would not leave her for the other woman.

She compared her “bizarre” idea to the Hindu love story of Lord Ram, who proved the purity of his wife, Sita, with fire after rescuing her from a demon king.

“It would be like circumcision, or just like he placed that red dot on my forehead at the wedding,” she said at trial.

“It was like I had all the powers of the goddess to save my husband, my lord … it did not occur to me that it was going to be dangerous.”

Narayan admitted losing control and throwing the flame and accelerant onto Satish when he called her a “fat bitch”.

Jurors accepted her version of events, acquitting her of murder and finding her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

In sentencing today, Justice Sulan said Narayan had “deified” her husband and was “shattered” by his betrayal.

He said there was “no doubt” her thinking at the time was “unrealistic, muddled and illogical”.

“For the first time in your life you had confronted your husband, had found the courage to be assertive to the person who had mistreated you for 20 years,” he said.

“His response was to treat you with disdain, dismiss you and turn his back to you (and) you snapped.”

Justice Sulan further ordered Narayan be under Correctional Services supervision for two years, and undertake psychological counseling as ordered.

As woman is becoming more aware and man are becoming more brutal and unforgiving the silence of her soul has now reached at the point of final eruption where now the hidden dark side of once this magnificent human being has now showing her dark side. Man and Woman are just like two sides of one coin and have remained till date but neither of them has ever appreciated or complemented each other. The narrow mind set and venerable behavior of man develops a quality of a deep anger and an uncompromising behavior whereas fear of losing and possessiveness have made woman more reserve and of conservative behavior but as the world becomes more aware of its rights and responsibilities woman too are becoming more open minded and are being more aggressive towards their aims and their self being. This has evolved new twisted positions in the un-balanced relations of opposite genders.

These cases are the new signs of beginning of a new era where woman shares the power in this male dominant world.


Love Burns; Bride burning

My mother-in-law used to say that my husband was too educated for me, that he didn’t get a fair dowry, said Bhargava, who now lives alone in a New Delhi slum.

It first started with emotional and verbal abuse that escalated into physical when her husband and mother-in-law scalded her with boiling water. Desperate and with no choice, Bhargava dowsed herself in kerosene and set herself on fire. 40% of her body was burned. “I miss my daughter and fear the evil that may befall her. Though I passed these times, somehow, to my children I am dead,” she said.

These men marry their wife’s “until death do us part”, and they make that happen too. After being condemned and banned, bride burning is still alive and well in India. The practice is used because it’s the most effective way to cover the crime. The family members can basically call it an “accident” or “suicide” since the fire destroys all evidence. Most of the burn victims gets infection and rarely survive so that prosecution is not needed.

One reason is that divorce is equal to shame in many societies and stains the family honour. To become a widow is better than having a divorce.

Pay up or else…

Dowry murder has become a lucrative business for greedy in-laws and husbands. The dowry may be paid and the family receiving it may be happy at the time, but they usually change their mind afterwards. If the bride’s parents won’t or can’t pay more, the bride is victimized. After abusing her, the in-laws usually end the problem by deciding to kill her in cold blood so that the son can remarry and get more dowry from another family. Legal attempts have been made to eradicate the dowry system from 1939 but the practice is still continuing. In 1989 an amendment of criminal law was passed stating;

One man’s death is another man’s bread

Dowry first originated in the upper class families as a wedding gift to the bride from the family. Then the dowry was meant as a help with marriage expenses and became insurance in case if the in-laws terrorized her. The groom often demands a dowry consisting of a large sum of money, farm animals, land, furniture or electronics.

In the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Pakistan it is reported that “dowry death”, often called “bride burning”, happens once every 100 minutes and there are between 4,000 and 25,000 victims. As bizarre as it may seem, yes, married women are murdered by their husband or their in-laws for the financial opportunities available once the bride is dead.

The theory behind the dowry is that the putative husband is taking over the responsibility of the bride’s family and as she has little value on her own, a dowry must accompany her to make the marriage worthwhile for the groom.

The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 makes it a criminal offence to both give and receive a dowry but the custom and traditions are so deeply rooted that it is still ongoing. After the wedding, demands will be made during the marriage that the original dowry was insufficient and additional dowry is required. The wife’s demise means the husband can keep his wife’s dowry and marry a second time with dowry if not get rid of her and then remarry.

While this horrific domestic abuse is against the law, India’s patriarchal society, including its police and Courts of Law, have not taken this inhumane violence as seriously as they need to. An amendment to India’s criminal law was finally enacted in 1986 which reads:

“where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of marriage and it is shown that immediately before her death she was harassed and put to cruelty by her husband or any relative of her husband in connection with demand for dowry, such death shall be called as “dowry death”.

