Earlier this month, a seventeen year-old woman was brutally gang-raped in Bredasdorp, South Africa. The victim, Anene Booysen, had been raped by multiple men and then mutilated and abandoned. Despite medical efforts, she died of her extensive injuries this past weekend. Booysen's aunt said that she lived long enough to identify a family friend as one of the attackers. The attack has gained local and national attention, with many taking to the streets in protest of South Africa's high rate of violence against women.
South African president Jacob Zuma made a statement on the crime: "The whole nation is outraged at this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life...[t]his act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country. We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children." The Associated Press notes that Zuma himself was embroiled (but acquitted) in the rape of a friend's daughter in 2005.
Concerned citizens marched through Bredasdorp this weekend chanting "no more violence!" Lindiwe Mazibuko, a member of Parliament, said she will throw into motion public hearings and debates on the issue of deeply ingrained patriarchy and its relation to sexual violence.
Talk Radio 702, a popular radio station in South Africa, now plays a chime sound every four minutes to represent how often a woman or child is raped in the nation. South Africa is home to one of the highest rates of rape in the world. From 2010-2011, over 56,000 rapes were reported in South Africa, averaging about 154 a day. Around 71% of women report being sexually assaulted according to CNN.
South Africa is not the only country that has seen extreme cases of violence against women gain international attention recently. In December, the violent gang-rape of a medical student in India that resulted in her death led to international outcry. As a result, the Indian government recently approved stricter punishments for sexual assault. The trial of her attackers is currently underway.
Media Resources: CNN 2/9/2013; Associated Press 2/8/2013; The Guardian 2/7/2013; The Presidency 2/7/2013; Feminist Newswire 2/4/2013, 1/24/2013, 1/2/2013
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .