On V-Day (February 10, 2001) 18,000 people gathered at New York City's Madison Square Garden to protest violence against women and to celebrate the vagina. The yearly event, launched in 1998, features performances of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. While on tour, Ensler had heard hundreds of abuse stories and decided that something needed to be done: V-Day was born. The gala netted $2.3 million for antiviolence groups. In the evening, stars such as Queen Latifah and Jane Fonda performed. Earlier, activists were honored, including the semifinalists of the Stop-Rape Contest. Fifty-five out of 60 semifinalists from 46 countries presented their ideas for stopping rape. That night, three winners were awarded grants to implement their plans. Here are the winning entries:
Jennifer Jadwero, age 13, Kenya Promote Youth Against Rape clubs Clubs can be started in primary and secondary schools, universities, computer, secretarial, and technical colleges, and other educational institutions. Youth Against Rape clubs will be able to reach everybody with their message of STOP RAPE! In the primary schools, the boy students can be taught that to be a macho man you don't have to be a bully and use force to get what you want and be disrespectful to women; that all people are equal and that the boys must have respect for girls because they are their sisters, mothers, and their sweethearts. The girls can be taught self-defense and what to do in case they are raped. These ideas can be continued in secondary schools and in universities and colleges on a more serious and deeper level. Youth Against Rape clubs will work with other school clubs, like the drama and debating clubs; organize public campaigns to raise awareness of rape; show films and videos on the topic of rape; and invite professionals to address students on topics concerning rape, teach self-defense tactics, and offer counseling services and advice to victims.
Silke Pillinger, age 28, and Karin Heisecke, age 28, Germany Print anti-rape slogans and information on bread and pastry wrappings This is an awareness-raising campaign that may appear ordinary and trivial, for it uses an everyday object that everyone buys regularly, with the goal of making the sensitive, even taboo subject of rape visible in the daily lives of women and men. There is a parallel between the "ordinariness" of the object we use and violence against women, specifically rape. We want to emphasize that most rapes occur in a familiar context. We are talking about the small paper bags in which bread, rolls, cakes, and pastries are sold in every bakery, and on which we will print surprising and provocative phrases concerning rape. The slogan of our campaign is based on a play on words in German that we might translate as "Rape—it's out of the question." On these bags, we could print slogans such as:
One German woman in two suffers from headaches, one in three has problems backing into a parking space/varnishes her fingernails/wears makeup, and one in five is raped by her partner; o 5% of rapes take place in parks, 95% at home;
In Nuremberg, X (exact number) rolls are sold and X (exact number) women are raped each day; or
The customer in front of you is raped regularly by a close relative.
Régine Bandler, age 49, and Ana Bosch, age 48, Brazil Use speeches on sexism and sexual violence to change public opinion in the community through theatrical workshops and other forums
The speeches and other texts chosen will be used to make videos, TV clips, and advertisements to contribute to efforts to change the culture of violence against women. One example is: The weapon is art/art is to hear/art is to debate and to beat up. The municipality of Camaragibe in northeast Brazil is planning to offer special services for women in violent situations, in partnership with [our] feminist theater group Lunatics of Pe
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. . . .