INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY is March 8th!International Women's Day, Istanbul, Turkey, March 8, 2013:
Women demand an end to male violence against women
Women gather in the streets of Istanbul to celebrate International Women's Day.
Photo: Can Erok
Afghan women rally against domestic violence
Associated Press, by AHMAD SEIR February 13, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan women marched in Kabul on Thursday to protest violence against women and decry a new draft law that activists say will severely limit justice for victims of domestic abuse.
Afghanistan's parliament recently passed a new criminal procedure code that would ban people from testifying against their own relatives. The legislation — currently awaiting signature from President Hamid Karzai — has prompted statements of concern from human rights organizations, the U.S., European Union and others.
Legal experts say the law would seriously curb prosecutions involving violence against women, where relatives are often the only witnesses.
About 100 women marched through Kabul on Thursday, chanting "no more violence" and "justice, justice."
Afghan women rights activist Laila Jafari said the women were urging parliament and law enforcement agencies to better understand the problems facing Afghan women.
The march was organized as part of a global campaign called "One Billion Rising for Justice," and served as a timely opportunity for the women to speak out against the controversial new legislation, known as Article 26.
While it does not specifically mention women or domestic violence, Article 26 bars a broad swath of "relatives" from acting as witnesses, which presents a problem in a country where women are often cloistered at home and the bulk of violence committed against them is either by or in front of family members.
In practice, legal experts say, it would mean that a woman cannot testify that her uncle raped her, that a mother who sees her daughter beaten by her father or brother cannot testify, that family members witnessing a young woman being forced into marriage by her father cannot be used in a prosecution, that a sister or brother who witnesses an honor killing cannot be questioned.
Women's rights leader Fatana Gailani said Thursday that the law will put too many limitations on women's lives.
"By no means do we want to see so much limitation on women," she said.
Twenty-one-year-old Zarafshan, who goes by one name, is one of the many Afghan women worried about her rights if the law is passed.
After her husband was killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, Zarafshan — who is nine months pregnant — was kicked out of her in-laws' house by force.
"With the approval of this law by parliament, violence against women might increase, because no one will hear women's voice," she said, tears rolling down her face. "They will not be able to defend their rights."
Women in Afghanistan have won back many of the rights they lost during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, when the Islamic movement was ousted by an American invasion following the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States.
Under the Taliban, girls were barred from attending school, women were forced to stay indoors and cover their heads and faces with burqas.
There are fears that many of those freedoms may shrink as foreign forces depart by the end of this year and much of the international aid and assistance they brought to Afghanistan goes with them.
Province urges feds to use Nordic model on sex trade
Targets pimps, johns rather than workers
by Mary Agnes Welch, 02/15/2014
Justice Minister Andrew Swan said the Nordic model doesn't punish prostitutes but helps protect them from human trafficking and exploitation. (John Woods/ Winnipeg Free Press) Photo Store
Manitoba is calling on the Harper government to adopt the "Nordic model" that cracks down on pimps and johns but not prostitutes.
In a letter sent this month to his federal counterpart, Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan detailed his views on what Canada's new prostitution law should look like. Swan said the law should target the demand for sexual services while helping sex-trade workers get the addiction counselling, mental-health services and training they need to get off the streets.
"It should make any purchase of sex illegal, period," said Swan in an interview. "But we should decriminalize the victims of sexual exploitation."
Swan said crafting a fair prostitution law is complex, but targeting demand will decrease the number of sex-trade workers who are murdered or go missing. And it will reduce the levels of coercion many young women face from pimps and sex traffickers.
Key elements of Canada's confusing prostitution laws were struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada late last year. The Harper government has pledged to rewrite the law by year's end, sparking a national debate over what fair and effective legislation might look like.
Manitoba is now the first province to publicly advocate for the Nordic model, and it makes Swan unexpected allies with Conservative MP Joy Smith, a vocal opponent of sex trafficking. She also favours the legislative framework common in countries such as Sweden and Norway where the exploitative activities of pimps and johns are illegal but prostitutes don't face any criminal sanctions.
"I applaud him for doing this," said Smith. "It's exactly the way to go."
Smith said she is lobbying her caucus and federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay hard, asking them to consider the Nordic model, and she expects other provinces will join Manitoba in calling for that approach.
The Supreme Court ruled clauses in the Criminal Code banning street soliciting, living off the avails and keeping a brothel were unconstitutional because they put sex-trade workers at significant risk of violence and even death. The ruling left Canada's anti-prostitution laws in limbo and some provinces have already suspended prosecutions. The top court gave the Harper government a year to rethink the law.
MacKay has expressed concern over the court's decision and has said outright legalization is not an option, but he has expressed a willingness to consider the Nordic model.
"We are reviewing the decision and are exploring all possible options to ensure the criminal law continues to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to communities, those engaged in prostitution, and vulnerable persons," he said in a statement late last year.
A spokeswoman for MacKay said Friday the minister had nothing new to add, even in light of Manitoba's position. Work on drafting new legislation is progressing, she said.
Toward halting charges
Like their counterparts across the country, Manitoba's police and prosecutors were left in legal limbo by the Supreme Court's prostitution decision late last year.
That decision invalidated big parts of Canada's Criminal Code and prompted some provinces, such as New Brunswick and Ontario, to suspend the practice of charging prostitutes.
Justice Minister Andrew Swan said Manitoba is moving in that direction as well, inspired by the Nordic model.
The Winnipeg Police Service announced late last year its vice unit would begin aggressively targeting johns while working with prostitutes to get them off the streets instead of into jails. To complement that move, and in reaction to the top court's ruling, Swan said the province's prosecution policy is being updated. Crowns will still pursue charges against johns and pimps but only rare charges against sex-trade workers will be tackled and only in extreme circumstances.
