Welcome to the 7th edition of The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest! As usual, we bring you the latest and most relevant news concerning violence against women around the world from the past two weeks.

In this edition we pay special attention to Shariah, or the system of Islamic law. Simply defined, Shariah is a legal system through which Muslims are guided in their walk of life and faith, so that a Muslim’s behaviour will remain exemplary and honourable.

However, the Shariah system in many countries has often worked to the detriment of women. As such, whenever Shariah laws are practised and applied, the world, especially women’s rights groups, take notice.

In Malaysia, the Shariah system has gained a stronger foothold with the first Shariah-compliant caning of three young women who were involved in either extramarital or premarital sex.

Advocates of the caning state that Islamic caning is benevolent — the person caned is fully clothed and the cane itself is thin and not meant to cause injury. Opponents of the punishment are uncomfortable with it on many levels, including the grounds for moral policing that it opens as well as its potential abuse. In a twist, the women who were caned publicly stated that it was an opportunity for them to repent of their sins and that they were deserving of their punishment.

There are many issues to be dealt with in this one matter. To what extent does religious freedom also translate to the right to discriminate, or in this case, to inflict violence upon another person – particularly a woman? If the women involved consent to the practices, should it be accepted? Are ‘benevolent’ forms of Shariah punishment acceptable, or would permitting their existence open a community to the slippery slope that leads to more controversial punishments such as stoning for adultery?

At the same time, we are happy to report that dialogue concerning violence against women related to religion is going on around the world – it’s important to recognize that things such as honour killings, female genital mutilation, and forced marriages which are frequently associated to Islam are in fact cultural and not Islamic practices.

We also report the good news that South Africa, a country that has long struggled with violence particularly against women, will be running a 5-year campaign to tackle violence against women.

Think of ways that you too can help to combat violence against women. Small gestures can mean a great deal. If you have any news concerning violence against women from the Internet or from your local community, we’d like to hear it. You can send any news related to violence against women that you’d like to see in forthcoming editions of The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest to our archivist, Catalina Rembuyan, at catalina@thepixelproject.com.

In the meantime, enjoy our 7th edition of the e-News Digest and feel free to share it around! If you prefer to get breaking VAW news from us in real time, follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/PixelProject).

The Pixel Project – it’s time to stop violence against women, together.

With best regards,

The Pixel Project Team

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General Violence Against Women News

UNIFEM organizes discussion forum on philanthropy and women’s welfare

Canada: ‘Half the Sky’ gets cross-country screening

Malaysia: Malaysian women who were caned said the punishment was ‘good for them’

Malaysia: International conference on caning to be held

Malaysia: A more compassionate approach needed instead of caning, women likely to be first targeted by moral police

Kenya: Beaten, tortured, but undaunted – how violence is used to intimidate political dissenters

Pakistan: Films can help combat violence against women

South Africa: 5-year long campaign to combat violence against women to be launched soon

United Kingdom: Review into sexualisation of young people published by the government as part of strategy agains VAW

United Kingdom: Hundreds of people march in Bristol to combat violence against women

United Kingdom: Art or exploitation? Director Michael Winterbottom defends film’s graphic depiction of violence against women

Domestic Violence

Costa Rica: Statistical information giving an overview of domestic violence in Costa Rica

India: Delhi court rules that women can invoke the Domestic Violence Act against her brothers

United Kingdom: ‘A lot of people don’t see domestic violence as a crime’ – city domestic violence unit at the police force helps to look into cases of domestic violence

United States: Governor Paterson announces he would not seek full election due to his involvement in domestic violence against girlfriend

United States: In the state of Nevada, pets of domestic violence survivors may find shelter

United States: Charlie Sheen to get help in rehab after domestic violence incident

United States: Senator Reid makes a statement linking unemployment to the rise of domestic violence, invites controversy

Rape and Sexual Assault

United Nations warns that date rape drugs are on the rise

Germany: Rape as an instrument of war — German woman speaks up about rape under the Soviet army

Haiti: United Nations official clarifies rise of rape in Haitian camps

India: Bollywood director to tackle issue of marital rape

India: Goa to step up policing after rape of tourists

Malaysia: Man who raped minor given ten years’ off his sentence for ‘cooperation with the police’ and for being a ‘first-time offender’

United Kingdom: London rape cases up 500 in a year

United States: Rape on campus – many schools are not aware of repeat offenders

United States: University of Wisconsin offers incomplete data on sexual assault on campus grounds

Honour Killing

An overview of honour killing by Carol Duff

Israel and Palestine: An overview of honour killings in Palestinian society

Iraq: Honour killings in Northern Iraq – the IRC (International Rescue Committee) is working to end the culture of violence

Jordan: Man jailed for killing sister for ‘using her mobile too often’

Pakistan: Sikh groups seek to move UN bodies concerning the rights of non-Muslims in Afghanistan and the SWAT Valley, which will also affect the high level of violence against women there

Forced Marriages

Ghana: Forced marriages increasing in the Northern region

South Africa: Girls as young as 14 still forced to marry according to tribal culture

United Kingdom: Debate on forced marriage to be held in March

United Kingdom: More about the debate that will be held in March, which is said to be the ‘first conference of its kind’ concerning both forced marriage and honour killing

Sex Trafficking

Ireland: The happy hooker myth is a far cry from reality – what the Thomas Carroll case says about the reality of sex trafficking

United States: Sex trafficking is not just a problem abroad – “We’ve got to punish men who are buying sex from children”

United States: Ex-NBA star accused of sex trafficking

United States: Kansas children being sold as sex slaves

United States: Group sheds light on human trafficking

United States: Opinion – human trafficking affects youths in the community, author advises readers to get educated

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