While feminists rushed to Jennifer Lawrence’s defense after this week’s leak of naked celebrity photos, an African American singer and actress went undefended because of her race. So goes the charge being leveled against “white feminists” and “mainstream feminism” on Twitter after naked selfies allegedly taken by Jill Scott went into circulation.
all the white feminists writing about jennifer lawrence, kate upton, m.e. winstead who haven’t said anything about jill scott… what’s up?
— Chareth Cutestory (@OTSWST) September 4, 2014
Sooooo Jennifer Lawrence nudes were leaked yesterday? But no one saw them…. Yet, Twitter still let “Twitter” circulate Jill Scott’s?
— Carrie Bradshaw (@Trap_Bunny) September 4, 2014
Scott said one of the photos was of her — and one was not — and offered an eloquent response on Twitter:
3) you are not a part of my village therefore making your attempt to harm me null. I’m not even delayed. Shame for spreading. Shame 4 adding
— Jill Scott (✔ @missjillscott) September 4, 2014
4) I love and appreciate my body. My style has always been graceful. Love Village I see you & feel you too. Thank you for being beautifully
— Jill Scott (✔ @missjillscott) September 4, 2014
But as Scott took the high road, the despicable comments her appearance elicited from Internet trolls were hard to ignore. Scott, after all, doesn’t look much like Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Did her race and physique provoke a different reaction? “Unlike the seedy but flattering (if you can call perverse come-ons and sexual innuendo such) responses being tossed out in response to Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos, Jill Scott’s photos were met with a barrage of cruel, body-shaming tweets,” Julie Sprankles wrote on She Knows. “Both women are talented. Both women are stunning. So what’s with the wildly dissimilar responses to these women’s photos? Is it due to their inherently different body types?”
More worrying than white feminism not riding for Jill Scott like they did for J-Law is the body-shaming comments from black men *and* women.
—HRH Gugu Mhlungu (@GugsM) September 4, 2014
Feminism’s racial divide is as old as the Combahee River Collective Statement — and perhaps dates back to Sojourner Truth. It’s a minefield.
“Black feminism is championing a more nuanced understanding of how oppression and privilege operate,” Lola Okolosie wrote in the Guardian earlier this year. “We, all of us, must understand that at the level of the individual, we can at differing points occupy positions of privilege.”
Whether one agrees with Okolosie or not, outrage over the purported lack of outrage on Scott’s behalf seems to have opened an old wound. “Although we as Black women have integrated into feminism, there does exist this fine invisible line made up of white privilege and the double-edged sword that still makes Black women somewhat of the secondary party,” Ariel Leconte wrote on Revolutionary in Pink Pumps. She added: “The Black woman’s body has never had any protection in society.”
Violence against women comprises a wide range of acts – from verbal harassment and other forms of emotional abuse, to daily physical or sexual abuse. At the far end of the spectrum is femicide: the murder of a woman. According to Feminist author Diana E. H. Russell, Femicide or Feminicide is defined as the “the killing of females by males because they are females.” Femicide is usually perpetrated by men, but sometimes female family members may be involved. Femicide differs from male homicide in specific ways. For example, most cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners, and involve ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner.
There are different types of and prevalence of femicide including Intimate femicide, murders in the name of ‘honour’, dowry-related femicide and non-intimate femicide. Research is starting to help clarify the factors that increase women’s risk of being killed, especially by intimate partners, and those associated with an increased risk that men will perpetrate femicide. Most studies relate to intimate femicide and therefore may not apply to other forms of murder, such as those in the name of ‘honour’. To date, the United Nations has not adopted a resolution directly addressing gender-related killings. According to the declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, violence against women “means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women and girls, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”. This definition fails to include explicitly violence that can lead to death and consequently misses an important component of violence against women.
Also, public awareness about violence against women has increased dramatically over the last four decades in the United States, thanks to women’s multi-faceted activism. However, despite extensive media coverage on male-perpetrated murders of women - including what appear to be increasing numbers of serial killers who target women and girls - few people seem to register that most of these murders are extreme manifestations of male dominance and sexism. In contrast, many individuals recognize that some of the murders of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and other people of colour are racist, that some of the murders of Jews are anti-Semitic, and that some of the murders of lesbians and gay men are homophobic.