That means Manitoba has moved significantly toward a Nordic model. What's missing are key elements of the Criminal Code that make buying sex illegal, said Swan.
Read more: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/province-urges-feds-to-use-nordic-model-on-sex-trade-245655561.html
Video of Spanish police beating up women in peaceful protest goes viral
The video, released by the Periodismo Humano news site, following the protest on Friday, has taken YouTube by storm, racking up over 300,000 views over the weekend. The footage shows members of the activist group ‘We decide’ talking to officers after the protest. Shouting can be heard and then officers, seemingly unprovoked, knock down a number of women and beat them with their truncheons.
The police officers wrestle the individuals to the ground before cuffing them and forcing them into a police vehicle. After being attacked by one of the officers, one of the women shouts: “son of a b…, don’t lay another finger on me!” prompting the police officer to hit her in the stomach and push her to the ground.
While being led away, one of the detained, who has her arms drawn up behind her back screams out in pain that the police are “breaking my arms”.
Sources within the Spanish police told news agency EFE that the three individuals arrested following the protest were brought in on charges of civil disobedience, resisting arrest and assaulting a member of law enforcement.
The video triggered a sharp reaction on social media, amid accusations of “police brutality, intimidation tactics and repression” on Twitter.
The protest itself was peaceful, attracting over 500 supporters, most of whom were women, to demonstrate against a draft bill stipulating a reform to the current Spanish abortion law. The demonstrators called for the resignation of Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, and the withdrawal of the draft bill.
The bill has not been approved by parliament, but has received majority support from Spain’s ruling political party, The People’s Party.
The new legislation would restrict women’s right to abort, only allowing the procedure in cases of rape and when there is a serious threat to health. Currently, Spanish law allows women to abort without any restrictions up to 14 weeks into pregnancy
In addition, minors would be required to get consent from their parents to abort, something that was abolished in Spain in 2010.
The government has said it believes the current law is too liberal and the new bill would provide “defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women's rights”.
Rights groups have slammed the bill as unnecessary. Under the current law the number of abortions in Spain decreased by 5 percent in 2012, according to statistics released by the Health Ministry.
Gynecologist and spokesperson for the group ‘We decide,’ Isabel Serrano told RT’s Spanish sister channel, Actualidad RT, that the draft bill was an “enormous set-back” and takes Spain out of the European context.
Serrano went on to say that the bill will not reduce abortion rates; instead, women are likely to carry out the procedure “illegally” and in “much worse conditions”.
SHOES TELL TRAGIC STORIES
Memorial raises awareness about violence against women
by Laura Walz | Powell River Peak Online, November 26, 2013
A display of shoes will again this year make a powerful statement about the ongoing issue of violence against women and girls.
Two Powell River women have organized a second annual shoe memorial to mark Friday, December 6, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, the day is the anniversary of the murders of 14 women who were killed in 1989 at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal.
In recent years, shoe memorials have been organized in a variety of cities as a way to remember women who have been killed by violence. Each pair of shoes represents a woman or girl who has been murdered or is missing.
Angie Davey, who organized the memorial last year, is again working with Christine Schreiber, victim services coordinator with Powell River Police-Based Victim Services, to mount the display in Powell River Town Centre Mall. The shoe memorial will be on view during mall hours on Friday, December 6 near the north entrance. It is presented by Community Services Association, Powell River and Region Transition House Society and Powell River RCMP.
“As expected, last year’s shoe memorial was an impactful and solemn event,” said Schreiber. “You couldn’t help but be moved by the display and the stories represented by the shoes, although it was the footwear of the little children that seemed to evoke the most emotion.”
Some people stopped to share a story about a tragic event in their lives or the lives of a loved one and many more people asked how to help, Schreiber added. “Although the event is an awareness campaign and not a fundraising event, some people felt compelled to offer donations to our local women’s safe house. It was at last year’s event that we determined to make it an annual event in Powell River.”
Davey said they hope to increase the pairs of shoes from last year’s 100 to 120. Each pair of shoes will have a short biography of a woman or girl who lost her life at the hands of another through violence. “As I’ve done my share of researching the victims featured in the memorial, I’ve felt very connected to them, especially those who remain unidentified,” Davey said. “I think they’ll all stay with me for a very long time and I hope to some degree that’s true for those who visit and experience the memorial.”
Last year, the organizers arranged children’s shoes and clusters of shoes for families who were together when they were killed, Davey pointed out. “I noticed that while some people would just glance at the main display and keep walking, they’d do a dead stop when they spotted the small shoes grouped together or standing alone. There’s something about young lives cut short that’s especially heartbreaking and we need to do more to protect children and vulnerable women. I believe awareness is the first step.”
While the memorial focuses mainly on girls and women, the organizers expanded that scope as they encountered stories of families, including boys, who met violent ends together. “And while domestic violence between spouses is certainly the most prevalent in our sampling, there are also examples of other family members, roommates, tenants, co-workers, and of course strangers who were the offenders,” Davey said.
A computer-generated image of Sweetie, a made up 10-year-old girl from the Philippines who was created by the human rights organization Terre des Hommes in order to catch child predators. The initiative was part of a campaign to expose what the group says is an epidemic of children being paid to perform sexual acts via webcams. The group says Sweetie was bombarded with online offers to pay for webcam sex shows by child predators from around the world, including more than 50 Canadians. (Peter Dejong/Associated Press)
54 Canadians caught up in child sex webcam sting
Child rights group identifies 1,000 adults willing to pay to watch 10-year-old Filipino girl do sex acts
The Associated Press, CBC, Nov 04, 2013
The international children's rights group Terre des Hommes says it has uncovered dozens of Canadians willing to pay to watch a 10-year-old Filipino girl perform sex acts on a webcam during a sting operation.
