Colorado Schools says women should urinate or vomit to deter a rapist #WTFnews #Vaw


By Lateef Mungin, CNN
February 20, 2013 — Updated 2226 GMT (0626 HKT)
Watch this video

(CNN) – A Colorado school has caused a stir with an advisory that suggested women could urinate or vomit to deter a rape.

The list of 10 tips by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was billed as “last resort” options to deter a sexual assault.

“Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating,” read one tip.

“Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone,” read another.

By Tuesday night, the list was taken down and replaced by an explanation and an apology. But it was too late.

The backlash had hit the Internet, and a hashtag on Twitter was created.

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin was one of many who criticized the eyebrow-raising list using the hashtag #UCCSTips.

“New #UCCSTips for women: If vomiting or urinating doesn’t deter your attacker, try passing gas,” Malkin tweeted.

“#UCCSTips or if all else fails, ask attacker to pull your finger!” Jason Griggs tweeted.

Police: Man raped woman he met on Christian dating website

Some women on the Colorado campus said they were confused by the list.

“Tell your attacker you have a disease or menstruating? I don’t understand how that will keep someone from attacking you,” student Leah McFann told CNN affiliate KRDO.

Some on campus also wondered why the list did not emphasize more conventional ways of fighting back.

Tom Hutton, a spokesman for the university, said the list had been taken out of context.

“It was part of supplemental information intended for women who had completed a self-defense class on campus,” Hutton told KRDO.

Gang rape victim fights back for girls’ education

Hutton said the list was created in 2006 but may have resurfaced because the issue of rape on campus had been in the news recently in Colorado.

Last week, Colorado lawmakers debated legislation that would ban firearms in college campus buildings. The debate made headlines after Democratic State Rep. Joe Salazar made controversial statements about ways to protect women on campuses.

“Because you just don’t know who you are going to be shooting at,” Salazar said last week. “If you feel like you’re going to be raped or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble and when you may actually not be — that you pop out that gun and you pop-pop a round at somebody. And you might have just made a mistake.”

Salazar later apologized for the comment.

 

Protests erupt in Bangladesh after war-crimes verdict


By Farid Ahmed for CNN
February 7, 2013 — U

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) – Outraged by a court verdict they considered too lenient, thousands of people took to the streets across Bangladesh on Wednesday demanding the death penalty for an Islamic party leader convicted of war crimes carried out more than four decades ago.

“We’ve taken additional measures across the country to heighten security,” State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Hoque told reporters.

From horror to hope: Boy’s miracle recovery from brutal attack

The demonstrations began Tuesday, when an International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general for the Jamaat-e-Islami party, to life in prison.

The Jamaat-e-Islami party had called for a two-day general strike across Bangladesh beginning Tuesday, and demonstrators clashed with police and demanded that ruling party officials scrap the trial process.

The government on Tuesday evening called in paramilitary troopers to maintain law and order in Dhaka and elsewhere as deadly protests erupted after the verdict.

Jamaat-e-Islami protested the verdict as demonstrators — including some from ruling party alliances — took to the streets demanding the death penalty for Mollah.

Read more: General strike disrupts life in Bangladesh

“We’ve deployed troopers from the Border Guards of Bangladesh to maintain law and order,” Hoque said.

Hundreds of Dhaka University students took to the streets in the capital’s Shahbagh Square, where they were joined by other city residents in protests that began Tuesday.

Home Ministry officials said security forces were patrolling in Dhaka and other major cities, including in the large southeastern port city of Chittagong, where at least four people were killed Tuesday during clashes between police and supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Police opened fire and shot tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters, who torched and otherwise damaged more than 100 vehicles in major cities.

Jamaat-e-Islami said its members would continue to protest; many of its leaders are behind bars facing charges of murder, arson, looting and rape stemming from the war of independence in 1971.

Read more: Clinton leaves drama in China for turmoil in Bangladesh

They said the war-crimes trials, which began after more than 40 years of independence, was done with “ill political motive.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed no sign of backing down, saying the trials would be completed at any cost.

