13 Somali men convicted of sex ring that involved abuse of teenage British girls

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and passed around in Bristol

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Thirteen Somali men have been convicted of running an inner city sex ring that involved the abuse, rape and prostitution of teenage British girls, it can be reported for the first time.

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and passed around the men’s friends for money in Bristol.

Several of the girls were groomed to the extent they believed abuse was part of loving relationships they were having with the defendants.

Some were persuaded to have sex with their ‘boyfriend’s’ friends as it was Somali “culture and tradition” and “men always have sex with each other’s girlfriends”.

The victims, described as “vulnerable” due to their age and circumstances, were paid as little as £30 or given drugs, alcohol and gifts to perform sex acts on older men.

In one dreadful night, one 13-year-old girl was raped four times by three different men, having been trafficked across the city to a Premier Inn by one of her abusers.

The Bristol case comes after allegations, convictions and resignations over organised child abuse and exploitation across English towns and cities including Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.

Serious case reviews are now underway to try to understand how the girls became victims.

Avon and Somerset Police uncovered a two-year catalogue of abuse against 10 girls during their investigation into the Somali men, codenamed Operation Brooke.

A total of 14 were convicted of charges including rape, sexual activity with a child, facilitating child prostitution, trafficking, paying for the sexual services of a child and drug offences.

Defendants were tried in two separate trials at Bristol Crown Court this year, with eight jailed for between 18 months and 13 years following the first this summer.

The remaining seven, convicted by a jury yesterday following 32 hours and 17 minutes of deliberations, will be sentenced at the court tomorrow.

 

Thirteen Somali men have been convicted of running an inner city sex ring that involved the abuse, rape and prostitution of teenage British girls, it can be reported for the first time.

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and passed around the men’s friends for money in Bristol.

Several of the girls were groomed to the extent they believed abuse was part of loving relationships they were having with the defendants.

Some were persuaded to have sex with their ‘boyfriend’s’ friends as it was Somali “culture and tradition” and “men always have sex with each other’s girlfriends”.

The victims, described as “vulnerable” due to their age and circumstances, were paid as little as £30 or given drugs, alcohol and gifts to perform sex acts on older men.

In one dreadful night, one 13-year-old girl was raped four times by three different men, having been trafficked across the city to a Premier Inn by one of her abusers.

The Bristol case comes after allegations, convictions and resignations over organised child abuse and exploitation across English towns and cities including Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.

Serious case reviews are now underway to try to understand how the girls became victims.

Avon and Somerset Police uncovered a two-year catalogue of abuse against 10 girls during their investigation into the Somali men, codenamed Operation Brooke.

A total of 14 were convicted of charges including rape, sexual activity with a child, facilitating child prostitution, trafficking, paying for the sexual services of a child and drug offences.

Defendants were tried in two separate trials at Bristol Crown Court this year, with eight jailed for between 18 months and 13 years following the first this summer.

The remaining seven, convicted by a jury yesterday following 32 hours and 17 minutes of deliberations, will be sentenced at the court tomorrow.

 

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Kenyanka oo dalbanaya in joojiyo tacaddiyada ku saleeysan jinsiga

Iyaga oo ka caraysan weerarro xiriir ah oo dhawaan lagu qaaday haween sababta oo ah dharka ay xirnaayeen, ayay Kenyanku waxay ku baaqayaan tallaabooyin kuwii hore ka adag oo lagu joojiyo tacaddiyada ka dhanka ah jinsiga, kuwaa oo si kasta oo ay jiraan dadaallo sharciyeed oo lagu ilaalinayo xuquuqda haweenka haddana wali aad u baahsan.

  • Dumar ka qayb-galay dibad-bixii looga soo horjeeday tacaddiyada ku salaysan jinsiga ee 17-kii November ka dhacay Nairobi. [Simon Maina/AFP] Dumar ka qayb-galay dibad-bixii looga soo horjeeday tacaddiyada ku salaysan jinsiga ee 17-kii November ka dhacay Nairobi. [Simon Maina/AFP]

Wali waxa jira dareenno walwal oo ka taagan tacaddiyada jismi iyo nafsi, iyada hadda si caadi ah loo soo tabiyo xadgudubyada jinisyeed, sida ay sheegtay Xarunta Soo Kabashada Tacaddiyada Jinsiyeed (GVRC) ee Isbitaalka Haweenka Nairobi, taas oo taageero daawo isugu darta kuwa lagula kaco tacaddiyada sokeeye.

