By Nicholas Köhler - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 0 Comments
Gender violence hits lower-caste women of Nepal accused of being witches
Early this month, in the remote western reaches of Himalayan Nepal, villagers stripped 60-year-old Rajkumari Rana naked, shaved her head and forced human excrement into her mouth for being a witch. The attack comes as just the latest in an increasing number of witchcraft-related assaults in the impoverished country, where observers worry that the rule of law, in particular as it relates to women, has grown dangerously eroded.
Witch hunters are said to victimize hundreds of lower-caste Nepali women each year. According to the human rights group WOREC Nepal, seven accused witches there suffered beatings in the Nepali calendar month of Poush, which straddles December and January—two by neighbours, the other five by relatives. Early this year in Lahan, in Nepal’s extreme east, 45-year-old Domani Chaudhary received a beating after neighbours accused her of using black magic to cause the death of a newborn. In Jorpati, a large village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, 40-year-old Sunita Pudasaini’s own siblings blinded her with a sickle after calling her a witch.
These proliferating reports may reflect a new awareness of gender violence in Nepal, and superstitions around witchcraft in particular. The turning point was likely the death in 2011 of Dhegani Devi Mahato, a 45-year-old widow who was stoned and then burned alive by family members. Eight people have received sentences of life in prison in connection to her murder. Meanwhile, a bill aimed at protecting women accused of practicing sorcery was tabled in the nascent Nepali parliament last year—only to die when that assembly collapsed last May.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM - 0 Comments
The Liberal motion to establish a special committee to study the disappearance and murder of Aboriginal women seems likely to get all-party support with both the Conservatives and New Democrats signalling their agreement yesterday.
Here is Romeo Saganash’s contribution to yesterday’s debate.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The House will spend today debating the following Liberal motion, which would establish a special committee to study the murder and disappearance of aboriginal women.
That the House recognize that a disproportionate number of Indigenous women and girls have suffered violence, gone missing, or been murdered over the past three decades; that the government has a responsibility to provide justice for the victims, healing for the families, and to work with partners to put an end to the violence; and that a special committee be appointed, with the mandate to conduct hearings on the critical matter of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and to propose solutions to address the root causes of violence against Indigenous women across the country; that the committee consist of twelve members which shall include seven members from the government party, four members from the Official Opposition and one member from the Liberal Party, provided that the Chair is from the government party; that in addition to the Chair, there be one Vice-Chair from each of the opposition parties; that the committee have all of the powers of a Standing Committee as provided in the Standing Orders, as well as the power to travel, accompanied by the necessary staff, inside and outside of Canada, subject to the usual authorization from the House; that the members to serve on the said committee be appointed by the Whip of each party depositing with the Clerk of the House a list of his or her party’s members of the committee no later than March 28, 2013; that the quorum of the special committee be seven members for any proceedings, provided that at least a member of the opposition and of the government party be present; that membership substitutions be permitted to be made from time to time, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2); and that the Committee report its recommendations to the House no later than February 14, 2014.
By Shivam Vij - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
And how the reaction to one brutal case may finally lead to change
On the evening of Dec. 16, 2012, a young man named Ram Singh set out on a bus with five others from his slum on the edge of the posh South Delhi district. The bus was used for hire by a school by day; Ram Singh was usually the driver. But on this night, he and his brother, Mukesh, were out for a joyride, and they had persuaded Vinay Sharma, a handyman at a gym, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, to come along, as well as Akshay Thakur, who had just arrived in Delhi to look for a job. By the end of the night the men’s stories had changed forever; they now stand accused of gang raping, assaulting and murdering a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a moving bus—a brutal story that made headlines around the world, launching a global debate about rape and violence against women.
The doctors at Safdarjung Hospital, where the woman was first taken, were horrified. “It’s more than rape,” one was quoted as saying in the papers next morning. The woman’s intestines had to be removed and she battled for life on a ventilator. As another day passed and Delhi’s citizenry realized she was unlikely to survive, anger spread. It wasn’t the first such case, nor was it the last—there were even cases subsequently reported in India’s capital, taking the total number of rapes in 2012 to more than 700. Yet this case angered and saddened Indians as no other had done. Continue…
By Matteo Fagotto - Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:12 AM - 2 Comments
After a spate of attacks, elderly women in Nairobi are turning to self-defence classes to protect themselves
Sitting on a wooden bench in a dusty, barren clearing surrounded by walls of corrugated iron, a group of old ladies watch their mate, 72-year-old Wambui Kimuhu, kicking and punching an unlucky sparring partner 30 years younger than her. Using her bare hands and legs, Kimuhu yells an intimidating “No!” after every stroke, forcing him to retreat until instructor Sheila Kariuki stops the fight. “The training is finished, you don’t have to kill him!” she shouts, while the surrounding grannies clap.
Here, at the Streams of Hope and Peace charity training centre in the slum of Korogocho, Nairobi, more than 30 local grannies are undergoing a free martial arts course to protect themselves from a recent spate of house robberies and rapes. Aged from 50 to 100 (many don’t know their age), the “Cucu Takinge,”—”Grannies defending themselves” in Swahili—learn the basics of karate and kung fu, along with “dirty tricks” such as pokes in the eyes and kicks to the groin. The course aims to give the old ladies time and space to seek help in case of an attack; therefore, accuracy in the strokes and yelling are more important than strength. There are even specific techniques conceived for blind people. “Remember, your goal is to force back the attackers and attract attention. Never try to compete with younger guys, because they will win,” Kariuki warns the ladies, some of whom appear strong and fit while others struggle even to lift their legs, hampered by their long African gowns.