Lastly gender inequality remains at large throughout and thousands of women face widespread social, cultural and economic discrimination within the family as well as the wider community. Violence against women is also a growing concern especially within South Asia, which is home to one-fifth of the world population; violence, or the risk of violence, permeates every aspect of women’s lives from birth to death. It is estimated that one third of South Asian women experience violence throughout their lives and violence against women is institutionalised through family structures, wider social and economic frameworks, and cultural and religious traditions. This violence is insidious, it is a widely accepted method for controlling women, is largely overlooked by law enforcement agencies, and is ignored by those in power.
Finally, femicide is a crime against humanity but it goes on all over the world in many ways and forms. To put an end to this massacre of women there is a great need to universalize and amplify the struggle. Therefore, running campaigns to support women’s right to enjoy a life in freedom and dignity, and awareness raising on gender equality play a crucial role to stop femicide.
new vid babes! SHE ASKED FOR IT.
here are the many reasons why "what was she wearing?" or "you shouldn’t have taken nude pics!" are dumb things to say.
sooooo facebook removed my post of this video because it’s “inappropriate” and “violates the terms of service”. HOW? CUZ THERE ARE LITERALLY FACEBOOK PAGES DEVOTED TO SHAMING RAPE VICTIMS AND NEONAZI SUPPORT GROUPS AND PEOPLE ABUSING ANIMALS AND YET IT’s TALKING ABOUT VICTIM BLAMING THAT’S “INAPPROPRIATE”?
i just can’t. i’m pretty sure this was a targeted attack. thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of me and my youtube channel. you are so important to me.
So important. How could this possibly violate the terms of service? How is it inappropriate to call out rape culture and demand respect?
Women With Initiative – Sue Wallis, leading NDADA to a safer future
25 percent of women around the world will experience domestic violence at some point in their life, and in the UK alone, two women will die each week at the hands of her abuser, making organisations such as North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA) an unfortunate necessity in today’s society. Sue Wallis has been the CEO for NDADA for the past four and a half years, working with survivors of abuse in Devon.
The last financial year saw NDADA receive 1035 referrals for victims of domestic abuse – just over 1% of the largely rural population. ‘Emotional and financial abuse are far more common than physical abuse.’ Sue points out. ‘In fact, we often have women say to us that physical violence is much, much easier to deal with than emotional and control – because it’s like torture. It’s an absolute wearing down of someone’s person so that they actually feel like they don’t exist anymore.’ Yet this type of abuse can be harder to identify, both victims and perpetrators usually do not understand that non-physical abuse counts in law as a form of domestic violence. This makes the awareness raising work done by NDADA that much more important.
Since the recent change to domestic violence services in Devon, NDADA’s outreach and awareness raising work has been curtailed to giving talks to local groups like the Women’s Institute and running their charity shop re:store. Re:store opened in 2012 to help finance the women’s refuge, raise funds to run more Pattern Changing courses and to make the charity more accessible to those in need of help - a safety hub for information and assistance.
‘Re:store has done huge things for us from an awareness point of view – mainly for sections of society who think domestic abuse has nothing to do with them and will never affect them. But in fact the last five domestic violence homicides in Devon have been of middle class, well off women with independent incomes, good jobs and [they had] all been murdered by their perpetrators because they had no idea they were in a relationship where something like that might happen – and no awareness that there was an organisation out there like us who might help them.’
Of the 1035 referrals to NDADA last year, 41 victims tried to bring their perpetrators to justice and were supported through the criminal justice system by specially trained Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA). A further 96 were classed as ‘high risk’ and supported by the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) representative via NDADA’s support networks.
‘IDVA’s provide dedicated advice and support victims through the criminal justice system. Expecting a victim of domestic abuse to support a case against her abuser is a huge ask – her whole life is caught up in his world. The IDVA’s organise specialist measures to support the victim through proceedings – so things like screens up in court, a walk through the court process and introductions to the officials involved in the court proceedings in an effort to make things less scary for her. And obviously, the verdict is not always the one we hope for, so IDVA’s also work around safety if the perpetrator is not found guilty, because at that point she is very unsafe, and they will stay in touch until she is safe.’
MARAC’s are for high risk clients – those who are deemed to be at risk of further injury or death from their abuser. A MARAC is involved regardless of whether a client consents to their involvement or not. ‘For example; there’s been an incident, the police have judged the woman to be high risk, she’s been referred to us for support but she has declined. She is high risk so her case and everything [about it] goes to the MARAC – this case conference – where all the agencies who can put safety [measures] in place will do that. So if there are children involved, they will put watchers on who is picking them up from school, whether they are arriving and are they OK. If the case is deemed high risk and there are children involved, those children are deemed high risk too.’
IDVA’s and MARAC’s work together to minimise the risk of repeat incidences to victims of abuse; ISVA’s (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) work specifically with victims of sexual abuse, but there is just one ISVA for the whole of Devon. This is mainly due to a lack of funding and recognition of the needs for this service – until recently. ‘There are now some proper needs assessments being done and it is likely that this will change.’ Sue notes.
At the moment, once the ISVA does her initial work she passes some of the cases onto NDADA’s IDVA’s and MARAC’s. There is no formal agreement in place for this, NDADA simply recognise the need and are filling that gap.
‘Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, trying to provide a service, because what happens is then nobody really knows what the needs are. Sometimes I feel that we should just be saying “No, that service is not there”. It is very difficult to know what to do – we know those women need help and there is no one else who will give it to them.’
Aside from the IDVA, MARAC and ISVA support that NDADA provide to victims of domestic abuse, they also run Barstaple’s women’s refuge and hold various courses in assertiveness, coping strategies, and risk resilience along with the relatively ordinary sounding ‘Pattern Changing Course’. But it is this course, based on the work by Marilyn Shear Goodman and Beth Creager Fallon that empowers survivors of abuse to change the course of their lives.
Based around un-learning behaviours, ‘Pattern Changing’ is educational rather than counselling. It teaches participants what their rights are and allows them to reflect on what they have been through and how they can change things in the future. Sue is adamant, ‘All women should do this course – somewhere along the way we have all subjugated ourselves [for one reason or another] and we have allowed that.’ This course teaches people how not to allow that behaviour to continue. ‘The course is so effective that it has been written into child protection procedures – by social services – that it should be taken by the parent, the victim. We would like to see something [like this] written in a more accessible way for younger people.’
Last year 85 women completed the course with NDADA. Success is measured by the level of empowerment a participant feels before taking the course and then how they feel after. Inevitably students of the course come away feeling more in control of their futures, with knowledge of what their next steps in life will be and most end up volunteering in some way as they have realised their worth and that they do have something useful to give.
Sue has great plans for the future of NDADA. ‘We are consolidating services this year and aiming to open five charity shops that will allow us to safeguard the refuge ourselves. We think we can do that in the next two to three years. By the start of the new financial year (April 2015) we should be back to where we were financially before [the services were split by the local council’s tender process]. Once we have achieved that we will look at supporting ‘standard risk’ women.’
So although the County Council’s tender process has fractured services provided by NDADA, they continue to support women and survivors of domestic abuse in Devon and are even planning to expand their support further. ‘There is a huge amount of passion behind the organisation – not just the staff, but also the trustees.’
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), poverty is pervasive with the majority of the people living on as little as 20 cents/day. In the eastern region of Congo, this problem is compounded by violent conflict and mass population displacement. Decades of ongoing struggle and limited health care in the DRC have left a wake of children with extensive traumatic injuries and untreated congenital physical disabilities many of which could have been prevented with access to basic health care. A mother waits patiently after walking days to reach the refugee camp in hopes to have her children receive much needed care.
Citizen of the World
This young Congolese girl has witnessed and experienced many atrocities during her short life. One can only wonder if she will find the inner strength to survive. Children should not be forced to live in a world where their basic human rights are violated everyday and they are forced to face these horrible realities. The world can no longer ignore this situation of violence and neglect as all children are citizens of the world. The future of children around the world depends on our courage to speak out against these crimes against humanity and demand that all children have the human rights they deserve. Working to spread the awareness of their plight will help reduce the disparity these children face everyday.
After being repeatedly sexually harassed and stalked, two teenage girls committed suicide at their school in India. The engineering students, Madhu and Nikita, both left suicide letters at their desks decrying the way women are viewed in society.
"Every day a new man would come and chase us. They would pass lewd remarks and offer us phone numbers. The people around us would stare as if we had done something wrong,” wrote 16-year-old Madhu in her six-page letter.