It is estimated that at least one woman dies in related act of violence every hour in India. Some are set on fire, some are hanged, and some are fed poison or sleeping tablets. Most of these cases are not investigated as homicide by the police but are written off as accidents or suicides.

However, Indias National Crime Records showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths’s including suicides in 2008 and less than 10% had been investigated. In India having a female is such a burden now because of dowry that many people are aborting female fetus’s because of the risk and toile it takes on one’s family safety and financial situation. Link

A 85 year old woman and her elder son were sentenced to life imprisonment including a fine on Rs 12,000 each for burning alive her younger son’s wife for failing to fulfill her dowry demands in India.  Their conviction came on the basis of the bride’s dying declaration where she told that her mother and brother-in-law used to harass and beat her for not fulfilling their demand of bringing a motorcycle and a television dowry.

22 October 2008, one day before the murder, the mother-in-law Husan and her elder son Nasim had beaten Gulnaz for failing to bring dowry. The next day when Gulnaz woke up, Husan picked a fight with her while Nasim doused her with kerosene oil and set her ablaze.  Her husband Nasuriddun and their nephew ran in hearing her cries trying to extinguish the fire. They took her to a nearby hospital where she died 2 months later.  The duo defended them by saying that they were not home and that the victim had caught fire accidently while she was igniting the stove to warm food for her husband.

While in Pakistan, divorce is possible but some families prefer murder rather than to divorce them. It is difficult to imagine how someone can kill their wife, the mother of their child over money or simply because they are no longer wanted. In many of these cases, the police are told that the victim was killed by an exploding stove and there will usually not be any persecution. Doctors however have reported that the injuries of many of the victims are not consistent with stove burns.

 

Saira Liaqat, 26 holds a portrait of herself before being burnt in Lahore, Pakistan. July 9th, 2998 at the age of 15, Saira was married off to a relative who later attacked her insisting her to live with him although the agreement was that she would move to his house after finishing school. After the attack, Saira have undergone 9 plastic surgery to recover from her scars with the help of Depilex Smile again Foundation in Lahore, an organization that helps burn victims to reintegrate into society through medical and psychological support.

The main problem in Pakistan first of all is the lack of investigation, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. Women are seen as property and not given any respect or value what so ever. This is a great shame, because these women are mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. These men’s mother was once a bride, and would they want the same for them? It’s a selfish act from people that has no respect for human life when they not only destroy a innocent person’s life but take the mother away from their children.

More specialized burn units are needed in hospitals and not least a new law that bans this custom and that does not collide with another law so that the perpetrators go free.

Roopa, a tragic story in India

Roopa was 14 when she fell in love with a boy 3-4 years older than her. Her family did not approve of him and wanted her to finish school, however Roopa decided to run away with him. Her family managed to bring her back home twice, the second time with the help of the police but Roopa wanted to marry the boy. Finally her parents relented but wanted nothing to do with the marriage.

Roopa then married the boy with his family’s consent. They also had a registration, where they showed her age as 18, the legal age of marriage without the parent’s consent. However a year later, when her parents visited her to see how she was doing, the in laws made a dowry demand. Her parents refused saying the marriage did not have their consent. More so, Roopa’s father in law is wealthy — and they saw no reason for them to give him more money. After the parents left, the abuse began. Roopa’s mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and husband took turns beating her. She was made to work like a slave for the whole family — cooking, cleaning, etc. Then they started starving her and forcing her to eat their left over’s. By the time she was 15 Roopa was pregnant and after her son was born, the abuse intensified.

Then the family separated the child from her and made plans to get rid of her. She tried to run away on two occasions but was brought back (by other villagers) and severely beaten. The second time they locked her in a room without food for 7 days. When they found out that the neighbors had been sneaking food to her, the mother-in-law, the sister in law and the husband, all together, held her down and forced acid down her throat. They then left the house assuming that she’d be dead by the time they got back.

Miraculously Roopa managed to get out of the house and the neighbors took her to the hospital where she told the doctors what had happened to her. Unbelievable 2 hospitals didn’t want to report this to the police and turned her down while the third was forced to take her in because she had passed out from pain. The in laws in the meantime found out that she had been taken to a hospital and as they were worried about an investigation they actually came to the hospital and paid her expenses for a month, after which the doctors said they could do nothing more and she was taken back to the village where they live.

The suffering continued but her parents had heard about the news. When they came to see her, the in-laws said that she had tried to commit suicide. The next day, her father came back to the village, this time with some male relatives. He knew they would kill his daughter if he didn’t take her out by force. First he tried to file an official complaint (FIR) with the local police but Roopa’s father-in-law was not only wealthy, he was on the village judiciary so the police refused to take the complaint. Roopa’s father then begged the police to help him get his daughter out, he said all he wanted to do was save her. Finally an armed police van was sent to escort him to the village.
Roopa is back with her parents and is now hospitalized and undergoing treatment. The acid had caused a lot of damage to her internal organs and for 3 months she has not been able to consume any food orally. She has to be ‘fed’ through a tube inserted into her stomach and lost a tremendous amount of weight. Her recovery will be a very slow and painful process with continued tests and surgery.

