Infographic: Rape in war, by the numbers

By — January 9, 2015

We know there’s a problem but we don’t know how big it is. That’s what governments, scholars, and others argue when trying to figure out how to allot funds toward this problem of sexualized violence in conflict. If we don’t know the numbers, they ask, how can we help properly? How can we mount prosecutions? Offer reparations? Put in place proper advocacy? So the thinking goes.

In years of documenting sexualized violence in the Syria conflict, I’ve long maintained that we can’t know in a hot war exactly how many women and men are being violated—but we know it is happening. There have been too many reports, many credible and confirmed, to say it is not. Which means that every dollar not spent to help these survivors, many of whom appear to have made it out of the war zone, is another survivor left suffering without psychological, medical, or other supportive care. (And there is next to no money being spent on these issues in the Syria context, according to my sources in the region who treat survivors of torture and rape. They say that women who are escaping abduction from ISIS are returning severely traumatized and sit languishing in temporary centers with zero psychological treatment.)

The problem is that it is nearly impossible to know exact—or often even ballpark—numbers of women raped in conflict. There’s too much in the way: the murder of victims after rape (aka the destruction of evidence), deep stigma that prevents reporting, fear of retribution by either the perpetrators or the survivor’s family. Women have no reason to come forward.

But over time, some have. Much of the work to count them has been done forensically, however, through costly research efforts. Here then are some of the numbers painstakingly gathered by researchers. Beneath the numbers, I’ve written just a few specific reasons why we shouldn’t trust them—why all numbers counting a problem based in trauma and fear are certainly higher than estimated.

Numbers are crucial to quantifying any problem. But numbers can also be a smokescreen preventing us from seeing the pain happening around us every day. Share them with a grain of salt. Let others know that behind each number is a human who has suffered deeply, and that she too deserves to be counted.

 

Full ranges of estimates in the chart above, with links to sources:

Bosnia, 1992-95 50,000-60,000
Colombia, 2001-09

489,687

Democratic Republic of Congo, 2006-07

434,000

Nanking, 1937 20,000-80,000
Rwanda, 1994 250,000-500,000
Sierra Leone, 1991-2002 215,000-257,000
WWII, 1944-45

2,000,000

 

“According to a 2013 global study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, only 7% of survivors of gender-based violence formally reported the violence to police, medical, or social services.” This study was carried out by Stony Brook University Professor Tia Palermo, Jennifer Bleck of the University of South Florida, and Amber Peterman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Stanford alum joins Reid Hoffman in fight to Recall Persky

 

Harriet —

Recently, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman donated $25,000 to the Crowdpac campaign to Recall Judge Persky. Now, Stanford alum Joe McCarthy has joined the fight by donating $5,000 on behalf of his daughter, a sexual assault survivor, to call attention to the serious problem of sexual assault on Stanford’s campus and across the country. He states:

“Brock Turner’s actions were inexcusable. Yet he insists on hiding behind excuses rather than accepting responsibility for his actions. His assault, victim blaming, and lack of personal accountability were all wrong. But he’s part of a larger issue.

Judge Persky is certainly mistaken in his view that privileged individuals (e.g. fellow Stanford athletes) should not be held fully accountable for their acts. While I believe that judges should have leeway in their decisions, I also believe there should be consequences for misuse of that power. A recall is the most appropriate consequence. The lenient sentence, and his attempts to justify it, was wrong. But he’s part of a larger issue.

This case itself was the symptom of a larger and systemic problem that exists at Stanford, at other campuses, and throughout society. I sincerely hope that my alma mater addresses head-on the attitude of sexual assault rather than being misled into treating it as an alcohol consumption issue. Athletes, fraternity members, and all students must understand what consent is and is not. Right now, Stanford is part of the larger issue.

Whether privileged or not, drunk or sober, we need to understand: Only an informed and enthusiastic “yes” is consent. Fear, inebriation, or unconsciousness are not. Sexual assault should be punished, with no excuses and no leniency, so that the consequences associated with it pave the way to justice for survivors and would-be perpetrators are put on notice.

If we make excuses like Brock, if we accept lenient sentences like Judge Persky’s, if we don’t hold people accountable for their actions, if we don’t discard the idea that sexual assault and rape are the survivor’s fault or alcohol’s fault or simply a by-product of modern society, if we don’t follow the example of the Swedish grad students and intervene, if we don’t teach our sons about consent and respect, if we don’t speak out loud and clear against sexual assault… then we, too, are part of the larger issue.

