Just another WordPress.com site

Posts tagged ‘women’

A book of hate not love

Is beating your wife approved? Read This…

It has been a matter of great debate that whether the society which has always remained a male dominated and have only consider about the desires of a man.

Since time unknown women have faced the suppression at the hands of their male counterparts.

The world has always wondered whether it is justified to act violently against women. Recently a book sparked a new row of outrage in the entire international community especially in the conservative Muslim society. This 160 page guide book written on Islamic marriage by Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi who is a prominent Islamic scholar based in India.

The book titled as ‘A Gift For Muslim Couple’ have come under the huge controversy among the various faction of the Muslim society itself. There are some paras where the writer has actually come out openly with writings to encourage husbands to beat their wives. It is evident enough that in the book’s opening pages it states that ‘it might be necessary to restrain her (wife) with strength or even to threaten her’.

“The husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes,” the book says. The book says that the wife must ‘fulfill his (husband’s) desires’ and ‘not allow herself to be untidy… but should beautify herself for him.’

Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi, advises that a husband shouldn’t beat his wife too hard, but pulling her ears and hitting her with a hand or a stick is all right for discipline.

According to the report, the book, which came to light after going on sale in Canada, has faced a backlash from moderate Muslims who claim that it encourages domestic violence,
“I wouldn’t say it’s hate, but it is inciting men to hit women,” Canadian political campaigner Tarek Fatah told the Canadian Media. “This is new to you, but the Muslim community knows that this is widespread, that a woman can be beaten. Muslim leaders will deny this,” he added.

As said above in one of the statements that domestic violence is widespread in Muslim community which is to very extent is true to the fact and the book is just out of several reasons of encouragement which has now created a new definition to the already victimized feminine gender in the world of so called modernity.

Women are not subject of comfort or luxury. They too are human beings and have equal rights as the man himself has. These kinds of thoughtless attempts to bring false in society not only ruin the efforts of those who have been struggling to maintain the social order on equality framework but also motivate those who are already being violent against the being of nobility and humanity.

The writing and views of raging society along with the respected Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi are the slap on the face of every woman and on those who are working to maintain a better equal and positive society at large. It is the slap on the believers of all faiths who have thought their religions to be unbiased and equal rights in gender terms. It is a certificate of authenticity for those who have been inhuman and love to crush their women desires and her choice and her rights.

The humans are born equal and women in particular must be respected at all cost. Their choice and acceptance must be given top priorities against the personal priorities or preferences. It is the woman who plays the multiple roles in the society and thus it is she who nourishes the entire humanity with her grace and modesty. If women are respected and will regularly be treated as slaves of desires than how can a society would be called as civilized, it is the time now that we all irrespective of any believes of faiths must come together should have unified thought on the issues pertaining to woman. It is the responsibility of each and every body to respect women and their rights. It is our duty to protect her presence and to provide her a equal status in the society.

If radicals say whatever is being done to women is in the name of religion and on the order it has put for its believers than it means that they are cheating on society while making not only fool to the people but also cooking their own meal of the day through these kinds of falsehood preaching.

These kinds of writings or content must not be encourage by media and promoted by the publishing community for retail or any kind of publication. The writers or publishers who are publishing these kinds of anti social stuff which provoke domestic violence in the silent corners of the society behind the close doors of personal lives should be punished and perpetrators who support this kind of acts must bring to trail in the court for inciting negative sentiments against the entire feminine society.

Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi who is the writer of “A Gift for a Muslim Couple.” It was published in India and distributed in Canada by Idara Impex must be brought to trail and the publisher must be charged with severe penalties. Even the title is very well misleading, how can a book be gift for couple which encourages domestic violence. Is “A Gift for a Muslim Couple” protected by free speech and the exercise of free religion or does it go too far?

Let’s see what the world would gives out of modernity and civilized communities, may be something like this which has no meaning or sense in it but has now became a source of contention between the two already divided worlds of human genders.

A Curse on Womanhood

The land of Jats, Haryana, which has been acknowledged by the entire country for the chivalry of its people who have contributed greatly to the Indian armed forces in the past and also in the present day, has much more to itself than just that.

The state of Haryana, despite its golden image, is ironically also known for being a true culprit of the women backwardness in the region. The state suffers from the lowest sex ratio in the entire country, thanks to the female foeticide that has prevailed here despite all bans and policies framed by the government. There are places in the state where the gender ratio is 800 women per 1000 men and then there are places where it is much lower at 600 per thousand men. It is not difficult to imagine what other atrocities follow women in this state.
Putting shame to the rest of the civilised world, this state is much ahead in women trafficking and has adopted despicable customs to fill in the gap. It is hard to believe in the modern day world of today but it is the harsh truth that several regions in state buy women to get married to. Finding a bride through the conventional way has become so difficult in these regions that families find it easy to buy women from helpless families in other areas. These people have also set an average price for the enjoyable commodity-brides. The brides here are generally brought at Rs 4000 per girl. The prices may go up to 5000 or 7000 depending upon the looks and appearance of the girl.
The real problem, however, is much bigger than this. Once brought, these women are treated like slaves and can be sold if the buyer finds them unsatisfactory. There have also been instances where a single woman is bought for multiple male members of a family, making her situation even worse. Women are made to live in dismal conditions and their trade has flourished so well that a supply chain has been established for this. If abandoned by their buyer, these women either have to face a gang rape by entire village community or are forced to other outrages like parading in the public without clothes and harassment. This generally happens mostly in the case when either their buyer has died or has abandoned her.
The main reason behind this shameful custom in Haryana is two-dimensional. One is the demand factor and the other one is the vulnerability and availability of the women due to poverty, lack of education, lack of access to rights, disparities in income and the scope for exploitation of the victim.
Although article 23 of the Indian Constitution prohibits trafficking of any form and there are specific acts as well to stop immoral trafficking, bonded labour, and juvenile justice still the enforcement of the laws in this regard is not up to the mark. Therefore, the general condition of women remains pathetic. This society of male dominance has never accepted women as natural beings but just merely property and commodity to fulfil their needs.
With such exploitation, it would be folly to expect the interference of women in family and social matters. The girls who study and take up some profession are looked down upon and are often killed in due time.
Most girls for bride trafficking are brought from rural areas of the north eastern states like Assam, West Bengal and also from a few places down south. A high percentage of these women come from the poor and uneducated Muslim population of the country. Besides, nearly 20,000 girls from Nepal are brought to the state to get married to their buyer husbands.
Many say that this tradition has been adopted from the Mahabharata but it would be foolish to blame the mythologies for this. If this is just the adoption of what our ancestors did, there are many more things that should have been adopted from that era. Or is it human psyche to pick up only the evil in everything.
This tradition has resulted in a lot of opposition from women groups and NGOs as well. However, due to lack of political will and week enforcement of laws has not changed much in the state. This system has also given rise to several honour killings in the state which are often done when a girl comes forward to choose her husband herself often from a different community.
With such atrocities taking place against womanhood, the day is not far when women would not be found in Haryana at all and even the state may end up becoming mere history in the geographical map of the country.
It is expected from the political and administrative system that it should take active action and think of upliftment of women in this state so that the coming generations are freed from this evil.

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! 

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Skin bleaching originated from Asia all the way to ancient China and Japan where the proverb says; “one white covers up three ugliness.” Then in 1960, skin lightening products were imported from Asia and launched in USA mainly for African-American women then it spread to Africa and Latin America where societies considers far skin as beautiful and as a higher social standing.

In Britain, obsession with fair skin can be traced all the way back to the 16th century and was called Venetian Ceruse, also known as Spirits of Saturn. The ceruse would be used as a skin whitener and the best they could find in that time. The product consisted of a pigment made by a white lead that caused lead poisoning and damage the skin as well as significant hair loss. If used over a long period of time, it would cause death. A famous user was Elizabeth I of England.

Skin whitening is considered to be a multi product as the consumers in the West use it for its lightning and anti age benefits while Asian consumers prefer it for lightening the overall color and tone of the skin. An important fact is that Asian women does not use these products to look like Caucasians but simply because fair skin has a social status in the society.

Poor people,villagers and those in India who are considered as low cast works outside and their skin will become dark. Rich people and those who can afford to stay indoors will remain pale and fair so this is connected to social status. Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese etc have a yellow undertone in their skin and the whitening products do target this as well.

Dangerous effects

There are 2 dangerous and extreme methods of whitening the skin. The first one employs cortisone which destroys the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It passes into the bloodstream and the person develops a strong addiction towards it. Many women who have used this method have reported that they have developed depression. The other method is to use products with an ingredient called hydroquinone which was banned in the entire European Union in 2001 but still sold in the black market. Hydroquinone lightens the skin color by killing the cells that produce melanin (the melanolyte). From historical background, hydroquinone was first used in the 1930s when some African-Americans employees noticed that there were some discolorations appearing on their skin caused by Monobenzyl Ether of Hydroquinone (Monobonzone).

A fair business

The strongest and fastest growth remains in Asia-Pacific with Japan dominating the market followed by India and China. According to a report done by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), the Asian market will cross $2 billion by 2012. By 2015, it will reach $10 billion as new markets in the West emerge together with the growth in Asia-Pacific. Western markets have shown growth largely because Asian and African consumers demanded lightening products. The same report also revealed that lately there has been an increase in the market for men’s whitening products.

Fair & Lovely was first launched in India in 1975 and has become the largest selling skin whitening cream in the world. It is created by Unilever’s research laboratories and claims to give drastic results in 6 weeks. On their website, the product is called “the miracle worker* and is proven to give 3 shades of change. It held a commanding 50-70% share of the skin whitening market in India in 2006, a market that is valued at over $200 million. The target market for Fair & Lovely is mainly young women aged 18-35 but according to retail and market research reports, girls down to 12.14 years widely use fairness creams.

Despite being one of the leading products in this sector, are allegedly using photo touch-up to achieve desired results. The ad campaign was withdrawn when they got public criticism, especially from women’s groups from India, Malaysia and Egypt. Similar ads manufactured by FMCG giant Unilever showed a miraculous change in the complexion from dark to very fair using photo touch-ups was also withdrawn from the UK market in October 2008.

Many dermatologists have been debating on this subject and they claim that the fairness creams won’t be effective and show such results without the use of skin bleaching ingredients such as hydroquinone, steroids, mercury salts and other dangerous chemicals and Fair & Lovely does not contain this.

These products were once produced targeted only to women but the products are very popular among men. The sales have raised 100% in rural India and the products for male increased 20%.

Hindustan Unilever, one of the largest consumer products companies in India, producing Fair and Handsome, sent CNN an email saying: “Fair and Handsome is a market leader with almost 70% market share in India and doing extremely well in Gulf countries and the Middle East as well.”

Africa

Sale of whitening creams in Africa is worth millions of dollars each year. In Tanzania, where use and import of skin lighteners are banned, the sale is still high as dangerous creams are smuggled into the country and caused many women skin damages such as scratch marks and black dots after burning their skin. Others developed skin cancer. There is no doubt that bleaching harms the skin. The procedure destroys the black pigment in the top layer of the skin called epidermis, but exposure of the dermis layer under the epidermis to harsh weather will increase the chances of skin cancer. In Tanzania, women have been warned against using these chemicals after a woman had taken some tablets to bleach her skin and died after her flesh turned into liquid form and started dropping off. Despite the dangers, the women still use the products and the men continue desiring women with lighter skin.

