The violence of disbelief

Protection gap


#GMABlog #GenderBasedViolence #InternationalWomen’sDay #IWD #refugeewomen

Today (Sunday 8 March) is International Women’s Day, and for all those who question whether there should be a day specifically for women in a modern age of equality, consider this: worldwide, women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than they are from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria.

And, within that shocking statistic, there is a group which is even more at risk: refugee women. A 2012 Refugee Council study found that nearly 60% of all the women they worked with had experienced gender-based violence in their own countries.

So what does that mean? It means that women coming to the UK to claim asylum have faced many, many challenges and heartbreaking situations before they even arrived here. They have often faced gender based violence in many difference forms – rape (by strangers, by family members, by husbands, by people who want to ‘correct’ their homosexuality), female genital mutilation, forced marriage, trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

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Girls are made perfect – Say No! to FGM

“I feel that God made my body perfect the way I was born. Then man robbed me, took away my power, and left me a cripple. My womanhood was stolen. If God had wanted those body parts missing, why did he create them?”  Waris Dirie

Friday 6th February 2015 marked the 12th International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. 140 million women and girls worldwide underwent brutal practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); another 3 million are at risk yearly to face the excruciating pain of their genitalia being removed partially or even completely for no medical reason but to obey tradition and social pressures.

The archaic practice to prevent girls from “being ill-mannered and doing bad things, and being badly behaved”, is carried out in 29 countries which are primarily concentrated in Africa and the Middle East. In violation of human rights of women and girls the procedure is generally carried between infancy and age 15.

One quarter of all FGM worldwide is carried out in Egypt; 91% of all married women there have been mutilated and that despite the fact that the practice had been made illegal in 2008. Even though the practice includes many risks including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths, it has persisted for over a thousand years. Continue reading

No laughing matter: Souad Al-Shammary and the Saudi clergy


By Elham Manea

She made a joke about a beard and the medieval clergy went berserk; apparently they do not have a sense of humour.

Now she is in prison charged with, and I am not making this up, ‘publicly calling for the liberation of Saudi women and the separation of religion from the government’.

Are these the accusations of a just, modern, functioning society?

Another charge was added to the list: ‘denial of holiness of clergy’. The last charge gives an indication of the type of theocratic system we are talking about.

No matter. Now she is awaiting trial just as her famous blogger friend Raif Badawi did – for apostasy. Now the same clergy, who think they are holy, will judge her.

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