Violence Against Women

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There Is Nothing Normal About Violence Against Women

Eliminating violence against women and girls requires the implementation of laws, services and access to justice for women and girls that experience violence, and raising awareness among influential actors and everyday people. Transforming what is "normal" in society -- expected, naturalized, unsaid -- is the critical piece of the puzzle, and one that we can all help put in place. We can challenge what we hear and see, check our own behaviour and beliefs, and defy expectations that promote gender inequality.
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Olympic Sex-Testing Is Violence Against Women

The IOC has informally encouraged sex-testing since the 1936 Olympics, and formally since the 1968 Games. From "visual exams" inspecting the genitals of female athletes to the testosterone-seeking sex tests of today, the IOC has a horrific history of misunderstanding and misusing science to simultaneously hurt women. Women who do not fit their policy can either undergo medical intervention to force their biology into that shoebox, or quit. Several young healthy women underwent a series of invasive procedures, including clitoral amputation, to remain in competitive sport. We need to let that sink in for a minute.
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What Will It Take To End Sexual Assault?

There are many cases of sexual assault and harassment that never get reported, because our society normalizes them. Most women have had these experiences in a bar, in the street, in the gym, in a place of work, by a friend, by a co-worker, by a partner. Unwanted sexual touching and groping is ALWAYS sexual assault. We need to see this, name it and end it.
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Questioning Survivors Of Gender Violence Is Sadly Still A Thing

The positive effects of having supportive people around when someone decides to share their experiences cannot be underestimated. Not only does it open up the possibility of sharing at all, it encourages survivors to seek counselling and other supports, reducing levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD, and lessening the likelihood of experiencing abuse again. If someone chooses to disclose to you, the best thing you can do is believe them, avoid judgement, put their needs first and understand that everyone reacts differently to trauma. So, why is there still a public debate on whether we can believe women who share their stories of violence?
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Lucy DeCoutere, I Believe In You

I read about the way you came forward against a man who you allege has sexually assaulted you. I don't know if everyone who hears about you appreciates the importance of you waiving your anonymity and giving your name and face to the case. For a person as clearly dignified and graceful as you, a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force no less, it must have been a nightmare. You had everything to lose, and nothing to gain. I don't know if people appreciate the complexity of what you're presenting to them, but statistically, 80 per cent of sexual assaults occur with a person women know.
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We Can End Gender-Based Violence In Humanitarian Settings

In South Sudan, domestic violence is widespread and largely tolerated. In the all-too-common words of two young women from Warrap State: "We are often beaten. When we make a mistake, we are beaten -- and there are so many mistakes." It was unfortunately not surprising that gender-based violence was a major threat for women living in IDP and refugee camps.
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3 Important Questions About The Bill Cosby Charges

It finally happened. After months of accusations from over 50 women with horrific tales of sexual assault, Bill Cosby's luck has run out. On December 30th, 2015, Cosby stood before a judge, faced charges of indecent assault, and paid more money in bail than most people see in their lifetimes. If convicted, Cosby could face a mere $25,000 fine and ten years in prison. These are charges from only ONE of the women, Andrea Constand, who says she became friends with Cosby when she worked at Temple University.
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Victims Of Violence Deserve Unconditional Access To Legal Aid

Zahra Mahamoud Abdille and her two sons fled violence and sought refuge in a Toronto women's shelter. Zahra did the right thing. She wanted to leave the abusive life behind her for good and start a new life free of violence. And thus, she contemplated a divorce. However, such an endeavour requires resources, including legal fees that were beyond her means. Once again, Zahra, did the right thing: she applied for legal aid to proceed with her separation and divorce papers. Sadly, Zahra was denied legal aid because she was working and had a "decent" income.