"I have not done anything wrong to bring shame on my family. I am ending my life because I cannot take this daily tension," 17-year-old Nikita wrote, urging police to crackdown on sexual harassment and warning of more suicides happening if action is not taken.
Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation.
THE YARL’S WOOD TALE PART 2: THE HARSH REALITY OF DETENTION FOR WOMEN ASYLUM SEEKERS
Detention is a severe derogation of human rights. The UK remains one of the few countries in Europe that allows for unlimited detention. Yarl’s Wood is the only asylum detention centre housing mostly women and its existence legitimated as a means for controlling the number of asylum seekers in Britain. Yet, in 2012 only 36% of the 1,867 women detained at Yarl’s Wood were removed from the UK. The collective toll on women in detention is acutely detrimental to their well-being and an overwhelmingly ”unnecessary” practice as a form of asylum system control.
Detention rates increased rapidly under Blair’s Detained Fast Track (DFT) that was structured around creating greater efficiency in the asylum process. In principle, asylum seekers in DFT should be given a case hearing within three days upon their arrival in the UK. The reality is very different: many are detained for years without a decision and those that are pitted against a 99% refusal rating. It is difficult to appeal decisions, and cuts to legal aid means there are even fewer lawyers willing to take on their cases. The DFT system is fundamentally unfair, flawed and exposes those with legitimate cases for asylum protection to be incorrectly decided on and sent back to face further persecution and human rights violations. Those that are deported risk being raped on their return or are forced into hiding, especially lesbian women seeking asylum from Uganda, Nigeria and Gambia where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
In July, the High Court delivered a landmark ruling that found the DFT system to be unlawful. Mr Justice Ouseley criticised the inadequate screening of asylum-seekers’ suitability for DFT, which meant survivors of rape, torture, victims of trafficking and other vulnerable people were not excluded from DFT. The judgement particularly highlighted the ‘indefensible’ practice of incarcerating asylum seekers for as a long as a week before they are permitted access to a lawyer. In all, Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that the DFT system delivers “unacceptably high risk of unfairness.”
The UNHCR has expressed serious concerns around the DFT system. in july 2014, UNHCR’s Director of International Protection, Volker Turk, reminded countries that detention should be considered “last resort” and only then "in very exceptional circumstances,” a criterion confirmed in Chapter 38 of the Home Office Operational Enforcement Manual. In all non-last resort cases, the UNHCR argues that asylum seekers must be given protection, received with dignity, permitted freedom of movement and access to services within the community.
The UNHCR has highlighted the UK, amongst other countries, as being on its agenda to reduce detention. Yet the very fact that the Rashida Manioo was refused access to Yarl’s Wood to look into claims of sexual misconduct, raises the question as to how far the UNHCR-UK relationship will affect any change to the policy of detention. Releasing her findings at a conference in April, she views Yarl’s Wood as a “boys’ club sexist culture” against the backdrop of pervasive sexism in the UK, where financial cuts have had a “disproportionate impact" on women’s risk of violence.
Women for Refugee Women released a report confirming the detention of pregnant women, a practice directly contravening the UNHCR guidelines indicating that women in the final trimester and nursing mothers should be avoided. Yet, Damien Green, Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice, has flouted this basic UNHCR recommendation, instead asserting: “control and restraint on pregnant women to assist their removal from the UK is permitted.” The use of force to fulfill deportation policy against women amounts to inhumane treatment, in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The government must be responsive to the key recommendations highlighted by Women for Refugee Women:
- Victims of sexual violence, rape and other forms of torture should be released into the local community whilst their asylum cases are being processed.
- Legal aid should be restored in all cases where women have reported rape and other forms of sexual abuse in their asylum application.
- The removal of Detained Fast Traci criteria in the asylum system.
- Unrestricted access for women and children to free healthcare.
Closing detention should be on the Government’s highest reform agenda. The UNHCR insistence that detention be used as last resort has not been fully respected by the UK government. The treatment of asylum seekers in the UK needs a critical new approach. Detention is not just costly; it contravenes the fundamental rights of asylum seekers. The tale of Yarl’s Wood dramatically reflects the continued suffering of one the most vulnerable groups in the UK. More urgent reform is needed to reflect the UK’s responsibility towards all people, especially women, and their needs for protection.
