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Egypt Fights Harassment; Mourdock Comments on Rape

Friday, October 26, 2012



Activists protest the mass sexual assaults against women in downtown Cairo.
Activists protest the mass sexual assaults against women in downtown Cairo.

Credit: Hossam el-Hamalawy on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

Egypt's government and the National Council for Women are currently working on a law to combat street harassment through imposing harsh penalties, The Ahram Online reported Oct. 22. Describing sexual harassment as "a disastrous phenomenon," the Minister of Interior announced that surveillance cameras will be installed in streets and squares in Cairo to detect incidents of sexual harassment.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor who repairs fistulas and is a ferocious anti-rape advocate, survived an armed attack by four gunmen in his home, Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times, reported Oct. 25. Mukwege presumably was targeted because of a speech he gave at the United Nations last month, denouncing mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The latest annual Gender Gap Report, issued by the World Economic Forum, shows that the U.S. is making significant gains in gender equality, an area where it has often lagged, The Washington Post reported Oct. 25. The 2012 report ranks the U.S. 22nd in the world. The only non-Western nations that rank higher than the U.S. are South Africa, Cuba, Lesotho, Nicaragua and the Philippines. View the charts.

New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand crossed the $1 million fundraising mark--not for her own reelection campaign, but for other female Senate and House candidates, The BuzzFeed reported Oct. 23. Gillibrand says that the push to raise cash for these women is a way of advancing "the women's movement as the solution."

Jeers

Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that women who have been raped should be required to carry resulting pregnancies to term because the pregnancy is "a gift from God" and something that "God intended to happen," Ms. Magazine reported Oct. 24. In response to Mourdock's remarks, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said, "Does Mourdock mean that God intended for that rape to happen, and for it to result in a pregnancy?"

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently endorsed Mourdock, appearing in a campaign video on behalf of Mourdock as well as campaigning with him in Evansville, Ind., on Aug. 4. In a statement released Oct. 23, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said Mourdock's remarks were not in line with Romney's views, CBS reported.

More News to Jeer This Week:

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Texas can move forward immediately with excluding Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the state's public health program for poor women, RH Reality Check reported Oct. 26. Gov. Rick Perry, in a statement issued Oct. 25, said Texas will immediately "defund" the health organization's affiliates.

The number of possible sexual abuse victims of Jimmy Savile has increased to 300, Scotland Yard confirmed, BBC reported Oct. 25. It is thought the TV presenter and DJ, who died last year at age 84, may have abused scores of young girls and some boys over a 40-year period.

A Pennsylvania House bill seeks to limit the amount of food stamp assistance that low-income women receive based on the amount of children they give birth to while covered under the program, Alternet reported Oct. 24. If a woman gives birth to a child who was conceived from rape, she may seek an exception to this, but only if she can provide proof that she reported her sexual assault and her abuser's identity to the police.

Few female teens are tested for pregnancy at U.S. hospital emergency departments, even if they complain of lower abdominal pain or before they undergo radiation-based tests, a large new study finds, HealthDay News reported Oct. 23. The researchers also found disparities in pregnancy testing based on age, race and insurance.

Less than two weeks after the Taliban shot Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, another teenager says her life has been threatened, Al Jazeera English reported Oct. 22. Hina Khan, who has criticized the Taliban in the past, found a red 'X' painted on her gate. Her family says the Pakistani government has not offered them any protection

Sonia Dridi, a female journalist for France 24, was attacked and groped by a group of men while filming live during protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, The Guardian reported Oct. 21. Her attack was caught on camera. Dridi has filed a police report about the incident.

Two New York women who say they were turned away from a potential wedding site because they are lesbians have filed a discrimination complaint, The Associated Press reported Oct. 22. Advocates say the complaint filed with the state Division of Human Rights is among the first of its kind since New York legalized same-sex weddings last year.

Noted:

After posting a study of 275 women, looking at how they voted during different stages of their menstrual cycle, CNN quickly unpublished the article because of backlash they received over its legitimacy, Fox News reported Oct. 26. "When women are ovulating, they 'feel sexier,' and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality," was one theory the study determined.

A recent poll, by the American Civil Liberties Union and Catholics for Choice, shows that Americans reject policies that allow institutions to refuse to provide reproductive health services on religious grounds, Catholics for Choice said in a press statement Oct. 25.

Most women can wait three to five years between Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer, according to guidelines released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, NBC News reported Oct. 23. The latest recommendation marks a further shift away from annual Pap testing, which was once the standard advice.

European Union plans to set a 40 percent quota for women on company supervisory boards by 2020 stalled after EU commissioners failed to agree on the measures at a meeting, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 22. The European Commission's legal service warned that a binding quota for women may be illegal. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said, "It took centuries to get gender equality on the map… I will not give up."

In a comment made during a talk before University of Tennessee Law School students, pro-choice Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan admitted President Barack Obama probably would not have picked her if she were not a woman, LifeNews.com reported Oct .22.

Two convicted women from the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sent to prison camps, BBC News reported Oct. 22. Conditions are reported to be tough at the camps, in Perm and Mordovia, east of Moscow. Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, were each jailed for two years in August for singing an anti-Kremlin song in a cathedral.

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