 

A woman is burned to death almost every 12 hours and the dowry murders are increasing. 90% of cases of women burnt were recorded as accidents, five percent as suicide and only the remaining five percent were shown as murder. Despite of bans and laws against it, convictions are rare and judges who usually are men is easily bought off with a nice sum of money.

What should be done?

  • Women and girls must be educated so that they know about their rights and can become economically independent. Then there must be opened more shelters that can provide help and protection for this women. Something that also would be useful is if the shelters would be given authorization to claim on behalf of the victim even if the family refuses to go to court.
  • Children must be educated in morals and ethics so that the younger generations will learn to respect each other and solve conflicts without the act of violence.
  • The media must increase awareness and publicize tragedies to help change the public perception on dowry violence, and for this, the censorship must be free.

Organizations like Amnesty must publicize this so citizens from around the world can be made aware of the situation’s gravity and help support the ban.

Karo-Kari; A twisted mind

Karo-Kari, another menace, another twisted way of murdering people has existed for many years in Pakistan. Various news agencies NGO’s have highlighted the growing problem for years but the government has failed to do something about it.

For those who don’t know what Karo-Kari is, it is a premeditated honour killing which is originated from the rural and tribal areas of Sindh, Pakistan. Karo-Kari is part of cultural tradition in Sindh and is a compound word literally meaning “black male” (Karo) and “black female (Kari), a metaphoric term for adulterer and adulteress. Honour killing has given different names in different regions of Pakistan  as it is named kala-kali in Punjab, tor-tora (KPH), siyahkari in Baluchistan and karo-kari in Sindh.

Once a female is labeled as a Kari, male family members get the self-authorized justification to kill her and the co-accused Karo to restore family honor, although in the majority of cases the victim is female, while the murderers are male. Such “immoral behavior” may take the form of alleged marital infidelity, refusal to submit to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, perceived flirtatious behavior and rape. Suspicion and accusations alone are many times enough to defile a family’s honor and therefore enough to warrant the killing of the woman. Women are seen as property with minor or none rights in the communities that the government mainly ignores the daily murders.

Women who are believed to have brought shame and dishonor to their family by engaging in illicit pre-marital or extra-marital relations are targeted. Men who have engaged in sexual activity with the female are also killed but majority is women. In order for the honour to be restored, a male family member must kill the female who is found guilty. What’s outraging is that the victim has absolutely no given opportunity to defend herself and once found guilty, only blood will remove the stain of dishonor. Other violations can be a woman refusing to enter into an arrange marriage, seeking divorce (even from an abusive husband), having relations with a man outside of marriage (sexual or non-sexual), flirting and even if she is the victim of rape. Most of the murders take place because of suspicions, misunderstandings and animosity. It reminds of crime of passion where the husband kills his wife. The accusation comes as a sudden surprise that usually the victims has no opportunity to save their own lives, seek help, find protection from the police or court. And because it usually happens inside the family, the perpetrators get away with paying blood money and forgiving each other.

I believe that this practice is just an bad excuse for getting rid of women, get hold of someone’s land, earning blood money  and to take revenge.

If and when the case reaches a court of law, the victim’s family may ‘pardon’ the murderer (who is usually one of them), or be pressurized to access blood-money as compensation. The murderer then goes free.

Once such a pardon has been secured, the state has no further writ on the matter. Human rights agencies in Pakistan have repeatedly emphasized that women falling prey to Karo-Kari were usually those wanting to marry of their own will. In many cases, the victims held properties that the male members of their families did not wish to lose if the women chose to marry outside the family. More often than not, the Karo-Kari murder relates to inheritance problems, feud-settling or simply to get rid of the woman. The families always say that it was suicide or fatal accident.

Lives claimed

 Unmarked graves of victims

During the first months of 2011, 11 murders took place in Sindh province of Pakistan. 6 women and 5 men were killed.

An unbelievable incident was when a 25 year old man killed his 55 year old mother suspecting her for having a relationship with another man. Begum Khatoon, the mother was sleeping when her son Hussain shot her to death. Hussain and his friends later threw her body 50 meters away from the village. The victim’s brother filed a report at the police station against his nephew and 2 others. The cold blooded killer stated from prison: “I don’t have any regrets for killing my mother because she was kari and deserved punishment”. “I am a man of honour and will not spare the karo, once I am out of the lock-up.”

