Saturday, October 3, 2009

Women's eNEWS: Cheers and Jeers of the Week

The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution on Sept. 30 aimed at ending the use of sexual violence as a weapon against women and children during times of conflict. Also in today's Cheer's and Jeers column, a new report shows that over 142,000 women and girls who fled conflict-ridden Darfur, Sudan, and sought refuge in camps in Chad continue to be sexually violated.

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Here's today's update:


Clinton Speaks Out; U.N. Fails Refugees in Chad

By Kimberly St. Louis
WeNews correspondent

Cheers and Jeers



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The 15-member United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Sept. 30 aimed at ending the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war against women and children in a session chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton said the problem had received too little attention in both the Security Council and halls of government across the world.

Drafted by the United States, the resolution builds on U.N. resolutions in 2000 and 2008 that linked international peace with ending sexual violence and respecting women's right to participate in post-conflict negotiations and reconstruction planning.

The resolution calls for the appointment of a special representative for women and children, and asks the secretary general to identify a team of experts to work with governments to prevent sexual violence.

"The dehumanizing nature of sexual violence doesn't just harm a single individual or a single family or even a single village or a single group. It shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings," Clinton said. "It undermines economic progress. We need to understand that it holds all of us back."

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • An online service launched Oct. 1 in Cook County, Ill., makes it easier to obtain an order of protection against violent intimate partners. Users of "SmartForms" can request them for themselves, their children, other members of the household and on the behalf of minors or high-risk adults. It is available on the clerk's office Web site (

  • Shadi Sadr, a legal expert, journalist and a Women's eNews 21 Leader 2005, was one of three Iranian women to receive the Lech Walesa Prize on Sept. 28 for promotion of human rights, freedom of expression and democracy in Iran, the foundation said in a statement. Sadr is a leading figure in the campaign against the use of stoning as a punishment in Muslim countries, according to the foundation.

  • U.S. military top brass is calling end a ban that prevents women--about 15 percent of the more than 336,000 members of the U.S. Navy--from serving on submarines, Reuters reported. "I believe we should continue to broaden opportunities for women," said Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer and advocate for the policy change.

  • Hai Phong, a city in northern Vietnam, launched a two-day workshop on Sept. 29 to train national and local journalists to cover stories about domestic violence in the context of women's legal and human rights. The workshop was organized by the Women's Union Central Committee and the U. N. Population Fund, Vietnamese News Agency reported. The aim is to train journalists to produce news stories that can help prevent domestic violence and reduce gender inequality.

  • Breast cancer death rates among U.S. women have been declining by 2 percent a year since 1990, a study by the American Cancer Society finds. In the recent decade, the decrease has been equal among African American, Hispanic, and white women. Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, strategic director for cancer surveillance at the American Cancer Society, told HealthDay News that improved treatments and increased mammography screening rates explain the improvement. Since 1990, declines have been even greater among women under age 50, at 3.2 percent per year.

  • In spite of the recession, employers nationwide are upholding workplace flexibility, Working Mother reported. The number of companies offering flextime, telecommuting and compressed workweeks has remained steady, according to a June survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, based in Alexandria, Va.


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Over 142,000 women and girls who fled conflict-ridden Darfur, Sudan, and sought refuge in camps in Chad continue to be sexually violated, despite the presence of U.N.-trained forces, Amnesty International reported Sept. 30.

"These women fled Darfur, hoping that the international community and Chadian authorities would offer them some measure of safety and protection," Tawanda Hondora, the deputy director of Amnesty's Africa program, told Lebanon's Daily Star. "That protection has proved to be elusive and they remain under attack."

Amnesty said it was unable to collect substantial statistics on the attacks on female refugees during a visit to Chad earlier this year, as several women declined to report assaults to avoid public shame.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A report by the Violence Policy Center, based in Washington, D.C., indicates that Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, the Huffington Post reported. The report showed a rate of 2.53 female victims per 100,000 male offenders in the state. Nationally, the rate was 1.30 women per 100,000 men, translating to 1,865 murders of women in 2007. Alaska had the second highest rate (2.44 per 100,000) and Wyoming ranked third (2.33 per 100,000).

  • A pilot study that surveyed 500 women in the United Arab Emirates found that 85 percent of respondents only consulted their obstetricians-gynecologists when they had high-risk pregnancy and complications, the Khaleej Times reported.

  • An increasing number of poor and vulnerable women in India are being lured into the international sex trade, the Indo- Asian News Service reported. The National Commission for Women in India estimates that over 60 percent of 378 districts across India host the trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, China's Xinhua General News Service reported.

Kimberly St. Louis is an editorial intern at Women's eNews through the New York Arts Program. She is a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University studying journalism and politics and government.

Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at

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