Pakistan and India

Fair & Lovely is the most popular whitening product in Pakistan and recently this company has come up with a whitening product for men called Fair & Handsome. The commercial starts with a young darker skinned man sad because he can’t get a date. The Indian actor Shahrukh Khan advises him to use Fair & Handsome his skin tone gets lighter and he is suddenly surrounded by sexy supermodels. The same is shown in a television drama named Bidaai, featuring 2 sisters, one adopted and has dark skin while the other is pale. The pale gets prince charming. In another TV commercial that is very discriminating, two men, one with dark skin, and the other with light skin stands on a balcony overlooking a neighborhood. The darker skinned guy says “I am unlucky because of my face” to his friend. His light skinned friend replies, “Not because of your face, because of the color of your face” before handing over a whitening cream. The commercials are sending the message; get whiter skin, and you’ll get the girl, the job of your dreams etc.

 

Pakistanis and Indians are obsessed with the idea of becoming fair. The women who can afford it, stays away from the sun, get facial treatments with whitening products and use foundation and powders that are several numbers lighter than their own skin color making them look gray rather than white. So when parents look for a bride for their sons, they prefer a fair skinned girl and the men are more attracted to lighter skinned girls. A survey done for the biggest matrimonial site named Shaadi.com showed that almost 12,000 people said that skin tone was the most important criteria for choosing a life partner in 3 northern Indian states.

Even after the partition from India, Pakistanis held on the cast system and most families prefers to marry their children within the family and cast. Most of the upper class does have lighter skin and many of the lowest casts have the darkest skin. Darker skinned people do have a hard time in both countries since having lighter skinned people gets more respect. A choice of a partner with darker skin color will raise many questions from people (also in front of your partner) of why you married a dark skinned person. They don’t mean to offend but ask because it is strange to them.

The desire for fair skin has also isolated the women so that they are not able to function outside the home such as participating in sports. “Because of Indian men’s concept of beauty, so many talented players do not take up cricket because it is a grueling sport and you are out in the sun for at least seven to eight hours,” said a Cricket Captain to the news once. If the men also do the same then there will be no sports played in the country. On the other side, Fair & Lovely has an ad where a female cricket broadcaster gets a job after lightening her skin…

Snow white syndrome; Maybe not fair but still lovely
Unfortunately people can’t accept their skin color in countries where they are dark or brown skinned and go drastic steps to change the color of their skin. One of the major reasons for this is that the media and the society that forces on these ideas. A fair skinned female is more likely to get the job instead of a darker skinned girl, the handsome boy is more likely to choose the fair skinned girl to be his wife and the fair skinned girl will get the lead role in a movie or music video while the darker skinned once are pushed behind her.  The same goes for men. Let’s be honest, if you have fair skin, you will be successful. We all know that the ads aren’t truthful and that there is Photoshop work behind.

Just look at Aishwarya Rai. Her picture on the cover of Elle magazine India made headlines when she appeared miraculously fair. Instead of doing this, Elle India could go in front as an example by putting a dark, dusky, golden, brown girl on the cover to respect those who have a darker color, to show them that they are beautiful and to tell them that they too matter.

This obsession with fair skin and priority of the girls and men with lighter skin color is discriminating. Still in the 21th century, there is this ignorance that those with lighter skin is more superior and those would darker does not matter. Girls have the pressure of trying to find a suitable husband who will marry her because he loves her, not because of her skin color. I dont think that the older generations will change this way of thinking but the younger generations can stand against the stereotypes and make a statement.

 

Shortage of girls – wife sharing

The day that I have been expecting has arrived. After writing about female infanticide and its negative effects such declining in the female population, I read in the news today that young brides has to share bed with her husband’s other brothers who has failed to find wife’s.

If the girl resists, she faces physical violence and some has been burned. These cases are rarely reported to the Police officials as women aren’t allowed to go outside.

Decades of aborting female babies have led to a shortage of women and the worst place to suffer is Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. Other problems are the rising incidents of rape and human trafficking. In rural Bhagpat, women have to veil themselves in the presence of men, forced to stay in the house and be a house wife and child bearer. This view of the female gender has lead to discrimination and made the women worthless.

According to India’s 2011 census, there are only 858 women to every 1,000 men in Baghpat district, compared to the national sex ratio of 940. A May study in the British Medical Journal Lancet wrote that 12 million Indian girls were aborted over the last 3 decades.

Child sex ratios in Baghpat are even more skewed and on the decline with 837 girls in 2011 compared to 850 in 2001 – a trend mirrored across districts in northern Indian states such as Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and Gujarat in the west.

‘In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. Haryana has suffered tremendously and many men struggles to find a bride.

Some families buy brides from other states and others who cannot afford it shares the one daughter in law they have. In traditional dominated regions, sons are seen as asset and breadwinners who will take care of the family and continue the name. Daughters on another hand are regarded as burden because of the dowry tradition and the fact that once they get married, they leave the home.

Personally, in my opinion this act is as wrong as it can get. A marriage is between the husband and wife. When the wife has to share the bed with her brother in laws, that shows that this tradition of female abortion has done its damage. The girls are forced to sleep with her husband’s brothers and this is considered as rape. A corrupt act like this is not allowed by the government but everybody keeps this as a secret in rural areas and since the girls isn’t allowed to go outside, they don’t have the chance to report this.

The only solution is to break these deep rooted ancient traditions and the only way this can happen is to educate the girls, provide them healthcare and other opportunities so that they know their rights and can be independent. Another thing that I have been thinking about lately is that usually when an item is rare, its value increases. No wife means no child.

https://hatefsvoice.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/harmful-practices-to-the-female-body-part-4-female-infanticide/

https://hatefsvoice.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/haryana-india-the-womens-curse/

 

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.

International Literacy Day; September 8

September 8 was proclaimed as the International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17th 1965 and first celebrated in 1966 with the sole aim to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.

Today some 793 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills; 1 in 5 adults are not literate and 2/3 is women, 75 million children are not studying in school and many more drop out.

According to UNESCO’s “Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2008)”, South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy (58,6%), Sub-Saharan Africa (59,7%) and the Arab states (62,7%).

Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso (12,8%), Niger (14,4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows that there is a connection between illiteracy, poverty and prejudice against women.

Why is literacy important?

Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depends on literacy as it is the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).

 

Source; Wikipedia and Unesco.

To see the complete list of countries, visit; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

Harmful Practices to the female body; Part 4 Female Infanticide

“I lay on my bed weak after childbirth. My mother-in-law picked up the baby and started feeding her milk. I knew what she was doing. I cried and tried to stop her. But she had already given her milk laced with yerakkam paal [the poisonous juice of the oleander plant]. Within minutes, the baby turned blue and died.”

This is just one of thousands of stories told by women giving birth to newborn girls. In the west were the mothers first reaction is to get the baby lied down n her chest so that mother and child bond together, women in India has to witness their baby taking their last breath. One of the popular methods of killing newborn girls is to use the oleander plant looking like a pleasant flower but a milky sap that if ingested, can be a deadly poison.

Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies at or soon after birth. This twisted custom was common in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) due to the overpopulation and the second half of the twentieth century due to the one child policy. The practice was so common in Greece of 200 BC that among the 6,000 families living in Delphi, only 1% had two daughters. Arabs before Islam used to kill their newborn daughters but was prohibited when Islam came (“And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned; for what sin she was killed?”

Today, this practice is most common in China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Artic (Inuit tribes especially) and some sub-Saharan African countries, among the Yanomani in Brazil, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Some methods used globally vary between starving her to death, suffocating her by wrapping her tightly in a quilt, poisoning her, strangling, drowning, or breaking her spinal cord by snapping it.

In India it made awareness to the international world when in the 19th century, when it was found out that in some villages in India, no girl babies were found at all and in other cities, there were 343 boys to 54 girls.

The reasons behind it are almost always cultural rather than directly religious. It remains as a head ache in the third world countries but two of the most populous countries are notoriously famous for the high number of killing newborn girls, China and India. In India, family and social pressures to produce a son are immense. In most regions, sons are desired for reasons related to kinship, inheritance, marriage, identity, status, economic

  • Earning power: Men are usually the main income-earners, either because they are more employable or earn higher wages for the same work, or because they are able to do more agricultural work in subsistence economies. Since male babies have a greater income potential, they are less likely to be killed.
  • Potential pensions: In many societies, parents depend on their children to look after them in old age. But in many of these cultures a girl leaves her parental family and joins her husband’s family when she marries. The result is that parents with sons gain extra resources for their old age, when their sons marry, while parents with daughters lose their ‘potential pensions’ when they marry and move away.
  • Dowry: Some girl babies are killed so that the family doesn’t have to pay a dowry when they get married. In Indian society it is tradition for the parents of the bride to give a dowry to the groom and his family. The dowry consists of large amounts of money and valuable goods. For families with several daughters this can be a serious financial burden.

Mothers are often helpless to do anything, having no rights over their children while the women on the husband’s side commit the killing. The methods used have been handed down from generation to generation and there is a variety of them. Babies are fed milk laced with the sap from poisonous plants or pesticides, given paddy (rice with its husk) to swallow, which will slit their throats, fed salt to increase their blood pressure, stuffed in clay pots, swallow poisonous powdered fertilizer while others were smothered with a wet towel, strangled or allowed to starve and dehydrate to death.

INDIA

According to census statistics, “From 972 females for every 1,000 males in 1901. The gender imbalance has tilted to 929 females per 1,000 males. These numbers shows a serious imbalance that over time will have serious consequences.

A study of Tamil Nadu by the Community Service Guild of Madras similarly found that “female infanticide was common” in the state, though only among Hindu (rather than Moslem or Christian) families. “Of the 1,250 families covered by the study, 740 had only one girl child and 249 agreed directly that they had done away with the unwanted girl child. More than 213 of the families had more than one male child whereas half the respondents had only one daughter.” (Malavika Karlekar, “The girl child in India: does she have any rights?,” Canadian Woman Studies, March 1995.)

Fetal Murder

The number of female babies killed by feticide is greater than the number killed by infanticide. Abortion is legal in India under certain conditions, but sex-selective abortions or female feticide is a crime.The missing status of innumerable women (more than 100 million women are reported to be missing worldwide) points toward female feticide, infanticide, and other forms of gender discrimination as resulting in the high mortality of females at most stages of life. Abortions are most common among rich couples who can afford ultrasound scans to illegally check their unborn baby’s sex according to a research done by the UNPF. At one point, several clinics have been closed as hundreds of foetuses were found outside.

All medical tests that can be used to determine the sex of the child have been banned in India, due to incidents of these tests being used to get rid of unwanted female children before birth. The selective abortion of female feotuses is most common in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children, especially in parts of People’s Republic of China, Korea, Taiwan, and India. A 2005 study estimated that over 90 million females were “missing” from the expected population in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit.

In order to cope with the problem, the Indian state has taken some measures in Tamil Nadu for families with one or two daughters and no sons; if one of the parents undergoes sterilization, the government will grant the family $160 in aid per child as instalments as the girl goes through school. She will get a small golden ring and on her 20th birthday, $650 will be paid to serve as dowry or to pay the expenses of higher education. Another campaign driven by the Delhi government deposits 5,000 rupees ($202) in the name of a girl at the time of her birth and 25,000 more through her childhood as long as she stays in school.

Indian Girls Bear Dowry Burden

After birth, it is also usual for girls to eat less than boys and to eat when the male has finished his meal. In cases of illness, it is usual for boys to get more healthcare than girls and more money is spent on clothing for them rather than the girls.

2001 census reports show that Punjab and Haryana reported fewer than 900 girls per 1,000 boys. Like China, there is a strong son preference for various socio-economic reasons, such as the son being responsible for carrying on the family name and support in old age.

Families pay large sums in order to marry off their daughters. Although dowry was prohibited in 1961, newspaper reports illustrates that the phenomenon is continuing. There has also been escalation in dowry demands and related offenses such as harassment of the bride’s family, the acid burning of a bride, and even her murder. The advertisements for sex determination in the 1980s bore slogans like, “Pay five hundred now to save fifty thousand later.” The gender-based oppression of women in India starts at birth in the form of infanticide and feticide.

