During a failed prison break, 20 women were brutally raped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) late Sunday. During a botched escape attempt from a prison in Goma, ex-militia members allegedly violently attacked 20 female inmates and killed two guards after they failed to break through the prison's walls to escape. The offending prisoners were mostly from death row, sentenced for "murder, rape and other grave offences," according to IRIN.
According to the Canadian Press, the prison was built to hold 150, but currently houses over 600 inmates.
UN chief Ban Ki-moo said, "I am deeply distressed by the rape and assault of about 20 female inmates during an attempted escape from Goma's central prison," in a statement to Agence France Presse."This a grim example of both the prison conditions and the level of sexual violence that plagues the DRC."
Since the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 1998, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped in sexual violence widely viewed to be a war tactic. Thousands of Congolese women marched in Kinshasa late last year to protest rape as a weapon of war. According to the Daily Nation, humanitarian groups have estimated that between 400 to over 1,000 rapes occurred in the eastern part of the country alone during just the first three months of this year.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 1/13/09; Daily Nation 6/23/09; AFP 6/23/09; IRIN 6/24/09; The Canadian Press 6/23/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .