Pope Francis met for the first time Monday with people sexually abused by priests, saying Mass with six survivors and then meeting privately with each for half an hour.

In the Mass, Francis spoke of the particular pain suffered by people abused by clergy: How the abuse can lead people into difficulty with relationships and sometimes addiction and even suicide. Priests who abuse children are like members “of a sacrilegious cult,” he said.

A group of South Korean former “comfort women”, who worked in state-controlled brothels for the US military after the 1950-53 Korean War, has reportedly filed a suit demanding compensation from the authorities for forced prostitution.

It’s the first time that such legal action has been taken regarding the brothels, or “special areas” that were sanctioned by the South Korean government, The Asahi Shimbun media outlet reported.

The women are seeking 10 million won ($9,850) for being made to serve as “US military comfort women” after the Korean War ended in 1953.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is hoping to cast off its reputation as a state blighted by sexual violence by investing in education, prosecuting the soldiers responsible for the rape epidemic of recent years, and highlighting the country's economic development, its prime minister has said.

To read full article, visit this Guardian link.

Political parties and the Security Service, MI5, will have their internal files combed by an independent inquiry to establish what they knew about allegations of child sex abuse by politicians and other members of paedophile rings, the Government has announced.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the BBC and religious organisations will also fall under the remit of a major new inquiry into abuse allegations, in the wake of widespread concern about the activities of priests and celebrities including Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris.

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 – Defense Department officials today announced the first Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award to recognize military and civilian contributions that advance the department’s goals of preventing sexual assault.

Core elements of the military’s strategy to prevent sexual assault include the promotion of innovative ideas and enhanced collaboration among the services, officials said.

To read full article, visit this U.S. Department of Defense link.

The number of reported cases of sexual assault in the military in 2013 went up by 50 percent from the year before. The Department of Defense says it’s because more people are comfortable coming forward, but many say the problem is only escalating.

For 2012, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 sexual assaults took place but that only 3,300 of them were reported to authorities.

An estimated 20,000 women and girls in Iraq are at an increased risk of sexual violence as a result of the mounting crisis in northern and western parts of the country, warned the United Nations today, urging immediate action to ensure their protection.

To read full article, visit this UN News Centre link.

It is thought that more than ten million girls around the world are married before they turn 18.

The effect on their health and education can be catastrophic.

Two of Africa's best known elders are campaigning to end the practice; Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel - who has just ended her official period of mourning - and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

To read full article, visit this BBC News link.

CAIRO — At a time when the Egyptian government has recognized the need to stop physical and sexual violence against women, human rights organizations have registered dozens of cases of physical abuse against women in Egyptian prisons pending trial for political issues.


To read full article, visit this Al-Monitor link.

The authorities rounded up 281 pimps and freed 168 juveniles last week, targeting child sex-trafficking operations in more than 100 U.S. cities. Police arrested 21 pimps in Phoenix, the most of any FBI division. Other hotspots in the coordinated raids were centered in Denver, Cleveland, and Los Angeles.

 

To read full article, visit this NPR link.

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