The Dutch wing of the global organization says it has identified 54 Canadians among more than 1,000 adults from 71 countries whom it caught looking for webcam sex tourism.
A spokesman says all the names have been turned over to Interpol. ...
Kung Fu Grandma - clip
Kung Fu Grandma is a documentary film directed by Jeong-One Park, Royal Holloway University of London, and supported by One World Media.
In the Korogocho slum in Nairobi, a group of women in their 50s to 80s is learning Kung-Fu. This film features these Kung-Fu grandmothers and explores the dark circumstances motivating them.
ONE WORLD International Human Rights Film Festival
In the Korogocho slum in Nairobi, Kenya, widespread rape cases of older women is rampant. Besides other prejudices, local young men, mostly under the influence of drugs and alcohol, are convinced that sex with an older woman cures AIDS. This documentary follows a group of older women who have decided to jointly prepare for violent attacks by taking self-defence training. The mutual support they provide each other gives them self-confidence and the courage to confront the everyday reality of life in the slum. At the same time, group training offers an excellent opportunity for communal meetings and discussions on other subjects as well as for dancing. Instead of resignation at the possibility of having to stand up to younger, stronger rapists, the film documents the positive energy emerging from these women. -
See more at:
Hundreds protest at the Billings, Montana courthouse. Image courtesy CNN.
Hundreds rally against Montana judge in rape-suicide case
By Matt Pearce, August 29, 2013
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Billings, Mont., on Thursday to protest a local judge's light sentence for a rapist whose teenage victim killed herself.
State District Judge G. Todd Baugh, 71, gained national notoriety this week after sentencing former high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, to a month in prison for raping a 14-year-old student. The rest of Rambold's 15-year sentence was suspended, which means he would serve his term outside of prison.
The crowd gathered Thursday to call for Baugh's resignation as well as a review of the sentence after his comments that the teen was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher was.
"We need to remove the judge from office, we need justice, and we need to move forward," said Marian Bradley, state president of the Montana National Organization for Women, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"Rape is rape is rape," Bradley said. "She was 14 years old, and she was not an age where she could give consent, and he groomed her like any other pedophile.”
Bradley said the girl's mother, Auliea Hanlon, attended the demonstration but did not speak. On Tuesday, Hanlon had issued a statement that said, "I don’t believe in justice anymore."
"I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14," Hanlon said. Her daughter committed suicide in 2010 at age 16, and Rambold later pleaded guilty to one of three counts of sexual assault.
On Wednesday, Baugh apologized for his comments at the sentencing earlier in the week and told local media that he would further explain his rationale for the sentence in an additional filing in the case.
“Obviously, a 14-year-old can’t consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape,” Baugh said. “It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape."
Demonstration organizer Bradley said she had spoken with the local attorney's office and the state attorney general's office to review the case for possible challenge or appeal.
"I am so proud of our community," Bradley said. “I’m proud of the people in this country, who stepped up and said, 'This is not OK.' We’re saying, 'Not in our community, not in our town,' and I think our country is saying, 'Not in our country,' and it gives me hope for things getting better.”
County Attorney Scott Twito told the Associated Press on Thursday that a legal review of the case suggests Rambold should have received at least two years in prison. Prosecutors originally sought a 20-year sentence with 10 years suspended, the AP reported.
Times staff writer Christine Mai-Duc contributed to this report.
Women In Sweden Wear Headscarves After Muslim Woman Is Assaulted
August 21, 2013 | Posted by: COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH
Swedish women have been posting photos of themselves in traditional Muslim headscarves in solidarity with a woman attacked apparently for wearing a veil.
The attacker reportedly tore off the pregnant woman’s hijab and hit her head against a car. The victim’s friends told local media that the assailant also shouted racist insults at her.
The victim told the police she believes it was a faith-based hate crime.
The “hijab outcry” campaigners urged the government to “ensure that Swedish Muslim women are guaranteed the right to… religious freedom”.
Many posted pictures of themselves in headscarves using the hashtag #hijabuppropet (hijab outcry) after a Muslim woman was the victim of an alleged hate crime.
See their photos and read more:
Spoons in underwear helping to stop forced marriages in Britain
by Brett Wilkins, Aug 15, 2013, Digital Journal
Derby - One British charity has found an ingenious method of helping airport security staff save potential victims of forced marriage.
Karma Nirvana, a Derby-based organization which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and 'honor'-based abuse, came up with the idea of having girls and young woman who believe they may be forced into marriage against their will put spoons in their underwear to clandestinely alert airport security.
The hidden spoons set off airport metal detectors, allowing the girls to be taken away from their parents and searched and giving them an opportunity to notify authorities of their predicament. In many cases, this is the last chance the girl may have to escape what could be a lifelong nightmare halfway across the globe.
"If they don't know exactly when [forced marriage] may happen or if it's going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear," Karma Nirvana operations manager Natasha Rattu told Agence France-Presse. "When they go through security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry."
"We've had people ring and [tell us] that it's helped them and got them out of a dangerous situation," Rattu added. "It's an incredibly difficult thing to do with your family around you-- but they won't be aware you've done it. It's a safe way."
British school summer holidays are peak period for forced marriages. Families from South Asia, the Middle and Near East and North Africa who have emigrated to Britain sometimes cling to cultural traditions that violate human rights and are unacceptable in Western society. Teens, mostly girls age 15-16, are often sent abroad on 'holidays' that turn out to be forced marriages.
