Victims of rape and sexual violence worldwide are denied access to justice due to gender discrimination and assumptions about the sexual behaviour of victims of rape, Amnesty International said in two regional reports released on Monday.


To mark International Women's Day, Amnesty International released two reports looking at sexual violence in locations across the developed and developing world; specifically Cambodia and the Nordic Countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.


By Rebecca Harshbarger


UNITED NATIONS, New York (WOMENSENEWS)--Isatu Kalokoh, a 32-year-old mother of three, lives in the far-eastern suburbs of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.


In her community, 60 percent of the residents are women. Kalokoh is a housewife, but many of the women here making a living farming oysters, selling wood and working as petty traders of small retail goods.


Only about 100 women in her suburb can read, but a single female chief, elected over the resistance of many men, runs the community.


(This article first appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of Peace Corps WorldView, pp. 26-27.)


By Casey Frazee


The “Safety of the Volunteer 2007” report released by the Peace Corps Office of Safety and Security states that there were 253 incidents of rape, some form of physical or sexual assault, death threats or intimidation against Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in 2007. That is roughly 3 percent of PCVs who served that year. When the statistics are compiled for 2009, I will, unfortunately, be among those numbers.

By Michael Bugeja


A college campus isn't the first place that comes to mind in a discussion about violent crime.


But research funded by the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of 5 college women will be sexually assaulted. NPR's investigative unit teamed up with journalists at the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) to look at the failure of schools — and the government agency that oversees them — to prevent these assaults and then to resolve these cases.


A Hidden Attack


By Andy Tighe

So-called date-rape drugs are on the rise, according to the United Nations drug control agency's annual report.

The International Narcotics Control Board says tough measures against the best-known drug, Rohypnol, have worked.

But sexual abusers are turning to alternative substances subject to less stringent international controls.

It wants these placed on governments' controlled substances lists and for manufacturers to develop safety features such as dyes and flavourings.

Pope Benedict XVI has upbraided Irish Roman Catholic bishops over their handling of child sex abuse scandals.

He condemned abuse of children by priests as a "heinous crime", and said Irish bishops must act to restore the Church's "moral credibility".

During two days of meetings at the Vatican, the Pope reprimanded the bishops for a "failure ... for years to act effectively", a statement said.

Last year the Irish Church admitted covering up abuse for decades.

By Kimberly Hefling

WASHINGTON -- The sexual assault of employees of U.S. military contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan will be tracked by the Pentagon under a system it is setting up.

The tracking will likely begin this year, Defense official Gail McGinn said in a memo to the Pentagon's Inspector General included in a report released Friday.

By Rob Hotakainen

WASHINGTON — Megan's Law soon could go international.

The law, named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a neighbor in 1994, requires convicted sex offenders to be registered with the government, making it easier to track their whereabouts. Their names can then be put into databases, allowing the public to do a quick online check to determine where offenders reside.

Helena Merriman reports on a woman whose experience of sexual assault, while serving in the US Air Force in Afghanistan, turned her into a campaigner for the welfare of service women.

Marti Ribeiro was born into a military family.

Her grandfather and father were both in the Air Force - and all her life she had wanted to join the armed forces.

After she finished school she joined the Air Force Reserve and a few years later, in March 2003, she was deployed to Iraq.


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