National Geographic yesterday premiered a documentary on its cable television channel focusing on honor killings in Pakistan. Every day three women in Pakistan become victims of honor killings, usually murdered by male members of their families, including their husbands, fathers, and brothers. Honor killings, however, are not contained to Pakistan. Victims can be found all over the world, killed for allegedly having affairs, flirting, becoming the object of another man’s affection, or becoming victims of rape. Few of these crimes are prosecuted, and often communities support the practice of honor killings and work to protect the perpetrators by making the victims invisible. “In many cases, the women are buried in unmarked graves and all records of their existence are wiped out,” explained Widney Brown, Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch.
Activists are calling for an international response to honor killings, which they see as only one facet of the larger problem of violence against women. Worldwide, grassroots activists have planned over 800 actions in conjunction with V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women. Amnesty International will launch its own global campaign to combat violence against women in 2003. Importantly, however, violence against women is a critical issue in the United States as well. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in three murdered females in the U.S. is killed by a partner and more than 1 million women are stalked every year. Every fifteen seconds, a woman is battered in the U.S., usually by an intimate partner.
Media Resources: National Geographic, 2/12/02; V-Day; Department of Justice, 5/00 & 11/98; United Nations Study on the Status of Women, 2000
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. . . .