A shocking new survey of French women has found that roughly 12 percent of them have been raped at least once in their lifetime. Some 43 percent of respondents also said they had been sexually touched without their consent.
The study, carried out by the Paris-based think tank, Fondation Jean Jaurès, surveyed 2,167 women to assess the frequency of and attitudes towards sexual violence in the country. Alarmingly, it found more than half of participants (58 percent) have been subjected to disturbing propositions.
The study analysed various forms of sexual abuse, from pornographic messages sent via email or text, to cyber-harassment and gestures with sexual connotations. The report says it highlights “the complex, repetitive and cumulative nature of this type of violence among the women concerned”.
Furthermore, the survey found most women who reported such abuse have experienced it several times in their lifetimes. Sexual abuse of any kind can cause "heavy consequences and long-term repercussions suffered by the victims," according to the report.
Much like the #MeToo movement, French women have felt empowered by the Hollywood retaliation against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, to share their own experiences on social media under the hashtag “#BalanceTonPorc” (“rat on your pig”). However, a number of prominent French women, including model Laetitia Casta and actress Catherine Deneuve, criticized the movements for their growing radicalism that turns women into victims and summarily punishes men even for reported misdeeds without giving them a chance to defend themselves.
It's not like women who have been harassed have had a chance to defend themselves, until now. I am concerned about the instant condemnation that occurs on Twitter, but I suspect very few men don't deserve that condemnation.
The French minister for gender equality Marlène Schiappa has set out plans to crack down on sexual violence and harassment. The new measures include introducing an on-the-spot €90 fine for catcalling, lengthening the time within which sexually abused children can make an official complaint and toughening the laws against sex with minors.
UPI -- Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said Friday he will resign amid a scandal tied to an extramarital affair with a former adviser, who's now pregnant with his child.
Joyce said he intends to remain as a lawmaker but give up his major roles, including his leadership post atop the Australian Nationals Party. Briget McKenzie has been named as its acting leader.
"I will continue to fight for the people in the weatherboard and iron, for the people on the peripheral and the small regional towns," Joyce said in a tweet. "I used my experience of these towns and my goal in life will always be to try to make their lives better."
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was told of Joyce's resignation on Friday.
Turnbull said Joyce made a "shocking error of judgement" by having an affair with media adviser Vikki Campion. Last week, the Australian leader banned Cabinet ministers from having sexual relationships with staffers.
Joyce called Turnball's remarks "inept" and "unnecessary."
Pressure for the 50-year-old Joyce to resign continued to grow after it was reported that an unidentified woman made a sexual harassment complaint against him -- which Joyce said was "the straw the breaks the camel's back."
"But it's quite evident that you can't go to the Despatch Box with issues like that surrounding you."
The Despatch Boxes are two wooden chests that sit on the central table in the House of Representatives, next to the Prime Minister's chair and the Leader of the Opposition's chair. The Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, ministers and shadow ministers use the Despatch Boxes to rest their speech notes and other documents on while addressing the House—that is when they are said to be speaking 'from the Despatch Box'.
The abuse and extortion scandal, which authorities have called the largest in Pakistan’s history, allegedly involved hundreds of victims in Punjab province.
Two of the accused were jailed for life in April last year.
Judge Chaudhry Ilyas acquitted the men of “sexual abuse of a young boy and making a video to blackmail his family,” a court official said.
Apparently, 16 witnesses are not enough
Prosecutors produced 16 witnesses against the accused men, but could not prove the charges, the official said. Another court official confirmed the details.
In the village of Hussain Khanwala in Kasur, southwest of Lahore, videos were made of at least 280 children being sexually abused by a gang who blackmailed their parents by threatening to leak the videos.
The police, who had conspicuously failed to act despite pleas from some parents, eventually made dozens of arrests after clashes between relatives and authorities brought the issue into the media spotlight.
In March 2016, Pakistan’s Senate also passed a bill that criminalized sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking for the first time — previously only the acts of rape and sodomy were punishable by law.
Last week a court handed four death sentences to a man charged with raping and murdering a six-year-old girl, in a case that shocked the country and sparked major riots in his home district.
Imran Ali, 24, was on trial for killing Zainab Fatima Ameen in Kasur last month.
He faces further charges in the cases of at least seven other children attacked in the Punjab city — five of whom were murdered — in a spate of assaults that had stoked fears a serial child killer was on the loose.