THE YARL’S WOOD TALE PART 1: A CLIMATE OF SEXUAL ABUSE IN DETENTION
In June, the UK hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in an unprecedented galvanising force to raise awareness and highlight the prevalence of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war. Yet, clearly sexual violence does not only take place in conflict.
As the controversy over sexual abuse at Yarl’s Wood detention centre indicates, the Summit was a reminder of the hypocrisy around domestic and foreign policy on the treatment of women asylum seekers fleeing the very situations and experiences that were overwhelmingly condemned by UK officials during the Summit. Asylum law needs to be reformed to ensure gender-mainstreaming throughout asylum policy so as to be sensitised to the protective needs of women.
An ongoing parliamentary investigation into the allegations will allow MPs to inspect the conditions at the detention centre. MPs have argued that Serco has deliberately practiced selective quoting, which has limited the thoroughness of the committee’s investigations into Serco. By their own admission, Serco previously dismissed 10 staff members accused of sexual misconduct. Yet, the Home Office’s freedom of information response (April 30th 2014) suggests they are aware of only one case of sexual misconduct since 2007 but recognise seven staff members have been dismissed. The problem is that the data available is confusing and muddies any understanding of the scale of the crisis in order to combat it.
Filling the gap, Women for Refugee Women (WRW) have exposed allegations at Yarl’s Wood in its report ‘Detained: Women Asylum Seekers Locked up in the UK.’ The report documents the experiences of 46 women detained in Yarl’s Wood and revealed damning evidence of the prevalence of sexual misconduct toward victims who have previously suffered rape (71%) and torture (41%). Of great concern for the women was the fact that male guards conducted supervision. Many reported how they would enter their rooms unannounced. The women would often be subjected to aggressive and sexual behaviour by these guards leaving them feeling intimidated, humiliated and fearful. Many worried that by rejecting sexual advances this will detrimentally impact their asylum cases.
Suffice to say, this is an extremely threatening environment towards the most vulnerable, voiceless and hidden women in the UK. It has exasperated concerns around women’s safety in detention. Women for Refugee Women reported many felt depressed and one in five have attempted suicide. Prolonged detention has caused aggravated mental health issues, despite extended detention being only allowed where deportation is imminent. The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Home Secretary had contravened Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights by detaining a severely mentally ill individual where it was not done so “on very exceptional circumstance.”
Complaints submitted by women are often not followed up, with many of these women being subsequently deported. Serco’s weak internal review system is clear by the lack of an evidentiary paper trail recording the number of allegations. The Observer highlighted how women were being deported before they had a chance to testify, preventing their case progressing and geographically silencing them.
Serco’s response is overwhelmingly insufficient: Director Norman Abusin has argued that “the corridors leading to residents’ rooms are covered by CCTV, which is monitored in the control centre, and this footage was used as evidence in their investigation.” However, if thorough investigations were carried out, then the pervasive knowledge by guards of ‘CCTV blackspots’ would have been uncovered. Amidst growing public interest to open up Yarl’s Wood to inspection, a veil of secrecy has descended. Calls to detainees to gather information have been intercepted and restricted. Despite Serco’s attempt to cover up the allegations, there is a public duty for greater accountability and transparency both towards the running of Yarls Wood and the treatment of asylum seekers in Britain. The Twitter campaign #SetHerFree has led this momentum.
The severe neglect and abuse in detention highlights how subcontracting healthcare to has placed profit over protection. Responsibility for the protection of women lies with the state. Since the UK’s commitment towards the Elimination of Violence Against Women 1993, little progress has been made towards a human rights treaty that would place direct accountability on states for the prevention and protection of women from abuse. The UK’s National Action Plan launched at the Global Summit needs to address the subordination and injustice faced by asylum seekers. Britain needs to do more to account for its protective responsibility to vulnerable groups within its jurisdiction.
The allegations coming out Yarl’s Wood are a reminder that international attention on rape and sexual violence in conflict must acknowledge that the same women will seek safety and security in other states. When they come to the UK they must be treated with dignity within a protective and just asylum system. Women in Yarl’s Wood are not just victims but survivors’ of sexual harassment, violence, and rape and to detain them, where they receive further sexual harm, is a stark reminder that UK domestic policy is in need of critical reform to protect women asylum seekers.
