Worldwide 1 in 3 Women Subjected to Violence in Their Lifetime & Global News

by Debra Brown

violence against women

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.

 

Worldwide 1 in 3 Women Subjected to Violence in Their Lifetime

One in three women globally are subjected to physical or sexual violence during their lifetimes, estimates a damning new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) released hours after International Women’s Day.

The report’s findings are based on data from the largest ever WHO study on the prevalence of violence against women.

“Around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner — a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade,” the WHO statement adds.

Intimate partner violence is the most common form suffered by women, with around 641 million affected globally. The organization said younger women remain particularly at risk of such violence, with one in four women aged 15 to 24 suffering violence at the hands of an intimate partner by the time they reached their mid-twenties.

Location and wealth are crucial factors, according to the report, which found that around 37% of women living in the poorest countries had experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. In some countries, the prevalence of such violence was as high as one in every two women.

The official WHO regions of Oceania, Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest rates of intimate partner violence. Europe had the lowest rates, according to the WHO.

In Mexico, thousands of women from across the country gathered in Mexico City’s Zócalo protesting skyrocketing femicides. Protesters were met by police who used tear gas and batons to try to disperse the crowd.

True figures are likely far higher because of under-reporting of sexual abuse, a heavily stigmatised crime.

The new WHO report is based on data collected from 2000 to 2018 and therefore does not reflect the toll of the pandemic on women.

 

Italy Charges Humanitarian Workers Who Helped Rescue Refugees in Mediterranean

In Italy, dozens of humanitarian aid workers have been charged with complicity in human smuggling after saving thousands of refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean as they attempted to reach European soil. The charges against over 20 humanitarian aid workers, with groups including Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children, come after a four-year investigation by the Italian government, which in recent years has increasingly criminalized both refugees and rescuers. The charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

 

Georgia Republicans Advance Bill to Restrict Voting Access

Georgia lawmakers have advanced a measure that would significantly curtail voting access after a record number of voters propelled Democratic victories in the 2020 race.

The measure  passed 29-20 in the GOP-controlled Georgia senate, which was the absolute minimum number of votes Republicans needed. Four Republicans, including some in competitive races, sat out the vote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The bill, SB 241, would end the right to vote by mail without having to provide an excuse, a policy that Georgia Republicans implemented in the state in 2005. More than 1.3 million people voted by mail in the 2020 general election in the state. Under the bill only people age 65 and older, or who have one of a handful of state-approved excuses, would be allowed to vote by mail. Just 16 other states currently require a voter to give an excuse to vote by mail.

The bill will now go to the Georgia House of Representatives, which last week approved its own set of voting restrictions, including new limits on early voting and dropboxes. It remains unclear which proposals will ultimately be sent to the governor’s desk once each chamber fully considers the opposite chamber’s bill.

The new barriers would have an outsize impact on Black voters, who make up roughly one-third of the state’s population and vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

 

Senegalese Women Join Nationwide Protests 

Violent protests erupted in Senegal over the past week, sparked by the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on a rape charge he says is politically motivated. He has recently been freed on bail.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has been accused of arresting other political rivals on false charges since he took office in 2012.

Protestors are also venting their frustrations over unemployment, police violence and the economic toll of a COVID-19 curfew at 9 p.m. local time.

Hundreds of women dressed in white gathered in Dakar to express their frustrations with the government and to show support for sexual abuse victims. 

Female protesters are hoping to hear more calls for an end to a culture of victim shaming. Until last year, rape was only considered a misdemeanor in Senegal.

 

Breonna Taylor’s Boyfriend Kenneth Walker Cleared of Shooting Police Officer

The boyfriend of Breonna Taylor has had an attempted murder charge against him dropped after he shot and wounded a police officer at his home. Kenneth Walker had claimed he thought intruders were breaking-in when police raided his home in Kentucky last year.

No criminal charges have ever been brought over the shooting. Two officers were eventually fired.

Kenneth Walker was cleared of attempted murder two months after Breonna’s death, but prosecutors were able to bring the charges back if new evidence came up.

However now a judge has permanently closed the case against him, meaning he can’t ever be charged again over it.

 

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