Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG)

Just when I think sexual assault services are underfunded and struggling, I meet two inspiring women Lina Chang and Kisa Ao from Samoa who run the only victim support service in the whole of Samoa. They do this without ongoing funding and in the face of opposition from powerful men within their own community. This service has been running since 2005.  Since the beginning SVSG has assisted over 400 victims of sexual and physical violence, provided shelter to 300 child victims of sexual crimes and women survivors of violence and their children. SVSG works hard to change community attitudes towards sexual and physical violence and to empower the poor and vulnerable to enable them to speak out about their abuse.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Expert Panel to Review Australia's Military Strategy

There are no women on the six-person expert panel set up by the Abbott Government to review Australia's military strategy and help Defence develop a new 10-year plan.  The Prime Minister said that the panel would "challenge any key assumptions."  Given the difficulties Defence have experienced with sexual harrassment and assault over the past decades it is amazing that the Prime Minister does not understand that it is important to have a gender balance on a panel looking at the next decade. Whether six men can challenge key assumptions without female input is questionable given a male dominated organisation is what has led to the well documented abuse.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nigerian School Girls

It is extraordinary how wanting to create a religious society in Northern Nigeria apparently requires an uneducated population and particularly uneducated girls.  According to an Amnesty International report released last October titled Keep away from schools or we'll kill you the right to education is under attack. Nigeria has Africa's largest economy, population and oil reserves.  You could reasonably expect such factors to require an education population.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Lynching of Two Rape Victims In India

The level of misogyny in all societies is a cause of despair in the 21st Century.  However, to rape and then hang two young women to hide your crime, as happened in India is an absolute outrage.  Whilst all people from what are considered lower castes have difficult lives, the women live with the constant threat of sexual assault and murder. We need to support our sisters in India and other countries where their lives are seen to be of so little value.