In April a police constable shot and killed his wife on the pretext of Karo-Kari when he saw her in an objectionable state with her brother-in-law in his house. She was his second wife. The same month, 5 other people were killed for the same reason on 19th and 20th April 2011. Sono Mastoi had been suspecting his wife for having sexual relations with the youths of the area. He first shot his wife and then the 2 boys. There was not performed any post mortem, neither was anyone arrested.

12th April 2011, Farooq accused his wife Mukhtaran for having illicit relations with Asif Unnar, a residedent in the same village. Farooq tried to kill his wife but she managed to escape and hide in her parent’s house. Next day, Farooq went to a landlord, Mohammad Hassan Unnar telling him the story and Mokhammad Hassan gathered a meeting of community elders at his home. The accused Karo, Asif was on the run and the elders ordered that both Karo-Kari should be killed. When Mukhtarans father got the news, he went to the nearby police station and placed a police report against the 9 men, including Farooq and Mohammad Hassan. They were soon arrested.

Saima Bibi, a 21 year old woman was electrocuted by her family because she had secretly married a man they didn’t approve of. Police arrested her father and 3 other relatives after being tipped off from an anonymous caller. Bibi, an ethnic Baluch, defied demands from her family to marry a Baluch relative and instead ran away to the southern port city of Karachi to marry a fellow villager. Her father and several other relatives traveled to Karachi and duped her into coming back home, when she didn’t listen to further demands they electrocuted her, he said. Bibi’s family told police she committed suicide on Friday in their village in the district of Bahawalpur in Punjab, but a medical report showed signs of torture and electrocution on her hands, legs and back, police said.

Another case was that of Taslim Khatoon Solangi, 17, of Hajna Shah village in Khairpur district, which was widely reported after her father, 57-year-old Gul Sher Solangi, publicized the case. He alleged his 8 months’ pregnant daughter was tortured and killed on March 7 on the orders of her father-in-law, who accused her of carrying a child conceived out of wedlock.

Official numbers from the Pakistani Senate showed that more than 4,000 people had been killed in the name of honour the last years as a result of Karo-Kari. Of the victims, almost 2,800 were women and over 1,327 were men. The highest number of murders had happened in Punjab, followed by Sindh, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the south western province of Baluchistan. Of 2,774 murdered women, 1,578 were killed in Punjab, 751 in Sindh, 260 in NWFP and 185 in Baluchistan. Of the 1,327 murdered men, 675 were killed in Punjab, 348 in Sindh, 188 in NWFP and 116 in Baluchistan. The actual numbers are much higher and many cases go unreported because of loyalty to the family.

Turn the blind eye

Even though the authorities haven’t exactly shown too much interest in punishing the criminals, there have been some attempts to stop this heinous act. In December 2004, the government passed a bill which made Karo-Kari punishable under the same penal as murder. However, this bill seems very useless besides another Pakistani law; a proven murderer can seek or buy pardon from the victim’s family. No attempts of changing the law have been made, and since a family member commits the crime, almost all of them are pardoned. And once the perpetrator is pardoned, the state cannot to any further thing with the case.

Illiteracy and Ignorance

It has been noted and highlighted by sociologists that honour killings do not always have something to do with religion but rather from customs and cultures from different areas of the country. The practice of karo-kari actually dates back to the pre-Islamic period when Arab settlers occupied a region adjacent to Sindh, which was known as Baluchistan according to Dr. Kay Ashraf.

The number of honour killings in Pakistan is estimated to be around 2,500 to 3,000 cases every year, however, a good number of these cases go unreported or are passed off as suicides and only 25% of these are brought to justice.

These murders happen in rural areas and villages with a high number of uneducated people. People get married in an early age and children don’t get education. Women and girls are usually forced to stay home and not socialize. The husband and in laws can literally do anything they want and walk unpunished.

The government and authorities has not done enough to stop this barbaric custom. When I look at the numbers of females killed, I notice that it is much higher than the men. So does it mean that women are more unfaithful? I don’t think so. Besides all the NGO’s, the media workers should have enough freedom of speech and censorship to highlight this problem.

Something must be done to save these women from this heinous act because they also deserve a life without violence and abuse.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 25 Nov 2011

You were born into this world with many opportunities. As you played in the courtyard, you and your friends dreamed about the future. What you would do and achieve. Your plans were as great as your heart.

One day you got your first slap on your cheek. “Girls don’t go to school! You cannot step out from this home!” father said. The tears that burned in your eyes were nothing besides the fire inside of you. You learned that you had to obey.

“You have to marry him! My honor is at stake”, said father and planted a second slap on your face. The man was twice the age you were. You didn’t even know what marriage was.  “I was exactly your age when I married your father. You will get use to it” was mothers answer.

The day came and you became the stranger’s wife. ”You are my property and you will do as I say” he said and punched you in the head.

“Nobody can interfere between husband and wife” your mother in law said. You learned that day to suffer in silence.