Going by a rough calculation, nearly 6,000 female babies must have been poisoned to death in Usilampatti taluk in the last decade and births are registered only if the deliveries take place in the hospitals. “There is also this widespread belief among the Kallars that if you kill a daughter, your next child will be a son.”

Many Kallar families realise that they are committing a crime, but they are convinced that, given their difficult circumstances, they are taking the only course open to them. A villager woman once said; “How can we poor people rear so many daughters in this painful dowry situation? The village panchayat and the village administrative officer have no right to investigate or interfere in our personal affairs. If I and my husband have the right to have a child, we also have the right to kill it if it happens to be a daughter, and we decide we cannot afford it. Outsiders and the Government have no right to poke their noses into this.” Her husband, Andi, concurred: “we have no money to keep our daughters alive.”

China

A missionary (and naturalist) observer in China the late 19th century interviewed 40 women over age 50 who reported having borne 183 sons and 175 daughters, of whom 126 sons but only 53 daughters survived to age 10; by their account, the women had destroyed 78 of their daughters.” (Coale and Banister, “Five Decades of Missing Females in China,” Demography, 31: 3 [August 1994], p. 472.)

According to Zeng et al., “The practice was largely forsaken in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s but the number of “missing” women showed a sharp upward trend in the 1980s, linked by almost all scholars to the “one-child policy” introduced by the Chinese government in 1979 to control spiralling population growth.

Jonathan Manthorpe reported a study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claiming that “the imbalance between the sexes is now so distorted that there are 111 million men in China — more than three times the population of Canada — who will not be able to find a wife.” As a result, the kidnapping and slave-trading of women has increased: “Since 1990, say official Chinese figures, 64,000 women — 8,000 a year on average — have been rescued by authorities from forced ‘marriages’. The number who have not been saved can only be guessed at. The thirst for women is so acute that the slave trader gangs are even reaching outside China to find merchandise. There are regular reports of women being abducted in such places as northern Vietnam to feed the demand in China.” (Jonathan Manthorpe, “China battles slave trading in women: Female infanticide fuels a brisk trade in wives,” The Vancouver Sun, January 11, 1999.)

Although the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) created laws to provide equal rights for women and men, female infanticide has increased dramatically since 1989 and the one child policy. This policy was created to prevent the increasing population and children born outside the plan would not be issued residence cards which would deny them education and other benefits. The parents would risk fines, salary cuts and even imprisonment.

The preference for male babies coupled with the “one child per couple” policy has led to an increase in female infanticide, the concealment of female births, sex-selective abortion, and the abandonment of infant girls. If parents choose to hide the birth of a daughter, she will have no legal existence. She will face difficulties receiving healthcare, education, and other state services.

Girls are less likely to be given adequate healthcare and nutrition than their the males. If abandoned or given up for adoption, Chinese infant girls risk horrible neglect and mistreatment in state orphanages. The infant girls spend their days tied to wicker “potty” chairs. They are provided with no toys, physical attention, or mental stimulation. Disease runs rampant in the orphanages, and an estimated one in five children die (Woods, Brian “The Dying Rooms Trust”).

The Chinese government has taken a number of steps to combat the practice of female infanticide, as well as promote and protect women’s rights. The Marriage Law and Women’s Protection Law prohibit female infanticide, and the latter prohibits discrimination against women who give birth to daughters.The Sex Selective Abortion Law and Maternal Health Care Law of 1994 were created to put an end to sex selective abortions, and the latter prohibits the use of medical technology to determine the gender of a fetus but unfortunately, the practice continues in China despite these efforts.

A crime against humanity

  • According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India.
  • In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males.
  • In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population.
  • The United Nations says an estimated 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day in India.
  • Upon marriage, a son makes a daughter-in-law an addition and asset to the family providing additional assistance in household work and brings an economic reward through dowry payments, while daughters get married off and merit an economic penalty through dowry charges.

The lack of education, low financial productivity and old customs and traditions have played a high role in this crime. Although many young people try to defy this act, you can still find female infanticide in every part of the country. Not only in the villages and poor areas but among rich families who desire a son.

This human rights violation of denying birth to a female child or not allowing her to live because she is a female is a crime. It not only affects the communities it also impacts in many ways on the national and international communities where female infanticide and feticide may not occur. Social unrest as a result of the disproportionate female and male gender ratio may manifest itself as crime in these societies, such as, the kidnapping of young women, forced marriages, sex crimes, wife purchasing, frustration-related psychological problems, and an increase in prostitution. Sadly some of these effects have already been reported in China.

Alarming Facts:

  • In 1992 Amartya Sen calculated that 37 million women were ‘missing’ in India . The UN in 2001 estimated that there were 44 million missing women in India.
  • A report by Palash Kumar published on Dec. 15, 2006 says India Has Killed 10 Million Girls in 20 Years. The report says “Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said, describing it as a “national crisis”.
  • Punjab loses every fourth girl. “By the 2011 census, we would be killing off 10 lakh (1,000,000) girls a year.” (Stop Murdering The Girl Child, Tribune, Correspondent or Reporter, Sep 26, 2007)
  • Every year in India, an estimated 500,000 female foetuses are aborted because they are female.
  • In Tamil Nadu recent analysis of statistics indicates a shortfall of about 13,000 daughters per year, 67% due to pre-birth deficit which suggests a high rate of female foeticide and 33% due to infanticide, and neglect.
  • Data compiled for 2008 by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths in the country, and for the same year, there were 81,344 cases of cruelty towards women by husbands and relatives. The actual numbers are probably much higher since many cases go unreported, or are reported as suicide.

What can be done?

Eliminating the practice requires changes in the way girls and women are valued by society. In India, UNFPA supports the Government in a comprehensive approach that includes building media interest, creating community-based networks to advocate against the practice, sensitizing health providers and involving youth and other key stakeholders. In Haryana State, where the sex ratio imbalance is one of the highest, function as women’s social action groups that promote the rights of daughters. These groups have convinced families and doctors not to practice sex selection.

Following a campaign by health and human rights activists, legal measures to ban the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques for sex selection were first passed in the Indian state of Maharashtra in 1986. Among the advocates against female infanticide were United Nations organizations, including UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, who were working alongside international NGOs and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

1. Support legislation and organizations that will increase access to education for girls. When more girls become educated there will be more opportunity for them to achieve success and for there to be more value placed on women and girls in society.
2. Outreach to health professionals, young women and men about stopping this practice In rural areas, poverty, lack of education, economic resources and inadequate healthcare facilities lead to the killing of infant girls whereas in urban areas selective abortion is commonly employed by individuals with access to modern technology that allows for early sex detection.

Haryana, India – The curse of Women

The land of Jats – Haryana traces its roots to the five thousand years old Mahabharata epic which defines the traditional cry of women empowerment where the mythical Draupti struggled & adjust among her the five husbands of choice. The situation of women in Haryana has remained in the most deplorable state where the womb of humanity feels the fears of superstitious believes where the light of insanity enters the choice of ultras to be born or not. This state has set many excellent examples for the nation & has always raise the national honor in terms of agriculture where green revolution changed the lives of millions, where the world’s best athletes were born & bring home the honors, the community which has remain as inspiration to the nation at large is in real a true culprit of the women backwardness in the region.

Haryana suffers from the lowest sex ration / gender ration in the country where there are 800 females per 1000 males in some places it even goes below then 600 females per 1000 males. Haryana has the highest rates of abortion resulting in the largest cases of infanticide in the country which stood at close to 70000 as per 2001 data rose from the past record of 62000.The practices has lead to acute shortage of marriageable females in the state which has not only contributed in the national girl deficit but also leaded in the loss of births within the past 2 decades caused by abortion & sex selection according to the BBC report of 2006 & Lancet Journal report of 2006.

This has given rise in the bride trafficking where the state has become the center for women trade which has now become so much helpless that now the families find easier to purchase bride for their sons rather finding & spending exorbitant amounts on marriage extravaganza where the average cost of girl is Rs.4000/- depending upon her appearance, age & region. Sonepat district has remained a top buyer & driver of trade the average price of girl ranges between Rs.5000 – Rs.7000.

The problem not only lies here but it has lead to opening of many other criminal activities which are of extreme nature such as the women are treated as the slaves where if the owner gets unsatisfied they sell their property bride to other at negotiable rates. Women are living is such a dismal conditions that their trade has now generated system of supply chain where women are sell, purchase, delivered, resell treated like a mere commodity which if found unsatisfactory can be exchanged or replaced with a better one. The vulnerability & frequency of AIDS in the state where now it is leading the front with greater transparency particularly in younger generation which is being affected most.

Which has made this territory as the state with highest number of rapes annually where women if abandon particularly in village may witness the sexual assault by the whole village or locality. This extremity happens when the owner of the women abandons her or if the husband cum buyer dies early. There have been many cases where women were raped by the whole village repeatedly, harassed or paraded nude in the locality, abducted for a limited period of time.

The cause of trafficking is two-dimensional. One is the demand factor and the other is the vulnerability of the person being victimized, more the demand, and more the crime. The vulnerability of the trafficked victim is another dimension. Vulnerability, as often quoted, is not exactly attributable to poverty. It is a culmination of several factors, including awareness of rights, lack of access to rights, illiteracy, disparities of income , the scope for exploitation of the victim, poor law enforcement, lack of public awareness and the ” culture of silence” to violation of rights of others.

***

Article 23 of the Constitution of India prohibits trafficking in any form. We have special legislations like the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. The law enforcement scenario, seen from the traditional viewpoint, presents a dismal picture. Research conducted by the National Human Rights Commission during 2002-2004 shows that the major issues in law enforcement are as follows:

1. Lack of priority-The law enforcement agencies and justice delivery agencies, for various reasons, accord lowest or nil priority to human trafficking issues.

2.  Insensitivity-The lack of sensitivity to human trafficking is a major challenge. It is more of an attitudinal issue.

3. Victimisation of the victim-More often, the trafficked women have been arrested and penalized for ‘soliciting’.

4 Improper Investigation-trafficking involves a long trail, starting from the source point, covering several transit points before terminating at the destination. But the investigation is more or less confined to the place where the victim is rescued. Victims remain more often unheard and unrepresented.

5. Organised crime perspective is lacking in investigation- HT involves several offenders like recruiters, transporters, traffickers, harbourers, exploiters and conspirators. But often, investigation is limited to those present at the scene of rescue. Human trafficking being an organized crime requires sharing of intelligence and an in-depth investigation into all linkages but this is rarely done.

6. Lack of co-ordination-The response to human trafficking requires co-ordination among the various government departments, like police, public welfare, health, women and child. The gap in co-ordination is a major challenge to the response system.

7. Lack of coordination with NGO’s- The ITPA and labour laws do assign specific role to NGO’s; however there is no institutionalized system of co-ordination between the law enforcement agencies and NGO’s.

8. Lack of Appreciation-Several instances of good work done by the police officers, researchers, NGO’s, etc, in controlling human trafficking can be cited. However such actions are not acknowledged and disseminated; often good news is no news and bad news is good news.

 9. Lack of Emphasis on Rehabilitation- This is a major challenge which leads to not only victimization of victims but also re-trafficking of the rescued person. Despite the fact that several corporate set aside large funds for social responsibility, lack of synergy with the law enforcement agencies and NGO’s has been an impediment in effective dovetailing of such sources for rehabilitating the victim.

With laws in face & in force, the situation still remains as usual as before with no improvement in reality having no grounds of morality to stand as hurdles in the insane traditions & practices of the citizens which even in this century are not civilized enough to be able to give respect & empowerment to their most vulnerable family members of their society. The state of the women is not only confined to the mere infanticide acts but also too many such more odds which she face throughout her life until her death. The society of male dominance has never accepted women as natural being but as the property of their belongings & needs who is being used as the mere commodity for getting the purpose solved with no regards to the crying souls of the wombs. Women in Haryana are subject to slavery & maltreatment by their sole mates in the very sorry state. Females are not allowed to interfere into the family & social matters. They even have no say about any matter which is of their concern. A girl who work or goes for any profession are treated with disrespect & are considered to be very forward.