“Intii u dhaxaysay 2011-kii iyo 2012-kii, guud ahaan 2,532 xaaladood oo xadgudubyo aan jismi aheeyn iyo 422 kale oo xalaadood oo tacaddiyo jismi ah ayaa la diiwaan-galiyay,” ayay madaxa maamulka GVRC Alberta Wambua u sheegtay Sabahi.

Dhammaan xaaladaha tacaddiyada ku salaysan jinsiga ayaa 90% dhibanayaashu yihiin haween iyo gabdho, ayay tiri.

Xaruntu waxay diiwaangalisay 1,864 xaaladood oo la soo gudbiyay oo ah tacaddiyo loo gaystay haweenka intii u dhaxeeysay January iyo May ee sannadkan, kuwaas oo 84% ay ahaayeen xadgduub jinsi halka 16% ka ahaayeen tacaddiyo jismi.

Bisha January, xaruntu waxay rajaynaysaa in ay soo gudbiso warbixin buuxda oo xambaarsan dhammaan xaaladihii la diinwaangaliyay intii u dhaxeeysay 2013-kii yio 2014-kii. Wambua waxay sheegtay in lambarada cayriin ay illaa iyo cadda muujinayaan in ay aad u kordheen tacaddiyada jismi iyo jinsi ee lagula kaco dumarka.

“Tirooyinka aan soo saarnay kaliya waxa ay ka dhigan yihiin wax aad u yar oo ka mida tacaddiyada sida dhabta ah uga dhacaya ee laga diiwaangaliyay daafaha dalka, kuwaas oo muujinaya in haweenka iyo gabdhuhu u ku dhaco culayska ugu badan ee xanuunka iyo rafaadka,” ayay tiri, iyada oo intaa raacisay in ay waajib taha yin la laba laabo dadaallada ragga looga wacyigalinayo jariimada ay ku galayaan xadgudubyada caynkaas ah.

Dharkaygu waa dookayga

Wambua waxay sheegtay in naxdingaliyeen weerarradii xiririka ahaa ee dhawaan goobaha caamka loogu geeystay haweenka.

Dhacdooyin dhowr ah, ayaa lagu weeraray haween waxana si khasab ah loogu qaawiyay waddooyinka sababta oo ah sida ay u labisnaayeen, ayay tiri, taas oo ay tilmaan madoow oo muujinaysa in dhaqannada colaadeed ee ku salaysan jinsiga ay hadda ku jiraan weerar dadweyne ka sokoow tacaddiyadii guriga dhexdiisa iyo weerarrada jinsi.

Boqolaal dibad-baxayaal ah ayaa socod ku maray Nairobi 17-kii November si ay uga gilgishaan weerar lagu qaaday qof dumar ah oo ay qaawiyeen koox dad ah oo ku dooday in ay goonnadeedu ay aad ugu dhagganeeyd aadna u gaabnayd.

Maalintii dibad-baxa kadib, ayuu bilaysku xiray daraasiin rag ah oo lala xiriiriyay weerarro kuwaa la mida oo lagula kacay qof dumar ah oo ku sugneeyd astaan basas oo ku yaal Nairobi.

Ugu yaraan laba weerar oo kuwaa la mid ah ayaa laga soo weriyay Mombasa iyo Nairobi maalmihii dhawaa, waxana ka dhashay in la xiro ugu yaraan hal askari oo bilays ah.

Dhacdooyinkaas, oo dhacay maalin cad, ayaa caro dadwayne ka dhaliyay Nairobi.

Kenyaka ayaa maciinsday warbaahinta xiriirka bulshada si ay u dhalleeceeyaan tacaiyada jinsiyeed isla markaana ku baaqaan in la ixtiraamo xoriyadda haweenka iyaga oo isticmaalaya hashtag-ga #MyDressMyChoice (Dharkaygu waa dookhayga), iyada oo warbaahinta rasimiga ahna laga sameeyay doodo kulul.