“He is your husband, you must obey him” your mother told you and turned you away.

“You cannot divorce him! You will stay with him until death do you part!!” your father told you.

And indeed, death did you apart. For one day, you were no more. For even though you couldn’t speak anymore, the bruises and marks on your face and body spoke for you. They told the story of violence and abuse you suffered, just like thousands of others like you.

Violence against women is a shameful act. Show your support and say NO to violence against women! 

Women – Empowerment and Crime against Her.

Whenever I look around I found many unanswered questions which have not been answered since time unknown. Women throughout the history have faced the wrath of the male dominated society. Their rights have never been given importance or enforced into a civil system which leads her into complete decline as the time passes by.  She is the producer of the world whom the creator had created and she is the only one who can give birth and nourishes it with her body.

A woman in her life plays various roles and goes through numerous phases, from her first breath after her birth she becomes a daughter with a decided future and undecided intentions of the society even of her parents.  As she grows up in the backgrounds of her courtyard the eyes around her monitors her progress drawing the boundaries for her where she has large limitations but few openness for her mindset to allow her heart to explore further. With the celebrations of her sweet sixteen she approaches in an empowered world of man where her ambitions have no value, no respect which falls on the deaf years of her own family.

At the age when she should be living her goals of her life her parents sees the groom for her as if she is just meant for the matrimonial purpose and have no other rights to live her life as she planned. The marriage brings whole new roles and theme in a woman’s life where she defines new parameters for her life carrying the carcass of her dark future with a destiny where she will have to live with those for whom she had left the home. A married woman is more vulnerable than an independent unmarried one to the violence.  When married she is forced to work for the entire family making her a complete slave who not only have to look after her husband’s desires but also of others members in the family. If she didn’t expect the child pregnancy she is not only treated as an unwanted member but as a debt on their family. No matter how much she tries to adjust herself in the new environment and tries to satisfy the needs of others or her mate but she never rests in peace even at the time when her feet hang in the grave.

The journey from being a daughter to a wife transforms her life 360 degree with lots of sacrifices she owes on herself. But the story what it seems is not that as the reality is mouthing different. There is nothing like a peace in the world of woman where even the love she gets has the hidden desires of male for his unsatisfied nerves. Woman from ages had been treated like an object of glamour under whose shadow a world of males can quench his thirst. An object with whom they can play with, use her, live their hopes to live in her womb but never thinks about her desires, her aims of life, her rights which she deserves to live with as she wishes to practice.

The rudeness which a woman faces in her life is not only done by the male dominance but also those women who had faced and has been facing the similar atrocities on them. This has lead to a complete devastation of a gender that formed the generations of the entire human civilizations since without her it wouldn’t be possible. Even to this day women faces the violence and bears the brunt of the so called their male counterparts.  The majority of the world still flows in the rivers of her tears come out of the agony which this male dominated society has created for them. Women are still being burnt, being killed in the name of honor; experiencing the mutilation/cutting of their body parts, being harassed sexually, morally, being forced to marry in early child hood or before maturity and many such kinds of violence which this noble being do not deserve to face.

Worsening Violence against Women:

There is no country in the world whether developed or developing where the violence / crime against the women does not happen. At least one-third woman killed every year by their intimate partner in the US. Every six hours a woman lost her life by an intimate partner in South Africa. In India on an average 22 women are murdered in dowry related cases every year.

Every day two women are killed in Guatemala. When we talk about human trafficking women constitutes 80% of all the people trafficked in a year and the worst is 79% are being trafficked for sex trade. In Thailand 10% of its GDP comes from Prostitution this has given rise to many anti social elements and AIDS threat on a much larger level. Majority of the staff are women.

More than 60 million women are child brides and majority of them are from South Asia and Sub- Saharan region where this heinous custom is still alive and being practice in distant hidden corners sometime even in the civilized corners of these regions.

1 out of 4 women suffers from violence during pregnancy worldwide leading to miscarriage, still birth and abortion the abuse involved the acts like kicking or punching on the abdomen faced by more than half of the women who suffers this kind of physical assault. In Brazil every 15 seconds women is harassed. In Ecuador 37% of the Perpetrators are teachers who sexually abuse adolescent girls. In England and Wales 100 women are killed each year by their intimate partners or ex partners.

During war, civil war, rioting women are the easiest targets who face the unwanted wrath of the mob. At the time of Rwandan Genocide approx 250000 – 500000 women and girls raped and killed in 1994 whereas 200000 women survived rape during Congo where they still face the high rate of violence against them as now it is a common say that “rape has now become a weapon of war” while the same number or more were killed due to rape and other sexual assault. This is done to destroy the targeted community.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo 5,000 cases of rape, corresponding to an average of 40 a day, were recorded in the Uvira area by women associations since October 2002. In Sierra Leone 94 per cent of displaced households surveyed had experienced sexual assaults, including rape, torture and sexual slavery, in Iraq at least 400 women and girls as young as eight were reported to have been raped in Baghdad during or after the war, since April 2003, every 14 days a Colombian woman is a victim of forced “disappearance”.