This is a common practice in the rural areas where women are still fighting for their very existence. Due to continuous exploitation & infanticide on large scale from thousands of years as a tradition has now resulted into a huge deficit in girl population which has affected the entire gender ration of the state & the country too. Where on a national level according to the 2006 survey girl deficit has crossed 500000 mark which is unsuitable to meet the growing demand of brides across the state & in the country at large. Due to this girls are now being forced to marriage at early age, being forced into sex trade.

Due to the shortage of marriageable girls in the state they are being more vulnerable to rapes where now Haryana has surpassed the national crime rate in terms of rapes, abductions, trafficking while positioning itself at the top.

The most heinous of the crimes which are being carried out in a much organized & sophisticated manner under the hidden roofs is when the woman is being in some cases raped by the whole village where even the leaders of the village communities are also involved or order this heinous act to commit by their people. But the most traditional of them all which is still in practice & is being acceptable by the society due to the high level of girl shortage, poverty & illiteracy among the lower & middle income group is that in many families the girl is being forced or sell for marriage to the multiple males of the single family like for example if in a family there are more than one bachelor males & due to the acute shortage of girls in the vicinity & state they marriage a single girl who marries them as their common bride hence fulfilling the purpose of being a wife for all.

This tradition is as old as 5000 years which has roots traced back to Mahabharata era according to Hindu mythology.  This has resulted into a much outcry from the women empowerment bodies & judiciary but due to lack of political will & week enforcement agencies the whole scenario of women in the Jat land is uncertain & in dismal state. The region which is being most affected by this custom is Mewat which also witness a large involvement of Khap panchayat system which is traditional system of judiciary in Haryana who have always been at the fore front of controversy related to their style of functioning, decisions & their legality under the national legal framework.

This system has been responsible for the honor killings in the state & has still leading the stand of carrying out the tradition in this century. The honor killings are being done in relation to the unacceptable marriages which are being made by the absconding couples belonging to the different social group or community. These inter community or runaway marriages are never accepted in the local society & are being subject to the verdict of these khap panchayat which are respected & treated as the final body in the rural heartlands of this state.

With the dual system of constitutional & traditional rights the society of civilized & uncivilized has remained always at the loggerheads with each other making the society more male centric & dominant in the role of the decider who have till now has remained responsible for the women dismal situation in the state which has now facing the challenge of its survival. The day is not far when the Land of Jats will be a mere name in history whose stories will be told to the children for their sleep if the current status of women is not been lifted & treated with due respect in the society.

Harmful practices to the female body; part 1 Female Genital Mutilation

“Mama tied a blindfold over my eyes. The next thing I felt my flesh was being cut away. I heard the blade sawing back and forth through my skin. The pain between my legs was so intense I wished I would die.” –Waris Dirie, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and spokesperson on FGM

1. What is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” Most of the victims live in African countries, some in the Middle East and Asian countries and it is increasing in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.

FGM is usually performed by an older experienced woman with no medical training. In primitive areas, anaesthetics and antiseptic treatment is not used and the tools consist of knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass and razor blades. A mixture of herbs is placed on the wound to tighten the vagina and stop the bleeding. The age of the girls varies from infants to girls to the age of 10 depending on the community and family.

It is extreme form of discrimination against women and performed on innocent children that are not able to defend themselves. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

2. 4 types of FGM

According to WHO;

a)     Excision (removal) of the clitoral hood with or without removal of part or all of the clitoris. Occurs in 85% of the FGM.

b)     Removal of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora. Occurs in 85% of the FGM.

c)      Removal of part or all of the external genitalia (clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora) and stitching and/or narrowing of the vaginal opening leaving a small hole for urine and menstrual flow. Occurs in Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, parts of Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

d)     All other operations of the female genitalia.

3. History of Female Circumcision

Female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is not a recent phenomenon as it has been dated back as far as to 2nd century BC when a geographer, Agatharchides of Cridus wrote about the subject that occurred among tribes residing on the western coast of the Red Sea (today’s Egypt). Based on the current areas practicing FGM, it seems as the tradition has originated from Egypt and spread. Others believe that the custom was rooted in the kingdom of the Pharaohs.

As Islam rose throughout the region, Egyptians raided territories in the south and exported Sudanic slaves. Female slaves were sold at a higher price if they were “sewn up” as they became unable to give birth. After many converting to Islam, this practice was abolished as Islam prohibits Muslims from harming their body and enslaving others.

Today this primitive tradition has reached the coasts of America, Europe, Australia and Canada. Numbers from Amnesty International estimates that 135 million women have experienced FGM and that between 2-3 million girls and infants undergoes this practice every year.  In Africa alone it is about 92 million girls who has undergone FGM.

4. Medical consequence of FGM

FGM have absolutely no health benefits for the girls except doing harm and causing extreme pain. As the healthy genital tissue is being removed, the body cannot function in a natural way. Since this procedure is being practiced by people who have no medical training and without using any necessary anesthetic or sterilization, the FGM can lead to death by shock from bleeding or infections by the unsterilized tools. The first sexual intercourse will be extremely painful who will be needed to be opened and this is being performed by the partner with a knife. Besides bleeding there are several short and long term complications that these girls have to deal with and I have listed them shortly.

Depending on the degree of mutilation, short term health problems caused by FGM;

  1. Severe pain and shock
  2. Bacterial infection
  3. Urine retention
  4. Open sores injury to adjacent tissues
  5. Immediate fatal haemorrhaging (bleeding)
  6. Extreme pain as girls are cut without being numbed and the worst pain occurs the next day when the girls have to urinate
  7. Trauma as girls are forced and held down by several women

Long-term implications;

  1. Extensive damage of the external reproductive system
  2. Uterus, vaginal and pelvic infections
  3. Cysts and neuromas
  4. Increased risk of Vesico Vaginal Fistula
  5. Complications in pregnancy and child birth
  6. Psychological damage
  7. Sexual dysfunction
  8. Difficulties in menstruation
  9. Recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections
  10. Infertility
  11. The need for later surgeries such as to be cut open to allow childbirth and sexual intercourse after marriage. Sometimes it is also stitched again several times after childbirth.
  12. Problems urinating as girls are left with a small opening. This can slow or strain the normal flow of urine and lead to infections
  13. Gynecological health problems as they are not able to pass all of their menstrual blood out and have infections over and over again.
  14. Increased risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STD/STI) including HIV as the procedure is being performed in unclean conditions
  15. Psychological and emotional stress. A study by Pharos, a Dutch group that gathered health care information of refugees and migrants revealed in February 2010 that majority of these women suffered from stress, anxiety and was aggressive. They were also most likely to have relational problems or fear for relations. According to the study, it is believed that an estimate of 50 girls is being genitally mutilated every year in the Netherlands.

5. Where is FGM practiced?

Southeast Asia; Indonesia, Malaysia,

Central Asia; Tajikistan

Eastern Europe; Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia

Middle East; Yemen, UAE, turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Oman, Jordan, Iraq and Kurdistan, Iran,

Africa; Zimbabwe, Zaire, Uganda, Togo, Tanzania, South Africa, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, republic of Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mali, Malawi, Libya, Liberia, Kenya, guinea-Bissau, guinea, Ghana, Gambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Djibouti, democratic republic of the Congo, cote d’ivoire, Comoros, Chad, central African republic, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Benin, Algeria

The majority of cases of FGM are carried out in 28 African countries. In some countries, (e.g. Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan), prevalence rates can be as high as 98 per cent. In other countries, such as Nigeria, Kenya, Togo and Senegal, the prevalence rates vary between 20 and 50 per cent. It is more accurate however, to view FGM as being practised by specific ethnic groups, rather than by a whole country, as communities practising FGM straddle national boundaries. FGM takes place in parts of the Middle East, i.e. in Yemen, Oman, Iraqi Kurdistan, amongst some Bedouin women in Israel, and was also practised by the Ethiopian Jews, and it is unclear whether they continue with the practice now that they are settled in Israel. FGM is also practised among Bohra Muslim populations in parts of India and Pakistan, and amongst Muslim populations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

6. Religion or culture?

Although FGM happens in countries with Muslim majority, and people think that it is associated with Islam, FGM is not supported by any religion and condemned by many religious leaders.

In fact FGM is a pre-Islamic tradition and since Islam prohibits humans from harming and mutilating their body, therefore FGM is forbidden in Islam. In Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana, Muslim population groups are more likely to practice FGC than Christian groups but in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Niger, the prevalence is greater among Christian groups.

Today FGM is a mixture of cultural, religious and social factors. For instance, the social pressure to perform FGM because others in the same community do it keeps the practice strong. As from the religious view, the parents thinks that FGM is necessary to raise the daughter properly and make sure that she is a virgin until she is married even though no religious scripture supports this. It is motivated by the thought of proper sexual behavior.

7. Reasons and justification

  1. custom and tradition
  2. religion; in the mistaken belief that it is a religious requirement
  3. preservation of virginity/chastity
  4. social acceptance, especially for marriage
  5. hygiene and cleanliness
  6. increasing sexual pleasure for the male
  7. family honour
  8. a sense of belonging to the group and conversely the fear of social exclusion
  9. enhancing fertility

8. What can be done to prevent and abolish FGM?

Each community should arrange meetings where they discuss, talk and consider opinions about FGM. Here it would be important to allow the elder generation to speak with the young. It is important to spread out and explain about the harsh health problems FGM causes.

Next important thing is education. Education is the key to everything. As we can see, this is happening in areas where most people is illiterate or doesn’t have the possibility to go to school. The generations repeat themselves and the circle is hard to break. Another important thing would be that Islamic scholars and other religious leaders should change the perception about FGM as people listen to them.

Every country and community should work towards changing the attitude as women feels they are being disloyal to their culture for not choosing FGM. This pressure can change if doctors and other health care workers would talk with women about the dangers of FGC and offer other options that don’t involve cutting. Some human rights advocates also suggest that men could help reduce the practice of FGC by openly marrying uncut women. Many human rights organizations are also calling on religious leaders to openly confirm that their religions do not require women to have FGC.

Last, if the countries establish strict laws and investigate cases regarding FGM, then it will have some effect but it will not be enough to abolish it as 18 African countries has laws or decrees against FGM. Even countries with the highest rates of FGM have recently openly noted the need for banning this practice. Fines and jail sentences are typically minor, but most view any sanctions against FGC as a good start.

It is important that everyone is aware of this heinous practice that mutilates the female body. It is hard to understand how parents can perform this on their infant babies who are not able to defend themselves. Every country should implement various strategies to eliminate FGM and it starts with education and communication.

Sexual crimes against children in Indonesia

In Indonesia, raping case is  on the  2nd ranks the most common crime after the murder.

Rape comes from the Latin rapere , means to steal, force, seize or carry away. Rape is an attempt to vent his sexual lust by a man against women in a way that violates according to the moral and law. According to the Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), rape is any sexual assault or coercion. Form of rape is not always intercourse, but any form of attack or coercion involving the genitals. Oral sex, anal sex, destruction of the female genitals with an object also is rape, and rape also can occur in marriage.

Currently, common rape against women is rape against children. Based on data from the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) in 2010 showed as many as 39.18 percent of 1649 cases of violence against children is sexual violence. Since 1993 there have been 1500 to 2000 cases of rape and in 2010 every 10 day recorded 33 cases of rape of children.

Based on  Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia No. 23 of 2002, children is someone who has not aged 18 (eighteen) years old, including children who are still in the womb.