Karma Nirvana is working in and with various UK airports to spot potential victims of forced marriages, such as one-way tickets, the age and appearance of the passenger and the time of the year of travel.
"These are quite general points, but there are things that if you look collectively lead you to believe something more sinister is going on," Rattu told AFP.
One woman, whose identity is being concealed for her protection, told AFP she was married off against her will to a man in India. She said her father threatened to track her down and kill her if she attempted to escape her horrific fate.
"I was shipped off with a total stranger," she said. "That night I was raped by my husband and this abuse continued for about eight and a half years of my life."
According to the Foreign Office's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), there were 1,485 cases in which the agency "gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage" in 2012.
Ages ranged from 2 to 71; 82 percent involved females. The overwhelming majority involved Muslim nations or countries with large Muslim minorities: Pakistan (47 percent), Bangladesh (11 percent), India (8 percent), Afghanistan (2 percent), Somalia (1 percent), Turkey (1 percent) and Iraq (1 percent) were at the top of the UK government list.
'Izzat,' a concept of family honor prevalent in Pakistan and northern India that transcends religions, places heavy pressure on young people to marry relatives in countries and cultures that may be extremely foreign to youngsters who grew up in Britain. Those who refuse are threatened with expulsion from their families or even violence and death.
"It really takes a brave person to stand up against their family," Rattu told AFP.
Rattu said that the number of potential forced marriage cases has risen since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ended last week.
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/356495#ixzz2cFs4Zg00
Photo by Lianne Payne, August 10, 2013
Change the Cycle Arrives in Vancouver
Former City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, and Lianne Payne from the Women's Monument Comittee greeted the Change the Cycle participants at Marker of Change in Thornton Park. Cyclists went on from there to the Crab Park Memorial Boulder, in memory of the women missing and murdered on the Downtown Eastside.
Please read more about Joachim and Change the Cycle:
The Dark Side of Twitter
Can you imagine receiving 24 hours of rape threats for trying to make your country a better place?
Read more here: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/29/labour-mp-stella-creasy-twitter-rape-threats
Please consider signing the petition ".@twitter: Add A Report Abuse Button To Tweets" on Change.org. Here's the link:
Let's show support to women being threatened using Twitter!
Remember Our Sisters Everywhere
U.K. BLOCKS ACCESS TO ONLINE PORNOGRAPHY
Customers must opt to receive it - a move to help children avoid viewing unsuitable material, PM Cameron says
by Robert Hutton, Bloomberg July 22, 2013
British Prime Minister David Cameron urged search-engine providers such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to “step up to the plate” and stop providing results when people search for images of child abuse. “There needs to be a list of terms — a blacklist — which offer up no direct search returns,” he said in a speech in London Monday. Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD , THE CANADIAN PRESS
U.K. Internet suppliers will have to block access to pornography unless customers opt to receive it, an effort to help parents stop children viewing unsuitable material, Prime Minister David Cameron announced.
The premier said all new customers will automatically have family-friendly filters installed, and existing customers will be contacted and told they must say whether they want to turn those filters on or off. Those who don’t reply will have the filters activated.
Cameron urged search-engine providers such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to “step up to the plate” and stop providing results when people search for images of child abuse.
“There needs to be a list of terms — a blacklist — which offer up no direct search returns,” Cameron said in a speech in London Monday. “There are some searches which are so abhorrent and where they can be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher. I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this — and it is a moral duty.”
He said he wants search engines to report to him by October on their progress.
“There’s lots of complicated and difficult questions that have to be answered and that’s why we have to work with the companies,” Cameron said on BBC Radio 2’s “Jeremy Vine Show” today. “I know it’s hard but that’s not a reason for doing nothing.”
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
A Commemorative Art Installation for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Canada
Over 600+ native women in Canada are reported missing or murdered in the last 20 years. Many vanished without a trace with inadequate inquiry into their disappearance or slaying paid by the media, the general public, politicians and even law enforcement. This is a travesty of justice.
Walking With Our Sisters
Walking With Our Sisters is a commemorative art installation of 600+ moccasin vamps (tops) created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice. The large collaborative art piece will be made available to the public through selected galleries and locations. The work exists as a floor installation made up of beaded vamps arranged in a winding path formation on fabric and includes cedar boughs. Viewers remove their shoes to walk on a path of cloth alongside the vamps throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Each pair of vamps represents one missing or murdered indigenous woman. The unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women whose lives were cut short by murder. Collectively together the vamps represent all these women; paying respect to their lives and existence on this earth. They are not forgotten. They are sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins,grandmothers, wives and partners. They have been cared for, they have been loved, they are missing and they have not been forgotten.
Walking With Our SistersEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking With Our Sisters Facebook Group: Walking With Our Sisters
Please help support the Women’s Monument by keeping Thornton Park dedicated to women’s rights!
Click here to read and consider signing the petition!
Marker of Change, the Women's Monument in Thornton Park, Vancouver, exists to remember and honour women and girls who have been murdered here and around the world.
The Vancouver Parks Board decided to place an unrelated monument in close proximity to Marker of Change, (the proposed Ireland Canada Monument (ICM)), which will name and celebrate Irish settlers. But an alternative, much more suitable site could be identified for the ICM.
We appeal to the Parks Board to reconsider this decision. We urge you not to put another sculpture in this small flat park unless it is also making a statement that strengthens the position of all women and girls.
Marker of Change, and the devastating reality of violence against women that it reflects, requires space and respect to continue to act as a catalyst for change.
