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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.
News
I had already heard many disturbing stories of violence by the time I interviewed Mercy Maina, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy.  Even so, what Mercy told me was truly disturbing. She said she was raped during the post-…
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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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“Is there no justice for rape?” asked Jane, a young woman from Nairobi’s slums. “If police, who should be helping us, can just rape women and nothing is done to them, what will prevent men from continuing to rape us?” Jane (not her real name)…
Kenyan anti-riot police fire tear gas in Kisumu, Kenya, August 9, 2017. © 2017 Baz Ratner/Reuters
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President Uhuru Kenyatta two years ago announced a fund to help survivors of historical injustices in Kenya, including those who suffered gross human rights violations during the political violence of 2007-2008. Mr Kenyatta said…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
News

Proposals Threaten Women’s Health, Safety, and Rights

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” So said Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. But Trump's other words and actions during and before the campaign made a mockery of that statement. We all know his record: the public…
Women take part in a protest against then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016
News
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 .
News
A year ago, the Kenyan government finally announced a fund to help survivors of the widespread violence in 2007 and 2008 tied to the disputed presidential election. It was the first sign of hope for the hundreds of women who were brutally raped…
Kamene F. stands outside her house in a slum in Nairobi with her 7-year-old son born from rape.
News
Although it is more than eight years since hundreds of women were brutally raped during post-election violence in Kenya, the harrowing events of 2007/8 continue to affect survivors to this day. Destitute, in ill health and often…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
News
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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Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch received a letter from a woman who explained she had been brutally gang raped by strangers in an abandoned lot in Tulsa in 1971, when she was 12 years old. Though she had been literally torn open by the assault, she…
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Each week seems to bring news of sexual assaults being handled badly by college campuses across the country. I just received an email from my own alma mater, Brown University, reassuring its alumni that the attacker in a recent case will not, in fact, be…
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One of the first things I learned in my training as a volunteer for a New York City hospital's rape crisis center was that sexual assaults are often shrouded in silence. For some survivors, women and men alike, the silence is partial. They can't bring…
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Obstetric fistula is a ‘disease of poverty’ that still affects thousands of women all over Africa. But if the causes are properly addressed, it is preventable. I grew up in a small rural village in eastern Kenya. Like most children in my village, I loved…
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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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In the 50 years since Betty Friedan’s "Feminine Mystique" opened a discussion of the oppression behind the American ideal of domesticity, we have seen significant progress in how society views violence against women, particularly violence in the home. The…
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In spring 2011, a federal government employee in her 30s was sexually assaulted in the District by a man she met on an Internet dating site. At Washington Hospital Center, where she went for a forensic exam so medical personnel could collect evidence from…
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Voices from across the political spectrum condemned the Missouri Senate candidate for Senate, Todd Akin, for his recent offensive and scientifically inaccurate reasoning to deny rape survivors’ access to abortion. Akin said women’s bodies “shut down” and…