Ali has confessed to all eight attacks, including the death of Zainab. — AFP
I do commend the court that issued one death sentence and 5 - 25 year sentences for some of those who murdered Mashal Khan in a fake blasphemy case. It was really about a debate where Khan touched a nerve and mass hysteria ensued. Such is not unusual in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Sexual abuse that reportedly took place in an orphan boarding school sent shock-waves across Russia after its former residents described the horrors that happened there, claiming they had been raped by a visitor and staff.
A home for children with developmental disabilities in a tiny village in the Chelyabinsk Region has come under the spotlight of the Russian media this week after three adoptive families broke the silence over the nightmares their sons went through while living there.
All of them claim the boys were systematically raped by staff and one man who often came to visit. “I asked my son what they did with the man who came to see them. My son was stunned and said: ‘we made fried potatoes.’ I asked what else they did. ‘He raped me’ – that was his answer,” one of the mothers said.
Other parents also indicated that it was the same man who their children identified as Sergey. According to them, he would take the boys to the lake to fish or make fried potatoes, after which he would rape them in the reeds along with his friend. All the while, one of the supervisors who accompanied the children watched as they were molested.
As it was happening, the boys saw the men handing “green bits of paper” to the supervisors. Sergey wasn’t the only rapist, the kids claim. A married couple who worked in the home forced the children to take part in orgies.
“When my son finally found [the] courage to tell everything, he said ‘I was so afraid, they told me they would drown me in the lake or would lock [me] up in a rehab for the rest of my life.’”
Yet, some of the residents of the Cheremushki village where the orphanage is located appear to be not sure about whether the harrowing allegations should be believed.
“How can it be? These kids use their imagination very well,” Raisa, an elderly woman who used to work in the home, told RT. Still, she conceded “it’s impossible to come up with all this.”
Others believe the orphanage has serious problems, with children running freely outside the premises without supervision. “These children beg and steal. They ask adults to buy them cigarettes and alcohol in a local store. They rape each other, those kids, and talk about it openly. Prisoners don’t speak as these kids do,” a woman named Natalia told RT.
“This is the orphanage where children from difficult families come from across our region. I wish the orphanage was fenced off.” Another local resident echoed Natalia’s words, saying that “children are on their own,” walking around and torturing stray animals.
The same day the story broke in a local news outlet, the region’s investigative committee announced they had arrested an alleged abuser, a 51-year-old local resident.
Although the authorities didn’t name the man, he is believed to be Sergey Kokorin from Chelyabinsk. His family and friends, however, are convinced it was a frame-up, describing Sergey as “a decent, educated man.”
“There have been rumors about [the home] for a long time,” a woman who asked to be called Natalia and who lives with Sergey told RT. “I heard that young men who were brought up there came there to stay overnight and rape children. The headmaster let them. Last year, a boy hanged himself… And now they are trying to put all the blame on Sergey, that because he raped him, the boy committed suicide.”
While Moscow investigators have taken over the case, children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova instructed special commissions to inspect all orphanages in the Chelyabinsk Region. Earlier, Kuznetsova supported a bill that would impose harsher punishment for child sex abusers, introducing life sentences instead of the maximum 20 years in prison.
More charities have revealed cases of sexual misconduct among staff and associates in the wake of the Oxfam scandal (3rd story on link).
The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed 21 workers had been sacked or resigned from their roles since 2015, after paying for sexual services. The charity admitted it should have been more vigilant and said it was "deeply saddened".
It comes as children's aid charity Plan International admitted six cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children between July 2016 and June 2017.
One involved a staff member who was dismissed, the charity said in a statement on its website, while the other five involved volunteers or partner organisations, whose contracts were terminated.
Five of the cases "were of a criminal nature" and were reported to local authorities.
During the same period there were nine incidents of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct by staff on other adults, which led to seven dismissals and two warnings about inappropriate language, the statement said.
Plan International campaigns for children's rights and provides aid for more than 50 countries to improve access to food, water, shelter and education.
In its statement, first published as a blog post by Plan International UK chief executive Tanya Barron, the charity said: "Sadly, as an aid community, we are not immune from the utterly unacceptable actions of a small number of those who work for and with us."
It added: "The painful but important truth to acknowledge is that sometimes things can go wrong. When they do, we are deeply sorry."
"We are fully committed to efforts among NGOs, government and the United Nations to make sure we do everything within our power to stop abuse, including strengthening our approaches to safeguarding and HR, and creating a culture that encourages staff to speak out."
International Red Cross director-general Yves Daccord said he was "deeply saddened to report" the incidents of misconduct. He said: "This behaviour is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve. It is against human dignity and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this.
"The ICRC has more than 17,000 staff members worldwide. We are concerned that incidents that should be reported have not yet been reported, or were reported but not properly handled. We are taking action to address this."