Kadib markii ay socod ka bilaabeen Uhrur Park kuna tagaan astaanka basaska ee Embassava Sacco ee Waddada Accra, oo ah goob ka mida meelihii ay ka dhaceen weerarradu, ayay dibad-baxayaashu waxay u dhaqaaqeen xafiiska Isbatooraha Guud ee Bilayska Kenya David Kimaiyo si ay ugu dhiibaan bayaan saxiixan.

Dibad-baxayaasha ayaa markaa kadib socod ku aaday Maxkamadda Sare ee Kenya, halkaa oo Guddoomiyaha Maxkamadda Sare Willy Mutunga ku qaabilay una ballaanqaaday in uu bayaanka gaarsiin doono Golaha Qaranka ee Maamulka Garsoorka, kaasoo uu xubin ka yahay.

“Sharci-darrada aan aragnay ee ay dadkani ku weerarayaan haweenka waxa arrinka hor imanaysa dastuurka,” ayuu yiri Mutunga iyada oo sacab u garaacayaan kooxdu. “Raggaasi waxay ku ciyaarayaan magaca ragga kale.”

Dumarka oo dalbaya dammaanad-qaad

Dadkii ka soo qayb-galay dibad-baxa, oo ay soo agaasimeen kooxda Kilimani Mums, ayaa dhalleeceeyay weerarka waxayna ku boorriyeen xukuumadda in ay kuwii ka dambeeyay hor keenaan caddaaladda. Waxay sidoo kale ka dalbeen hoggaamiyayaasha siyaasadda in ay si cad u dhalleecayaan dhacdooyinkaas isla markaana ay dammanaad-qaad ka bixiyaan bed-qabka haweenka.

“Xaqiiqda ah in weerarkaas axmaqnimada ahi uu maalin cad ka dhaco astaan bas oo ku yaal waddo cagtu ku badan tahay oo ku taal caasimadda, saas oo ay tahayna ayan goobta joogin hal askari oo bilayska ah si ay u caawiyaan haweeneeyda jismiyan iyo nafsiyanba loogu tacaddiyay ayaa waxa ay dad badan badday in ayan jecleeysan xaaladda uu ku sugan yahay bilayskeennu,” ayay tiri Koki Gatabaki, oo ah 29-jir, rajanaysa in ay noqto jilaa.

Tacaddiyada caynkan ah waxay isku fuuqsanayaan guulihii ay Kenyanku ka gaareen hubinta in haweenku helaan xuquuq la siman tan ragga, ayay u sheegtay Sabahi. “Ayaan-darro, tani waxay u dhacday sababta oo ah in yar oo dambiyadaas gala oo aan ciqaab la kulmin.”

Dhacdooyinkii dhawaa ee isugu jiray dhibaateeynta iyo xadgudubka waxay reebayaan natiijo ka qoto dheer kuwii hore “bacdamaa ay ka tarjumayaan sharci-darro iyo isku dulqaad la’aanta ka jirta dalka,” ayuu yiri qareenka ka howlgabay maxkamadda sare Kariuki Muthe’ngi oo ah 65-jir.

Dastuurka Kenya iyo sharciga xuquuqaha waxay si cad u dammaanad-qaadayaan xuquuqda dumarka, ayuu yiri.

“Shuruucdu way adagyihiin laakiin fulinta ayaa jilicsan amaba aan jirin sababta oo ah waxa uu habac qoto-dheer ka jiraa hay’adaha fulinta sharciga oo waxay kaliya oo ay tallaabo qaadaan marka ay la kulmaan canaan aad loo adkeeysan karin kadib dibad-baxyada ama markay amar ka helaan mas’uuliyiinta dawladda,” ayuu u sheegay Sabahi.

“Hannaanka garsoorka dambiyada Kenya si fiican uguma qalabaysna in uu haweenka ka ilaaliyo tacaddiyada ku saleeysan jinsiga inkasta oo baralmaanku isbaddal ku sameeyay Sharciga Dambiyada Jinsi ee 2006 sababtuna tahay fulin la’aanta iyo maqnaanta hannaan la sococosho oo ay sameeyaan hay’adaha dawladeed ee uu arrinku khuseeyo sifo loo hubiyo in loo hoggaansamo sharciga iyo dastuurka,” ayuu yiri.

