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The U.N. Security Council voted Dec. 16 to shame publicly the armed groups that target women for sexual abuse by publishing an annual list of their names. The resolution spells out steps the perpetrators must take to end the practice and avoid future shaming, and makes clear that using rape as a weapon of war can lead to sanctions. Human Rights Watched hailed the development. "Victims of rape have waited a long time for the Security Council to take concrete action and call out persistent perpetrators," said Marianne Mollmann, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "Today is a big day for women worldwide."

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The European court ruled that the Irish Republic’s refusal to allow abortion in the case of a life-threatening situation breached human rights, reported the Guardian Dec. 16.
  • Congressional leaders should ensure passage this session of a bipartisan bill that sets out a new U.S. strategy for ending violence against women worldwide, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
  • Hong Kong officials said Monday they want a change in their rape law after a 13-year-old boy allegedly raped a 5-year-old girl in a hospital ward, Monsters and Critics News reported Dec. 14.
  • In the wake of recent incidents of crime against women in the capital, India’s National Commission for Women today asked the Delhi Police to increase patrolling and set up round-the-clock women desks at police stations, MSN News reported Dec. 14.
  • The House and Senate have passed the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, reported the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Dec. 10.
  • The United States Senate unanimously approved a bill Dec. 9 designed to aid sex trafficking victims by providing more tools to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers, according to a press release from its two sponsors: Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).




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Sexual assaults at the U.S. military’s three service academies increased drastically in the last academic year after four years of decline, reported CNN Dec. 16. The academies reported 41 sexual assaults compared with 25 the prior academic year, a 64 percent jump. The increase may be in part due to an increase in reporting of attacks.

The Service Women’s Action Network is suing the Pentagon for their refusal to release information on sex crime and its inadequate help for victims, reported Courthouse News Service Dec. 15. Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment "occur nearly twice as often within military ranks as they do within civilian life" and are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in women veterans.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A 24-year-old sex worker has been identified as one of four bodies found on Long Island Beach and the latest victim of an at-large serial killer targeting sex workers four days before the Day to End Violence against Sex Workers Dec. 17, reported Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project Dec. 16.
  • Parents of girls under the age of 18 seeking an abortion in Alaska must be notified under a new law that took effect Tuesday, reported Reuters Dec. 14.
  • The Catholic bishop of Phoenix will strip St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center of its Catholic status on Friday if the hospital doesn’t guarantee compliance with church teachings after the hospital terminated a pregnancy to save a mother’s life, reported USA Today Dec. 15.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of a Muslim woman who was told she could not enter a municipal courtroom unless she removed her head covering and was jailed for contempt of court when she protested, according to an ACLU press release Dec. 14.
  • A report by the Research and Advocacy Unit and the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, indicates that 2008 had the highest number of politically motivated rapes in Zimbabwe as compared to other elections since 2000, the Standard reported Dec.12.
  • About 30 Sudanese women have been arrested for holding a protest march over a video which allegedly shows a policeman whipping a woman, BBC News reported Dec. 14.
  • A federal judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, the New York Times reported Dec. 13.
  • A leading Congressional opponent of abortion rights plans to press for much stricter limits on the procedure, reported the New York Times Dec. 11.