The lack of public spaces that reflect the realities of women’s lives is a profound absence in the world. While women in other countries call for the creation of women’s monuments, here in Vancouver we have Marker of Change in Thornton Park. The significance of the creation of this sacred space created in the 1990s by the Women’s Monument Committee and the Vancouver Parks Board cannot be overstated. But women’s achievements are often threatened and minimized.
We, the Women’s Monument Committee, are calling for public support on behalf of Marker of Change.
Marker of Change is a 300 foot circle consisting of 14 pink granite benches, each one engraved with the name of a woman assassinated in the 1989 Montreal Massacre. It is dedicated to all women murdered – with the dedication written in seven languages, on alternate benches. Since the unveiling on December 6th, 1997, Marker of Change has been the sole monument in Thornton Park, Vancouver, BC.
We appeal to the Vancouver Park Board to reconsider its recent decision to place an unrelated monument in close proximity to Marker of Change in Thornton Park - the proposed Ireland Canada Monument (ICM) - which will name and celebrate Irish settlers.
The ICM is proposed to be sited 100 feet from Marker of Change, which, in the context and scale of Thornton Park, is far too close. We feel strongly that it is in the interest of both monuments that the new monument not be sited in Thornton Park. An alternative, more suitable site could be identified for the ICM.
Exclusion from the Parks Board Process
The Women’s Monument Committee, artist Beth Alber, and sponsor Capilano College were not properly consulted regarding the selection of Thornton Park as a site for the Ireland Canada Monument. As key stakeholders, we object to this oversight. The Parks Board did not follow its own Review Guidelines for the Donation of Public Art or Memorials, which require our inclusion in the process.
A national jury selected Marker of Change, a conceptual artwork designed by Beth Alber. This design was accepted by the Public Art Committee and Vancouver Parks Board of that time period, the early 1990’s.
Why locate the Ireland Canada Monument in Thornton Park?
We question the Parks Board’s reasoning that Irish immigrants arrived by train as justification for using Thornton Park as a location for the Ireland Canada Monument. Historically, many British Isles and European settlers came to Canada by boat, then to BC by train. Doesn’t this rationale lead to a collection of monuments crowding this little park? Furthermore, at the time of the major influx of Irish immigrants to the area, the train station did not even exist in this location.
Marker of Change represents values contrary to the Ireland Canada Monument
Marker of Change is a horizontal, low-to-the-ground, anti-monumental artwork that was intentionally designed as an invitational space specifically excluding a point of domination, and explicitly about rejecting male violence against women.
In contrast, the Ireland Canada Monument design has a central upright focal point six feet high. This focal point is proposed to include a Celtic cross embedded in its top area, which would thus introduce religious and patriarchal aspects to the memorial gestures in the Park. These can easily be read as exclusionary, and in direct contradiction to the design features of Marker of Change, which instead focused closely on details to address multiple constituencies respectfully and equally.
Living monuments require space and context
Monuments need space around them; that is a central visual power of monuments. A living monument which addresses a war against women that is far from over needs ample space in order to continue to be a meaningful place for grief, protest and other political action in response to violence against women. The need for such spaces is increasing. Witness in Canada the ongoing public outcry concerning the many missing and murdered indigenous women; and internationally the massive public protests against the rape and murder of women and girls.
Appeal to the Vancouver Park Board
The efforts of many people brought into being an inspiring, poetic women’s monument that is sustained by local, national, and international attention. Marker of Change embodies a form that champions women’s rights during a time of horrific violence against women, and, at the same time, is consciously inclusive of people throughout the world with a dedication carved into the benches in seven different languages.
Please sign this petition asking the Vancouver Park Board to reconsider their decision. The Women’s Monument requires space and respect to continue to act as a catalyst for change.
The Women’s Monument Committee
Vancouver, BC, Canada
For more information, contact email@example.com
WOMEN OF ALL AGES, FROM ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD:
YOU ARE INVITED TO SEND A TESTAMENT OF HARM DONE
TO YOU BY MEN, FOR BEING A WOMAN.
WRITE YOUR TESTAMENT IN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE,
IN YOUR OWN WORDS, AND WRITE HOWEVER OPENLY YOU WISH.
YOU MAY SIGN YOUR FIRST NAME IF YOU WISH,
BUT DO NOT GIVE YOUR FULL NAME.
SEND A PHOTOGRAPH ONLY OF YOUR EYES.
THE TESTAMENTS OF HARM AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR EYES
WILL BE EXHIBITED IN MY INSTALLATION ARISING,
JUNE 1 – NOVEMBER 24, 2013, IN THE EXHIBITION,
PERSONAL STRUCTURES, AT PALAZZO BEMBO IN VENICE,
AS PART OF THE 55TH VENICE BIENNALE.
A BOOK WILL ALSO BE PREPARED OF THE ARTWORK,
AND A SELECTION OF YOUR TESTAMENTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
WILL BE PUBLISHED IN THIS BOOK.
THE INSTALLATION ARISING WILL CONTINUE TO GROW
AND WILL BE EXHIBITED IN MANY COUNTRIES.
I VERY MUCH HOPE FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.
April 29, 2013
Send your testaments and photos just of your eyes by post to:
ARISING c/o Global Art Affairs Foundation – Palazzo Bembo
Riva del Carbon 47930 - 30124 Venezia - Italy
or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
info about personal structures exhibit:
Support Our Syrian Sisters in Lebanon
The ongoing Civil War in Syria has lead to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring countries. As history has taught us, the rate of violence against women and girls escalates dramatically in times of conflict, and as the war continues and the stability of refugee camps and local infrastructure deteriorates, women and girls are suffering.
