13 July 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights

Articles

‘We can do anything’: the Indian girls’ movement fighting child marriage
The Guardian, 13 Jul 2021

Priyanka Bairwa was 15 when her family, began to look for a husband for her. The pandemic sped up the process, as schools shut and work dried up. By October 2020, her parents had settled on a suitable boy from their village of Ramathra in the district of Karauli, Rajasthan. But Bairwa, now 18, wouldn’t hear of it. “During the pandemic, every family in the village was eager to marry off their girls. You’d have to invite less people, there were fewer expenses,” says Bairwa. “But I refused to be caught in a child marriage. There was a major backlash – constant fights. I finally threatened to run away and, fearing I would do something drastic, my family called it off. My mother convinced them to let me study and I joined a college.”

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COVID vaccine trials: Where are the women?
DW, 12 Jul 2021

In June, the Swiss government released data showing 68.7% of reported side effects to COVID vaccines came from women. In the US, that percentage was 79.1% for the first 13.7 million doses given to people — 61.2% of which had been administered to women. And in Norway it was 83% of the 722,000 people vaccinated as of early April. That's just a handful of samples. Data on women's side effects is scarce. But Maria Teresa Ferretti, a neuroimmunologist at the Medical University of Vienna, says the data we have is unsurprising. Ferretti, who also founded a nonprofit called Women's Brain Project, says we already knew that men and women react differently to vaccination.

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When Statutory Rape Laws Led to Forced Marriages
JSTOR Daily, 12 Jul 2021

In the era before birth control, sex was a risky proposition—and could end, if not with a pregnancy, with a ring. For many women whose parents discovered they were sexually active or pregnant, a forced marriage followed. Parents had a trump card in early twentieth-century New York: statutory rape laws. Men found to have had intercourse with a girl under eighteen faced a decade in prison. Designed by Progressive reformers to fight prostitution, statutory rape laws became a way for working-class families to pursue what they saw as justice, as well as “respectability” for their daughters.

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Author And Podcaster, Elayne Fluker, On How Women Can Get Better At Asking For Help
Forbes, 12 Jul 2021

From climbing the corporate ladder to closing business deals to leading their household, ambitious women have skillfully assumed the characteristics that enable them to excel in every way. Yet the double-edged sword of their resilience, drive and devotion to others often becomes what prevents them from seeking help for themselves. Many accept the myth that asking for help along their journey is a sign of weakness, ignorance, or incompetence, so they go it alone.

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Sulli Deals: Indian Muslim women offered for sale in ‘auction’
Al Jazeera, 12 Jul 2021

On the night of July 4, Afreen Fatima participated in an online forum about the persecution of Muslims in India. No sooner had she wrapped up her session than her mobile phone was flooded with messages, informing the 23-year-old student activist that she had been ‘put up for sale’ on a fake online auction. And she was not alone. Photographs of more than 80 other Muslim women, including students, activists and journalists, had been uploaded on an app called “Sulli deals” without their knowledge.

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Saudi Arabia: New Details of Alleged Torture Leaked
Human Rights Watch, 11 Jul 2021

New accounts have emerged of alleged torture of high-profile political detainees in Saudi prisons, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities failed to independently and credibly investigate allegations that Saudi authorities tortured Saudi women’s rights activists and others detained in early 2018, including with electric shocks, beatings, whippings, and sexual harassment. Human Rights Watch has obtained a series of anonymous text messages sent in January 2021 from an individual identifying themself as a Saudi prison guard that provide descriptions of the torture and ill-treatment they and other prison guards witnessed Saudi interrogators commit against high-profile detainees in mid-to-late-2018.

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Privacy Is Still a Victim When Rape Cases Hit the Justice System
The New York Times, 10 Jul 2021

She reported the attack to the police, who were initially supportive, she said. But then they closed her case after she refused to submit to a “digital strip search” — Britain’s policy of requiring victims of sex crimes to give the police full access to their phone data, social media accounts, school records and even therapists’ notes. “I always assumed before any of this ever happened to me that the assault would have been the most traumatic thing that could happen,” said Brooke, an actress living in London. (The Times is not using her full name because she is a victim of sexual assault.) But in fact, she said, she found the experience of reporting the crime to the police, only to be treated like a suspect to be investigated herself, far worse.

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Jehan Sadat: Egypt's first lady who transformed women's rights
BBC, 10 Jul 2021

Her life partner, Anwar - then president of Egypt - was hit by several bullets and died two hours later in hospital. It was 6 October 1981, and Jehan's decade-long spell as Egypt's first lady came to an abrupt halt. Jehan, who has died at the age of 88, spent most of her life dedicated to promoting social justice and female empowerment in Egypt, and continued to do so decades after her husband's very public assassination. "She led change and inspired generations to come," says Noha Bakr, a political studies affiliate professor at the American University of Cairo.

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