In a 2008 survey of 4,700 Afghan women, 87.2% had experienced at least one form of physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage in their lifetimes and the situation is continued to be worsen due to the increase complexities of this banana republic which still faces the nexus of violence from all corners. One of the major causes in the increase in violence against women is the rise in human trafficking and illiteracy.

Whereas in Malaysia which portrays itself as a peaceful and prosperous civilized society women continues to suffer in the darker corners of this shining society where the violence against them rises with the change in year. Malaysian police’s statistics showed that the number of reported domestic violence cases went up by 505 from 3,264 in 2006 to 3,769 in 2008.

Between 15% of women in Japan and 70% of women in Ethiopia and Peru reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner; between 0.3–11.5% of women reported experiencing sexual violence by a non-partner; the first sexual experience for many women was reported as forced – 24% in rural Peru, 28% in Tanzania, 30% in rural Bangladesh, and 40% in South Africa.

In South Africa a study of people aged 13-23 years found that 42% of females reported being a victim of physical dating violence. Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against girls and women. International studies reveal that approximately 20% of women report being victims of sexual violence as children.

According to WHO in Bolivia 17% of all women aged 20 years and over have experienced physical violence in the previous 12 months, whereas in Bangladesh 50% of all murders are of women by their partners while in New Zealand 20% of women reported being hit or physically abused by a male partner according to UNICEF.

In Pakistan 42% of women accept violence as part of their fate; 33% feel too helpless to stand up to it.  In the Russian Federation 36,000 women are beaten on a daily basis by their husband or partner, according to Russian non-governmental organizations. In Spain one woman every five days is killed by her male partner. About two women per week are killed by their partners in the United Kingdom.

In the USA a woman is raped every 90 seconds, in France 25,000 women are raped per year whereas if we talk about Turkey then 35.6% of women have experienced marital rape sometimes and 16.3% often. Whereas in Bosnia and Herzegovina 20,000 – 50,000 women were raped during five months of conflict in 1992 while in some villages of Kosovo 30%-50% of women of child bearing age were raped by Serbian force.

Want Change in the Mindset

So from the above mentioned reported data it has now proven as written earlier in the writing that no matter whether it is developed or under developed / developing women suffers from violence. Countless attempts have been made on judicial grounds and numerous campaigns have been launched to support the women empowerment but none has yielded results as expected because the mind sets of the society had never been targeted since the whole situation is just because of our undeveloped thought process which still sees the gender as the object previewed since the time un known without making difference as per the advancing world even in 21st century.

Until n unless we will not change our thinking and perceptions towards women we cannot guarantee a healthy and peaceful society to them. The whole life of a woman goes into a search of a perfect side for herself where she can be respected no matter whether she is a daughter, a girlfriend, wife, in law; mother but she faces the undeserved attitude of the biased society.

The feminine gender can be empowered only if she wants to position herself in the world dominated by those who deserve to be under her. A revolution can only be bring into reality of life if women herself lifts the lit flame in her own hands to fight for her rights and with an organized support of those who want to bring change in the cultural world who have never respected her leaving her alone to face the plight.  She should stand up for herself against the inhumane age old trends which had always forced her to remain under the feet of her own soul mate. Now women should start raising their voice against the crime which they face since the real justice can only be bring when she understands her rights must be made aware on a much large level so that those remain untouched and unaware about what’s happening around just living their lives in the isolated corners of the progressing world must be approached under a dedicated campaign designed exclusively for them who still breathes under darkness of crime against them.

Now the world should think about in a different and more reformed way so that whatever the mistakes were committed in the name of women upliftment should not be repeated again and must also works towards building an open mindset of the male dominated society getting rid from the unwanted perceptions against women. Reforms in the women empowerment line must be brought keeping in mind the entire scenario of the gender decline which women are being subject to and still facing the same with the growing numbers of crimes against them. This can only be tackle with the joint efforts from both gender sides of man and woman as the healthy society is that where the women lives a healthy and empowered life. The literacy of women must be prioritize especially in rural backward areas and must be made free which will help majority of the households to send their girls to schools and pursue their dreams free mindedly.

Pictures from Google.

Overview of the violence against women around the world

The situation of women and girls, facts and figures all over the world*


Gender and HIV/AIDS:

  • Nearly a third of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are under the age of 25 and 2/3 of them are women.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are getting infected faster and earlier than boys. In the group from 15 to age 24, two girls are infected for every boy. According to surveys that indicate women who have some post primary schooling compared to women with no education are 5 times more likely to lack basic information about HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2002, an estimated 800,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV as a result of parent-to-infant transmission.

