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Government Should Support Community Activists Working to Protect Survivors

Gladys Koskey, 48, has always kept her home in Trans Mara, southwestern Kenya, open to friends and relatives. But in the past decade, her home has also become an important refuge for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Gladys leads a group of…
Gladys Koskey helps a nine-years-old rape survivor who lives in her home with her writing.
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Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
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Tales of Activism in the Fight Against Sexual Violence

Support and Justice - Aminetou Mint Ely More than two decades of activism helping Mauritania’s rape survivors have not dulled Aminetou Mint Ely’s fire. Always dressed in the brightly colored melahfas, traditional…
Rape survivors, NGO leaders, and activists supporting women’s and girls’ rights in Mauritania, Nouakchott, 2018.
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Widespread Sexual Violence during Kenya’s 2017 Elections

    Judith Wavinya*, 30, was walking home on a cool August night in her neighborhood of Dandora in Nairobi, after spending the evening with her sister. She had to get back home to her three children and to prepare for the new day –…
Judith Wavinya (not her real name), 30, was attacked by two men on the night of August 11, 2017, as she was walking home. They asked if she knew them, threatened her with knives, and took her to an isolated place where they beat her badly and one of them
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How a Rape Survivor Found the Courage to Fight for Justice in India

What should have been a short ride from one village to another in India turned into a nightmare that will haunt Kajal (not her real name), a shy young woman, for the rest of her life.  Kajal, who was 23 and married at the time, had set out on…
A close-up photo showing the hands of a sexual violence victim in India.
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Liz Luras enlisted in the US Army because she came from a patriotic family – her father served in Vietnam and her grandfather fought in World War II – and to help pay for college. Her family, who lived in Oregon, couldn’t afford a car. To pay for her…
Liz on the day she spoke in front of Congress about rape in the military as part of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Washington D.C. 2013 .
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They survived treacherous boat journeys between Turkey and Greece, barbed wire in Hungary, and cascading border closures across the Balkans – a journey, mainly on foot, that took months. Now, safe in Germany, with the most dangerous part of their trek…
Hassan fled Damascus and after arriving in Berlin began volunteering at a refugee center, handing out clothes, food and baby carriages.
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As a little girl, Ruth Riviera (not her real name) loved to step into her dad’s army boots and strut around the house with pride and self-importance. Her dad, a Non-Commission Officer in the US Army, was her childhood hero. She admired…
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Roksana and Beauty lingered outside that fateful morning two years ago – neither wanted to go inside to start turning out jeans and shirts in the factories housed in Rana Plaza the day after they had been evacuated because of cracks in the building. But…
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Most Yemenis were at home taking their afternoon siesta when Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch's Yemen researcher, walked into the shop in Haradh for the meeting she had arranged with Nadim. The shop owner, a friend of Nadim’s, took her to the back office…
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As told by Grace Meng, immigrants’ rights researcher for the US program The women, about a dozen in all, had just finished breakfast at the Tijuana shelter when I arrived. Like many people in Mexican towns on the US border, they had been deported from…
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Staff Added, Detectives Supervised More Closely

Although the man held a knife to her throat when he tried to rape her, Eleanor managed to escape. When she reported the attack to Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police, she thought the worst was over – but that was before the police refused to consider the…
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As Women Flee Violence in Rural Areas, Cities Offer No Safe Haven

I sat down with Mercedes on a sleepy afternoon in Medellin, Colombia. She was nervous. I was exhausted. Mercedes was my 60th interview with women and girls in Colombia – all of whom survived sexual or family violence, and all of whom had fled their close-…
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US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has fully implemented its new directive, announced in January, on immigration detainee transfers. The directive limits ICE’s ability to transfer detainees with nearby immediate family or attorneys of record to…
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Sister Consuelo Morales Receives the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Sister Consuelo Morales has seen the number of people in Monterrey who are tortured, killed, or “disappeared” skyrocket in the four years since Mexico’s president unleashed the military to combat drug cartels. Morales has taken the lead in demanding…
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Anis Hidayah Receives the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Anis Hidayah was literally going into labor with her second child when she answered her phone, suspecting it would be a migrant worker needing her help. She was right. The woman had recently returned to Indonesia and said she was being extorted before…
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What Would You Choose – Prison or Rape?

As told by Chris Albin-Lackey, senior researcher for the Business and Human Rights division We parked our land cruiser by the side of the dirt road, high in the mountains covered with lush, green vegetation. In the distance, framed by greenery, was a vast…
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Amicus Curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court

Human Rights Watch and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed an amicus brief in the case of Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd before the Supreme Court. The case challenges the US government's misuse of the material witness statute to investigate…