Baarayaasha iyo dambi soo oogayaasha bilayska ayaa sidoo kale waxa ka maqan tababarrada takhasus ee looga baahay in ay ka haystaan qodobada Sharika Dambiyada Jinsi, taas oo ah mid kamida arrimaha ugu muhiimsan ee ka qaybqaadanaya tirada aadka u heer sarreeysa ee dacwooyinka ay maxkamaduhu tuuraan marka la soo gudibyo, ayuu raaciyay.

Dacwooyinka tacaddiyada ku salayan jinsiga waa in ay kaliya soo oogaan qareenno khibrad leh oo ayan soo oogin kaliya dambi-oogayaasha bilayska, ayuu sheegay, isaga oo intaa raaciyay in bilaysku uu xilligan dacwooyinkan ka soo oogo maxkamado hoose, taas oo sharraxaad ka bixinaysa sababta dacwado badan la isga tuuray tuhmanayaashiina loo beri-yeelay.

Madaxa Waaxda Baarista Dambiyada ee Nairobi Nicholas Kamwende ayaa u sheegay Sabahi in la dhisay kooxda bilayska ee “la-dagaallanka dhar ka dhigidda” si ay wax uga qabtaan kororka ku yimid weerarrada lagu qaado haweenka.

Waxa uu sheegay in isbatooraha guud ee bilayska uu xushay darsin haween ah in ay si qarsoodi ah uga shaqeeyaan astaannada basaska iyo goobaha kale ee caamka ah waxana la siiyay dhammaan wixii agab shaqada looga baahan yahay in ay shaqadooda ku gutaan.

Kamwende ayaa sidoo kale ku dhiirri-galiyay haweenka dhibaatadu ka soo gaadhay weerarrada caynkan oo kale ah in ay yimaadaan saldhigyada bilayska si ay dacwad u diiwaangaliyaan, taas oo gacan ka geeysan doonta baaritaannada iyo soo qabashada dambiilayaasha. Waxa uu sheegay in bilaysku uu macluumaad walba oo ay helaan u tixgalin doonaan si sir ah.

Hoggaamiyayaasha diinta oo hadlay

Kororka ku yimid tacaddiyada lagu hayo dumarka waa walwal weyn hoggaamiyayaasha diintuna waxa loo qaataa in ay u isku diyaariyaan wax ka qabashada dhibaatadaan, ayuu yiri Bishop Mark Kariuki, oo wadaad sare ka ah Kaniisadda Badbaadada ee Nairobi.

Kariuki waxa uu dhammaan Kenyanka ugu baaqay, isaga oo ka bilaabay hoggaamiyayaasha kaniisadda, in ay dhacdooyinkii dhawaa tacadiyada jinsiyeed u isicmaalaan niyad ay ku bilaabaan in kaniisadahooda uga hadalaan kuna istaajiyaan “fiditaanka la dhayalsaday ee tacaddiyada jinsi iyo xadgudubyada guriga.”

“Si ay bulshadu nabad ugu wada noolaato, xalka tacaddiyada sii kordhaya ee jinsiga waxa uu ku jiraa in ragga iyo wiilasha lala shaqeeyo oo laga dhigo shuraako wax ka gasha dagaalka lagula jiro balaayadan,” ayuu u sheegay Sabahi, isga oo intaa ku daray in hoggaamiyayaasha dawladda iyo diina ay ka wada shaqeeyaan sidii loo qaban lahaa olole lagula dagaallamayo xadgudubyada oo lagu beegsanayo ragga.

Wadaadka Murungi Igweta oo ka tirsan Kaniisadda Trinity Baptist ee Nairobi ayaa taa ku raacay, isaga oo sheegay in tacaddiyada ka dhanka ah dumarka “ay caqabad ku noqonayaan kaalinta ay ka qaataan horumarinta qaranka iyo wacnaanshaha qoysaskooda.”

Waxa uu sheegay in ay ayaan-darro ahayd in haweenka qaar ayan taageero ka helin kaniisadahooda markii ay isku dayeen furriin ama kala fogaasho ay ku sababeeyeen tacaddiyo jismi oo loo geeystay. “Xittaa arrinku waa uu ka sii dari karaa xaaladaha dhibanayaasha ay faquuqa kala kulmaan kaniisadahoosa sababtoo ah isla arrimahaas,” ayuu u sheegay Sabahi.