V-Day is proud to be working with Al Madad Foundation, a small, grassroots UK registered organization that works directly with refugees on the ground in Lebanon.
Aya Haidar, Director of the Al Madad Foundation explains, “Having been to Lebanon several times since the start of the year, I can tell you that the situation is beyond frightful and into catastrophic...The social and economic pressure is beyond breaking point and the tension is palpable. If the basic needs of the many disadvantaged is not met, it will lead to unimaginable consequences.“
Please consider joining V-Day in supporting the work of Al Madad Foundation – Syrian refugees are being forgotten. 100% of money raised through The Vagina Warrior Fund will go exclusively towards the needs of women and children on the ground, including water, food, sanitary towels, clothing, food, etc. All goods will be bought locally and dispersed by the Al Madad team.
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Resolution 1325 and the Need to Empower Malian Women
A Brief Overview the Situation in Mali
by The Honourable Mobina Jaffer, Daily News Egypt, April 17th, 2013
Since the beginning of January 2012, an insurgent group has been fighting with the Mali government for the independence of northern Mali, an area known as Azawad. This group, formally known as National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and also referred to as Tuareg nationalists, joined forces with Islamist rebels. By using their combined forces, they gained control of northern Mali in the spring 2012. Consequently, Toureg nationalists have gained independence of Azawad. However, due to conflicting visions with the Islamist rebels, Tuareg nationalists renounced their claim and left the rebels to rule over northern Mali.
In December, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2085, which stresses the need to refine military planning and describes the steps to be taken before an international military intervention in Mali. However, the rebel capture of Konna on 10 January prompted a proactive military intervention by France. At the beginning of the military intervention, France was also supported by African countries. United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium and Canada provided transport and cargo planes. And America focused on communications support.
Currently, French forces are reported to be engaged in heavy fighting in northern Mali. Thus far the intervention has cost France around $133 million. For its part, UN is appealing for $373 million in foreign aid. However, more than just a contribution of financial aid needs to be done in order to deal specifically with the impact that this conflict has on Malian women.
The Impact of Islamist Rebels’ Occupation of the Northern Mali on Women
The Islamist rebels consist of three main groups: Ansar Dine, Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQUIM). They want to impose a hard-line form of Shari’a in Mali. The three Islamist groups do not have concrete or strong ties to each other, but they are united in their aim to spread the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi/Salafi sect of Islam.
While in control of Northern Mali, the groups used intimidation and fear tactics in order to promote their religious beliefs. They amputated limps of people accused of crime and destroyed Sufi shrines. They used sexual violence in order to spread fear across the population. Additionally, the rebels targeted females who work, for disobeying their “laws”, because under the strict application of Islamic Shari’a law women cannot work.
Saran Keïta Diakité, the President of the Malian branch of the Réseau paix et Sécurités des Femmes, an organisation that belongs to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), notes that extremist groups are applying their own version of Shari’a law: “They cut off people arms and beat up women who have had sex outside marriage … while they themselves are raping girls and women and are forcing girls to marry. The first night, [the bride] is forced to have sex with five to six men. It’s not Shari’a.”
In January 2013, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on the situation of human rights in Mali, which covers the period from 17 January to 20 November of 2012. Although it discusses many different human rights violations, it stresses that women in particular have suffered due to an extreme interpretation of Shari’a law by the Islamist rebels. The report cites cases of harassment, abuses and sexual violence due to accusations of being improperly veiled or dressed, or for riding a motorbike.
The Impact of Resolution 1325 on the Lives of Malian Women
The impact of Resolution 1325 and its practical applications on women in conflict zones still depends largely on the willingness of commitment of dedicated individuals and Malian women have demonstrated a strong desire to participate in the decision-making processes. However, the president of the Malian Women’s Rights and Citizenship group Nana Sissako Traore states that “women are being left out of the process.”
Sadly, this is not surprising. Of the 14 peace negotiations co-led by the UN in 2011, only four had delegations that included a woman. In November 2012 however, the UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet noted at the Open Debate of Security Council on Women and Peace and Security that “in spite of their absence from official conflict resolution processes, [Malian] women leaders in the North are using informal channels to call on the leaders of armed groups to participate in peace dialogues.”
Using Resolution 1325, Malian women must demand from their government “equal participation and full involvement” and “increased representation of women at all decision making levels.” When programs for post-conflict reconstruction are created, women can ask for an equal number of women and men in these programs. There is still a significant need for a greater amount of women in decision-making roles in Mali.
Furthermore, Resolution 1325 goes on to recognise “the urgent need to mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations.” If Mali were to have a large female peacekeeping force, it may encourage the local Malian women to participate in the national armed forces. This would transform the way national armed forces interact with victimised women and ensure that the forces are part of the solution, rather than the problem. Moreover, women and children are more comfortable with reporting the abuse to women in peacekeeping missions, which means UN would have a continuous grasp of the actual situation on the ground.
Lastly, article 8 part A of Resolution 1325 draws attention to “the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post conflict reconstruction.” The government and international community should provide resettling assistance to Malian working women who were driven out from their home cities due to the rebel’s beliefs that women are not allowed to work.
Senator Mobina Jaffer represents the province of British Columbia in the Senate of Canada, where she chairs the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. Senator Jaffer is the first Muslim senator, the first African-born senator, and the first senator of South Asian descent
Photo from Indian Country Today Media Network http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/
Thunder Bay sex assault, hate-crime probe sharpen focus on native women’s plight
by Gloria Galloway
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Jan. 02 2013
A brutal sexual assault of a native woman in northwestern Ontario that is being investigated as a hate crime has thrown fresh fuel on the fires of discontent being expressed in protests and demonstrations by first nations people across Canada.
