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Series 2 No. 10 (Fall 2003): Violence Against Women


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Until the early 1990s, most forms of violence directed against women were met with silence not only by governments but also by much of the human rights community. In the last fifteen years, however, the engagement of human rights activists in the problem of violence against women has risen exponentially. Why and how this change has occurred is an important piece of the history of the women's and human rights movements, with major implications for both. In the Fall 2003 issue of Human Rights Dialogue, activists, scholars, and practitioners discuss how women's rights activists are using human rights instruments to combat violence against women and, in turn, how the human rights movement is being enlarged and enriched by their approach. In particular, the magazine explores how women's advocates are challenging the public/private divide, the cultural and religious objections to granting women's rights, and the common blindness to linkages between violence against women and the deprivation of other rights, specifically economic and social rights.


Introduction: Violence Against Women | 11/05/03
In the last fifteen years, the engagement of human rights activists in the problem of violence against women has increased exponentially. Why and how this change has occurred has major implications for the women’s and human rights movements.

Rights for All in the New South Africa | 11/05/03
In an interview with Dialogue, Harper discusses how violence against women in South Africa has been justified under the banners of culture, religion, and the resistance movement—and how he is working to change that. Author(s): Christopher Harper

Domestic Violence and HIV Infection in Uganda | 11/05/03
According to Lisa W. Karanja, women’s activists have documented the linkage between domestic violence and women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS—and they hold the Ugandan government responsible. Author(s): Lisa W. Karanja

Battered Mothers vs. U.S. Family Courts | 11/05/03
Carrie Cuthbert and her colleagues write that battered mothers facing a family court system that lacks accountability have found hope in the human rights framework. The hard part is getting the courts themselves to change. Author(s): Carrie Cuthbert, Kim Y. Slote, Jay G. Silverman, Monica Ghosh Driggers, Lundy Bancroft, Cynthia J. Mesh

Expanding the Definition of Torture | 11/05/03
It is high time, Carin Benninger-Budel and Lucinda O’Hanlon argue, for the UN Committee against Torture to address violence against women in its work. Author(s): Carin Benninger-Budel, Lucinda O'Hanlon

How the Seed Was Planted | 11/05/03
Alda Facio explains how women in Latin America put the issue of violence against women on the map. Author(s): Alda Facio

Combating FGM in Kenya's Refugee Camps | 11/05/03
In her fight against female genital mutilation among refugees, June Munala finds that securing the involvement of everyone in the camp community is essential. Author(s): June Munala

Law: A Powerful Force | 11/05/03
Response to June Munala. Author(s): Anne Gathumbi-Masheti

Rape and Gender Violence: From Impunity to Accountability in International Law | 11/05/03
Thanks to the dedication of women's rights activists, Rhonda Copelon writes, the new International Criminal Court recognizes rape as a war crime. Author(s): Rhonda Copelon

Working within Nigeria's Sharia Courts | 11/05/03
In the face of Nigeria's expansion of religious laws, as Ayesha Imam explains in an interview with "Dialogue," it is important to work within the court system to strengthen respect for women's rights. Author(s): Ayesha Imam

Small Victories, but the War Rages On | 11/05/03
Uché U. Ewelukwa responds to Ayesha Imam's article, "Working with Sharia Courts." Author(s): Uché U. Ewelukwa

Working within Sharia Takes You Only So Far | 11/05/03
Albaqir A. Mukhtar responds to Ayesha Imam's article, "Working with Nigeria's Sharia Courts." Author(s): Albaqir A. Mukhtar

Impunity and Women's Rights in Ciudad Juárez | 11/05/03
Lydia Alpízar explains how women’s organizations are responding to the systematic killings of women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Author(s): Lydia Alpízar

From Ciudad Juárez to the World | 11/05/03
Charlotte Bunch responds to Lydia Alpízar. Author(s): Charlotte Bunch

In the Name of Honor | 11/05/03
Women’s rights advocates in Turkey, Leylâ Pervizat writes, are combating the pervasive belief that so-called honor killings do not rise to the level of human rights abuses. Author(s): Leylâ Pervizat

A Struggle on Two Fronts | 11/05/03
Zehra F. Arat responds to Leylâ Pervizat. Author(s): Zehra F. Arat

Refusing to Go Away: Strategies of the Women's Rights Movement | 11/05/03
LaShawn R. Jefferson describes how the women’s rights movement put violence against women on the international human rights agenda. Author(s): LaShawn R. Jefferson

Readers Respond: Making Human Rights Work in a Globalizing World | 11/06/03

Online Exclusives

Women, Violence, and the Reinvolvement of the U.S. Military in the Philippines | 11/19/03
The Visiting Forces Agreement, allowing U.S. military personnel access in 22 ports and bases, marked a return to the abuses that women’s rights activists had long struggled against, including the trafficking of Filipinas and their global devaluation as low-paid workers and servile brides. Author(s): Jane A. Margold

Unexpected New Alliances for Addressing Military Involvement and Sexual Exploitation | 11/20/03
Jennifer Butler responds to Jane Margold. Author(s): Jennifer Butler

Beyond Name and Blame | 01/15/04
Why do Cuthbert and her colleagues find that “doing human rights work in the United States presents formidable challenges”? Can it be as simple as American exceptionalism? What can it mean to use human rights to end violence against women? Author(s): Mindy Roseman

Additional Resources

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: "Violence Against Women" | 01/09/04

Download: Download for Free (PDF, 1.13 M)

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