The government, which promised in its election pledges in 2008 to complete the war-crimes trials, set up the tribunals in 2010.

Amid tight security, a three-member panel of judges of the International Crimes Tribunal-2 delivered the judgment against Mollah in a crowded courtroom on Tuesday.

Mollah, 64, was found guilty of five of six charges, including murder.

They included crimes against humanity, tribunal Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan said.

After the verdict was read, Mollah stood from the chair on which he had been seated and cried, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great!)

He declared he was innocent and began to curse the judges and the government.

He then pulled a copy of the Quran from his pocket and held it in front of him, saying that the judges would one day find themselves on trial in accordance with the holy book’s law.

Lawmakers of the ruling party alliance criticized the verdict in parliament and asked the prosecution to appeal for the death penalty.

Mollah, who was the chief of the students’ wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, is the first Jamaat-e-Islami leader convicted in a war-crimes case by the tribunal.

On January 21, the same tribunal sentenced to death the first war crimes convict, Abul Kalam Azad, alias Bachchu Razakar.

Bangladesh had been the eastern portion of Pakistan until it gained independence in 1971 in a war that killed 3 million people.

 

India’s Cash Transfers for the Poor Face Early Hurdles #UID #Aadhaar


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

By AMOL SHARMA

 

DOHAKATU, India—Officials in this impoverished eastern Indian village have a message for local residents: the government wants to give you a bank account and plop money in it—now.

 

India is embarking on a dramatic shift in how it delivers welfare benefits to its hundreds of millions of poor citizens. The program, which officially begins in January and will be rolled out nationally by the end of next year, will transfer up to $58 billion in cash into the bank accounts of some 90 million households. Beneficiaries will withdraw the money using a high-tech system that verifies their identities using fingerprint scans.

 

Indians who now must get welfare payments at post offices—enduring waits of days or weeks and sometimes paying bribes to get entitlements—will get direct deposits in their personal bank accounts for everything from old-age pension to scholarships to salaries for public works projects.

 

Poor households will also get cash deposits to buy basic commodities like kerosene and cooking gas at market rates. That would replace subsidies that currently go to distributors, who are supposed to offer discounts—a system that critics say is plagued by waste and fraud.

 

The new payment approach doesn’t create any new entitlement programs for the poor. But the ruling Congress party has trumpeted it as a signature anti-poverty initiative, hoping it will prove a masterstroke ahead of national elections in 2014. Party leaders say direct deposits will ensure entitlements get to beneficiaries instead of being siphoned off by middlemen, and are touting the slogan “Your Money in Your Hands.”

 

Dohakatu is a village of subsistence potato and rice farmers in Jharkhand state. Its residents largely depend on government handouts to survive and it is among the handful of regions that participated in early trials of cash transfers and have a head-start in the rollout. People here are already getting direct cash deposits for a range of benefits.

 

“We are quite confident the cash transfer scheme will create magic in the next election,” said Shahzada Anwar, a Congress party official in Jharkhand who was in Dohakatu village recently to watch locals withdraw cash.

 

India’s huge amount of welfare spending is a major contributor to its shaky public finances. The nation’s budget deficit was 5.8% of gross domestic product in the year ended March 31. The government says the new cash deposit program can generate much-needed budget savings by eliminating corruption such as people using fake identification documents to get the same benefit twice.

 

To withdraw money under the program, beneficiaries must present a 12-digit unique identification number that every Indian is gradually being issued—220 million people have them so far. Then, they must scan their finger on a portable device known as a micro-ATM, which validates their identity in a national biometric database.

 

“No one can falsify their identity and get away with it,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters recently. He said the efficiency gains are “incalculable.”

 

But at least in the early going, the cash transfer project will actually be a financial drag, with $1.2 billion in estimated net losses for the exchequer through March 2015, according to a recent study by the government-funded National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. The expected savings will come in the following six years and will total about $14.5 billion, or 15% of the budget deficit in the latest fiscal year, the report says.

