Law, justice, gender violence: New UN report

In its first report since it was founded in March 2011, UN Women has forcefully made the connection between having more women in politics, having gender-sensitive laws, elimination of impunity for sexual violence and women’s empowerment.

For anyone who’s been engaged with research, service provision or advocacy around gender violence, reading the new Progress of the World’s Women report ( is both moving and heartwarming. The report quotes the European Court of Human Rights 2002 judgment in the Bevacqua vs Bulgaria case:

“When a State makes little or no effort to stop a certain form of private violence, it tacitly condones that violence. This complicity transforms what would otherwise be wholly private conduct into a constructive act of the State.” (page 47)

This report is both an educational and an advocacy asset. Check it out today!


Report: The Silencing Crime: Sexual Violence and Journalists

Yesterday, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report on sexual violence experienced by journalists doing their work across the world.

This has been under-reported, the silence coming from the idea that it would be unprofessional to complain or reflect poorly on the places where they experienced the violence, and so on. Finally, following incidents during this spring’s tumultuous uprisings in West Asia and North Africa, journalists have begun to speak and write about this horrible occupational hazard.

Th e Silencing Crime: Sexual Violence and Journalists, A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, 2011. (pdf) The same is available as a webpage  here.


Peacekeeping and gender violence

A newsreport today states the the Indian Army is investigating allegations that an Indian peacekeeping contingent stationed in Congo sexually exploited women there and fathered children. Of course, it is always possible that some of these followed from consensual relationships, but the power and privilege equation between the two individuals would make that debatable.

As the article reminds us, this is not the first such allegation.  The Army usually investigates and then sometimes dismisses such charges. When pressed, senior Army officials describe the human rights training and the recreational facilities made available to soldiers to “work off their excess energy.” But this is a problem that has lasted through history: that sexual violence is considered one of the spoils of war, that it is both weapon and vent for all the excessive testosterone energy that war calls up.

Read this report today: Varinder Bhatia, Army probes reports of its UN peacekeepers fathering kids in Congo, Indian Express, June 7, 2011.

You can also see: Peacekeeping and gender–my New Indian Express article of 2008 (Swarna Rajagopalan, Guardians stray from the straight path, New Indian Express, Chennai, August 25, 2008) on the same subject.

On patriarchy, modernisation and gender violence

Asha Hans makes the connection between patriarchy, modernisation and gender violence in her Sunday Express article: Patriarchal mindsets mar modernisation, May 22, 2011.