Gender and girls education:

  • Over 110 million of the world’s children, 2/3 of them being girls are not attending school.
  • Of the world’s 875 million illiterate adults, 2/3 is women.
  • Half of the girls who live in developing countries (excluding China) will be married before their 20th birthday. Increasing girl’s time in school is one of the best ways for the girls to get married in an older age.

Gender and violence against women and girls and child protection issues:

  • One in every 3 women is a survivor of some form of gender based violence, most often by someone in her family. Between 15 and 76% of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Girls between 13 and 18 years constitutes the largest group in the sex industry and it is estimated that around 500,000 girls below the age of 18 are victims of trafficking each year.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) affects around 130 million girls and women globally and places 2 million at risk but the last decades this problem has improved.
  • In some cultures, the preference for boys results in pre-natal sex selection and death of many girls. In India for example; there are 933 Indian women for every 1000 men resulting in 40 million missing women.

Gender and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and other health issues:

  • 1,400 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes, 99% of them in developing countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a woman has 1 in 3 chance of dying in child birth. In industrialized countries the risks are 1 in 4,085.
  • Direct obstetric deaths account for about 75% of all maternal deaths in developing countries.

Emergencies

  • More than 80% of the world’s 35 million refugees and displaced people are women and children.
  • Emergencies put women at risk of extreme sexual violence and abuse. In Rwanda, 2,000 women and many of them are being survivors of rape tested positive for HIV during the 5 years following the 1994 genocide.

Femicide

  • In Guatemala, two women are killed every day.
  • In India, 8,093 cases of dowry-related death were reported in 2007 and unknown number of murders of women and young girls were labeled as “suicides” or “accidents”.
  • Between 40 and 70% of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States.
  • In Chihuahua, Mexico, 66% of murders of women were committed by husbands, boyfriends or other family members.

Violence and young women

  • Up to 50% of sexual assaults worldwide are committed against girls under the age of 16.
  • An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002.
  • The first sexual experience of some 30% women was forced and the percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time of their sexual initiation.

Harmful practices

  • Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide have experienced female genital mutilation leaving more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.
  • Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides and married before the age of 18. The numbers are divided as; South Asia-31, 3 million and Sub-Saharan Africa-14, 1 million. Violence and abuse characterize married life for many of these girls. Women who marry early are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife.
  • Trafficking
  • 80% from the estimated number of 800,000 people being trafficked across the national borders is women and girls.
  • One study in Europe found that 60% of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.

Sexual harassment

  • Between 40 and 50% of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
  • Across Asia, studies in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea show that 30 to 40% of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.
  • In Nairobi, 20% of women have been sexually harassed at work or school.
  • In the United States, 83% of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.

Rape in the context of conflict

  • Estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • Between 50,000 and 64,000 women in camps for internally displaced people in Sierra Leone were sexually assaulted by combatants between 1991 and 2001.
  • In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996: the actual numbers are believed to be far higher.

Conservative

  • The following figures are some of the facts of violence done on women compiled by Amnesty International and Feminist.com from various researches done by individuals and/or organizations all over the world;
  • An estimated 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually for sexual exploitation or labor (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2000).
  • One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime (WHO 1997).
  • In USA a woman is raped every 90 seconds (US Department of Justice, 2000).
  • Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds (UN Study on the Status of Women, Year 2000).
  • Up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners (WHO 2008).
  • In Kenya more than one woman a week was reportedly killed by her male partner while in Zambia, five women a week were murdered by a male partner or family member (Joni Seager, 2003).
  • In the Russian Federation 36,000 women are beaten on a daily basis by their husband or partner, according to Russian non-governmental organizations (OMTC, 2003).
  • More than 135 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation and an additional 2 million girls and women are at risk each year (6,000 everyday) (UN, 2002).
  • 82 million girls who are now aged 10 to 17 will be married before their 18th birthday (UNFP).
  • In India there are close to 15,000 dowry deaths estimated per year. Mostly they are kitchen knives designed to look like accidents (Injustice Studies, Vol. 1, November 1997).
  • 4 million women and girls are trafficked annually.
  • An estimated one million children, mostly girls, enter the sex trade each year (UNICEF).
  • A study in Zaria, Nigeria found out that 16 per cent of hospital patients treated for sexually transmitted infections were younger than five (UNFPA).

Population and families

  • The world’s population tripled between 1950 and 2010 to reach almost 7 billion.
  • There are approximately 57 million more men than women in the world, but in most countries there are more women than men.
  • There is a “gender spiral” with more boys and men in younger age groups and more women in the older age groups.
  • Fertility is steadily declining in all regions of the world but still remains high in some regions of Africa.
  • Life expectancy is steadily rising as women lives longer than men.
  • International migration is increasing and there are more and more women migrants and in certain areas they outnumber men.