A candlelight vigil to pray for female victims of crime was held on Wednesday night at a reserve adjacent to Thunder Bay, where the unnamed woman is recovering. She has told police she was assaulted, strangled and left for dead by two men who hurled racial epithets and denounced indigenous rights.
More Related to this Story
The assault comes at a time when native leaders are calling for a public inquiry to explore the depth of violence against women. Simultaneously, the grassroots Idle No More movement is inspiring natives and supporters to stage flash mob dances and blockades across the country to protest against federal legislation that first nations people say will hurt their communities, and native leaders are calling for a national day of action on Jan. 16 to support a hunger strike by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.
The Ontario assault was far from an isolated incident. At least 600 aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada in the past two decades. Native leaders say the number of victims actually runs into the thousands.
“It is systemic discrimination,” Michéle Audette, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Joyce Hunter helped arrange the Thunder Bay vigil and is a lead organizer of the local branch of Idle No More. “We were reminded when this attack occurred that oppression takes many forms, and it is a very strong and potent reminder that there is so much work still that needs to be done in order for first nations people in Canada to achieve the parity that we are looking for,” she said.
Idle No More protests continue to erupt. On Wednesday, part of Portage Avenue in Winnipeg was blockaded for several hours.
Chief Spence, who has been on a hunger strike for 23 days, is demanding a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and first nations leaders to discuss treaty rights. Chief Wallace Fox of the Onion Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and Chief Isadore Day of the Serpent River First Nation in Ontario have written to Mr. Harper to affirm their “complete commitment” to Ms. Spence, to support Idle No More, and to warn of the plans for the national day of action.
The letter is the result of telephone conferences with chiefs across Canada over the weekend, Mr. Fox said. It says the native leaders will appeal to the international community, including U.S. President Barack Obama, to press the Canadian government to “correct the relationship it has with the indigenous peoples.”
Meanwhile, police in Thunder Bay say they have a full team of investigators on the assault, which the unnamed victim says took place last Thursday night as she was walking to the store. “We are treating this very seriously and this is a major investigation for us,” said Chris Adams, a police spokesman.
The woman said she was walking down the street when two white men in a green car pulled up beside her.
“They called her squaw and dirty Indian as she was walking and they were throwing things at her from the car, pieces of garbage and cans,” said Christi Belcourt, a noted Canadian artist who is a friend of the alleged victim and is speaking on her behalf.
The woman says the men then stopped the car and pulled her by her hair into the back seat.
“She tried to fight back, but there were two of them and the one was stronger than she was and he sat on her and they drove her to the outskirts of Thunder Bay,” Ms. Belcourt said. “They said what they were going to do to her as they were driving and she started to panic and she was fighting back, but they overpowered her.”
The men told her they had done similar things before and would do it again, Ms. Belcourt said.
“And they told her, as they assaulted her, that ‘you Indians deserve to lose your treaty rights.’ They wouldn’t have said that if it wasn’t for Idle No More,” Ms. Belcourt said.
“Psychologically, she is traumatized,” Ms. Belcourt said of her friend, who does not want her name made public because she is afraid the men will track her down and kill her when they find out she didn’t die.
The vigil in Thunder Bay was organized with heavy hearts but also lots of hope that change may be coming, Ms. Hunter said.
Ms. Audette of the Native Women’s Association said an inquiry is necessary because Canadians “need to know that it’s happening in their own backyard here in Canada. We hear that it happens a lot in Mexico or India, but it is happening here in Canada because we are aboriginal and we are women.
“There are at least 600 other women who are of first-nations descent who have experienced that kind of violence, and their killers are still walking free today,” she said, “and it’s so disturbing that that kind of violence has gone unanswered in a real and meaningful and honest way.”
Indian protesters hold candles during a vigil in New Delhi on Saturday, December 29, after the death of a gang-rape victim. Authorities erected security barriers throughout New Delhi's key government district after two days of street battles following a woman's gang rape on a bus on December 16. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed for calm and pledged safety for women and children.
From Facebook: posted by Alice Walker Film
23-year-old Delhi student endearingly referred to as "Braveheart" transitioned "peacefully" on Saturday, Dec 29th (local time) at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital. Please hold her in the light as she makes this journey and may her death serve as a catalyst to shift from a rape culture to a culture free from violence against women. #onebillionrising
Also, read the powerful speech delivered by Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) on "Freedom without Fear":
"The last thing I want to address are the people who say not to mix politics with rape. We cannot disregard politics as insignificant; we do need to talk about politics. There is a culture in our country that justifies rape; that defends the act through the words of people like KPS Gill who said that women who dress provocatively invite rape, and many other such high ranking officials like him. If we are to change any of this, we need to politicise the issue of violence against women, find out what women are saying about what is being done to them. The government has to listen. Just shedding a few crocodile tears within the confines of the Parliament is not enough, it is not enough to scream ‘death penalty’ and wind up the issue. I find it funny that the BJP is demanding death penalty for the rapists, when within it’s own constituencies it gets goons to chase down girls who wear jeans or fall in love with members of minority communities — saying that women must adhere to ‘Indian sensibilities’, or else. We need to create a counter culture against this ultimatum. We need to create a counter politics, one that asks for the right for women to live freely without fear."
Read the rest of the Hindi to English translation of her speech here:
RAPE VICTIM DIES IN SINGAPORE, AN ENTIRE NATION MOURNS
New Delhi/Singapore, Dec 29 (IANS)
The unnamed and unidentified gang-rape victim who became the face of courage against savage odds died in a Singapore hospital Saturday, leaving all of India stunned and shaken with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee echoing millions in saying her death should not be in vain.
