Sex Assault Campaign Launched; Call for Aid to Syrians

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Credit: UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

President Barack Obama announced a nationwide public service campaign on Sept. 19 aimed at urging young people to do more to prevent campus sexual assaults. The White House promises the campaign will enlist celebrities whom can mobilize youth behind the mission, reported. The campaign is called "It’s on Us," a message that is intended to make sure that everyone feels a responsibility to confront the problem of sexual assault.

It is aimed directly at college campuses, but officials said the recent focus on incidents of domestic violence by National Football League players should underscore the need for the public campaign.

Early this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell named NFL executive Anna Isaacson to take over the newly created position of vice president of social responsibility. He also named three outside consultants to help shape league policies on domestic violence and sexual assault. All four are women, reported Sept. 15.

More News to Cheer This Week:

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews, Scotland, is no longer just for men, reported Sept. 18. More than three-quarters of the club’s 2,500 members worldwide voted, with 85 percent in favor to admit women.

Qatar has included a record 55 women in its Asian Games team and they are not just there as window dressing, their delegation leader told on Sept.17. The 55 are among a Qatari delegation of 260 athletes at the Incheon games, which started on Sept. 19. Middle East nations face growing attention on their sports equality following Saudi Arabia’s decision not to send any women to their Asian Games team.

Former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce resigned as Arizona Republican Party’s first vice chair after receiving criticism over recent comments he made about women on Medicaid, reported Sept. 15. "You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations," Pearce said. "Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

Jeers

The international community has been strong on rhetoric but weak on follow through when it comes to the protection of Syrian women and girls, finds a Sept. 18 report. Authors call for the interests of these women and girls to become a priority for humanitarian programming. Published by the International Rescue Committee, , "Are We Listening? Acting on our commitments to women and girls," draws on over 70,000 conversations with women and girls, and 200 interviews in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, detailing chronic abuse and harassment experienced by these women and girls over the past three years. Since the beginning of the deadly Syrian conflict in March 2011, many Syrian women are facing a large range of issues including sexual exploitation and harassment, domestic violence, and early and forced marriage. "This report is a wake-up call that resolutions and pledges are not being turned into meaningful help for too many women in the eye of a Syrian humanitarian storm," said David Miliband, CEO and president of the committee.

The report makes recommendations to ensure greater protection, including a call for the U.N. to launch an evaluation of the humanitarian community’s implementation of minimum standards needed to keep women and girls safer. Read more in the Women’s eNews series

More News to Jeer This Week:

Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are easy prey for human traffickers because they are more likely to suffer from poverty, drug addictions and mental-health problems, says a newly disclosed report, reported Sept. 19. The Public Safety Canada study shed new light on how women and girls are forced into the sex trade by pimps acting as boyfriends, small, loosely defined gangs and even members of their own families. The previously unreleased research is bound to add fuel to the controversy raging in Canada over the Conservative government’s refusal to hold a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls.

Arizona Cardinals backup running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested in connection with domestic abuse allegations, Phoenix police said, reported Sept. 18. The Cardinals deactivated Dwyer after news of the arrest, according to a news release from the team. Police said he was booked on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault. The two victims are a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child, police said.

A dozen other NFL players with domestic violence arrests are still suiting up on Sundays. Ray McDonald and Chris Cook of the San Francisco 49ers, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams of the Seattle Seahawks, Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes of the Chicago Bears, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, Erik Walden of the Indianapolis Colts, Donte Whitner of the Cleveland Browns, Randy Starks of the Miami Dolphins and Frostee Rucker of the Arizona Cardinals have all been arrested for domestic violence or related charges since 2005, according to a that tracks players’ arrests since 2000.

Lisa Coleman has become the 15th woman to be put to death in the U.S. since capital punishment was restored in 1976, reported Sept. 18. Convicted murderer Coleman, 38, was put to death for kidnapping and killing in 2004 the 9-year-old son of her live-in girlfriend. She was one of only a handful of women on death row.

A Saudi woman was reportedly fined by police after she drove herself to hospital, reported Sept. 16. Aliyah Al Farid, a businesswoman and member of the National Society for Human Rights, suffers from a chronic condition which means she is occasionally required to seek hospital care.

One in five Australians believe a woman is "partly responsible" for being raped if she is intoxicated, a national survey found, reported Sept. 17. The poll of 17,500 people also found 1-in-6 people support the notion that when women say no to sex, they mean yes.

Senate Republicans did it again, Sept. 15: They blocked a measure backed by President Obama that would have strengthened equal pay protections for women. Counting procedural votes, it’s the fourth time Republicans have voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act since 2012, writes Irin Carmon.

Eighty percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way, according to directors of migrant shelters interviewed by . This new figure is up from the previous reports that estimated the number at 60 percent.

Noted:

U.S. Census Bureau data released Sept. 16 shows that the wage gap in 2013 shrank to 78 cents, but it does not represent a statistically significant change from 2012, says Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center. "There’s good news and bad news," Goss Graves said in an email press statement. "The good news: the wage gap is shrinking. The very bad news: it’s by only a penny."

Angelina Jolie’s decision to make public her double mastectomy more than doubled the number of women in Britain seeking to have genetic breast cancer tests, according to a study, reported Sept. 19. Researchers studied 21 clinics and regional genetic centers and found there were 4,847 referrals for testing in June and July last year compared to 1,981 in the same period of 2012. In May last year, Jolie announced her surgery, saying she acted after testing positive for a mutation of the BRCA1 gene that significantly increases the risk of breast cancer.

Five people have been arrested near Lyon, France, on suspicions of recruiting young women to join extremist groups fighting in Syria, France 24 reported Sept. 17. Read background in the Women’s eNews story "."

Raw Beauty NYC, a visual arts project designed to inspire the public to create new perceptions and transform stereotypes by expanding awareness of women with physical challenges, opens on Sept. 20 in New York City, according to a press statement. Danielle Sheypuk, a disability-rights advocate and wheelchair-dependent fashion model, will be featured at the opening reception at the ACA Galleries.

A study into British gaming habits has confirmed what many industry watchers have been observing for years: more women play games than men, reported Sept. 17. Based on interviews with 4,000 U.K. residents, the research asserts that women now account for 52 percent of the gaming audience, up from 49 percent three years ago. The study, which was commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau, also revealed there are now more people over 44 years old playing games (27 percent of the audience) than children or teenagers (22 percent).

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