“Tacaddiyada ka dhanka ah haweenka waa in ay welwel qoto-dheer ku beertaa kaniisadda iyo culimadaba,” ayuu yiri.

Waa in bulshooyinkooda lagu fadeexeeyaa kuwa gala tacaddiyada ka dhanka ah haweenka isla markaana lagu ciqaabaa sharciga, ayuu yiri Mohamud Abdillahi, imaamka masjidka Amani ee Mombasa.

In kasta oo dharka aan munaasibka ahayn ay quudin karaan akhlaaq xumida, ayuu sheegay, haddana taasi ma aha wax lagu banneeysan karo tacaddiyada jismi, mana aha in dhibanayaasha lagu eedeeyo dambiga dhacay.

“Tacaddiyada ka dhanka ah haweenka waxay u jiraan sababta oo ah ragga ka tirsan bulshada ee gala tacaddiyadaas ayaan lagala xisaabtamin dambiyadooda,” ayuu u sheegay Sabahi, isaga oo ku baaqay ciqaab inta ka kulul iyo sharci fulin sidan ka fiican si ay u waabtaan.

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Ilwad Elman is appointed Youth Ambassador for Somalia on Sexual Violence in Conflict

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“What can a small army of committed young people hope to accomplish for devastated women in the world’s most failed state, half a world away? Almost anything. The key to success? Empower dauntless local leaders and survivors to design and direct their own program addressing critical needs in their own community” – Ilwad Elman.

Sexual violence is not country specific. It knows no creed, religion, or age. In conflict, rape is seen as an effective biological weapon, used to terrorize men, women, girls, and boys. Too common are the cases where justice fails to manifest in laws and practice. Impunity for rapists, and harmful traditional practices continue to enable and condone rampant sexual violence, gender stereotypes, and inequality. Though it takes many different forms, sexual violence is most frequently sourced as an armament, to degrade, oppress, and destroy communities in times of war.

Across Somalia, violence against women and girls is a major public concern. Sexual violence is one of the most challenging issues for populations affected by armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies. Coupled with the substantial displacement and conflict in Somalia, sexual violence has been especially problematic for the Nation’s capital, Mogadishu. Several international human rights organizations have even documented the use of sexual violence perpetrated by African Union peacekeeping troops against Somali women and girls who were seeking help from the mission.

For nearly 5 years now, I have worked at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Somalia, a national non-profit organization for which I serve as the Director of Programs and Development. In 2011, I co-founded the country’s first rape crisis center, Sister Somalia. In the beginning, Sister Somalia responded exclusively to the emergency life-saving needs of victims of rape and sexual violence. We offered women free healthcare services, including post-prophylaxis treatments, shelter in safe-houses, and psychological counseling to equip survivors with the tools necessary to heal before reintegrating them back into their communities. But because of the conflict-affected environment in which we were sending survivors back out to, this was not any more progressive or safer for them. We often found ourselves in a position of helping the same woman after a second or third attack. We have since included relocation grants into our services, providing survivors with the means to relocate to other areas where they will have the opportunity to live freely, fully, and with dignity.

My organization has since centered its work with survivors of sexual violence on the principle of aiding women throughout their recovery, equipping them with the skills to rebuild and reclaim their lives, and empowering them to harness their own abilities to inspire change for social good. In Somalia, we have amplified our advocacy for laws that integrate sexual and gender based violence prevention and response programs into the humanitarian initiatives of the Government’s Public Policy Development and Reform. I’m pleased to say that we have been able to generate a conversation about sexual violence that has never before existed in my country.

Now, more than ever, the Federal Government of Somalia has displayed irrefutable political commitment to address the impunity for rapists by which Somali women and girls are victimized. However, very little action has been taken to translate those commitments into concrete action and sustainable progress towards to elimination of sexual violence. We simply cannot continue to afford to allow rampant sexual violence to occur unabated.

