Women journalists and security

 

Women journalists in the eye of the storm

“Threats and violence against women journalists are on the rise in many regions of the world. In their work exposing injustices and bearing witness to human rights violations, women journalists are women human rights defenders and as such are in need of better security and protection mechanisms.”

Journalist Security Guide

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Violence and gender

Sage Publications is offering free access to journal articles up until April 30th. Here are two related to violence and gender:

A gendered assessment of the “threat of victimization”: Examining gender differences in fear of crime, perceived risk, avoidance, and defense behaviors  – by May, Rader, and Goodrum

Abstract

Rader has called for a change in how researchers study fear of crime, suggesting that fear of crime, perceptions of risk, and experiences with victimization are interrelated dimensions of the larger ‘‘threat of victimization’’ concept. In this study, the authors examine how each independent dimension affects additional theoretical dimensions of the ‘‘threat of victimization’’ and how these relationships vary by gender. Using data from residents of Kentucky, the authors estimate a series of multivariate linear and logistic regression models. The findings presented here suggest that gender differences do exist in the components of the threat of victimization and that many of the relationships in the Rader model are multifaceted, including the relationship between perceived risk, fear of crime, and avoidance and defensive behaviors. Implications of these findings for future research regarding predictors of the threat of victimization are discussed.

Interesting:

Women are much more likely to self-report fear of crime than men, even though they are less likely, according to official data, to experience victimization (with the exceptions of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment). This discrepancy is often called the ‘‘gender-fear paradox’’ because women’s fear of crime is incongruent with the reality of their criminal victimization (Ferraro, 1996). These elevated fear levels increase womens’ perceptions of risk and may cause women to be more likely to engage in constrained behaviors…

Gendered violence:  An analysis of the maquiladora murders  – by Katherine Pantaleo

Abstract

This study analyzes the social construction of a wave of female homicides surrounding the maquiladora plants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Specifically, it explores the social construction ofthe murders by three different groups, the news media, human rights organizations, and academic researchers. The research begins with a content analysis of 35 narratives from newspapers,human rights reports, and academic journals. Sixteen of these narratives discuss North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in relation with the violence in Juarez. Analysis indicates that gender issues are intertwined with the trade agreement and concludes that the policy has aided in the disruption of the social fabric of Mexican society.

Results for Newspaper Articles

Overall, the newspaper articles do not include language such as femicide, maquiladora murder, violence toward women, and impunity nor do they suggest action or link the murders to anothersocial problem. None of the newspaper articles in the sample addressed the murders as femicidesor maquiladora murders. The perpetrators were mostly described as male serial killers. Four articlesaddressed the murders acts of violence against women, while three addressed the continuation of the murders, suggesting impunity. Finally, only one article discussed another social problem in conjunction with the maquiladora murders. A 1995 article from the Austin American Statesman described two accounts of serial killings. First, it mentioned the serial killings by a Cuban cult leader in 1989 and second it mentioned serial killings of eight teen girls in 1991. Both incidents occurred near Juarez. This particular article was the first to report the maquiladora murders.

 

The sample of newspaper narratives consisted of publications from as early as 1995 up until 2005. Even though the Austin American Statesman covered the murders in 1995, they were not yet known as the maquiladora murders, referred to as femicides, or portrayed as a major social problem. The continual coverage of the murders suggests that over the years, the maquiladora murders developed as an item of interest for the press. In addition, while the newspaper headlines focused mostly on the murders themselves, thewords chosen to describe themurders portrayed a sense of crisis. This is likely due to the nature of newspapers and their attempt to sensationalize stories. For example, some of thewords/phrases used are killing spree, unsolved murders, rape and murder, brutal Mexico killings, serial killings, women’s killings, Mexico’s murders, epidemic, and slayings. Despite the fact that the headlines focus most on the murders, the newspaper articles themselves mention the victims, perpetrators, and causes almost equally throughout the sample. Generally, the newspapers portray the murders as gendered sexual serial killings primarily perpetuated and caused by corruption of the criminal justice system. This is a significant contribution to defining the murders as a social problem. Specifically, the newspapers provide a visual aid that the public can use to define or construct the problem themselves. Newspaper claims-makers provide a framework for the development of a social problem, but it is up to the public to decide on the existence of a social problem. The human rights organizations and the peer-reviewed journal articles have a more specific target audience than do newspapers. This is one of the most significant differences between newspaper narratives and the narratives of human rights organizations and peer-reviewed journal articles that affects how they present their perspectives.

Press release: International Human Rights Hearing on Rape Epidemic in Haiti

Source: Madre

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Stephanie Küng, MADRE (212) 627-0444, media@madre.org   

International Human Rights Hearing on Rape Epidemic in Haiti

Wednesday, March 23—New York, NY—This Friday, petitioners MADRE, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), CUNY School of Law and Women’s Link Worldwide will testify before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, DC on the crisis of sexual violence in Haiti.

In October, the aforementioned group of advocates and attorneys submitted a legal petition to the IACHR, calling for immediate action to address the epidemic of rape in Haiti’s displacement camps.  In response, the IACHR issued a call for urgent “precautionary measures” to protect women and girls in the camps.  As an IACHR member state, the Haitian government is legally obligated to uphold this ruling.  These measures include the installation of lighting, the provision of security and the inclusion of grassroots women’s voices in policy-making spaces.

At this Friday’s hearing, the petitioners will underscore the constant threat of sexual violence faced by women and girls in Haiti’s displacement camps and the need for immediate implementation of the IACHR’s recommendations.  They will highlight the need for the international community to support the capacity of the Haitian government to meet its human rights obligations.  Malya Villard-Appolon, Marie Eramithe Delva and Jocie Philistin, representatives of KOFAVIV, a grassroots Haitian women’s organization founded by and for rape survivors, will participate in this hearing.

This hearing is open to the public.

Date of Hearing: Friday, March 25, 2011
Time: 9am-10am
Location: 1889 F Street NW, Washington, DC, Rubén Darío Room (8th floor, GSB)

Malya Appolon-Villard, co-founder of KOFAVIV, said, “Every day, we see women and girls who have been raped.  They have no protection in the camps, and their attackers go unpunished.  The IACHR’s binding decision for the Haitian government is a first step, and we are ready to work with the IACHR and all of our international partners to ensure that the Haitian government fulfills these demands.”

Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and Adjunct Professor of Law for the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY Law School, said, “The situation for women and girls living in displacement camps remains dire.  The IACHR decision was triggered by the demands of grassroots Haitian women, and now the international community must commit to support the Haitian government in its implementation.”

Annie Gell, Coordinator of the Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP) at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, applauded the IACHR for its decisive precautionary measures. “The BAI and its US-affiliate, IJDH, now call on the Haitian government and international community to fully commit to increased cooperation with and support of grassroots Haitian groups and their allies. This must include support for domestic prosecutions of rapists through initiatives in Haiti like the BAI’s RAPP initiative. Together, we can end this nightmare.”

Katherine Romero, Staff Attorney for Women’s Link Worldwide, said, “The Inter-American Commission is setting a global precedent by ensuring the rights of victims of sexual violence in contexts of natural disaster and humanitarian emergencies are being duly protected. We expect the rest of the international community to join in.”

To read the legal petition submitted to the IACHR in full, click here.

Immediately after the hearing, the following people will be available for comment:

Malya Appolon-Villard, Marie Eramithe Delva and Jocie Philistin, KOFAVIV Representatives

Lisa Davis, Esq., MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and Adjunct Professor of Law for the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY Law School

Annie Gell, Esq., the BAI’s Coordinator of the Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Contact: annie@ijdh.org    

Katherine Romero
, Staff Attorney, Women’s Link Worldwide

Press release: The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights Condemns the Violations on Female Activists

The English version of this press release is available on AWID.

“The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights followed up the events of March the 8th on the occasion of International Women’s Day in a great worry. The celebration events started with an initiative of young women and men who gathered in Al Tahrir Square in order to salute female and male martyrs of the Revolution as well as their mothers and to remind the society and decision makers with the necessity of involving women in phases of the democratic transition in Egypt.

ECWR participated in supporting this initiative; for female and male activists went to the Square and then a group of oppositionists surrounded them to discuss their demands. The gathering reflected at the beginning a civilized way of discussion; however, a number of thugs gathered pretending opposition then it turned to be attack on women and men activists by beating and sexual harassment…

Women human right defenders experience prejudice, exclusion and violence

There’s been a lot of talk lately about women in journalism facing risks their male colleagues don’t. (Even us female bloggers face more threats and intimidating comments than our male counterparts.) And, similar to female journalists, women human rights defenders face risks and attacks that are specific to their gender. I went to Guatemala on a human rights delegation and witnessed this first hand. Most of the women working in domestic violence (for instance Norma Cruz, recipient of the Women of Courage award), violence against women, and women’s issues/rights had received death threats or were attacked (either their person or their office was attacked). Here’s a recent report announced on AWID that provides more details:

AWID

The report affirms that “women defenders are more at risk of suffering certain forms of violence and other violations, prejudice, exclusion, and repudiation than their male counterparts. This is often due to the fact that women defenders are perceived as challenging accepted socio-cultural norms, traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, sexual orientation, and the role and status of women in society.”

Report’s Findings

The risks and violations reported in the period 2004-2009 include (a) threats, death threats and killings; (b) arrest, detention, and criminalization; (c) stigmatization; and (d) sexual violence and rape. Some of the striking findings include:

  • “An alarming number of women human rights defenders and their relatives have paid the highest price for their work.” There were 39 communications to the Rapporteur regarding killings and 35 communications regarding attempted killings.
  • Defenders in the Americas are most likely to face threats, death threats, killings and attempted killings; more than half the communications relating to death threats concerned defenders working in the Americas, highlighting Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Honduras, and Peru. “Among the groups which appear to be most at risk are women defenders working to fight impunity for alleged human rights violations”. Special mention was made of risks to women trade unionists, women indigenous rights activists, and women environmental and land rights activists.
  • Violations against defenders working on LGBT issues were also noted.These ranged from judicial issues (arrests, judicial harassment, administrative detentions, etc.) to restrictions in freedoms of assembly, but also killings,rape and sexual violence, physical attacks, and stigmatization. Concern for LGBT defenders were specifically highlighted in Africa (Sudan and Uganda).

The report “reveals a worrying trend of criminalization of the activities carried out by women human rights defenders and those working on women’s rights or gender issues throughout the world.” This includes arrests and criminalization of the defenders’ work, as well as criminal investigations and irregularities relating to due process and fair trial procedures. “By contrast to Central and South America where threats and death threats are most commonly reported, arrests and criminalization were most commonly reported in Asia and the Pacific.” China and the Islamic Republic of Iran are mentioned in relation to concern for arrests and prison sentences. Europe and Central Asia are also mentioned regarding arrests, detentions and criminalization.

Reporting – and many other jobs or activities – while female

There’s an article in the New York Times today about “Reporting While Female” by Sabrina Tavernise. Indeed, women human rights defenders face the same risks as reporters:

But women reporters face another set of challenges. We are often harassed in ways that male colleagues are not. This is a hazard of the job that most of us have experienced and few of us talk about.

Last week, CBS News said that its reporter Lara Logan was assaulted by a crowd of men in Cairo. CBS News did not detail the circumstances, but the network’s statement — that she had suffered a “brutal and sustained sexual assault” — said enough.

And, not only do reporters and women human rights defenders face these challenges but also Peace Corps Volunteers and many other women working, volunteering or travelling abroad. I’ve travelled quite a bit and have been harassed by men – groped, cat-called, and looked at like a lion looks at their prey. But I’d also caution that these actions happen in the US too – men asking women to show their breasts or butts, men  touching women inappropriatedly, or – as many of us female bloggers face – crude and threatening sexist remarks on our posts.

But – getting back on topic – the NY Times ran another piece similar to the above referenced artice:

Why we need women in war zones 

Look at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

There is an added benefit. Ms. Logan is a minor celebrity, one of the highest-profile women to acknowledge being sexually assaulted. Although she has reported from the front lines, the lesson she is now giving young women is probably her most profound: It’s not your fault. And there’s no shame in telling it like it is.