 

Transferring cash for 29 government welfare programs will be a massive administrative undertaking. The first challenge is to open bank accounts quickly in places like Dohakatu: only 40% of India’s 1.2 billion people have bank accounts, and only 36,000 of India’s 600,000 villages even have a bank branch. There are plans to open 73,000 new “ultra small” bank branches of about 100 to 200 square feet apiece and hire one million banking employees in rural areas, according to minutes from a government committee overseeing cash transfers.

 

The micro-ATM machines depend on creaky wireless connectivity with speeds on par with the standard a decade ago in the U.S. Getting the system to work requires the intricate syncing of databases by managers of the national unique ID program, government agencies dispensing benefits, and banks. Banks have to be equipped to process a flood of new transactions in their networks. Cooking gas-related transactions alone could number 1.7 billion per year.

 

“The magnitude is just staggering,” said R.S. Sharma, director general of the Unique Identification Authority of India that runs the national “Aadhaar” identification program. “If you start transferring money into people’s accounts and don’t create a distribution network, then you are in for big trouble,” he said.

 

India took inspiration for its new approach from other big emerging economies, including Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and South Africa, which have started cash transfer programs to combat poverty and social inequality. India is targeting a far larger number of households than those countries. But its program is different because it isn’t linking benefits to specific social goals. Brazil’s program, for instance, gives 12 million low-income households about $30 a month on the condition that they show their children have an 85% school attendance rate and have received medical checkups and vaccinations.

 

About 2,000 people are participating in the Jharkhand cash transfer program now. In Dohakatu, part of Ramgarh District, locals were streaming into a ramshackle community center on a recent afternoon to withdraw cash. Among them was Riman Devi, a 51-year-old widow.

 

Her salary for digging wells and ponds as part of the government rural jobs program was deposited directly into her first-ever bank account that was created last month. Rather than go to a distant bank branch to access it, Ms. Devi approached an official and uncertainly handed over a card with her 12-digit ID number printed on it. He keyed the number into a micro-ATM. She scanned her finger to check her balance, and then again to withdraw her week’s salary: 400 rupees, or $7. Everything checked out. The official reached into his pocket, pulled out a wad of bills and paid her. (He, in turn, gets reimbursed by the government.)

 

Ms. Devi said the new system beats the old approach of getting government payments from the local post office, which often wasn’t open or would run out of money. “Sometimes it took two to three days to get the money. It was very difficult. It’s faster here,” she said. She spent some of the cash that afternoon on edible oil, spices and vegetables at a local bazaar.

 

The new way of paying has hardly solved Ms. Devi’s problems. Her only income comes from occasionally selling homemade bamboo baskets for 50 cents apiece. She doesn’t qualify for a widow’s pension because the government doesn’t classify her as below the poverty line. A local official says that is a mistake that will be corrected when the central government does a new poverty survey. Ms. Devi lives with her son in a mud-walled house with a bedroom that doubles as a rice-storage area. “Winter is coming and we don’t have warm clothes,” she said.

 

Sitting nearby in the village center was Vasudev Pahan, an 80-year-old whose family lives mainly on subsistence wheat and potato farming. Collecting his $7 monthly pension—which goes to low-income senior citizens—used to be an ordeal. He’d squeeze into a car with 14 people to go to a government office in a nearby town. Then he would wait in a line of as many as 400 people. Sometimes the office would run out of money or close before he could get his cash, so he’d have to return a few days in a row.

 

Now Mr. Pahan walks 20 minutes to the micro-ATM in the village center and withdraws cash in minutes from an account where the government has deposited his pension. “People who are getting it this way are happy,” he said.

 

A few local Congress party officials arrived at the Dohakatu center to take stock of the action and take credit for what they already proclaim as a signature achievement. Mr. Anwar, an affable, mustachioed man with a thick shag of black hair, shook hands with some villagers before plopping into a plastic chair. “This is the strongest weapon for us,” he said of the political benefits of the new program. “No one can give opposition to this.”

 

Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress’s main opposition in New Delhi, have criticized the Congress party for over-politicizing the initiative, but haven’t attacked the idea of the new direct payments.