I feel privileged to have been appointed Youth Ambassador for Somalia on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict. I live in a country where young people under the age of 30 make up 70% of the population, and more than half of that figure is young women. But despite our numerical strength, we have not been afforded any positions of leadership. This appointment is not only an important opportunity for me, but for all of the young people I represent in my country. I intend to use this role, and the international platform that it provides, to create a meaningful space for the leadership of youth in Somalia. To ensure that our voices, our concerns, and our solutions to ending sexual violence in conflict are heard. I believe that this role will fortify the on-going efforts of civil society to combat the endemic situation of rape and sexual violence. Together, with the young men and women of Somalia, Youth to End Sexual Violence will hold the Government accountable for implementing and upholding the commitments it has made to us.

In solidarity,

Ilwad Elman
Youth Ambassador for Somalia on Sexual Violence in Conflict

 

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Neil Wigan, ambassadeur de la Grande Bretagne en RDCNeil Wigan, ambassadeur de la Grande Bretagne en RDC

British Ambassador to Somalia Neil Wigan

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
By His Excellency Neil Wigan, UK Ambassador to Somalia
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Today we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and start 16 days of activism to end gender violence. Living and working in Somalia, I see firsthand how desperately important this issue is.


Many women in Somalia lead hard lives.  Girls and women suffer disproportionately from conflict and poverty. One in 16 women will die as a result of childbirth. Approximately 98% of Somali women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).  Rape is a huge problem.

But in 2014 the picture got a bit brighter.

The Federal Government made clear their commitment to prevent these crimes against women, support victims and prosecute those responsible. They presented their National Action Plan at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, held in London, to make this happen. Ministries are starting to put this into practice, with progress on accountability mechanisms, health services and required legislation.

In July at the Girl Summit in London, Somalia committed to a charter to end female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage and are working towards developing legislation and a national plan of action towards the abandonment of both practices.

The challenge for 2015 is turning these plans and commitments into action that makes a difference to daily lives.  Somali women need to feel things have changed.   Good policies and intentions are not enough.

Throughout Somalia, I have met inspirational women, whether midwives, Ministers, activists or policewomen, working to improve women’s lives. I have visited centres for rape survivors, and been in awe equally of the survivors’ resilience and their helpers’ commitment.  The UK’s International Development Minister was able to meet remarkable people herself during her recent visit to Somalia: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-minister-visits-somalia-to-promote-the-rights-of-women-and-girls)  These women need and deserve support.  Men need to play their part.

The UK, and other international partners, stand ready to support this work in Somalia. The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to eradicate sexual violence in all conflicts. I am proud that our £1 million programme across Somalia in 2014 is:-
–         Building the capacity of local service providers, focused in the health sector, training health care providers, to ensure victims get the best possible support.
–         Training AMISOM soldiers before they are deployed in Somalia to help prevent sexual violence, increase their knowledge of international human rights laws, and best practice in assisting women and children in the aftermath of violent conflict.
–         Providing livelihoods support through local civil society organisations, and basic equipment to victims of sexual violence in refugee camps in Mogadishu

One way to improve women’s lives and rights will be to increase their participation in public life.  2015 will be an opportunity for women to prepare their roles for the 2016 elections – as voters, activists and candidates.  The UK hosted an event on political participation at the Copenhagen Summit – attended by the President and six Ministers.  We want to turn the 30% target for women in public roles into a reality.

We all – wherever we are in the world – can play our part in making the picture for women in Somalia brighter. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas of what you will be doing to make a world free of gender violence a reality. Please tweet me at @FCONeilWigan

 

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One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence from partner

More needs to be done to tackle endemic global violence against women, say papers published in the Lancet

Clinic in NepalClinic in Nepal

A clinic in Nepal teaching young women about sexual health. A series of papers by the Lancet says sexual and physical violence is endemic against women. 

One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partner, while 7% will be assaulted at some point in their lives by a non-partner, say the authors of a new series of papers in the Lancet. They conclude that too little is being done to counter violence against women, which is endemic around the globe.

Even though the issue is attracting more attention and there is greater knowledge about how to protect women, violence – including intimate-partner violence, rape, FGM, trafficking and forced marriages – remains unacceptably high. Between 100 million and 140 million girls and women have suffered FGM, with more than 3 million girls at risk every year in Africa alone. Some 70 million girls worldwide have been married before their 18th birthday, many against their will.