Rape is usually done by a stranger to the child, but now it is very disappointing that  the rape was carried out by people who are well known to the victim (seductive rape), such as teachers, doctors, friends or the biological parent (father). Data showed that 68% of sexual violence against children, the perpetrators were their family

Ideally, a father is the leader in the family that responsible to provide protection, love and affection, a decent living, education and mental development of children so  the children has a personality that is established well and able to float ideas in a positive and focused way.

But not all fathers can carry out his duties properly, some of them destroy his daughter’s  life by raping on them (incest). Incest is a sexual intercourse or sexual relations that occur between two people that have bond,where the bond consanguinity between them is close enough, for example between the brothers with sisters, fathers with daughters, mothers with sons or uncles with nephews. In this case, sexual relations that occur there are a voluntary and there is coercion. That is coercion is called rape. Many people are known to rape incest, because this case is more frequently reported by victims or their families.

Sexual violence in this category is the hardest violence because the victim always  remember that the offender is a person in a family and near her own so that incest usually occurs over and over, and between the victim and the perpetrator most likely to meet each other.

Rape case  by a father that abusing his own daughter was a lot happening on  the middle class economy families, because the house that they have is very narrow, the conditions at home is only one room for a whole family members. So over time people who were there will inflame passions biological. Fathers that  spend more time at home because they do not have a job while his wife works outside home or abroad. Rape can also happens  due to environmental influences or background which affects living  way in the past, feel deprived or left behind of sexual experience when he was teen (sexual lag behind) as well as psychological shock due to spontaneous sexual stimulation and lack of understanding of religious values.

Most of the perpetrators  explained that they had raped their children because of sexual arousal (see parts of the body), a wife who can not serve their sexual needs, habits of children who sleep together with parents, horny after watching porn movie, unconscious, too fond of children, the influence from alcohol and social construction that is too strong (the way men judge women)

CASES EXAMPLE

We can see several examples of cases below:

1. Jakarta – April, 2002

A biological father raping 2 of his daughters since 1996 when they was aged 8 and 6 years old. The perpetrator complained  by his wife and he was imprisoned.

2. Bogor – April, 2002

A father raped his biological child until having a child. The perpetrator reported to the police  by the victim.

3. Surabaya – June, 2002

During the 3 years raping his own daughter. Perpetrators reported by the victim and his ex-wife who has been divorced for a long time.

4. Padang – August 19, 2005

HS (32 years old) raped her daughter for many times since  divorced with his wife and they used to sleep in one room.

5. West Sumatra – August 20, 2005

Not satisfied although already has two wives, a father raped his biological daughter (18 years old). Perpetrator  threatened the victim with a knife to obey his will. The perpetrator imprisoned.

6. Madiun – August 4, 2002

During the 3years while his mother worked abroad, Lel (14 years old) raped by her own father. It had happened for a long period  because the victim fear of the threat from her father. Perpetrator have been arrested and punished.

7. Malang – June 12,2008

M (44 years old), raping his daughter since she was  8 years old to 14 years old. The victim claimed that rape by her father since she was in 4th grade of secondary school. If counted, rape by her father is more than 10 times in a year. Rape is done because his wife works outside the country so no one fulfiil his  sexual needs. Perpetrator arrested after a complaint the victim and her boyfriend.

8. Nganjuk – April 21,2009

By the reason of drunkenness, Sutriyono (41) raped his biological child who was 15 years old. The child was raped beside her mother who was asleep. When the mother woke up and prohibit the perpetrator, he’s beating of his wife and banging her  into the wall. Both of them then reported this thing to the police and the perpetrator has been arrested and imprisoned.

9. Timor  – July 16,2009

IN (39 years old), three times raping his children. It was in October 12.2008, February 10.2009 and July 15.2009. The reason is that the father must raped her first daughter so can live happily if married later. Perpetrator reported by his wife, children and neighbors and have been detained by the police.

10. Labuhan Batu Selatan – January 20.2010

BN (42 years old), since 2007 has four times raping his daughter  who is now 15 years old. The victim told this to the neighbors and they reported it to the police. The perpetrator is imprisoned.

11. Padang – August 10.2010

AWE (48 years old), his child abuse began in 2005 because of seeing his beautiful daughter’s face. The perpetrator  was  reported by the victim to the police and was arrested.

12. Bangkalan – October 9.2010

MK (47 years old) had raped his daughter KLZ (16 years old)  for thirty times since she was in 3rd grade secondary school. The perpetrator reported by the victim and her mother to the police and  now is imprisoned.

13. Malang – October 22, 2010

BH (45 years old) raped his 16 years old daughter. He rape her when the condition of the house is quiet and his wife was ill. He have been detained by the police. BH crimes uncovered after his daughter  complained to her teacher at school so the school reported the incident to the police.

14. Purwokerto – November 23, 2010

KP (50 years old) raped his daughter MR (16 years old) until got pregnant for  5 months. The act was reported by the mother’s of victim and the neighbors as suspected her  physical changes. The perpetrator  who worked as a pedicab driver confessed that he had raped the victim from the beginning of 2009.

15. Jakarta – January 12, 2011

Puji  (40 years old) rape his daughter (B) from she was  in 4th grade of secondary school until now in junior high school and got pregnant for 1.5 months. The perpetrator  reported to the police by the neighbors after they saw  B have been pregnant.

16. Jakarta – February 5, 2011

MJ (40 years old) rape his  daughter MO (13 years old) in mid of January. Currently this case ready for trial.  Now  she moved into her relative’s house and not go to school anymore.

Rape action lasted for a long time because previously no one knows because the perpetrator is always tricky and threatened to kill the victim if the victim does not want to obey his will or try to report the rape to someone else.

Sexual crimes against children have been frequent in Indonesia, but  case like this is just like an iceberg phenomenon, to obtain estimates of the right or at least closer numbers to reality is very difficult because many cases unreported. Indonesian society still don’t have the courage to report these cases because it is still considered taboo in the family, they also think that these domestic issue is very privacy in a family.

RAPE IMPACT

1. Physical / Health Impact

Physical effects that can be experienced by victims are :

a. Damage to organs, such as the hymen, collapsed and died
b. Victims may be exposed to communicable diseases
c. Unwanted pregnancies

The possibility of pregnancy due to rape incest action if these people having child  will carry the homozygot gene. Some diseases can be inherited through a recessive homozygot gene which can cause death to the baby ie fatal anemia, impaired vision to children aged 4-7 years which could effect in blind, albino, polydactyl and so forth. A  genetic weakness and poor genetic history will grow dominant to the children.

Emotional disturbance experienced by the mother due to pregnancy affect fetal growth and development of pre-and post-birth. Moreover, many genetic diseases has a greater chance of emergence to the children that born from incest as a genetic disorder that causes mental health problems ( skizoprenia), mental retardation (idiot) and weak brain development.

2. Psychological Impact

Incest rape will make women living in a miserable life. Dependency and fear of the threat makes women can not resist being raped by her own father. It is very difficult for them to get out from it because they are highly dependent on the perpetrator  and still do not want to open a disgrace of  the man who basically they cared about and should be their protectors. As a result they are traumatized for life and psychiatric disorders.

The psychological impact suffered by victims are:

a. Disorders of sexual behavior

b. Severe Trauma / shock psychiatric (crying, isolate themselves, fear, self-blaming and suicide). This is commonly called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

c. Difficult to concentrate.

d. Can not trust other people.

e. Depression

Rape by someone who is known, the father, in psychologically it takes a longer time to recover because the victims have memory against the perpetrators of rape, so victims will experience a very long fear. Rape against children is also caused many of them unable to continue their study anymore because they are embarrassed by the circumstances, until eventually it caused the destruction of their future.

3. The impact in terms of humanitarian

Universal conscience of humanity (in general) that civilized until today condemned this act as a crime against the human values ​​that has sacrificed the moral feelings of the public.

4. Social Impact

In Indonesia, an incestuous relationship occurred in one family would cause the destruction of the family name in the public eye. Families can be ostracized by society and become the rumor the community. More important problem of child asylum cases of rape incest is that there is an unhealthy condition in a social context, relating to the social construction of the family. For example, people know the father and daughter as one family. But in case of incestuous rape cases, where the father impregnated her daughter, then when the child is born a child of the woman’s father then became a double status, father and grandfather.

ROLE OF THE STATE AND SOCIETY

Sexual crimes against children is a serious issue that should get priority attention from the State to immediately deal with it, because children who are victims have been humbled status and dignity, and will experience a long psychological trauma throughout her life. Role of the State becomes very important because the State has the obligation to preserve, protect and fulfill children’s rights.

Protection of children is all activities to ensure and protect children and their rights in order to live, grow, develop, and participate, in an optimal fit with the dignity of humanity, and get protection from violence and discrimination.
Perpetrators of rape against children in Indonesia can be arrested and subjected to punishment for violating the articles such as:

1. Article 81 paragraph 1 of Act No. 23 of 2002 on Child Protection

Any person who intentionally commit violence or threats of violence forced the children to do sexual intercourse with him or with another person, is punishable by a maximum imprisonment of 15 (fifteen) years and a minimum 3 (three) years and a fine of  Rp300,000,000.00 (three hundred million rupiahs) and at least Rp60,000,000.00 (sixty million rupiahs).

2. Article 46 of Law No. 23 Year 2004 on Domestic Violence

Any person committing acts of sexual violence as referred to in Article 8 letter (a) shall be punished with imprisonment of 12 (twelve) years or a fine of not more Rp36.000.000, 00 (thirty six million rupiahs).

A lot of reporting, arresting and a maximum punishment given to the perpetrators of  rape, but these crime is not reduced, even more to increase daily. If the perpetrators thinks that the punishment are not hard enough to make them refrain from doing such act, then cooperation with the community is require so this crime can be stopped, at least reduced in number.

Society as a social control including the school, the government, neighbors, friends and family should more caring and give attention to the situation that occurred in the vicinity. A little awareness that we have to consider other people will mean a lot to people who needs it. At least the perpetrators won’t be so brave committed rape if the people critical and look at the surrounding circumstances.  Needs courage from various parties, especially family, to be able to see this
proportional and siding with the victims to uncover case.

Also, it’s not enough only put this rape  problem against women as a moral issue, because this is also a problem of perspective and human reason; men’s  perspectives on women and women’s perspectives on men.

The perspectives should be changed, that a father is a man who should have the awareness to take care of  his family and its responsibilities as a leader in the family. A father does not just deserve to be respected, but also must appreciate his other family members. And women as wife and children, should be able to carry out its obligations properly, appreciate and cherish their family leader, appreciate and love themselves as individuals who have the same rights for life and able to resist and act decisively if their dignity as human beings have harassed and persecuted.

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future – Unknown

Temporarely marriage

Prostitution, the oldest profession in the world is growing by the year. Prostitution is illegal in Iran and the penalties are severe from 100 lashes to execution. The numbers of prostitutes are increasing despite police crackdowns, especially in the capital city Teheran. The women are often young and include teenagers who have run away from home called  “dokhtarani khiyabani” meaning street girls .The runaway girls are usually fleeing home situations where their parents are abusive or are drug addicts or where they are subjected to sexual assaults. Some also are reported to be girls who have been married off at a young age by impoverished parents but face conflicts with older, exploitative husbands. But after they escape to towns and cities, they find they have no employment prospects and end up begging, engaging in petty crime, or working as prostitutes. So what increases prostitution in Iran? Some reasons are the widespread poverty, high rate of divorce, and the amount of runaway girls fleeing abusive homes becomes bate for those who lure them into prostitution.

A sign showing many of the offices people can get married.

This is a problem for the Iranian government and to deal with the problem, they have come up with a solution; temporarily marriage also called “Nikah al-Mut’ah.”