 

Glitches in technology were on display in Tigra, a group of farming villages 12 miles west of Ranchi, Jharkhand’s capital. Some 39 people signed up to participate in the new program in October, but 30 of them weren’t able to take out cash from the mini-ATM despite trying several times. The main problem, authorities said, was that their new bank accounts at state-owned Bank of India weren’t “seeded” with unique ID information for beneficiaries—so it was impossible to verify people’s identities.

 

On a recent afternoon, Mahmood Alam, the local banking representative in Tigra who handles micro-ATM transactions—known as a “business correspondent”—believed the problem had been solved and was setting up to give out cash to a few dozen locals. He set up his micro-ATM machine not far from men and women threshing rice crop and goats wandering in the fields.

 

He tapped with his stylus to enter the details of Teju Gope, a 71-year-old pensioner who has a new account with Bank of India. “Place your finger for processing,” a message on the screen said. Mr. Gope swiped his finger. After a few seconds came a disappointing reply: “UID (unique ID) blocked/inactive/wrong.”

 

Mr. Alam shook his head. “It’s still not working,” he said. He said he’s optimistic about the new program but acknowledged the government’s rushed approach has resulted in some errors. “It looks to me like everything wasn’t totally ready,” he said.

 

A.K. Pathak, assistant general manager of Bank of India, said the Tigra payments snafu is an isolated incident that has been resolved. He said the Jharkhand trials overall have gone well.

 

The Jharkhand government is racing to expand the program. About 19 million of the state’s 32 million people still haven’t gone through the sign-up process to get biometric ID numbers. In Ramgarh district about 60% of the 950,000 residents don’t have unique IDs. The government is trying to prioritize people who will be getting cash transfers.

 

“This is a huge task for us—a technological leap forward is happening,” said Amitabh Kaushal, Ramgarh’s deputy commissioner, the top local bureaucrat.

 

Local officials say the use of biometric identification will weed out people who used aliases or fraudulent documents to get the same benefit twice. In one block of villages in Ramgarh, the government used to have 43,801 claimants in the rural job program as of the last official figure in 2006. But after a recent sign-up drive with biometrics, there were nearly 9,000 fewer people on the rolls. Mr. Kaushal said it isn’t clear yet whether that discrepancy is a result of fraud removal or the normal transition of some people off welfare.

 

New Delhi officials are counting on the biggest savings to come from countering fraud in the subsidy programs for commodities like kerosene and cooking gas. Critics say the current system is rife with corruption. Dealers siphon off goods and sell them on the black market. People fake their way into getting benefits they don’t deserve.

 

Food subsidies are the government’s biggest welfare expense, accounting for $13.3 billion in spending in the year ended March 31. But the government left food out of the cash transfer program, wary that it is too complex and too sensitive to do now. A survey of 1,200 households last year by the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi found that two-thirds of respondents were strongly in favor of keeping the status quo of picking up food grains at government ration shops rather than going to stores to pay market rates.

 

The biggest limitation of the cash transfer project, critics say, is that it won’t solve the most fundamental problems in India’s targeting of welfare subsidies. Biometric screening ensures that people trying to get benefits are who they say they are—and eliminates duplicate subsidies. But if a person is being excluded from benefits now because they aren’t classified as below the poverty line, or is wrongly classified as eligible for benefits, nothing in the cash transfer program will detect that or change it.

 

Meanwhile, there are limits to the program’s ability to stamp out corruption. There is no reason a micro-ATM operator can’t ask for a kickback when giving people their money, just as a postal worker might, the critics say. “If you’re getting arm-twisted today, you’ll get arm-twisted tomorrow,” said Reetika Khera, a development specialist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

 

From a political standpoint, putting cash into the bank accounts of the poor would seem like “manna from heaven” for the Congress-led government, says Ravi Srivastava, a development economist who has studied cash transfers. But he said it would be “incredible folly” for the government to underestimate the challenges of executing the project, especially in such a quick time frame.

 

“This whole thing has raised expectations to an unrealistic level, both within government and within the Congress party,” he said.