The ongoing inquiry into Yarl’s Wood provides the opportune time to grant these women justice and protection. Britain cannot adequately fulfil its foreign policy commitments to ending the culture of impunity around sexual violence and rape in conflict, when it does not sincerely combat the issue of sexual misconduct faced by women asylum seekers within its own territory. While becoming a leading voice for women’s protection during the Global Summit, the government must also be a voice for those women who flee such situations and seek sanctuary on its own soil.
Under the net
Sensationalism sells, fact. It therefore shouldn’t be a shock to see news headlines such as “Britain overrun with refugees” or “Asylum seekers costs the taxpayer millions each year”, particularly now as we climb back towards economic prosperity and look around for the scapegoat. Yet it is still difficult to hear seemingly educated people vehemently discuss the influx of asylum seekers, difficult to comprehend that it is considered appropriate to create a mainstream television programme entitled “Immigration Street”, and difficult to see a rise in popularity of right-wing political parties, whose manifestos have previously included provisions to detain all asylum seekers in secure units. So what is the truth?
Contrary to media suggestions the majority of asylum seekers know nothing of the welfare system before they arrive in the UK and that they do not expect any financial assistance. They often flee their home country in fear of persecution due to their religion, political ideologies, nationality, race or gender, and it is this fear of persecution which forms part of the criteria for refugee status. Yet despite around one third of asylum seekers in the UK being female victims of heinous crimes such as rape, forced marriage or ‘honour’ crimes, gender specific persecution is not considered when deciding if refugee status should be granted. As a direct consequence women are disproportionately more likely to be refused refugee status.
Consider Noorzia Atmar. Like so many asylum seekers before her, Noorzia did not want to leave her home country. She had been one of the inaugural female politicians in Afghanistan and was a passionate advocate for women’s rights. Yet just three years after her term had ended she divorced the man who abused her, she was living in a women’s shelter and she had suffered knife attacks, beatings and threats against her life. Noorzia sought asylum from the Western countries that had so welcomed her outspoken approach to women’s rights issues in the middle-east, but her asylum request was immediately refused. The strict criteria for asylum applications only allows for applications to be submitted once a person has fled their home country. Noorzia did manage to flee to another country and her application is ongoing, but for so many other women who have been forced out of the family home, who have no access to their monies or who are of limited finances this travel would be impossible.
The sad truth is that even when all criteria has been satisfied, the majority of applications for asylum are still rejected. In 2014 68% of initial decisions on asylum applications were rejected, and many women claim that when discussing their persecution they are simply not believed by officials. Furthermore, since 2005, the majority of those who manage to successfully obtain refugee status will only be permitted to remain in the UK for a maximum of five years. Refugees are often unable to make decisions for their long term future and having initially escaped persecution and wading through the grueling asylum application process, the fears and stresses of being returned to the country were their persecution is almost inevitable will not be alleviated.
Take Yashika Bageerathi for example; in March this year Yashika, a 19 year old student due to take her A-Levels examinations, was detained in Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre awaiting a flight to Mauritius. Yashika and her family came to the UK in 2011 to escape an abusive relative, but the Government claimed that as Yashika was now 19 she was no longer protected under deportation rules. Despite an online petition receiving over 175,000 signatures and MPs requesting a review of the matter, Yashika was deported to Mauritius and to her abusive relative. She was unable to sit her A – Level examinations and the Home Office has refused to comment on her individual case.
Frequently women who are awaiting deportation are placed in immigration removal centres under the supervision of predominantly male guards. For those who are persecuted or falsely imprisoned by men this arrangement is abominable. It is also in direct conflict with Section 9.1 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Guidelines, which states that “victims of torture and other serious physical, psychological or sexual violence need special attention and should generally not be detained.” Current research completed by Women for Refugee Women suggests that of the asylum seekers they questioned who are currently detained 85% had been raped or tortured before they came to the UK, 93% were depressed, more than 50% had thought of suicide and 20% had attempted to take their own life at least once. These appalling figures represent the true reality of the asylum process in the UK.
The asylum process is complex, cruel and outdated. A complete Governmental overhaul is required to create a gender sensitive asylum system, with a focus on widening the definition of persecutions, ensuring time limits for refugee status are considered on an individual case basis and addressing inherent issues with detaining women before deportation, and we must recognise that the current process is more gruelling, oppressive and harrowing than sensationalist journalists would have us believe.
Perhaps don’t believe everything you read.