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Jensine Larsen

Women Rewire the Web

Dear Jensine,

Thank you for starting World Pulse and providing a platform for women around the world to speak out and demand the same rights that men have been reclaiming for the past 200+ years. The right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," -- and the right to live in peace and dignity within their homes and community.

While women of lesser-developed countries are still fighting to pass laws that would protect their rights, women of the 'West' should not be lulled into a false sense of security by the few advancements we have made in past decades. The battle for peace and security within the home and community is still as omni-present in the "West" as it is in the 'East'.

As Michelle Bachelet, former Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women stated last year, “the shortcomings [in the protection of victims of domestic violence] are not in the vision, voices and the voluminous efforts undertaken by determined women around the world. No, the shortcomings lie elsewhere—in the lack of political prioritization… Now is the time for governments to translate international promises into concrete national action….”

Amnesty International (Spain) produced a very good report, and documentation of the lack of political prioritization and failure of its govt. to translate their promises into reality in "What Specialized Justice?" (http://www.es.amnesty.org/paises/espana/violencia-de-genero). (An English translation and resume is posted on http://worldpulse.com/files/upload/2759/newsletter_family_courts_in_cris... ) But, essentially it states the following:

..."The factors which prevent women from filing complaints for domestic abuse are varied. When an aggressor is the partner or ex-partner, the capacity and ability of the women to defend herself against the violence is all the more impaired. The continual insistence of officials that it is women who “must” denounce said violence so that they might be protected and receive support, shows to what extent officials do not understand the dynamics of the situation. As well as being ignorant to the problems created by deep-rooted discrimination….

Instead of justifying the inaction of institutions by contending that it is the “obligation” of the woman to denounce the violence, authorities should verify the effectiveness of the legal protection available and identify the obstacles that, in the law and its application, impede women from accessing and obtaining justice and protection.

Along these lines, the focus of attention should be the response of the State in relation to its obligations to respect and uphold the rights of the victims of domestic violence by providing them with effective remedies in order to obtain justice and protection under procedural guarantees that assure that they are not discriminated against.

The experience of the women who file complaints [and are systematically denied protection] can shed light on the response of the system and whether they correspond with international norms that obligate the Spanish State to exercise due diligence in the persecution of crimes, in the investigation of the facts, and the protection of those who have filed the complaints and who are at risk....

The documented cases represent serious lack of diligence by the administration of justice. All of these women and children have encountered judicial procedures that are not adapted to their necessities, with obstacles that prevent them from obtaining justice and have not facilitated the just resolution of their cases. The acquittal or absolution for lack of proof has had a serious impact on the lives of the victims and in the behaviour of the aggressor. Amnesty International want to call attention to:

--> Adverse impact in the process of recuperation for these women --> Losing confidence and seeking protection from the justice system --> MORE POWER FOR THE AGGRESSOR AND REPETITION OF ABUSE --> CONSOLIDATION OF PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE (lack of effective mechanisms to assure accountability of professionals when they fail to comply with the duty to act with due diligence)"

By looking to the 'West', women of the 'East' may see the road and challenges that lay ahead of them. This road far from being paved in gold, is filled with pot-holes, booby-traps, and land-mines. It is time that women of the East and West re-examine the priorities and issues of the women's rights movement of the past. A movement that has all too often only see labor and reproductive rights of women as the solutions to her oppression and domination. Until and unless women can be assured security and safety within her home, she will continue to be a 'caged bird singing for her freedom' no matter how much financial wealth she obtains.

Leina

Cameroon, Safe for Women?

Dear Leina,

What you describe in Cameroon is the same in countries all around the world -- Yes even in USA, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Australia............ The list is non-ending. Unfortunately, due to antiquated norms and the fact that govts. consider domestic abuse (and the rampant failure of courts to apply & implement laws to protect victims, as well as violating the rights of victims in court proceedings) a 'private matter' & 'civil dispute', victims are left totally unprotected, defenseless and re-victimized.

In some ways the situation for victims in 'Western' countries is worse than Oriental, African & Latin American countries. In 'Western' countries laws are pass, multi-million dollar publicity campaigns are launch, millions of dollars in public funds are awarded to awareness-raising (in reality only propaganda) campaigns, but lawyers, judges and everyone else implicated keep on discriminating against victims in the courts -- with more and more victims being incarcerated, instead of the abuser. One Spanish woman has been in a New Jerey jail for the past 7 years, by a well-known judge abuser amongst local advocates, with the US & Spanish govt. playing 'rub-shoulder' politics at the expense of the life of a woman & her child.

What is needed in transparency & accountability of judicial actors (which means regulatory agencies - Bar Associations, Judicial Review Boards, etc. need to start getting TOUGH on negligent judical actors), District Attorneys getting TOUGH on judicial actors who violate women's rights, and women's rights orgs & lawyers need to start establishing jurispudence and a political campaign promoting and defending women's rights within the home, family & marriage.

CAPACITY BUILDING THAT TURNS RHETORIC TO REALITY!