 

—Rajesh Roy and Krishna Pokharel contributed to this article.
Write to Amol Sharma at amol.sharma@wsj.com

 

A version of this article appeared December 27, 2012, on page A9 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Tapping Benefits GetsEasier for India’s Poor.

 

 

 

Jerrit G John , you are Scum Bag #acidattack #Vaw #justice


By- Kamayani Bali Mahabal  , Nov 12, 2012 

Jerrit G  John,  you are  Scum Bag

Throwing  acid to disfigure a woman’s  face

‘ How dare a woman rejects you” ?

 Isn’t, this behind your shameful Act  ?

A man of your caliber, A creative Genius

How can a physiotherapist ,a Doctor

say ‘  No to you’

Well, obviously you are  a MAN, A Mard

How can you a take a  ” NO”,?

You told the Police

‘ You  Wanted to disfigure her face not kill her “

Come on, No- Nonsense production Guy

Don’t give us this Nonsense,

You told the Police

‘ You were counselled by a woman to divorce your wife “

” You had sacrificed everything for a woman’

‘ When she closed doors  on you , you lost it  “

Are you a five year old Kid ?

Blaming others for your acts

Grow up Jerrit John,  and accept

You are a scum Bag

 That’s the mentality of all acid attackers

To  disfigure, the face, the beauty.

The worst part is that

you are not repentant

You are the same,

You are like  Tapas Mitra and Sanjay Paswan of Dhanbad

 The acid attackers of Sonali Mukherji

They threw acid  as she also said ‘ NO ‘ to them

It’s a living death for an acid survivor

Ask  Sonali  Mukherji and you will know

She gave a call for euthanasia

and suddenly the country woke up,

to support her  through and through

You wanted to disfigure, Not one face but two,

 The intention was clear,

 A woman  cannot look at her reflection

 A woman is marked for her life as an ugly duckling

A  woman cannot be married,

or if married her life is totally tarnished

How hollow are the social  perceptions of beauty ,

This is what all acid attackers do

So is there any difference between  you and  a murderer

Nah,  but look how society is reacting

How  can a creative genius be a criminal ?

Everyone is talking

There must be something wrong some where ?

Poor guy must have been pushed to the brink ?

You are a  Page 3 criminal

Maybe already a film is being scripted on your heinous act

Maybe your friends from bollywood  are still in disbelief

 and they are looking at some excuses and angles

Instead of apologizing

You are putting the blame on  the  woman

You petty man, you are such a scumbag

With no respect for  any woman in your Life

You  even discriminated against your Wife

You are a such a selfish douche bag

 Words are not enough to  explain

By saying you did not intent to kill

You think you will get away

Wishful thinking….

Maybe your lawyer has not tutored you well

 Section  326 IPC  is  so clear

Intention of grievous hurt which you have stated yourself

extends to ten years imprisonment

The fact remains, your act proves

Education,  has nothing to do with

Violence against Women,

Education has failed to fight patriarchy

Education has  failed to break the gender stereotypes

Creative Genius is not equal to law abiding citizen

The cool calm composed facade

is finally in open with your true intentions !!

Don’ t worry, we  all are here

 to see you  behind bars

We all are here to see

the  survivor  gets Justice  !

Suspect’s sister apologizes for shooting of Malala


Rehana Haleem (left), who has apologised to Malala Yousafzai

Source: Independent | Andrew Buncombe

The sister of a man suspected of being involved in the shooting of the Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai has apologised for the attack, saying her brother has brought shame upon the family.

In an interview with a television channel conducted in the Swat Valley, Rehana Haleem said that the teenager who had fought for the right of young girls to be educated was like a “sister” to her. Her brother, 23-year-old Attah Ullah Khan, is one of three people police have indicated they are looking for in connection with the attack.

“Please convey a message to Malala, that I apologise for what my brother did to her,” Ms Haleem told CNN. “He has brought shame on our family.”

The young woman added: “What he did was intolerable. Malala is just like my sister. I’d like to express my concern for Malala on behalf of my whole family; I hope she recovers soon and returns to a happy and normal life as soon as possible.”