The papers call for governments to take action on the underlying causes. Blaming the perpetrators because of personality or mental health disorders, or their own history of sexual or alcohol abuse, is inadequate, say the researchers. Economic, social and political factors also play a part and governments should address them.

“In many regions in the past 50 years, women’s status has improved markedly. In too many settings, however, women remain second-class citizens, are discriminated against, and made subservient to men. Even where women enjoy many freedoms, the fear and reality of male violence persists,” write Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno, of the World Health Organisation in Geneva, and colleagues.

“Violence against women and girls is a global phenomenon that historically has been hidden, ignored, and accepted. Child sexual abuse has remained a silent shame. Rape has often been a matter of stigma for the victim rather than the perpetrator. Violence in the home has been considered a private affair.

“Turning of the head and closing of the eyes have occurred despite global estimates that one in every three women will experience physical violence, sexual violence, or both, from an intimate partner, or sexual violence from someone other than a partner in her lifetime. The full extent of abuse is even greater, with multiple different forms of violence around the world often remaining uncounted and under-researched.”

It is possible to make a real difference through moves towards gender equality, said series co-lead Professor Charlotte Watts, founding director of the Gender Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“No magic wand will eliminate violence against women and girls. But evidence tells us that changes in attitudes and behaviours are possible, and can be achieved within less than a generation.”

Governments must allocate funds to tackling violence against women, recognising it as a barrier to health and development, researchers say. They must change any discriminatory laws and promote equality and non-violent behaviours.

Violence against women and girls is not just another women’s issue, say the authors, but is a public health and development problem of concern to all. “Its elimination should be part of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), just as the elimination of apartheid was an important goal of the 1970s and 1980s for the worldwide community.”

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UN slams deadly terrorist attack on bus in northern Kenya

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UNITED NATIONS,(Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday condemned a terrorist attack on a commuter bus in northern Kenya that left at least 28 people dead, hoping that “those responsible for today’s attack will be brought to justice swiftly.”

“The secretary-general condemns the terrorist attack this morning on a commuter bus in Mandera, Kenya,” said a statement issued here by Ban’s spokesman Saturday night.

“The secretary-general pledges the continuing support of the United Nations to Kenya and the countries of the region in their multidimensional efforts to address the scourge of terrorism,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Ban also conveyed “his profound condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his solidarity with the people and the government of Kenya,” the statement added.

Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a bus early Saturday. The bus was travelling to the capital, Nairobi, when it was stopped in Mandera county, not far from the Somali border.

A statement on a website linked to the Islamist group said that the Saturday attack was staged in retaliation for security raids on mosques in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa earlier this week, reports said.

Since Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in 2011, northern and parts of eastern Kenya have been hit by a series of blasts, with many targeting local security forces and humanitarian workers.

 

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End Violence against Women

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The Issue

To raise awareness and trigger action to end the global scourge of violence against women and girls, the UN observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follow (ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day) are a chance to mobilize and raise awareness.

Orange your neighbourhood logo

This year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood,” with the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange your local streets, shops and schools!

infographic tile for violence against women affecting 1 in 3 women worldwide

Sobering numbers show that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner; about 120 million girls have been forced into intercourse or other sexual acts at some point in their lives; and 133 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.

Ending violence against women is one of UN Women’s key priorities, with myriad programmes to address the pandemic globally. UN Women also coordinates the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, supports widespread social mobilization through its Say NO – UNiTE social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter, and manages the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

The Beijing promise

The Beijing Platform for Action turns 20 logo in Orange

At the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, UN Member States adopted the path-breaking Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, taking up the global call to end all forms of violence against women and girls by highlighting violence against women as one of 12 critical areas of concern. They recognized that violence is one of the main mechanisms denying women equality, and that it imposes high social, health and economic costs.

Since Beijing, an historic two-thirds of countries have put laws on the books to stop domestic violence. Advocacy campaigns around the world have heightened awareness and galvanized actions to stop violence. Yet gaps in laws, implementation of legal protection and essential services remain. Momentum has begun, but needs to rapidly accelerate.

This year, as we near the 20th anniversary of Beijing, we take a look at how violence is not only an area of concern in its own right, but one which cuts across and intersects with each of the critical areas of concern.

UN women

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