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This week's editor

VM

Our guest editor, Valsamis Mitsilegas, director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, introduces this week’s theme: Privacy and Surveillance in 2016.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The fateful marriage: political violence and violence against women

Pervasive and diverse, instances of violence against women can only be fully comprehended in the political contexts that give them purpose and meaning.

Japan's military sexual slavery: whose agreement?

The South Korea-Japan agreement on Japan’s military sexual slavery was announced on 28 December, 2015, but it ignores the  efforts by the victim-survivors movement to seek justice for their suffering. 

Mona Eltahawy and sexual revolution in the Middle East

'Traumatised into feminism,' Mona Eltahawy speaks of her decision to unveil and understanding that 'Muslim women’s bodies are the medium upon which culture is engraved, be it through headscarves or cutting.'

Gender violence in Spain: from electoral tool to decisive issue ?

As political parties in Spain struggle to form a government this week their commitment to dealing with violence against women is being put to the test.

Welcoming gays into the church: voices from India

Following Pope Francis' appeal to welcome gays into the church, Indians of diverse backgrounds and faiths reacted with bewilderment, threats, and in due course support.

Gender lenses and refugee assistance

Gender matters greatly in any form of third party assistance. Refugee camps are not sanctuaries from violence if they are not safe for women and girls.

The Quipu project: testimonies of forced sterilisation in Peru

The mass forced sterilisations of Peruvians is one of the grave human rights violations of our time. But the practice, and its consequences, rarely receive widespread coverage and condemnation.

Child sexual abuse: failing another generation of children?

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals that in England 1.3 million will suffer sexual abuse in their childhood. What’s it going to do about this most secret of crimes?

The Day You Catch the Fish: speaking out on domestic abuse

Violence is manifested in so many ways, yet it is always the violence that comes within the domestic space that leaves many women silenced, especially when the violence leaves no physical scars.

Welcome to our house: women living with HIV

The largest survey on women living with HIV, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, has revealed the stark truth about the gender-based violence and mental health challenges that positive women face.

UN peacekeeping: blue banner for hope, or red flag for abuse?

For decades the ‘Blue Helmets’ have been sexually exploiting and abusing those they were sent to protect. The UN is complicit in creating an environment in which these abuses can flourish unfettered. 

Politicking periods

Irish women are tweeting details of their menstrual cycles to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to protest the sense of entitlement the Irish state demonstrates towards Irish womens' bodies.

Elona Kastrati: fame, feminism, and sanitary pads

Nineteen-year-old Elona Kastrati became internet-famous overnight, after she hung sanitary pads covered in feminist statements in a German city centre on International Women’s Day. Then she moved to her parents’ homeland – Kosovo.

Violence against women in Spain: who cares?

Ahead of the election all the political parties commented on the level of violence against women, but public concern remains low. Is this the wake up call?

Ghana: women at war in a country at peace

The absence of war does not necessarily imply peace for women. The binary opposites of war and peace obscure the continuum of violence women experience as a result of patriarchal gender structures.

The end of China’s one child policy: the right to reproduce and the right to live well

China's one-child policy fundamentally changed the most intimate aspects of Chinese lives. It's removal last month may have been more welcome if structural forces did not remain that continue to stifle the ability of individuals and families to build lives of their own choosing.

Men and Lads: Playboy nods to the cultural revolution

Lad mag circulations have been diving and several have closed. The debate about sexual objectification of women isn’t just a joust between men and women, it is an argument between men.

Ireland: policing domestic violence in times of austerity

The difficulties presented by the under-resourced Gardaí in policing domestic violence, and the resulting lamentable status of domestic violence policies in Ireland were highlighted by last week's tragedy. 

Defending ourselves: defining the rights of girls

Exploited in the media, sanctioned by the state, and controlled by religious fundamentalism, decisions about the bodies of young women and girls seem to be everyone's business but their own.

Lifting the ban on women’s shelters in Iraq: promoting change in conflict

There is a crisis-level need for shelter in Iraq, so why does the Iraqi government maintain a policy that stymies critically needed temporary housing and threatens the safety of those willing to provide it?

Girls speaking truth to power at the UN: the global 2030 Agenda

"Invest in adolescents. We’re not only the future, we’re the present, and we deserve to be happy."  Twelve year old Stephanie  Mendez Asturias, from Guatemala, speaking at the UN ahead of International Day of the Girl Child.

"Men get more freedom": women and memoir writing

Juliet Jacques spoke to Dawn Foster about her new book, Trans: A Memoir, and the struggles of gender typecasting in the media

'Disappearing' sex workers in the Amnesty International debate

An Amnesty draft policy to protect women in sex work has attracted a fierce debate, but sex workers' voices are often absent in the opposition arguments.

Amnesty International: should sex work be decriminalized?

As Amnesty International meets to consider a resolution that calls for the decriminalization of sex work, those in favour argue it would be a step forward for the rights of sex workers.

Salvaging the luminosity of a lost city

While the murder of hundreds of women in Juárez, Mexico, eventually attracted international attention – and with it, sensationalist headlines – photographer Itzel Aguilera’s work engages with the complex realities of her city.

Believing women's narratives in Sweden and Norway

Too often women's oppression is sidelined as a lesser cause, and women's experiences dismissed, as two cases in Sweden and Norway show.

HIV and AIDS: language and the blame game

The negative and dehumanizing language used by scientists discussing global HIV policy is sapping the soul of those on the receiving end. The call for an alternative language of nature and nurture must be heard. 

AIDS targets: the fear factor

HIV is not just a health issue but a multi-sectoral issue that requires many different players. Is the UNAIDS HIV '90-90-90' fast-track initiative in Uganda achievable?

No experts, saviours or victims: women living with HIV

Beyond bio-medical models, recent research has enabled a better psycho-social understanding of how women can access HIV treatment, if they want to, in stressful daily conditions.

Wartime rape is no longer kept under wraps in Kosovo

Two recent milestones in Kosovo – an official monument recognising women’s suffering during the Kosovo War, and an art installation commemorating wartime rape – shows that change may be coming to a topic long taboo in the country.

Why are so many Syrian children being left stateless?

Syrian women advocates recognize the links between the crisis of statelessness and the lack of reproductive justice for women, and argue that control over their own fertility and legal status is paramount.

The political legacy of shame - a brief history of women, sex and legislation in the UK

For two centuries, British lawmakers have relied on shame to regulate women's sexual behaviour. Is this finally changing?

Analysing Aaronovitch: a sceptical narrative

Prosecution and conviction rates for sexual crime are lamentably low in the UK. If David Aaronovitch cares about 'genuine abuse', why isn't this what worries him more? Part Two.

Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?

David Aaronovitch claims ‘unbelievable’ notions about child abuse that ‘bewitched’ professionals decades ago are echoed in the VIP historic abuse cases. Where is his evidence? Part One.

Abortion in Chile: addressing the false debate of "pro-life vs pro-death"

Chile is one of only four countries in the world that prohibits all abortion, but for the first time in 25 years a law on therapeutic abortion is being seriously considered.

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