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Her job had been going well, the woman told me. But her married boss started making sexual advances, which she rebuffed. Then he gave her a gift — a clock. She put it in her bedroom, but the light bothered her, so she kept moving it. “But every…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
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Labor Laws Can Support Women Trying to Escape Abuse

Under Covid-19-related lockdowns in 2020, most violent crime in France dropped. Reports of domestic violence and rape went up. The pandemic contributed to a 30 percent increase in reported domestic violence cases within two weeks of…
Protestors marching to demand the end of femicide and violence against women in Paris, France, November 23, 2019. 
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Eighteen years ago, in February 2003, Human Rights Watch interviewed Angela P, who was 10 years old when the brutal armed group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kidnapped her in northern Uganda. At age 15,  she was forced to become a “wife” to an LRA…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
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Diplomats at the United Nations Human Rights Council don’t expect someone allegedly associated with a death squad to be among their colleagues. Yet that is the situation confronting officials in Geneva since Sri Lanka’s new permanent…
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As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
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After Iranian women started sharing stories of sexual violence, the Iranian authorities have been forced to act.

Across the past three weeks, dozens of Iranian women of various backgrounds have taken to social media, in their own #MeToo moment, to report their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The police have announced they have taken action against…
Iranian women wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus walk at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on February 20, 2020.
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New Measures an Important First Step, But More is Needed

In the wake of the chilling "Nth room" case, the South Korean government recently announced an inter-agency plan to "eradicate digital sex crimes." This response is a testament to the women's rights activists who have fought for years to…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
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“When I was 13… I got pregnant from my older brother… He raped me starting when I was 11,” a girl from Guatemala told one of us in 2015. She was one of the 2 million girls under 15 worldwide who give birth each year, often due to sexual…
A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills, in Harare, Thursday, April 9, 2020.
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It was disappointing to read a recent article by a  senior police officer, Emilian Kayima, in The New Vision blaming women for being victims of sexual violence. Instead of taking on the men responsible for the violence and abuse, Kayima,  a former police…
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A Haitian woman was selling charcoal on the empty edges of her small town when a white, uniformed United Nations peacekeeper offered her a lift in his marked vehicle. He raped her shortly after she got in. “I could not fight back,” said Marie Badeau (a…
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Why India’s Database of Sex Offenders May Do More Harm Than Good

In response to “stranger danger” fears, India has become the ninth country to adopt a sex offenders’ database, with personal details of those convicted for rape and sexual assault. The year-old database contains 500,000 names and will…
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The scars ran deep. His back was a maze of thick welts, thinner scars and parts that resembled small craters. His wrists and ankles were raw from where he’d been shackled and suspended from a ceiling for hours, and his limbs appeared…
Armed forces allied to internationally recognized government fight with armed group in Tripoli, Libya September 22, 2018. © 2018 Hani Amara/Reuters
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Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalized

How did you find sex workers willing to talk about their work despite it being illegal in South Africa? It’s very difficult to gain sex workers’ trust without connections to people already actively supporting sex workers. For one, because their…
Sex workers wearing masks lead a march to mark International Sex Workers Rights Day in Johannesburg March 3, 2011
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How Former President Jammeh Trapped, Raped, and Sexually Exploited Women

When did you first hear that Jammeh had raped and sexually assaulted women? The first stories surfaced when Human Rights Watch Senior Counsel Reed Brody and I started collecting evidence for the “Campaign to Bring Yahya Jammeh and his Accomplices to…
Fatou “Toufah” Jallow, May 25, 2019.
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I can’t stop thinking about Marie. She was 30 years old when I met her in 2015. Two years earlier, six fighters armed with rifles and machetes burst into her home in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui. Two of the fighters held her…
Josephine, 28, said she fled her home in Bangui with her husband and five young children due to fighting in the city in October 2014. When she returned to her neighborhood to collect clothes and dishes for the family, three anti-balaka stopped her and t