This marriage is a fixed term marriage anywhere from 1 hour to 99 years in exchange for a special amount of money which you also can renew again and again if wished. The only thing you need to do is to find an office of a marriage cleric who writes temporarily marriage certifications. The marriage is called “mut’ah” or “sighe” and is generally used by young men and women who want to avoid trouble with the moral police and the men who want to pick up one of the many prostitutes. As everyone knows, there are strict punishment for romance between unmarried men and women, and in case you are sitting in a coffee shop or hanging out in the park with the opposite sex and the moral police pays you a visit, then you can just wave your temporarily marriage certification and avoid 100 lashes.

Men can marry as many women they can afford but women can only be involved with one man and can’t enter another relationship before the 3 months of waiting period is over. Sometimes it’s not about the romance and a few amounts of people do use it for economical reasons or to just share an apartment together. Under temporary marriages, practiced largely by Shiites and banned by Sunni Muslims, there are no limits as to the number of temporary wives a man can take unlike in Sunni communities. Practiced mostly in Iran and used among everybody, even the most religious. In most of the cases the women who become sighe are divorced or widows. Virgin women need to have permission from their father or paternal grandfather to enter into such a marriage, and temporary marriages involving young unmarried women are quite uncommon except among the extremely needy. In case the girls want to enter a real marriage, the virginity can be restored easily for a few hundred dollars.

To relieve lust of youth

Iran’s interior minister, Moustafa Pourmohammadi urged the revival of the practice of temporary marriage permitted under Shiaism to give young people easier legitimate access to sex. The minister also described the practice as “God’s rule” and said it was an alternative to pre-marital sex.

“The increase in the marriage age in this country has caused many problems,” he told a conference in the city of Qom. We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage. Islam is a comprehensive and complete religion and has a solution for every behaviour and need, and temporary marriage is one of its solutions for the needs of the youth,” he stated.

Feminists, clerics and officials have begun to discuss sigheh as a solution to the problems of Iran’s youth that stands for 65% of the 70 million population, combined with high unemployment, means that more couples are putting off marriage because they cannot afford it. This is not the first time that people in the Islamic Republic have tried to promote sigheh as the first person to discuss it openly was Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani when he was President. In a sermon in 1990, he called sexual desire a God-given trait. Don’t be “promiscuous like the Westerners,” he advocated, but use the God-given solution of temporary marriage.

A new plan by some senior Iranian clerics for solving the country’s problem of street prostitution has raised debates. The plan is to create so-called “chastity houses” for destitute women where men could marry them for a few hours. The critics have said that it will push more poor women and runaway girls into becoming prostitutes. The temporary marriage license would protect the couple from harassment by authorities and, according to some proposals; it would be accompanied by free contraceptives and health advice. Under religious law, a temporary marriage imposes no obligations on a man unless the union produces a child, who must be recognized as legitimate and can claim a share of any inheritance. There are already tens of thousands of children from temporary marriages whose fathers do not acknowledge them and therefore are considered illegitimate. These children face difficulties in getting the identification papers needed for school and work. Without these papers, they are shut off from family inheritance and from government assistance normally available to poor or orphaned kids. Besides this the shame follows them all their lives.

Maryam and Karim- A sad love story

Karim gave her clothes and a little money from time to time during their “marriage,” but not the gold coin he had promised her with each renewal of their contract. He told her she was beautiful, something her husband had never done to her. She cleaned his house occasionally and even met his brothers and he met her mother. “She knew that I was with a man,” Maryam said, “but would have preferred I was with him illegally than his sigheh.”

In the 5th year of their relationship, Karim began to call less frequently. Maryam went to a fortune-teller, who told her that Karim was to be married. When she confronted him, he said that it was over and after their contract ran out, he married a virgin chosen by his parents. Because of her divorce, she said, “he told me right from the start that he couldn’t marry me permanently but he treated me so nicely that I thought things would change.” Maryam was so much in love that she even offered to become Karim’s temporary wife again after he was permanently married but he refused.

Sources;

Picture from Nettavisen and google. Some statistic and information from IPS, pars times, BBC and some Iranian sources.

Powerful men in red

Clothing and color choices are strongly connected together, and it is a striking correlation between red garments and power.

Like women, men do also follow the cultural codes that come with the situation and certain patterns and colors as well. A book written by a Swedish professor distinguishes between; money power, physical power and beauty of power.
At the beginning of the 2000s we saw clearly how men would belong to the cultural elite which are knowledge power, dressed in full black and often with a polo shirt to focus on the face and so used the 1600s professors, and many other scholars to do. They dressed because they were men without body, just brains. So why is it so important for men to show that they have power? Maybe because it is linked to masculinity and that power is defined as male.

The red tie

The Norwegian PM chooses often to wear a red tie. Probably not only because he is socio democrat as even the Swedish PM who is conservative often wears a red tie. George W. Bush had very often a red tie, and he was definitely not a socialist. Some studies shows and indicates that today’s top politicians often wear a red tie, and especially when they want to show that they have the power by a political meeting or when they will emerge with particular gravity, for example on TV. They express power to act with his red tie.

 

So why does red sig­nal rank? The au­thors see both cul­ture and bi­ol­o­gy at work. In human so­ci­eties across the globe, red tra­di­tion­ally has been part of the re­ga­lia of the rich and pow­er­ful.  Along with this learn­ed as­socia­t­ion be­tween red and sta­tus, the au­thors point to bi­o­log­i­cal roots of human be­hav­ior. In non-human pri­ma­tes, like ma­ndrills and ge­la­da ba­boons, red is an in­di­ca­tor of male dom­i­nance and is ex­pressed most in­tensely in al­pha ma­les. Females of these spe­cies mate more of­ten with al­pha ma­les, who in turn pro­vide pro­tec­tion and re­sources.

“When wom­en see red it trig­gers some­thing deep and probably bi­o­log­ic­ally en­grained,” said El­li­ot. “We say in our cul­ture that men act like an­i­mals in the sex­u­al realm. It looks like wom­en may be act­ing like an­i­mals as well in the same sort of way.”

Historical view of the color red

If we travel back in time, we can see that in the Middle Ages and renaissance, it was very common and important to demonstrate masculinity through the color and clothing. And as for the nobles and royals there was only one color; RED.

The Duke of Urbino – one of Machiavelli’s favorite princes would wear red from head to toe when he was pictured. Red was also an obvious choice in the Catholic Church’s powerful cardinals and Napoleon used red when he was on the top of his career as emperor. An­cient Chi­na, Ja­pan and sub-Saharan Af­ri­ca all used the vi­brant tint to con­vey pros­per­ity and sta­tus. An­cient Rome’s elite were lit­er­ally called “the ones who wear red.” Even to­day, the au­thors note, busi­ness­men wear a red tie to de­note con­fi­dence, while celebr­i­ties and dig­ni­tar­ies are fet­ed by “rolling out the red car­pet.”

Women that time preferred brown, beige, pale pink, pale green and other pastel colors. But the 1800s marked the end of the color party and men went from being peacocks to gray and black sparrows and red became the color for women and children.

Studies in University of Rochester

Studies made by researchers at the University of Rochester found out that men wearing the color red become more attractive to the woman who is unaware of this color effect. “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction,” Professor Elliot said.

The researchers found that the red effect was limited to status and romance as red made the man seem more powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable, but did not make the man seem more likable, kind, or sociable. The effect was consistent across cultures: undergraduates in the United States, England, Germany, and China all found men more attractive when wearing or bordered by red and the effect was limited to women. When males were asked to rate the attractiveness of a pictured male, color made no difference in their responses. In earlier work, Elliot documented that men are more attracted to women in red but the red effect depends on the context.

The same effect goes for the red neckties. As red is a very powerful color and when it is matched properly it will create a more powerful image allowing you to look like you are in authority and power. Most guys wearing red ties are those guys that are oozing with self-confidence and self-esteem. Red represents powerful sensations such as influence, confidence and even strong secrets even adventurous personalities rarely use red for their neckties.

If you want to match red neckties with shirt, go for the safest which is white. When it is worn on a white background, it will create an enigmatic look and irresistible attractiveness. Some men tend to avoid using neckties that are colored red especially when it simply does not represent the kind of personality that they want to project. Subtle personalities will shy away from red because it is not their color. But, if you want to create a more powerful look for your next corporate event and you are dressed to impress then red ties, black suit and white shirt would be the best outfit for you.

Research done by Daniela Niesta Kayer, University of Rochester; Tobias Greitemeyer, University of Innsbruck; Stephanie Lichtenfeld, University of Munich; Richard H. Gramzow, University of Southampton; Markus A. Maier, University of Munich; and Huijun Liu, Tainjin Medical University.

The research was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and an Excellence Guest Professorship at the University of Munich.

University of Rochester

International Water Day

Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.

More than half of this area is over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (‰) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ‰. Scientists estimate that 230,000 marine species are currently known, but the total could be up to 10 times that number.

The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria. These divisions are (in descending order of size):

Click at the picture for a larger image

  • Pacific Ocean, which separates Asia and Australia from the Americas
  • Atlantic Ocean, which separates the Americas from Eurasia and Africa
  • Indian Ocean, which washes upon southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia
  • Antarctic Ocean, sometimes considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, which encircles Antarctica.
  • Arctic Ocean, sometimes considered a sea of the Atlantic, which covers much of the Arctic and washes upon northern North America and Eurasia.

Click at the picture for a larger image

The Pacific and Atlantic may be further subdivided by the equator into northern and southern portions. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays, straits and other names.

Geologically, an ocean is an area of oceanic crust covered by water. Oceanic crust is the thin layer of solidified volcanic basalt that covers the Earth’s mantle. Continental crust is thicker but less dense. From this perspective, the earth has three oceans: the World Ocean, the Caspian Sea, and Black Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is at times a discrete ocean, because tectonic plate movement has repeatedly broken its connection to the World Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, but the Bosporus is a natural canal cut through continental rock some 7,000 years ago, rather than a piece of oceanic sea floor like the Strait of Gibraltar.

Lack of clean water


Almost 50% of the developing world’s population; 2.5 billion people lacks improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible.

Source; UNICEF, July 2010

Facts about water

Today’s water crisis is not an issue of scarcity, but of access. More people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet. And as cities and slums grow at increasing rates, the situation worsens. Every day, lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills thousands, leaving others with reduced quality of life.

  • 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.
  • 3.575 million People die each year from water-related disease.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • People living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.

Sanitation

  • Only 62% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation – defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.
  • Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
  • 2.5 billion People lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion people who have no facilities at all.
  • Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most occupy impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities.

Children

  • Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • Diarrhea is more prevalent in the developing world due, in large part, to the lack of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as poorer overall health and nutritional status.
  • Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.
  • In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water.
  • 1.4 million Children die as a result of diarrhea each year.

Women

  • In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs — collecting water for domestic use.
  • This lost productivity is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Wal*Mart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.
  • Millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
  • A study by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities found that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that do not. This supports an earlier World Bank study that found that women’s participation was strongly associated with water and sanitation project effectiveness.

Diseases


  • At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
  • The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.
  • Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way.
  • 88% of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
  • 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.
  • It is estimated that improved sanitation facilities could reduce diarrhea-related deaths in young children by more than one-third. If hygiene promotion is added, such as teaching proper hand washing, deaths could be reduced by two thirds. It would also help accelerate economic and social development in countries where sanitation is a major cause of lost work and school days because of illness.

Economics

  • Over 50 % of all water projects fail and less than five percent of projects are visited, and far less than one percent have any longer-term monitoring.
  • Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology.
  • Almost two in every three people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day and one in three on less than $1 a day.
  • Households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1.
  • Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year. The value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, would amount to US$ 3.6 billion a year.