We owe it to the survivor in this case and survivors everywhere: We must step up and be part of the larger solution.”

I urge you to please join Joe McCarthy, Reid Hoffman, and others in supporting the Recall Judge Persky campaign on Crowdpac.

Thank you,
Michele Dauber
Chair, Committee to Recall Judge Persky

Michele Dauber is a Stanford law professor and a sociologist, Michele Landis Dauber has written highly original historical and sociological studies focusing on the history of social provision and the US welfare state. Her first book, The Sympathetic State (2013 University of Chicago Press) received numerous distinguished book awards and prizes including from the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Society for Legal History, and the Law and Society Association.

A Department Store Created a Brilliant Gift Registry to Help Domestic Abuse Survivors

Slate       August 15, 2016
By Kristin Hohenadel

The Give Registry is a brilliant new gift registry and ad campaign from Australian department store chain Myer and agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne that uses the model of a wedding gift registry to provide linens, cookware, dishes, and other household basics to domestic violence survivors.

“When a woman leaves abuse, all she often leaves with is her life,” Clemenger BBDO Melbourne said in a project description. “The Give Registry is a collection of essential items women need most when they’re starting over. You can help by contributing an item on the registry at any Myer store. All items are donated directly to Salvation Army women’s refuges, to pass on to women in need.”

To publicize the campaign, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne has made a series of simple, affecting videos of everyday objects in household settings, hauntingly narrated by women who have suffered domestic abuse. The spots reveal how seemingly banal household objects can become infused with sinister meaning when they are turned into weapons.

And they demonstrate the healing power of reappropriating objects that are so easily taken for granted to re-establish new rituals, the promise contained in a pristine pair of white sheets, or a shiny new tea kettle, or a stack of unbroken dinner plates.

The campaign began in early August and has already received 2,000 donations, including Myer customers who have abandoned their own wedding registries, asking friends and family to make donations to the Give Registry instead.

TO SEE VIDEOS IN ORIGINAL ARTICLE CLICK HERE.

It’s Happened Again

STanford Seal2

Harriet —

It’s happened again.

University of Colorado student Austin Wilkerson sexually assaulted an intoxicated freshman after telling his friends he was going to help her home.

Wilkerson was convicted of felony sexual assault, that should have resulted in a prison sentence of 4 to 12 years. Instead, District Judge Patrick Butler sentenced him to 20 years to life on probation and 2 years of work release.

Many have made comparisons to the Stanford case. Stanford swimmer Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, yet Judge Persky sentenced him to only six months in county jail.

Our justice system is failing sexual assault survivors. These lenient sentences perpetuate rape culture and send the message that campus rape isn’t real rape. Donate now to help us fight back against these judges.

The horrible events at Stanford University have put a spotlight on campus rape culture and the unreasonably light sentences we see handed out to offenders. But, this issue is now front-and-center on the national stage.

Support our effort to Recall Judge Persky. It will send a clear message to judges across the country that they could be next if they fail to properly punish perpetrators.

Thank you,
Michele Dauber
Chair, Committee to Recall Judge Persky

 

=Michele Dauber is a Stanford law professor and a sociologist, Michele Landis Dauber has written highly original historical and sociological studies focusing on the history of social provision and the US welfare state. Her first book, The Sympathetic State (2013 University of Chicago Press) received numerous distinguished book awards and prizes including from the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Society for Legal History, and the Law and Society Association.

Rally to Recall Judge Persky re Sentencing of Brock Turner

STanford Seal2

Harriet –

In June 2016, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months in county jail despite being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.

On September 2nd, Brock Turner will be released from county jail after serving just three months of his sentence. This is unacceptable.

Join us at the San Jose Superior Court to rally for the Recall of Judge Persky.

Friday, September 2nd
10:00 AM PT

San Jose Superior Court
161 N. 1st Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Speakers Include:
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15th District)
Rep. Jerry McNerny (D-CA 9th District)
Assemblymember Nora Campos (Assembly District 27)
Congressional Candidate Ro Khanna (CA 17th District)
Assembly Candidate Vicki Veenker (CA Assembly District 24)
Former Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood
Stephanie Pham, Association of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention, Stanford University
Sofie Karasek, Sexual Assault Survivor, UC Berkeley
Kamilah Willingham, Sexual Assault Survivor, Harvard Law School
Committee to Recall Judge Persky Chair Michele Dauber

If you are able to join us, please RSVP here – and invite your friends too! We need as many supporters as possible to show Judge Persky we mean business – we will no longer tolerate lenient sentences for sex offenders.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you,
Michele Dauber
Chair, Committee to Recall Judge Persky

Michele Dauber is a Stanford law professor and a sociologist, Michele Landis Dauber has written highly original historical and sociological studies focusing on the history of social provision and the US welfare state. Her first book, The Sympathetic State (2013 University of Chicago Press) received numerous distinguished book awards and prizes including from the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Society for Legal History, and the Law and Society Association.

Halting the blow of domestic violence in India

Few of India’s abused women seek help. Social workers in Mumbai are trying to change that – one hospital at a time.

Aljazeera          August 4, 2016
By Shruti Ravindran

Mumbai, India – It is mid-morning at the women and children’s block of the KB Bhabha Hospital, one of Mumbai’s busiest public hospitals. The hubbub is punctuated by the cries of a baby, and the contented whirring of pigeons settling to roost. A short distance from the row of open consultation cubicles with thickets of women waiting before them is a closed door marked “101”.

Inside, a group of women read from files, exchanging tales of unremitting male cruelty: men who bang women’s heads against walls. Men who force women to sleep with them, slowly empty out their bank accounts, and then force them to sleep with them again. Men who force women to have unprotected sex with them at night, and force emergency contraceptives down their throats in the morning. Men who rain repeated blows on their wives’ swollen abdomens and end their pregnancies. Men who force their wives to watch graphic videos, and then submit them to the painful acts they depict.

Bleak as these stories are, it’s unusual that they are being heard at all.

The National Family Health Survey-III (NFHS-III), published in 2005, found that while 37.2 percent of women who had ever been married had faced spousal abuse, only 2 percent sought help from the police. According to the same survey, about half of these women ended up in hospital at some point owing to the violence they experienced.

Over the past few years, social workers and healthcare workers in Mumbai’s public hospitals have used this as an opportunity to identify and help women in distress. Some train nurses and doctors to spot signs of abuse; others deploy neighbourhood field workers, usually housewives themselves, to encourage women to seek help at crisis centres like that at KB Bhabha Hospital. Unlike the default option – going to the police and setting off an irreversible, uncontrollable process – this approach ensures that women get the support they need, without the official scrutiny. Giving women agency and privacy, social workers say, could help to arrest the cycle of violence early on, and prevent tragedy.

To read more click HERE

Shruti Ravindran is a journalist based in Mumbai. She writes about science, health, development and social justice.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Response to My Letter About Stanford Rape Case

Jackie Speier Letterhead

July 8, 2016
Dear Ms.  Mohr:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the Stanford sexual assault case. I care deeply about this issue and firmly believe that our justice system must be better than this. People need to understand that rape is one of the most violent crimes that a person can commit; not, as Mr. Turner’s father said, “20 minutes of action.” You can view my speech on the House floor regarding the Brock Turner case at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK4KaUrpNbo. I also hosted a Special Order Hour to honor the brave survivor, in which 18 other members and I read the survivor’s statement on the House floor. You can view that reading at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXYeJ27ZGPc.
Every student deserves a safe educational environment free from harassment and sexual violence. Statistics show that one in five women will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault during their time in college. More than 50% of these assaults occur in the ‘red zone’, the period of time between the start of the fall term and the week of Thanksgiving. Universities are further exacerbating the problem by creating a culture of fear of retaliation for survivors who wish to report their assault. The problem is widespread— nearly 200 colleges and universities are currently under federal investigation for violations under Title IX for mishandling sexual assault cases.
This issue is one of my top legislative priorities. I introduced H.R. 2680, the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act. This bill requires the Department of Education to issue penalties for noncompliance with Title IX, increases penalties for violation the Clery Act, institutes biennial climate surveys, and increases transparency by providing more public data on the universities under investigation. It also creates an interagency Campus Sexual Violence Task Force and requires schools to provide clear statements of their sexual violence policies to all student groups, teams, and organizations. Finally, the bill creates a private right of action for students harmed by universities that fail to meet campus safety requirements. The HALT Act will help foster a safer campus culture where all students have the opportunity to thrive without fear of sexual assault or administration retaliation.
 Thank you again for taking the time to write to me about this issue. Constituent letters are an important part of my decision making process. If you would like more information on my work in the 14thcongressional district, you can visit my website, like my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter. Through my website, you can send me opinions, request tours in DC, and get help on issues you might have with federal agencies. Please contact me in the future if I may be of assistance to you.
                                                                All the best,

Jackie Speier
Member of Congress