On Thursday, Nigerian women announced plans to march in protest of rape and sexual violence. The proposed march, which has been tentatively scheduled for the International Day Against Violence Against Women on November 25, is in response to a recent online video in which a woman is gang-raped while pleading with her assailants to kill her. This incident is one of many that have recently gained rare public attention in the country.
One reason why rape cases receive low publicity in Nigeria is because rape is seen as rare in the country, due in part to a low rate of reporting. According to federal police statistics on the Nigeria Police Watch website, 952 rape cases were reported in 2009. In a country with a population of 140 million people, this number is considered inconsequential by the government.
Country officials believe that the low rate of reporting can be explained by the sense of shame that surrounds sexual violence cases in Nigeria. "Nothing has been put into action. Our laws are still not clear. The woman who wants to report rape does not have the confidence in the justice system in Nigeria. The police are not accountable to the people. There is a lot of impunity on the issue of rape and sexual violence in Nigeria," said Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, executive director of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre.
The Nigerian police force is often subject to harsh criticism because of its own participation in incidents of sexual assault. According to BBC News, a 2010 study by the Open Society Justice Initiative, police officers in Nigeria routinely take part in sexual assault, with a particular focus on sex workers.
Media Resources: The Guardian 9/22/11; BBC News 5/19/10; Open Society Justice Initiative Report 5/2011
12/12/2013 Feminist Majority Celebrates Introduction of Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) - WASHINGTON -- Feminist Majority today celebrates and applauds Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for introducing the critically-needed paid family medical leave legislation.
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) will allow workers to take paid time off to address a serious illness of their own, a spouse, parent or child or to care for a new baby or adopted child. . . .
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .