Women worldwide, July-August 2020

July 1, 2020

From the July-August 2020 issue of News & Letters

by Artemis

Demonstrators marched in Nigerian cities for several days in June, protesting the rise in rape and violence against teenage girls. In Lagos, a coalition of rights groups marched to the state parliament demanding all states create a sex offenders list, and then to police headquarters demanding justice for the rapes and murders of college students Uwaila Vera Omozuwa and Barakat Bello. In the petition to lawmakers, Women Against Rape in Nigeria stated, “these unfortunate events are not a standalone, rather they are a culmination of unhealthy cultural practices.” The woman-led marchers wore black and carried signs saying “End Rape.”

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In April, the Feminist Coalition Feministe (FCF) issued a Statement on Mass Killing in Nova Scotia. On April 17, a gunman’s murder of 22 people began with an assault on his live-in girlfriend, who escaped. Noticing “tell-tale signs of misogynist male violence,” the FCF joined with feminists across Canada in calling attention to the media’s failure to ask police about the killer’s history of domestic violence. Women in the FCF criticized the police for failure to seriously investigate this and other cases of violence against women. They stated, “Women have been experiencing their own pandemic around the world that has not received nearly the attention COVID-19 has received.”

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The Texas Equal Access Fund (TEAF), which funds low-income women seeking abortions, is suing an anti-abortion group for defamation in a first of its kind lawsuit. Last year, Right to Life East Texas repeatedly called TEAF and similar organizations “criminals” in city council meetings, the media, and social media. Kamyon Connor, executive director, said, “We just can’t continue to tolerate misinformation being presented to the public around abortion because folks are already so confused and abortion is already so stigmatized.”

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In Britain, a study by NatCen Social Research on girls and women ages 16-34 found those from the poorest backgrounds are five times more likely to harm themselves. Poverty, debt, struggles to pay bills, and neighborhood safety are some contributors to self-harm. This is bound to worsen since young women often have jobs in sectors like hospitality and retail affected by lockdowns.

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A pandemic-safe rally of 100 cars in Edmonton passed by the Alberta Legislature in June to mark a year’s passage since the release of the final report on the national Canadian inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Almost none of its 231 calls for justice have been fulfilled. Demonstrators demanded police take investigations more seriously and demanded more representation in issues that affect them. Juanita Murphy of the Center to End All Sexual Exploitation stated, “The color of my skin doesn’t mean you get to ask me how much to charge to pay me to have sex. It doesn’t give you the right to throw pennies at me walking down the street, calling me dirty names.”

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