Health

  • Women live longer than men in all regions.
  • 2 out of every 5 deaths of both women and men in Africa are still caused by infectious and parasitic diseases.
  • Women are more likely than men to die from cardiovascular diseases, especially in Europe.
  • Breast cancer among women and lung cancer among men tops the list of new cancer cases globally.
  • Women stand for the majority of HIV positive adults in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.
  • The majority of over half a million maternal deaths in 2005 occurred in developing countries.

Education

  • 2/3 of the 774 million adult illiterates worldwide are women.
  • The global youth literacy rate has increased to 89%.
  • 72 million children of primary school age are not attending school out of which over 39 million (54%) are girls.
  • Women in tertiary education are significantly underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering but remain predominant in education, health and welfare, social sciences, humanities and arts.
  • Worldwide, women account for slightly more than a quarter of all scientific researches that is an increase compared to previous decades.
  • Use of and access to the Internet grew in the past decade as it narrowed the gender digital divide, however, women still don’t have the same level of access as men in most countries whether it is more developed or not.

Work

  • Women are predominantly and increasingly employed in the services sector.
  • Vulnerable employment – own-account work and contributing family work – is prevalent in many countries in Africa and Asia, especially among women.
  • The informal sector is an important source of employment for both women and men in the less developed regions but more so for women.
  • Occupational segregation and gender wage gaps continue to persist in all regions.
  • Part-time employment is common for women in most of the more developed regions and some less developed regions, and it is increasing almost everywhere for both women and men.
  • Women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work – paid and unpaid – is considered, women work longer hours than men do.
  • Half of the countries worldwide meet the new international standard for minimum duration of maternity leave – and two out of five meet the minimum standard for cash benefits – but there is a gap between law and practice, and many groups of women are not covered by legislation.

Violence against women

  • Women are subjected to different forms of violence – physical, sexual, psychological and economic, both within and outside their homes.
  • Rates of women experiencing physical violence at least once in their lifetime vary from several per cent to over 59% depending on where they live.
  • Current statistical measurements of violence against women provide a limited source of information, and statistical definitions and classifications require more work and harmonization at the international level.
  • Female genital mutilation is the most harmful mass perpetuation of violence against women shows a slight decline.
  • In many regions of the world longstanding customs put considerable pressure on women to accept abuse.

Environment

  • More than half of rural households and about a quarter of urban households in sub-Saharan Africa lack easy access to sources of drinking water, and most of the burden of water collection falls on women.
  • The majority of households in sub-Saharan Africa and South-Eastern Asia use solid fuels for cooking on open fires or traditional stoves with no chimney or hood, disproportionately affecting the health of women.
  • Fewer women than men participate in high-level decision-making related to the environment.

Poverty

  • Households of single mothers with young children are more likely to be poor than households of single fathers with young children.
  • Women are more likely to be poor than men when living in one-person households in many countries from both the more developed and less developed regions.
  • Women are overrepresented among the older poor in the more developed regions.
  • Existing statutory and customary laws limit women’s access to land and other types of property in most countries in Africa and about half the countries in Asia.
  • Fewer women than men have cash income in the less developed regions, and a significant proportion of married women have no say in how their cash earnings are spent.
  • Married women from the less developed regions do not fully participate in intrahousehold decision-making on spending, particularly in African countries and in poorer households.

Harmful tradition practices include;

  • Forced marriage
  • Child marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Honour killings
  • Dowry related violence
  • Female infanticide
  • Trafficking of women and girls

Afghanistan at a glance*

  • Only about 15% of births are attended by trained health workers while more than 90% of the births take place at home. According to UNICEF, the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is the second highest in the world with an estimated 15,000 women dying each year from pregnancy related causes.
  • The infant mortality rate is 165 per 1,000 and less than 5 mortality rate is 257 per 1,000 with 1 in 4 children in Afghanistan dying before the age of 5 from preventable diseases.
  • Only 23% of the population has access to safe water, and only 12% have access to adequate sanitation which increases the incidents of diseases. 15,000 Afghans die of tuberculosis every year and of this 64% are women.
  • Malnutrition of women which affects pregnancies negatively is caused by the food scarcity linked to the war and drought.
  • The poor health situation has been aggravated by the lack of basic health services and resources, especially in rural areas because of the small number of trained female doctors, nurses and midwifes that remained in the country after the rise of Taliban.
  • 23 years of war have destroyed the infrastructure of the educational system and increased the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan. Only 10% of women are able to read and write.
  • 54% of girls under the age of 18 are married. Families of girls and young women were forced to marriage for several reasons and often for the purpose of dowry for the family’s survival.
  • *Source; Report of the Secretary-General on Discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5)

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