Malala, 15, was shot on 9 October as she and her classmates were on their school bus in the Swat Valley, which was under the control of the Taliban between 2007-09. Gunmen leapt aboard and demanded that the youngsters identify Malala. Three girls were shot – two of her friends who suffered non-lethal injuries and Malala herself who was struck by a bullet that passed through skin on her head and lodged in her shoulder. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility.

Amid the subsequent outcry, the Taliban sought to justify its actions, saying Malala had engaged with Western elements. They also blamed the media for its “negative” coverage of the shooting.

Malala, who first came to public notice when at the age of 11 she wrote an anonymous diary for the BBC during the period the Taliban held control of the Swat Valley, was rushed to hospital where doctors operated to stabilise her and to remove the bullet. Once it became clear she would require extensive rehabilitation she was flown to Britain, where she is undergoing treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

It was reported this week that Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, spoke with officials at the hospital for an update on the teenager’s condition and was told she was gradually improving.

Ms Haleem told CNN that security forces searched the family home a day after the attack and that the family was detained. She was pregnant and was subsequently released but her husband and other relatives remain in custody. Speaking from Warhi Mast Malik Abad, a village on the outskirts of the city of Mingora, where the attack on Malala took place, she said she had little doubt that her brother was involved in the shooting.

“If he was innocent, he would have come back and claimed he was innocent,” she said. “His behaviour is that of a guilty man. How could he abandon us?” Police said last month that they had arrested six men in connection with the shooting but were still searching for Mr Khan.

 

Congolese women graduate from inaugural rape survival class


By Faith Karimi, CNN

Jan 29 (CNN) — An inaugural group of Congolese women graduated Saturday from a gender violence survivors program in the nation’s east, where armed rebels roam the hills and rape residents.

Eastern Congo residents — including men and boys — have faced brutal rapes for years, with the assailants thrusting chunks of wood and guns into them in some cases.

As part of the program in Bukavu, 180 gender violence survivors took part in activities such as group therapy, dance classes, theater, self-defense and sex education.

The six-month program, called City of Joy, also teaches leadership skills with hopes that the women will help bolster peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Upon their arrival, the faces of these women showed signs of despair, discouragement and loneliness,” said Christine Deschryver, Congo director of the program.

“Over time, they have, little by little, been helped to use their past difficulties as a source of empowerment. … These women have moved from pain to power and will return to their homes ready to help revolutionize their communities.”

The program is run by V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls founded by Eve Ensler, the award-winning playwright and author of “The Vagina Monologues.”
These women have moved from pain to power and will return to their homes ready to help revolutionize their communities.
Christine Deschryver

Congo’s program was created and developed by women on the ground and provides a platform to turn their pain to power, the group said.

Eastern Congo is vast and poverty-stricken, but rich in resources such as diamonds, timber and copper.

Large parts of the country lack authority, giving government soldiers and homegrown militias free rein to pillage and rape.

A study in the American Journal of Public Health last year reported that 1,152 women — or 48 per hour — are raped daily in Congo, a rate higher than previous estimates by aid agencies.

The eastern region is also a hot spot for the so-called “conflict minerals,” which led the United States to intervene after human rights groups said the resources are used to fund wars in the nation and neighboring countries.

While Congo is among the nations with the largest United Nations peacekeepers, the forces have been ineffective in stopping rapes in the sprawling, remote region.

Stability in Congo — which borders nine countries — is vital to Africa’s Great Lakes area. The eastern region has undermined peace in the nation years after a 1998-2003 conflict left 5 million people dead.

At the time, neighboring nations joined the civil war, arming rebel groups of choice to gain access to the vast resources. Some African soldiers later retreated, but some rebel groups remained and are mostly based in the east.

Cameroon Rape Victims Confront Legal Gauntlet


By Irene Zih Fon, January 25, 2012

Rape victims in Cameroon can get medical treatment at hospitals and file a police report to set a case in motion, but providing evidence to prove that rape occurred can be difficult. Others don’t report incidents at all because of poverty or shame.

