Maritza Perez and Adareli Ponce have filed the first-ever petition against the U.S. under the USMCA in a pivotal moment for the fight to end gender discrimination against migrant worker women on temporary labor migration programs. The petition was signed by a binational coalition of allies led by CDM. Migrant worker women are denied jobs, channeled into lower-paying roles and exposed to gender-based violence at their workplace. They’ve fought for justice, demanding the U.S. government put in place enforcement measures that ensure equity and dignity for migrant worker women.
Violence against Women
Last August, during a press conference with Mexico City’s police chief, a group of young women were seen breaking windows and throwing pink glitter in the police chief’s face. This was to demand justice for a teenager allegedly raped by four police officers. The episode sparked what became known as the glitter revolution, a new wave of feminist activism in Mexico with connections to other feminist collectives worldwide. Feminism in Mexico has many internal strands ranging from what some may consider “radical” tactics (such as vandalism) to peaceful demonstrations.
Over 100 people, predominantly Mexican-American and young, marched in Philadelphia on July 12 to demand justice for Pfc. Vanessa Guillén. The protest was organized by JUNTOS and Lazos America Unida. Participants carried “Justicia para Vanessa” signs and large photos of the young soldier who was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. She disappeared after telling friends and family she was being sexually harassed and threatened within the military system. Speakers demanded justice from the higher-ups commanding the Army. Guillén disappeared in April, evidently killed at that time, but her body was not found on the Fort Hood installation until June 30. The remains of another soldier, Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, were also found there in late June. Both the Guillén and Wedel-Morales families charge Army and local officials with not searching for their missing loved ones with urgency and empathy.
Violence against women in the military and at Fort Hood has been going on for a very long time. Twelve years ago, in 2008, I wrote an article “Is There an Army Cover-Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?” that detailed violence against women assigned to units from Fort Hood that were then located in Iraq. Now, twelve years later, the Army’s handling of the investigation into SPC Guillen’s disappearance was an affront to Guillen’s family and to military women on Fort Hood. For three months the perpetrator of the murder of SPC Guillen roamed free on Fort Hood, capable of murdering other young women and showing such impunity that according to SPC Guillen’s sister Mayra who had met him during one of her visits to Fort Hood, that “he laughed in my face. I had a very uneasy feeling about him.”
Confinement is fostering the tension and strain created by security, health, and money worries. And it is increasing isolation for women with violent partners, separating them from the people and resources that can best help them. It’s a perfect storm for controlling, violent behaviour behind closed doors. And in parallel, as health systems are stretching to breaking point, domestic violence shelters are also reaching capacity, a service deficit made worse when centres are repurposed for additional COVID-response. Even before COVID-19 existed, domestic violence was already one of the greatest human rights violations. In the previous 12 months, 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) across the world have been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Braving brutal temperatures and high humidity, Native women rallied at the U.S. Capitol last week to honor survivors of violence and to push for renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.The 2013 version of VAWA included landmark provisions that recognize the inherent sovereignty of tribes to arrest, prosecute and sentence non-Indians who abuse their partners. The law was written to address high rates of victimization of Native women, accounting for statistics which show that most offenders are of another race.
Minneapolis, MN – State legislators continue to push the creation of a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) task force in Minnesota. The House Bill HF 70 was approved by the Committee of Government Operations and is slated to go to the house floor as early as next week. The Minnesota Senate has yet to see the bill.
The United States ranked as the 10th most dangerous country for women, the only Western nation to appear in the top 10. The United States shot up in the rankings after tying joint third with Syria when respondents were asked which was the most dangerous country for women in terms of sexual violence including rape, sexual harassment, coercion into sex and the lack of access to justice in rape cases. It was ranked sixth for non-sexual violence. The survey was taken after the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment went viral in October last year as Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women, some dating back decades. Hundreds of women have since publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual misconduct and thousands have joined the #MeToo social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse.
“Hand-drawn maps have great potential to reflect our ways of knowing,” said Lucchesi in an interview with Rewire.News. A recent example of this is a map Lucchesi created in preparation for the 2018 Women’s Marches. The map (shared below) features an image of a ribbon skirt, often worn as sign of respect and honor among Native women, with names of missing and murdered indigenous women incorporated into the design of skirt. Using mainstream technology, Lucchesi seeks to infuse the work of the Atlas of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in the United States and Canada with Native ways of thinking or epistemologies that are guided by community needs. “Every element of the atlas is voluntary. My hope is that it will be a model to honor people dealing with these issues, by offering skills with which they can build the work themselves,” said Lucchesi. She added that “reducing peoples very real experience of violence into data points alone felt gross.”
Native Leaders Bring Attention To Impact Of Fossil Fuel Industry On Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls
Lower Brule, SD — Yesterday, May 4th, Indigenous leaders and allies began convening at the Rosebud Sioux Nation, just miles from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route, to call attention to the disproportionately high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across North America. The gathering calls attention to the connection between pipeline construction and violence against Native women and girls. Construction of pipelines and other fossil fuel projects often brings an influx of male workers to rural areas near small towns and Reservations, where they live in “man camps” disconnected from the surrounding community. In North Dakota, a surge in rates of violent crime and aggravated assault have correlated with the Bakken “oil boom” and the subsequent arrival of thousands of new workers to the region.
Crucial to Israeli colonialism is an attempt at the destruction of Palestinian society. This is part of a bid to secure demographic majority over non-Jewish people across all of historic Palestine and maximal control over the territory and its resources. Pursuing these goals necessarily involves hindering Palestinians’ ability to raise their next generation and to sustain, educate and care for themselves and each other. The institutionalized destruction of Palestinian women’s lives has thus been an essential feature of the Israeli project. And as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, and in a time of the #MeToo movement, it is important to remember how Israel has systematically carried out violence against Palestinian women, undercut their healthcare, and undermined their socio-economic conditions. In this regard, Israeli settler-colonialism can be seen as intrinsically anti-feminist and a form of gendered violence.
Although proponents of the act are disappointed in the DOJ’s limited support of it, they remain hopeful about the future and the potential for such legislation to help Native women. “The Tribal Law and Order Act [TLOA] feels like window dressing,” said Sarah Deer of the Muscogee Creek Nation, who worked on the legislation President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010 and was also instrumental in the reauthorization of the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). “It’s very disappointing, many of us worked so hard on the legislation.” The language of TLOA, with its specific promises to combat sexual and domestic violence against Native women, held great hope for Indian Country, a community in which one out of every three Native women reports being raped in her lifetime. Overall, Native people are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to other races.
For the last few months America has been having a conversation that is most often not welcome at the dinner table or the nightly news. Multitudes of women and a few men have come forward to expose sexual abuse by powerful men. Social and corporate media have been a buzz with new accusation after another. Many of the powerful men were fired from their positions as a result–a shocking phenomena in a country where most rape victims are treated as criminals. While a movement to hold sexual abusers accountable is necessary, a movement born in the US and embraced by people with power is likely to be limited by bourgeois feminism and American exceptionalism. When movements are co-opted by the ruling class, the potential of the movement becomes limited to keep the scope within parameters that work for them. Let’s take #MeToo where it hasn’t gone: to speak for the girls, boys, women, and men raped due to US Wars—our government’s invasion of their national boundaries. War is by definition rape. It is the unwanted invasion of land, the peoples’ body.