News from the Global South

House Bill Seeks to Protect Husbands, Same-Sex Partners from Domestic Abuse

Rappler - Manila, Philippines, 10/5/2019

A lawmaker in Philippines has filed a bill that would protect spouses and partners in intimate relationships – regardless of gender – against domestic violence. In House Bill (HB) No. 4888, 2nd District Representative Fidel Nograles seeks to expand the coverage of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 to also cover abuse committed against same-sex partners and husbands in heterosexual marriages. Currently, the domestic violence law penalises physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse committed only against women and children. Apart from expanding the definition of the who the victim of domestic violence can be (making it LGBT-inclusive), Nograles’ bill also expands the definition of ‘psychological’ forms of domestic abuse to include online harassment, cyberstalking, and other forms of online abuse.

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Display of Murderer Zwelethu Mthethwa’s Art Causes Outcry

Business Day, South Africa, 10/4/2019

The University of Pretoria has come under fire for displaying a painting by a man jailed for the brutal murder of a sex worker, leading to great public outrage. Zwelethu Mthethwa's work has been on display at the University's Javett Art Centre, whereas he was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2017 for the murder of 23-year-old sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo. The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) said the painting should be removed ‘out of respect’ to Kumalo's family and taking into account the ‘violence meted out by men to vulnerable and marginalised populations … in South Africa’. According to official figures, South Africa has a high rate of crimes against women, with at least 137 sexual offenses being reported nearly every day.

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Ghana Sex Education Program Sparks Anti-LGBT+ Outrage

Reuters - Dakar, Ghana, 10/2/2019

Government and U.N. officials in Ghana were forced to defend a school sexuality education program on October 1, 2019, after religious groups said it was part of a ‘satanic’ attempt to promote LGBTQ values. The National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, said on radio and Facebook that ‘6 was too young to start learning about sex’ and criticised a module on gender identity. But the officials who had drafted the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) program (in compliance with the UN), said it had no explicit LGBTQ content. In fact, Ghana’s education minister, at a press conference, assured critics that the curriculum ‘would not compromise national values’. Either way, the conversation around this curriculum belies the complicated status of LGBTQ issues in the country.

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New Indonesian Parliament Urged to Tackle Sexual Violence 'Emergency'

National Post, Kuala Lumpur, 10/1/2019

Lawmakers sworn into Indonesia’s parliament on October 1, 2019, are being urged to push through a sexual violence bill to protect women from abuse that rights groups say has reached ‘emergency’ levels. Tens of thousands of people in the country have in recent weeks protested against a proposed new criminal code that would outlaw sex outside marriage and penalise women who have abortions. Women’s rights activists are also calling on newly installed lawmakers in the world’s third-largest democracy to revive a bill shielding women from violence that for years has failed to pass parliament due to conservative opposition. The proposed bill, if passed, would expand the definition of sexual violence to include harassment, exploitation and forced abortions and forced prostitution.

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Death of Model after Party Shines Spotlight on Murky Part of Thailand's Entertainment Sector

The Japan Times - Bangkok, Thailand, 9/30/2019

Thai police investigating a model’s unexplained death are hunting for more suspects in a case that has sparked rare outrage over the treatment of women in a poorly understood sector of the entertainment industry. The body of model Thitima Noraphanpiphat was found in the lobby of a Bangkok apartment block, hours after she attended a party where she was paid to serve drinks. This has fuelled a conversation around the ‘pretty’ industry in Thailand, which hires promotional models to attend clubs, parties, etc. But critics say it exists in a legal gray area where women at these parties can be coerced into sex or raped under the influence of alcohol. As the inquiry widens, authorities hope the case will fuel more conversations around this.

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