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On this page, you will find news and opinion pieces that deal with the issue of 'culturally-justified' violence against women (CVAW) and that have been published elsewhere. We hope this page will provide a useful and balanced collection of sources from around the globe. If you know of a previously published news or opinion piece that we should know about, write us at: info@violenceisnotourculture.org

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To find articles and commentary written by VNC networkers, go to: VNC Commentary and Blogs.

Girls 'Treated as Cattle': Child Brides Divide Pakistan

April 2, 2014

BY WAJAHAT S. KHAN AND HENRY AUSTIN

LAMABAD, Pakistan -- A proposed law seeking tough new penalties for marrying children has triggered intense debate in Pakistan.

At the moment, females can legally tie the knot at 16 while males must wait until they are 18. However, it is customary for younger teen girls to be married by their families in some parts of the country. Girls are also sometimes offered as compensation to end feuds between families.

Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies

March 26, 2014

Patrick Kingsley in Cairo - Friday 14th March 2014


Dr Raslan Fadl and father of the 13-year-old girl who died during cutting are the first to be prosecuted in Egypt for practice of FGM.

In a landmark case, Dr Raslan Fadl is the first doctor to be prosecuted for FGM in Egypt, where the practice was banned in 2008, but is still widely accepted and carried out by many doctors in private.

Sohair al-Bata'a died in Fadl's care in June 2013, and her family admitted that she had been victim to an FGM operation carried out at their request.

The case was initially dropped after an official medical report claimed that Sohair had been treated for genital warts, and that she died from an allergic reaction to penicillin. But after a campaign by local rights groups and the international organisation Equality Now, as well as an investigation by Egypt's state-run National Population Council (NPC), the country's chief prosecutor agreed to reopen the case – leading to this week's seminal prosecution of both Fadl and Sohair's father.

"It is a very important case," said Hala Youssef, head of the NPC, which had pushed for the case to be reopened. "It's the first time that somebody in Egypt will be prosecuted for this crime, and it should be a lesson for every clinician. The law is there, and it will be implemented."

According to Unicef, 91% of married Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 have been subjected to FGM, 72% of them by doctors. Unicef research suggests that support for the practice is gradually falling: 63% of women in the same age bracket supported it in 2008, compared with 82% in 1995.

But according to research, FGM still has high support in areas with a lower standard of education, where proponents claim mutilation makes women less likely to commit adultery.

Families living near where Sohair died have not been put off the practice, says Reda Maarouf, a local lawyer involved in the case; they simply go to other doctors.

Sohair's family are reported to oppose her father's prosecution. "It's a cultural problem, not religious," said Vivian Foad, an official who led the NPC's investigation. "Both Muslims and Christians do it. They believe it protects a woman's chastity."

Some Islamic fundamentalists claim FGM is a religious duty, but it is not nearly as widespread in most other majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East. Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Equality Now's regional representative, said: "It's very much rooted in Egypt, but in other Arab countries – in Jordan, in Palestine, in Syria – we don't have it."

There are four main methods of committing FGM, according to theWorld Health Organisation, and Abu-Dayyeh said the practice of removing a girl's clitoris and labia was probably the most common in Egypt.

"It's a very painful procedure and I don't know why they do it. It's the worst one," said Abu-Dayyeh, who visited Sohair's grave in Mansoura, northern Egypt, as part of Equality Now's campaign. "Women will really not feel any pleasure when having sex with their husband. It's criminal."

Foad hopes Egypt's interim government will be more proactive about FGM than the administration it replaced after Mohamed Morsi's overthrow last year. Officially, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood claimed they opposed FGM, but prominent members and allies of the group expressed support for it. "People are entitled to do what suits them," said Azza al-Garf, a female MP from the Brotherhood's political arm, in 2012. Another ultra-conservative MP, Nasser al-Shaker – a member of a Salafi party that was then an ally of the Brotherhood – called for legalisation of FGM, and said it had a religious mandate.

Two years on, Egypt's leadership has been criticised internationally for other human rights abuses, but Foad hopes it will be more progressive than its predecessors on FGM. "Under Morsi, they didn't create a conducive atmosphere through the media, and through education – not only for FGM but all women's issues. Now the government is responding positively, and the media is responding positively."

Abu-Dayyeh said Fadl's prosecution was just the start. The case would count for little unless the doctor was jailed and an anti-FGM awareness campaign reached the country's poorest districts, she said.

"Now you need much more work. And it has to be done far away from Cairo – in the [rural areas] where the practice is very widespread."

Additional reporting by Manu Abdo

MEET A DEFENDER: DR ISATOU TOURAY

March 21, 2014

An unwavering commitment to ‘drop the knife’ in The Gambia

WHRDIC supports many women human rights defenders who fight for women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to be free from female genital mutilation (FGM).

Despite being banned by the United Nations, this harmful practice continues to affect over 100 million women worldwide.

Tougher Action Urged on Kazakstan "Bride-Theft"

March 20, 2014
Lawmaker says tougher methods needed to deal with “traditional” abductions.
 
20 Feb 14 - A proposal to toughen legislation on the practice of “bride stealing” in Kazakstan has reignited debate on a practice that has proved difficult to tackle. Svetlana Romanovskaya, a member of parliament from the ruling Nur Otan party, wants to see stricter measures to criminalise abductions that lead to forced marriages.

Iran says woman sentenced to stoning given "leave" from prison

March 20, 2014

DUBAI, March 18 (Reuters) - An Iranian woman sentenced to die by stoning for adultery and later given a 10-year jail term instead has been allowed to leave prison, the judiciary said, in a new twist to a case that has triggered years of criticism of Iran's rights record.

A judiciary spokesman told Reuters that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani had been given "a leave" from prison several weeks ago for good behaviour. He said, without elaborating, that the decision was a sign of "our religion's leniency towards women".

Bahrain: Family violence law articles approved

March 6, 2014

By MOHAMMED AL A'ALI ,  Posted on » Tuesday, March 04, 2014

BAHRAIN's top legal authority has recommended that husbands who force their wives to have sex should not be prosecuted.

It has also suggested husbands and guardians who "reasonably" discipline their wives and daughters should be above the law.

The Supreme Judicial Council made the recommendations to ensure new legislation on domestic disputes does not contradict Sharia (Islamic) principles. 

However, the recommendations have yet to be voted on by the Shura Council.

Syrian refugee girls speak out on forced marriage

February 24, 2014

Refugee girls from Syria recently took part in an International Rescue Committe project to maek animated videos about issues that affect them.  Through the workshop the girls became empowered to express themselves.  They gain knowledge about and shared their experiences with issues too taboo to talk about elsewhere.  One group worked on a story involving a 13-year old girl forced to leave school to marry a 20-year old man.  This is the video they created.

 

Wedding Crashers Shine a Spotlight on Child Marriage

February 20, 2014

It was late afternoon when 14-year-old Reshma was getting ready for her wedding at a beauty parlor in the Old City of Hyderabad. Reshma was one of 33 brides, all under the age of 18, to be married that night in an illegal ceremony at 3 a.m.

Sudan: Ethiopian Woman Gang Raped by Seven Sudanese Men, Denied from Making a Formal Complaint of Rape and Instead Charged with Adultery and Prostitution

February 20, 2014

Press Statement

14th February 2014

The Ethiopian woman in Khartoum, Sudan, who was gang raped by seven men, has been denied by the Attorney General the ability to make a formal complaint of rape and thus instigate a full investigation. She has instead been charged with adultery which carries the potential sentence of death by stoning.

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