From the November-December 2016 issue of News & Letters
In November, in Quebec, 2,000 women and their allies took part in a March Against Rape Culture in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Gatineau. The events were in response to a worsening climate of sexual violence and rapes at universities. They also protested the police force’s legal proceedings against Radio Canada for a story on the rapes of several Indigenous women by officers. One of the speakers before the march said a prominent politician had raped her. Demonstrators chanted “We believe you” and held signs stating “The Struggle Will Be Intersectional or Nothing” and “Don’t Rape.”
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Women Wage Peace (WWP), an organization of Israeli and Palestinian women, was formed after the 2014 war in Gaza. In October, they organized a march of hundreds of women across Israel to Jerusalem to rally with thousands of others at the President’s and Prime Minister’s residences and then at the Knesset (Israeli parliament), planning to reassemble with each plenary session. Solidarity marches were held across the country and in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, the U.S. and France. WWP is determined to engage the public and political leaders to understand that peace in our time is not only feasible but necessary and must be achieved by political, not military means. Liberian activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Roberta Gbowee spoke at the march about how her organization helped end the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
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In South Africa, the number of school-aged girls getting pregnant increased by 46% between 2011 and 2013. Teenage members of the nongovernmental organization Afrika Tikkun’s Young Urban Women program took a survey of girls in their Johannesburg community and found a lack of information about and access to contraceptives. They sent 13 girls to investigate local health clinics, where staff members rudely told most of them that they looked too young to be asking about contraceptives. Only four were given the information. YUW held a meeting with clinic managers and elicited commitments to working with YUW to make changes.