Environment


  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
  • The UN estimates that by 2025, forty-eight nations, with combined population of 2.8 billion, will face freshwater “stress” or “scarcity”. Our Water.org High School Curriculum
  • Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater by far: about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals go to irrigated agriculture.
  • At home the average American uses between 100 and 175 gallons of water a day. That is less than 25 years ago, but it does not include the amount of water used to feed and clothe us.
  • Conserving water helps not only to preserve irreplaceable natural resources, but also to reduce the strain on urban wastewater management systems. Wastewater is costly to treat, and requires continuous investment to ensure that the water we return to our waterways is as clean as possible.

Source; http://www.water.org

Timeline of women’s improvement around the world

1850-1879

  • 1851: Prussian law forbids women from joining political parties or attending meetings where politics is discussed.
  • 1869: Britain grants unmarried women who are householders the right to vote in local elections. 1862/3: Some Swedish women gain voting rights in local elections.

1880-1899

  • 1881: Some Scottish women get the right to vote in local elections.
  • 1893: New Zealand grants equal voting rights to women.
  • 1894: The United Kingdom expands women’s voting rights to married women in local but not national elections.
  • 1895: South Australian women gain voting rights.
  • 1899: Western Australian women granted voting rights.

1900-1909

  • 1901: Women in Australia get the vote, with some restrictions.
  • 1902: Women in New South Wales get the vote.
  • 1902: Australia grants more voting rights to women.
  • 1906: Finland adopts woman suffrage.
  • 1907: Women in Norway are permitted to stand for election.
  • 1908: Women in Denmark some women granted local voting rights.
  • 1908: Victoria, Australia, grants women voting rights.
  • 1909: Sweden grants vote in municipal elections to all women.

1910-1919

  • 1913: Norway adopts full woman suffrage.
  • 1915: Women get the vote in Denmark and Iceland.
  • 1916: Canadian women in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan get the vote.
  • 1917: When the Russian Tsar is toppled, the Provisional Government grants universal suffrage with equality for women; later the new Soviet Russian constitution includes full suffrage to women.
  • 1917: Women in the Netherlands are granted the right to stand for election.
  • 1918: The United Kingdom gives a full vote to women of age 30 and older and men age 21 and older.
  • 1918: Canada gives women the vote in most provinces by federal law. Quebec is not included.
  • 1918: Germany grants women the vote.
  • 1918: Austria adopts woman suffrage.
  • 1918: Women were given full suffrage in Latvia, Poland, Estonia, and Latvia.
  • 1918: Russian Federation gives women the right to vote.
  • 1918: Women granted limited voting rights in Ireland.
  • 1919: Netherlands gives women the vote.
  • 1919: Woman suffrage is granted in Belarus, Luxemburg and Ukraine.
  • 1919: Women in Belgium granted right to vote.
  • 1919: New Zealand allows women to stand for election.
  • 1919: Sweden grants suffrage with some restrictions.

1920-1929

  • 1920: On August 26, a constitutional amendment is adopted when the state of Tennessee ratifies it, granting full woman suffrage in all states of the United States.
  • 1920: Woman suffrage is granted in Albania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • 1920: Canadian women get the right to stand for election (but not for all offices – see 1929 below).
  • 1921: Sweden gives women voting rights with some restrictions.
  • 1921: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Lithuania grant woman suffrage.
  • 1921: Belgium grants women the right to stand for election.
  • 1922: Burma grants women voting rights.
  • 1924: Mongolia, Saint Lucia and Tajikistan give suffrage to women.
  • 1924: Kazakhstan gives limited voting rights to women.
  • 1925: Italy grants limited voting rights to women.
  • 1927: Turkmenistan grants woman suffrage.
  • 1928: The United Kingdom grants equal voting rights to women.
  • 1928: Guyana grants woman suffrage.
  • 1928: Ireland expands women’s suffrage rights.
  • 1929: Ecuador grants suffrage, Romania grants limited suffrage.

1930-1939

  • 1930: White women granted suffrage in South Africa.
  • 1930: Turkey grants women the vote.
  • 1931: Women get full suffrage in Spain and Sri Lanka.
  • 1931: Chile and Portugal grant suffrage with some restrictions.
  • 1932: Uruguay, Thailand and Maldives jump on the woman suffrage bandwagon.
  • 1934: Cuba and Brazil adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1934: Turkish women are able to stand for election.
  • 1934: Portugal grants woman suffrage, with some restrictions.
  • 1935: Women gain right to vote in Myanmar.
  • 1937: The Philippines grants women full suffrage.
  • 1938: Women get the vote in Bolivia.
  • 1938: Uzbekistan grants full suffrage to women.
  • 1939: El Salvador grants voting rights to women.

1940-1949

  • 1940: Women of Quebec are granted voting rights.
  • 1941: Panama grants limited voting rights to women.
  • 1942: Women gain full suffrage in the Dominican Republic.
  • 1944: Bulgaria, France and Jamaica grant suffrage to women.
  • 1945: Croatia, Indonesia, Italy, Hungary, Japan (with restrictions), Yugoslavia, Senegal and Ireland enact woman suffrage.
  • 1945: Guyana allows women to stand for election.
  • 1946: Woman suffrage adopted in Palestine, Kenya, Liberia, Cameroon, Korea, Guatemala, Panama (with restrictions), Romania (with restrictions), Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Vietnam.
  • 1946: Women allowed standing for election in Myanmar.
  • 1947: Bulgaria, Malta, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore and Argentina extend suffrage to women.
  • 1947: Japan extends suffrage, but still retains some restrictions.
  • 1947: Mexico grants the vote to women at the municipal level.
  • 1948: Israel, Iraq, Korea, Niger and Surinam adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1948: Belgium, which previously granted the vote to women, establishes suffrage with a few restrictions for women.
  • 1949: Bosnia and Herzegovina grant woman suffrage.
  • 1949: China and Costa Rica give women the vote.
  • 1949: Women gain full suffrage in Chile but most votes separately from men.
  • 1949: Syrian Arab Republic gives the vote to women.
  • 1949/1950: India grants woman suffrage.

1950-1959

  • 1950: Haiti and Barbados adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1950: Canada grants full suffrage, extending the vote to some women (and men) previously not included.
  • 1951: Antigua, Nepal and Grenada give women the vote.
  • 1952: Covenant on Political Rights of Women enacted by the United Nations, calling for women’s right to vote and right to stand for elections.
  • 1952: Greece, Lebanon and Bolivia (with restrictions) extend suffrage to women.
  • 1953: Mexico grants women the right to stand for election and to vote in national elections.
  • 1953: Hungary and Guyana give voting rights to women.
  • 1953: Bhutan and the Syrian Arab Republic establish full woman suffrage.
  • 1954: Ghana, Colombia and Belize grant woman suffrage.
  • 1955: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Peru, Honduras and Nicaragua adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1956: Women are given suffrage in Egypt, Somalia, Comoros, Mauritius, Mali and Benin.
  • 1956: Pakistani women gain right to vote in national elections.
  • 1957: Malaysia extends suffrage to women.
  • 1957: Zimbabwe grants women the vote.
  • 1959: Madagascar and Tanzania give suffrage to women.
  • 1959: San Marino permits women to vote.

1960-1969

  • 1960: Women of Cyprus, Gambia and Tonga get suffrage.
  • 1960: Canadian women win full rights to stand for election.
  • 1961: Burundi, Malawi, Paraguay, Rwanda and Sierra Leone adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1961: Women in the Bahamas gain suffrage, with limits.
  • 1961: Women in El Salvador are permitted to stand for election.
  • 1962: Algeria, Monaco, Uganda and Zambia adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1962: Australia adopts full woman suffrage (a few restrictions remain).
  • 1963: Women in Morocco, Congo, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kenya gain suffrage.
  • 1964: Sudan adopts woman suffrage.
  • 1964: The Bahamas adopts full suffrage with restrictions.
  • 1965: Women gain full suffrage in Afghanistan, Botswana and Lesotho.
  • 1967: Ecuador adopts full suffrage with a few restrictions.
  • 1968: Full woman suffrage adopted in Swaziland.

1970-1979

  • 1970: Yemen adopts full suffrage.
  • 1970: Andorra permits women to vote.
  • 1971: Switzerland adopts woman suffrage, and the United States lowers the voting age for both men and women to eighteen.
  • 1972: Bangladesh grants woman suffrage.
  • 1973: Full suffrage granted to women in Bahrain.
  • 1973: Women permitted to stand for election in Andover and San Marino.
  • 1974: Jordan and the Solomon Islands extend suffrage to women.
  • 1975: Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique give suffrage to women.
  • 1976: Portugal adopts full woman suffrage with a few restrictions.
  • 1978: The Republic of Moldova adopts full suffrage with a few restrictions.
  • 1978: Women in Zimbabwe are able to stand for election.
  • 1979: Women in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia gain full suffrage rights.
  • 1980-1989
  • 1980: Iran gives women the vote.
  • 1984: Full suffrage granted to women of Liechtenstein.
  • 1984: In South Africa, voting rights are extended to Coloureds and Indians.
  • 1986: Central African Republic adopts woman suffrage.

1990-1999

  • 1990: Samoan women gain full suffrage.
  • 1994: Kazakhstan grants women full suffrage.
  • 1994: Black women gain full suffrage in South Africa.

2000-

2005: Kuwaiti Parliament grants women of Kuwait full suffrage.

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)

Tribute to all women

In the name of the creator of Beauty!

From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate every single woman in this world on their day.

Women are the most beautiful creation among the beauties. She is the soul of the nature. She gives peace in mind, hope in the moment of despair, meaning for the life.

A woman’s breath and her voice is a taste of heaven. The love of the women sprung out from Paradise. She is the light in the darkest night that shines up everything and the warmness on the coldest day.

Her shoulders carry the weight of those who cry on it, and her arms give the safest comfort making you forget all the worries in the world.

Oh women, you are a mother, sister, life partner and a friend. Every great man in history was born from a woman, and there was a woman standing behind every great man.

If this world is beautiful, it is beautiful because of the women. If this life has a meaning, she gives the meaning for everything.

When she smiles, the whole world smiles, and when she cries, every drop of tear feels like an arrow to the heart.

The woman is a mother, sister, wife, partner in life and the spinal bone of the community and society. The most beautiful creation in the universe. A woman gives a meaning for love and represents the beauty of the nature and should be treated with love, equality and respect.

There is no other word in my mind to complete the greatness of a woman, I can just say, congratulation on your day.

International women’s day celebrates 100 years of progress and regress

“Women hold up half the sky”

Mao Tse-Tung, Chinese statesman.

We are living in the 21st century and would think that the women’s situation has improved much the past 100 years. In fact it has, but there is still a long way to go. It is unfortunate that millions of women around the world today are victims of discrimination, violence, abuse, human trafficking, poverty and murder. We would have thought that they would have equal rights, and even though some countries has constituted this, many women are still being suppressed, victimized and having their human rights violated. I would first of all like to congratulate every single woman on this day but also write about the dark side of the reality many women have to face. I could have written hundreds of pages about every country but it is impossible to do it at once so I only wrote about some cases and add some figures and statistics that can give a glance of the harsh reality. Let us notice the important message given by UNDP saying;

Women should be viewed as “valuable partners” in life, in the development of a society and in attainment of peace or just as important as taking legal aspects to protect women’s human’s rights.

From past to present

Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution women in Europe and North America have made considerable progress towards equality with men, although much remains still to be done. The industrialization of Western countries at first had not improved the status of women, but degraded them even further by exploiting them and their children in factories as cheap labour. Slowly, women stared to receive recognition for their substantial share and the factory system changed, but women and children were still paid less than men. At the same time, middle- and upper-class women were increasingly confined to the home with little to do except to take care of their children. Their husbands no longer worked inside the house, but were absent during most of the day. This led to that these women found enough time to devout themselves to various religious and moral causes; some became interested in abolition on the women’s rights movement. The common thing between the working class woman and the upper class was that they all insisted on change and contribute to women’s rights.