In the dying days of the year, the young physiotherapy intern lost her battle for life far away from home in a Singapore hospital - 13 days after a trip to a south Delhi mall to see a film with a friend ended in her being brutally tortured and raped by six men in a moving bus.
She was left, stripped and bloody, virtually for dead on that cold December night, so grievously injured that her intestines had to be taken out. Now she is dead.
The six accused, including one suspected juvenile, are in jail and all of society in the dock. All six will now face murder charge.
The woman, only 23, passed away peacefully at 4.45 a.m. with her family and Indian diplomats by her side, Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital official Kelvin Loh said. The trauma was "too severe for her to overcome", he said.
Eight specialists had struggled to save the doughty woman, whose father had to sell his ancestral land to fund her education.
"She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain," Kevin said. "We are humbled by the privilege of being tasked to care for her in her final struggle."
"The girl of course was unconscious... I must say they (the family) bore the entire process with a great deal of fortitude and a great deal of courage," added India's High Commissioner to Singapore T.C.A. Raghavan.
Questions also arose on why she was shifted to Singapore when her health was so precarious. And the government was the target. For lax policing that led to the incident and for taking the risky decision to move her.
The body will be flown back Saturday evening in a special aircraft.
Details of the funeral rites for the woman, who united the entire nation in anguish and grief, were not revealed.
As introspection continued on the vulnerability of women, the legal framework to prevent aggravated sexual assaults and ways to stem such crimes, there were tears and protests. From politicians, celebrities, students and domestic workers. Men and women, everybody was a stakeholder.
Calling the young woman -- who had been communicating with her family till almost the end and said she did want to die -- "a true hero", the president said she "symbolizes the best in Indian youth and women".
"At the same time, let us resolve that this death will not be in vain," he added.
The prime minister spoke out in almost the same words - that it was up to "us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain" and India becomes "a demonstrably better and safer place for women to live in".
The government said it would take urgent steps to crack down oncrime against women and fast-track the prosecution of the accused.
"...Our impotence stares us in the face. May SHE become the wake-up call our country needs. We must soul search. Female foeticide; inequal access to nutrition, education, health; no decision making powers; dowry demands; rapes rampant. INDIA WAKE UP," is what actress-activist Shabana Azmi said.
In a rare moment of unanimity, India's civil society agreed.
Though there was a virtual lockdown in Delhi's city centre, protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar area close by. A policeman had died in one angry protest in the capital and Delhi Police was clearly taking no chances.
But the mood was more sombre this Saturday morning. A stunned silence had taken over as people gathered in their hundreds to show their solidarity with the woman who had fought so long and hard. There was the realisation that this could have been any of them, or their friends, sisters and mothers.
And it not just in Delhi. In Lucknow, in Mumbai and in Bangalore, where a mother tried to hold back her tears: "I have a daughter and I don't want this to happen to her."
Was this India's wake-up moment?
CALLS FOR GREATER GUN CONTROL AFTER MASS SHOOTING AT SCHOOL
by claudinezap, The Lookout, 2012-12-14
The horrific shooting at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left multiple people dead, including, it's believed, 20 children, has re-ignited the gun control debate.
Public figures immediately jumped in to offer condolences, while others called for new restrictions. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was "shocked and saddened" by the tragic shooting. He said society should "unify" to "crack down on the guns." And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "immediate action" was needed.
Mark Kelly, husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely injured by a gunman in Tucson in 2011, wrote on Facebook: "The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws—and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) tweeted, "No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. We share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events."
U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey of New York added to the call for gun limits, saying in a statement, "Our expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence."
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose state experienced both the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the shooting at the Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012, offered his support in a statement: "The shooting in Connecticut is absolutely horrific and heartbreaking. We know too well what impact this kind of violence has on a community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are immediately with the families of those killed. We can offer comfort, but we all know the pain will stay forever."
Avaaz - Tell the NRA: ENOUGH
Rosemary Brown's calls for truth-telling in response to the murder of 14 women in Engineering School:
Rosemary Brown spoke at the unveiling of Marker of Change on December 6, 1997 and we want to share her words with you today. Rosemary was a passionate advocate for women's rights:
"On December 6th, 1989, the promise was made ... no more secrets, no more lies, no more euphemisms.
"From now on the crime of the killing of women would bear its true name, and we would make every effort to ensure neither our generation nor the ones following after would ever forget, or ever allow the crime of the killing of women and girls to slip into the shadows again.
"The fourteen lives lost on that day became our marker for change."
Canada's National Day of Action and Remembrance
on Violence Against Women
This period of action and remembrance began on December 6 1989 when 14 women, many of whom were young engineering students, were massacred at L'Ecole Polytechnique of the University of Montreal because they were women.
One of the many strategies to end violence against women is fostering women's self defense. Women and girls are offered ways to protect themselves and one another by participating in workshops in Canada, Kenya, and indeed everywhere in the world.
Under One Sky from ROSE on Vimeo.
UNDER ONE SKY
A documentary celebrating women in the martial arts
Under One Sky turns the whole genre of martial arts films on its head as it explores the physical and spiritual nature of the arts as practised by women. At a women's martial arts camp on the BC coast, women from all over North America explore an extraordinary range of martial arts. They fight collaboratively; and through their discipline, strength, joyfulness and sheer determination, it becomes evident they are on a journey of self-discovery.
Please view the entire film online, right here!
And please share this link with anyone who may be interested, especially young women and girls.
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ROSE is dedicated to the promotion of violence prevention and the remembrance and honouring of women and girls who have been murdered or are missing.
By remembering our sisters everywhere we work together to prevent violence.
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