DOUALA, Cameroon (WOMENSENEWS)–Sophie Mixte, who is in her 30s, says she was raped three times growing up. But it wasn’t until the third incident that her parents found out and reported it to the police.

When her mother turned to authorities for help though, it didn’t do her any good, she says.

“The police started to play around the case with my mother, persuading her to drop the case,” she says.

Instead of going to court, the case was settled privately. The family of her rapist paid her mother $200, the equivalent of Mixte’s hospital bill after the rape.

In Cameroon, rape victims can obtain medical treatment in hospitals. Doctors test for pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and make HIV-prevention drugs and emergency contraceptives available. They also administer a physical examination that can provide evidence in court that the rape occurred, as well as be used to obtain an abortion, which is otherwise illegal.

But the combination of an intrusive medical exam and an intrusive legal system–as well as strong cultural beliefs about rape victims–seem to discourage many rape victims from seeking justice.

The National Network of Associations of Aunties, a coalition of groups working to combat rape in Cameroon, estimates that 500,000 rapes occur every year in the country. But many are never documented because of underreporting.

Dr. Jean Pierre Koubitim of the St. Padre Pio Hospital in Douala agrees. He says rape incidents are a daily occurrence, with victims ranging from children to adults, attacks occurring inside and outside the home, and perpetrators being strangers or relatives. Yet because of underreporting, the hospital receives just 15 to 20 reports of sexual violence per year, mostly of attempted rape, he says.

“The youngest victim is about 4 years old and was raped by a cousin in their home,” he says.

One Rape Report

Epossi Adeline is the director of the Association for the Fight Against Violence Toward Women, a nongovernmental group that operates a center for victims of gender violence. She says the center has received 70 cases of violence against women since it began operations in 2010. Fifty of these were reports of domestic violence; just one was a rape report.

She also attributes this to underreporting, not to low prevalence.

According to the Cameroon Penal Code, the penalty for rape is five to 10 years in prison when victims are 16 and older and 15 to 25 years in prison when victims are under 16. Prison time may be doubled or for life when offenders have authority over or custody of the victims, are public servants or religious ministers, or are assisted by one or more people.

Convicted rapists rarely receive long prison terms though, says Esther Ngale, president of the Cameroon Association of Female Jurists. She says that, in general, those proven guilty of rape may receive sentences ranging from six months to five years.

Jacob Angoh Angoh, a member of Legal Power Law Firm, made up of barristers and solicitors in Cameroon and Nigeria, says a rape victim must file a formal complaint at a police unit in order to start a case.

The Cameroon Penal Code defines rape as any female compelled to have sexual intercourse with a man “by force or moral ascendancy.”

Angoh Angoh says that the victim should be able to prove that the sexual relationship was not consensual.

“Hence, she must prove that she shouted or she complained to the first person she met at the given opportunity,” he says.

Police’s Decision

Once a complaint is made, the police usually arrest the suspect immediately, he says. It is up to the police to decide whether to pursue the case. If police decide the case has sufficient evidence, they forward it to the state counsel.

Ngale says the victim can choose to use the state prosecutor or hire a private lawyer.

Angoh Angoh encourages rape victims not to be afraid to report incidents because rape cases are not tried in an open court in Cameroon. He says the state maintains victims’ reputation by hearing cases in the chamber of the magistrate in the presence of the two parties, the lawyers, the magistrate and any witnesses.

“Because if the public knows that a girl is a victim of rape, how many men would dare approach her?” he asks.

During the trial, Angoh Angoh says the victim must establish evidence that she resisted or was subdued by the person who allegedly raped her.

“This can be proven by circumstantial evidence, such as wounds on her body,” he says. “If she shouted and people heard her, those people would support her evidence.”

Otherwise, he says, the court may assume “that some girls just make up such stories to make money.”

Angoh Angoh says the law also provides for a defense of provocation, in which case the court presumes that the woman contributed to the act. For instance, taking into consideration whether the woman dressed a certain way, invited the perpetrator into her room or worked as a prostitute.

He says the law also takes into account whether they’d been in a relationship before or if the woman had been giving the impression that they were in a relationship by accepting gifts from him.