Cases of rape against men are skyrocketing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where rape against women has been increasingly frequently as a weapon of war in recent years. The American Bar Association reported that in addition to being used as a weapon of war by militias, assailants also include police officers and members of the national army. In June, ABA's sexual violence clinic in Goma reported that 10 percent of its cases involved male survivors.
Three communities in North and South Kivu, where sexual violence is particularly acute, reported rape against men in January, including eight recent cases of male rape in one community, according to Xinhua News. Militia members consider sexual violence a tactic to humiliate and dehumanize the Congolese people. According to the New York Times, one victim said, "I'm laughed at. The people in my village say: 'You're no longer a man. Those people in the bush made you their wife.'"
Though most men refuse to report instances of rape because of social stigma associated with homosexual acts, serious assaults resulting in continuous bleeding and castration have been reported, according to the Edge.
Since the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 1998, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped. 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: American Bar Association 5/09; Xinhua News 7/14/09; The Edge 8/5/09; The New York Times 8/4/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/24/09; Daily Nation 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. . . .