Iman al-Obaidi, the Libyan woman who grabbed the world’s attention after she told a room of international journalists she was raped by military forces, was finally able to leave Libya last week, fleeing to Tunisia, The Washington Post reported May 9. Al-Obaidi was detained and later released by Moammar Gadhafi’s regime after she told journalists assembled in a Tripoli hotel that she was gang-raped by government troops.
“I was tied up. They defecated on me. They urinated on me. They violated my honor,” she said to the reporters in March.
She was taken from a safe house on the border to the French embassy in Tunis by European diplomats. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly taken an interest in her safety.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland is set to premiere a new exhibit called “Women Who Rock,” commencing on May 13, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- This summer the Women’s World Cup in Germany is expected to be the most tightly contested tournament in the event’s 20-year history, USA Today reported May 9.
- In Uganda, hundreds of women led a rally May 9 protesting high food prices and brutal police tactics in recent political rallies, reported the Atlantic Journal-Constitution.
- Florida resident Recy Taylor, 91, has finally received a statement of apology from the State of Alabama for its “morally abhorrent and repugnant” conduct in response to her 1944 gang-rape for which a group of white men who admitted to the assault were never brought to trial, reported Change.org May 10, which conducted a petition campaign demanding the apology.
The Houston Press released “10 Hottest Women on the Texas Sex Offenders List” May 12, posting the women’s mug shots, cities and crimes, as well as their victims’ information, who ranged in age from 2 to 16 years old.
“This kind of thinking that female sex offenders are harmless seductresses rather than predators or perpetrators can set us back decades,” said Torie Camp, deputy director the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, reported the Huffington Post.
The writer, Richard Connelly, wrote an apology saying the piece was an “attempt to catch attention” about the misguided stereotype that sex offenders are only older, unattractive men.
“No one ever likes apologies to ‘anyone who was offended’ because they seem half-hearted,” Connelly wrote in his apology. “I can only say the intention was to shock (in what I hoped would be a positive way) and not to offend. To a lot of people, I failed miserably. I can understand that, and I apologize to them.”
More News to Jeer This Week:
- A study released May 11 by the American Journal of Public Health indicates that in the Democratic Republic of Congo 48 women are raped every hour, The Boston Globe reported May 12.
- Human Rights Watch says the rape and murder of a prominent lesbian activist in South Africa is a hate crime. Police have made no arrests, reported the Christian Science Monitor May 13.
- The Justice Department said it would continue to enforce a law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, reported the New York Times May 8.
- In April, 33 new laws in nine states restricted abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Kansas seems to have the most extreme provisions, reported Mother Jones May 11, including a new bill passed May 13 restricting private insurance coverage for abortions, reported UPI. Also, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign a law soon requiring a woman seeking an abortion to have a sonogram and hear a description of the fetus, The Wall Street Journal reported May 10.
- Defendants charged with rape, homicide, drug dealing and more in Illinois received probation and dismissal after giving thousands of dollars to “anti-crime” funds that benefit or are controlled by local prosecutors, reported Belleville News-Democrat May 8.
- Di Tzeitung, an Orthodox Jewish newspaper based in Brooklyn, N.Y., apologized for deleting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason from a photograph of President Obama and the national security team in the White House during the capture of Osama bin Laden. Ms. Magazine reported the paper apologized for breaking White House policy by altering the photo, not for removing the women.
- A growing group of former Peace Corps volunteers are speaking out about their sexual assaults, prompting scrutiny from Congress and a pledge from the agency for reform, the New York Times reports May 11.
- Crowds outside New York’s City Hall gathered on May 11 to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s latest budget proposal to cut $51 million in child-care subsidies for low- income families. The Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care reported families, especially single mothers, say they will be unable to work without child care assistance. The rally was organized by The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
- Politicians and activists gathered May 11 in Washington, D.C., to highlight legislation focused on reducing the deaths of women during or within a year of giving birth. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has introduced the Maternal Health Accountability Act , which promises a dramatic step forward to fight pregnancy complications and maternal deaths. Maternal death rates for African American women are several times higher than for whites, according to a May 8 report from Healthnews. For more information, read the WeNews series on Black Maternal Health.
- Thousands of women will take to the streets next month in the first anti-sexist “SlutWalks” in Britain, in response to a police officer in Toronto who, while visiting Osgoode Hall High School, advised female students to stay safe by not “dressing like sluts,” the U.K.’s Telegraph reported May 10.
- Under new rules in development by the Federal Reserve Board, banks will have to consider a consumer’s individual income as part of the credit card application process, Forbes reported May 10, making it more difficult for stay-at-home moms, retirees, asset-rich and low-income women to get a credit card.
- The League of Women Voters began airing campaign-style ads targeting Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri for their votes on air-quality regulation. Brown and his political allies have complained almost ceaselessly since the ads appeared April 29, accusing the league of “gutter” politics, The Boston Globe reported May 12.
- On March 3, the Argentinean magazine, El Guardián, published a commentary by a journalist where he threatened to rape a Buenos Aires feminist activist from Hollaback, an international organization dedicated to ending the street harassment of women. The magazine has apologized for the column and pledged to never print the author’s work again, reported Change.org May 6.
- Conscience Magazine –published by the group Catholics for Choice–produced a symposium for writers questioning Obama’s commitment to abortion rights in its latest issue, USA Today reported May 9.
- 2010 was the worst network pilot season for female writers and show-runners, reported Deadline.com May 8, but 2011 shows improvements.
- Women who have twins naturally may live longer and have other child-bearing advantages compared with non-twin-bearing mothers, according to a study released online May 10 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, The Los Angeles Times reported May 12.