Working in Fear: Sexual Violence Against Women Farmworkers in the United States

The tremendous imbalance of power in the U.S. agricultural industry creates an atmosphere where sexual violence is common. A recent study found 80% of women farmworkers interviewed experienced sexual violence on the job. In comparison, 25-50% of all women in the U.S. workforce have experienced at least one incident of sexual violence and 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has been raped in her lifetime. Continue reading

International Human Rights Day: The Lessons of Eleanor Roosevelt

2016 has been a trying year for human rights.  In Syria we have continued to bear witness to the largest humanitarian and human rights disaster since World War II. We have seen troubling reactions from western nations in attempting to deal with the subsequent refugee crisis. It has been another year plagued with terrorist violence, with large-scale attacks occurring in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Belgium, France, and the United States. This year has also been particularly troubling for human rights defenders in light of the global surge of elections that have brought leaders to power who, as Kenneth Roth describes it, see democracy as a “dictatorship of the majority”. Continue reading

Individual Experiences and Social Stigma: Psychological Impact of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is prevalent in conflict and post-conflict societies. The vulnerability of institutions traditionally designed to offer social protection to victims and the lack of professionally trained personnel in such countries are issues that require further attention. Addressing one aspect of SGBV affected by these factors – the psychological impact on its victims – carries significance for the overall rebuilding of post-conflict societies. Continue reading

GBV from an Advocate: FGM and Forced Marriage

I work for the AHA Foundation, a leading organization working to end honor violence that shames, hurts, or kills thousands of women and girls in the US each year, and puts millions more at risk. Specifically, we work with honor violence that includes forced marriage, child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM). Continue reading

Access to Land as a Tool to GBV Prevention

Women’s ability to own land is not only an economic issue, but also a social issue that has great implications. According to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the lack of women’s land rights encompass several CEDAW violations such as the economic and social rights of women, rural women’s rights, and women’s rights to equality in marriage and in front of the law. Continue reading

International Standards for Gender Rights as Human Rights: Are they effective?

In light of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we are taking a deeper look at some of the root injustices affecting gender-based violence and the international standards meant to address such issues. Both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have articles aimed specifically at protecting and guaranteeing equal rights in regards to education, employment, and economic and social rights of women. Part III of CEDAW (Articles 10-14) details these protections, while Articles 23 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be discussed here. Continue reading

Increased vulnerability of Gender Based Violence in refugee settings – lack of provision, choice and acceptance

UNHCR defines Gender Based Violence as ‘violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex’ (2003). It encompasses violence occurring in the family, within the general community, and perpetrated or condoned by the State and institutions. In general it would appear there is limited provision supporting survivors of gender based violence in refugee settings, following the pattern of gender in emergency settings as ‘nice to have’. Continue reading

Anti-Abortion Legislation: A Failure to Protect a Woman’s Right to Health

The restriction of safe access to abortion procedures has consistently been proven to have a detrimental impact on women’s health and is therefore considered by many as a violation of a woman’s right to health. Only last month the UN warned that unsafe abortions kill nearly 50,000 women each year. Despite this, countries are continuing to implement policies that criminalise abortion. Continue reading