UN Launches Campaign Against Domestic Violence in Africa
The United Nations Fund for Women launched its campaign against gender-based violence in Africa today, which is also Pan-African Women's Day.
Although reports of domestic violence are on the rise in Africa, it has yet to be recognized as a serious crime, according to women's and human rights organizations. Despite laws against assault, men in countries such as Nigeria and Kenya are permitted to "correct" their wives with physical punishment under the "required limits" of the law, according to "Women of the World: Laws and Policies That Affect Their Reproductive Lives," a report published by the Center for Reproductive Policy and the International Federation of Female Lawyers. "Beating a wife is a normal thing among the Maasai people and if a husband doesn't do it occasionally, he gets ridiculed by his friends," said a Maasai woman.
The campaign aims to increase public and media awareness about the problem, as well as to encourage women to report cases of abuse and to facilitate legal reforms. The United Nations Development Program is educating police about domestic violence.
One problem the UN may face is that those who assist victims of domestic violence are often criticized by church and community leaders for breaking up marriages.
Media Resources: Feminists Against Violence - July 29, 1998
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. . . .