Today, women in many non-western countries also called third world countries live in a state of misery and suppression. They wake up every day to struggle to survive or feed their children. Their concern is far beyond what the concerns of the western women have about their liberation. This was also obvious when the United Nations sponsored an “International Women’s Conference” in Mexico City in 1975 where there was a serious communication gap between women from industrial and agrarian societies. It also revealed that a billion women live in poor, rural areas. Most of them are illiterate, malnourished, exhausted, or even ill, and are forced to work long hours for little reward. Naturally, men share many of these hardships, but women still bear the greatest burden. In almost all of the underdeveloped countries, boys are more favored than girls as they are they are considered to be a guarantee for the families economic security, and the girls marry into another family. Even in poverty, boys are better fed, clothed and educated than girls. The girls have to struggle with work, have few rights and must undergo several pregnancies.

Despite all our technological breakthroughs, we still live in a world were a 5th of the developing world’s population goes hungry to bed, a quarter lacks access to safe drinking water and a 3rd lives in despair. A 3rd of the world’s poorest 20% live in India and China. Poverty is a large problem for women as they are affected worse than men. Some reasons for these are that they are less paid then men, less decision making power within the household or because of the responsibility of children. Poverty will not vanish but follow us to the next millennium as the situation for the 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty is still not improving. 900 million of these are in fact women. Women do not have the same opportunities as men and poverty is the leading cause of death. This poverty leads often to higher birth rates and physical and social underdevelopment of their children.

Women’s role in agriculture

As statistic numbers from 1991 showed that only 8.5% of rural women are economically active, research and field observations shows that the number is much higher. The fact is that rural women play an active part in food and other crop production, fisheries and livestock, especially poultry rising. In forestry, women are involved in the production and transplanting of seedlings. Since income from agriculture is often insufficient for subsistence, rural women’s non-agricultural activities, such as carpet weaving and other crafts are important to household survival.

Problems in acquiring land for women are widespread, but seem to be worst in Africa. Hindering access to credit, land ownership, technology, marketing, and training, are all sources of serious constraints on national development. There are needs for more women in decision-making positions, better organization of women in agricultural organizations, and for women’s unpaid work to be recognized in both official statistics and the calculation of GDP.

An overview of the Afghan women’s situation

“Your country is now embarking on a process to create credible and accountable institutions in which all Afghans are represented. These are decisions for Afghan men and women to make. The role of the United Nations is to assist and encourage this process. But, I would like to take this opportunity to say to all Afghans: there cannot be true peace and recovery in Afghanistan without a restoration of the rights of women.” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his statement to the Afghan Women’s Summit for Democracy (Brussels, 4 to 5 December 2001)

Afghanistan is a country of approximately 23 million which, after three years of severe drought, 23 years of war and devastation and 5 years under the Taliban authorities, has been left as one of the poorest countries in the world. Afghanistan has also the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world as it was even before the Taliban came to power; Afghanistan had high maternal and child mortality rates and a very low literacy rate for women. But in the 1960s women participated economically, socially and politically. They even helped to draft the 1964 Constitution. In the 1970’s, there were at least 3 women legislators in the Parliament and women worked as teachers, medical doctors, professors, lawyers, judges, journalists, writers, poets and in the government.

After when Taliban came to power, women and girls were discriminated, marginalized and their human rights were violated. Women and girls were restricted in their access to education, health care facilitates and employment. During the rule of Taliban, only 3% of girls received some form of primary education but the ban on women’s employment affected the boy’s education as well as the majority of teachers had been women.

Taliban’s policies also limited women’s freedom of movement. Women couldn’t travel without being accompanied by a male relative, which put a strain on female-headed households and widows. In May 2001, a decree was issued by the Taliban, banning women from driving cars, which further limited their activities. Women’s removal from the public space also meant that women could not play any role in the political process and were excluded from all forms of formal or informal governance. Today, as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan continues, a number of United Nations entities continue to be actively involved in improving the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. Some examples of this work include:

Since September 2001, Afghan women have begun to increase their activities as several events were organized by and with Afghan women’s organizations inside and outside Afghanistan, such as panel discussions, conferences and international meetings, in order to ensure that the experiences and needs of Afghan women would receive the needed attention in all efforts directed at the post-Taliban Afghanistan. Schools for girls are being reopened, and young women are enrolling in universities. Women are seeking to return to their former jobs as teachers, doctors and civil servants. Radio and television broadcasts in Kabul once again feature woman commentators.

In January 2002, Hamid Karzai demonstrated his support for women’s rights by signing the “Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women”, which affirmed the right to equality between men and women and the Declaration was adopted by a meeting of Afghans in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 2000. Women are at the helm of two Ministries which are part of the new Interim Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which had never existed before, is headed by Sima Samar, a physician and founder of the Shuhada Organization network of clinics, hospitals and schools in Pakistan and central Afghanistan. Ms. Samar is also one of the five Vice-Presidents of the Interim Administration. Suhaila Siddiq, a surgeon who continued to practice in Kabul throughout the Taliban regime, heads the Ministry of Public Health.

Widows flock to city to die

Thousands of India’s widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets and their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces. These Hindu widows are poor and shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition and because they’re seen as a financial drain on their families. They cannot remarry, they must not wear jewelry and they are forced to shave their heads and wear white. Even their shadows are considered as bad luck for many.

Hindus have long believed that death in Vrindavan will free them from the cycle of life and death. The widows hope that death will save them from being condemned to a life as widow again. “My son tells me: “You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away,” a widow says, as her eyes are filled with tears. “What do I do? My pain had no limit.”

There are an estimated 40 million widows in India and it’s believed that 15,000 widows live on the streets of Vrindavan, a city of about 55,000 in northern India. The situation is much more extreme within some of India’s rural community. There, it is much more tradition-bound; in urban areas, there are more chances and possibilities to live a normal life. Meneka Mukherjee is 85 years old. She speaks five languages and used to work as a geography teacher throughout her marriage, but now she is too sick and weak to take care of herself. Her daughter lives in another state and doesn’t have space for her mother, so Meneka moved into an Ashram in Vrindavan. Is human life worth nothing where there is too much human? Meneka thinks so. “India has so many people that India don’t have use for those who are useless,” she says. “Nobody can help everybody. Every night before I go to sleep, I pray that somebody will help me, and every morning I pray the same prayer. Maybe it would have been better if Idied? Maybe I should pray to die,” Meneka says.

“According to the Dharmashastra, the sacred Hindu legal text, covering moral, ethical and social laws, widows are expected to devote the rest of their lives to the memory of their husbands by renouncing life’s luxuries and by withdrawing from society. “Imagine, in front of a group of my relatives as large as this one, my bangles are smashed, my hair is shaved, my bindi removed,” Dr. Giri said before a conference for grief and renewal at the University of New England, Office of Multicultural Studies and Women’s Studies Department in 2005. “They are forced to wear white saris. Saddest of all is that they are often removed from their children and families, and abandoned,” continued Dr. Giri.

Here women of all ages who have become widows are waiting for the moment they, too, will follow their husbands to the fields of death to escape a life filled with isolation, poverty, despair and discrimination. Vrindavan has over 4,000 temples today and many ashrams. The approximate number of widows living in the holy city today numbers over 20,000. The conditions in some of the ashrams of Vrindavan are terrible, where sexual abuse and trafficking of younger widows occurs. Activists like Dr. Giri and the Guild of Service are working to better these conditions and to give widows their dignity back as well as health care, learning, sewing and weaving skills.

Although India’s widows today are not forced to die on the death of their husband – in ritual sati – by burning to death on their husband’s funeral pyre, they are still forced to undergo daily ritual humiliations, beg for alms each day chanting, to live completely apart from society, to live lives of extreme poverty, lonely for their children, alone and hopeless. Rising problems with widows and their husband’s family after the death of their husband can sometimes include sexual abuse from a husband’s brother or father, starvation or abandonment. Lack of education, lack of literacy and knowledge of basic human rights along with strong cultural beliefs in the conservative Hindu caste system and extreme poverty are the major causes of suffering today among the widows and it will unfortunately take a long time to change all of this for the better.

Types of violence against women

Violence against women happens through physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse. But the most common are;

Physical abuse is most widespread method around the world. It includes slapping, hitting, kicking and beating. The perpetrator is often the husband,, ex-husband, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend or another family member. According to Population Reports, in nearly 50 population-based surveys, 10 to over 50% of women reported being hit or otherwise physically harmed by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Violence against women is also a major cause of poverty because it keeps women from getting an education, working, and earning the income they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. And research shows that giving women in poor countries economic opportunity empowers them to escape abusive situations.

Sexual abuse can be performed either through verbal, visual or when it is forced intercourse. According to Population Reports, sexual abuse can lead to a wide variety of unhealthy consequences including behavioural and psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, relationship problems, low self-esteem, depression, thoughts of suicide, alcohol, substance abuse and risk-taking. There is therefore the need to raise awareness concerning violence against women by educating boys and men, punishing perpetrators by raising the costs and changing the attitudes and beliefs of the society in regard to women.

Several women are killed on the base of practicing witchcraft. For example, if a child is suffering from a disease in a neighbourhood, a women living nearby can easily be pointed out as a victim for casting a spell, but in fact, people are taking revenge from this women by accusing her for this. These cases happen in rural areas where the tribes make their own rules and police becomes helpless against the mob.

Sati is a custom that has occurred in India for a long time. Although it was prohibited by law, there are still cases reported from some parts of the country. When the husband dies, the wife throws herself on the fire and dies over him.

Besides rape, domestic violence is the worst type of violence against the women. A married girl (bride) is tortured by her in-laws and husband for not providing/giving enough gifts or cash money to their in-laws by her parents and when the in-laws of daughters lose hope for getting any more any cash from the girl’s parents they commit the most heinous crime as burning the girl to death and kill her using different short of violent measures. About 50 cases of dowry per day are registered all over India. Other ways of domestic violence happens when the husband beats up the wife on a regular basis.

 

Midnight in Oslo, Norway, by Hatef Mokhtar

Statistics on Violence Against Women 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) (A, 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).

Facts about Women

 

Population: The world’s population tripled from 1950 to 2010 and is now nearly 7 billion. There are 57 million more men than women, but in most countries there are more women than men.

Health: Women die more often from heart disease than men, and they constitute a majority of all HIV positive adults in Africa South of the Sahara in North Africa and the Middle East. 70% of the world’s poorest people who live on less than 15 million days are women.

Illiteracy: 2 / 3 of 774 million illiterate adults are women and this is the same number as 20 years ago. 72 million children do not attend school and 39 million (54%) are girls.

Professional life: Gender gap in employment is still high in all ages. Women are mainly employed in the service sector and part-time work is common in industrialized countries. Women also spend twice as much time on housework as men and it is estimated in both paid and unpaid work, women work longer hours than men, half of the country’s minimum standard for maternity leave and 2 of 5 meets the standards for financial compensation.

Power and political participation: There are 20 female heads of state in the world and only 23 countries have more than 30% female MPs. 13 of the 500 largest multinational companies have female executives.

Violence: Violence against women is a universal problem. Between 15 % and 71 % of women reported physical or sexual violence by a husband or partner. Many women said that their first sexual experience was not consensual. (24 % in rural Peru, 28 % in Tanzania, 30 % in rural Bangladesh, and 40 % in South Africa). Between 4 % and 12 % of women reported being physically abused during pregnancy.

Every year, about 5,000 women are murdered by family members in the name of honour each year worldwide. Trafficking of women and girls for forced labour and sex is widespread and often affects the most vulnerable.

Forced marriages and child marriages violate the human rights of women and girls, yet they are widely practiced in many countries in Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

Tag Cloud