10% of women have been raped, another 35% sexually assaulted.
25% of the victims have been attacked repeatedly.
66% knew the person who perpetrated the attack.
83% didn't report it to the police.
29% did not tell friends or family.
The overwhelming response to this question was that "they would be too embarrassed or ashamed of the incident to admit it" and the "low conviction rates."(Data compiled from Mumsnet)
The Obama Administration made excellent progress in imposing rigid regulations and policy on college campuses regarding prioritization and reexamination of college campus rape policy in order to remedy the widespread sexual violence issue that plagues American universities.
Today, Betsy DeVos is holding a press conference today that decides the future of rape and sexual harassment policy on college campuses. After an era of progress, an eight years of pushing forwards under Obama's leadership in the field of gender equality and justice for sexual abuse victims, DeVos will pull us backwards in her alterations of rape and sexual violence policy for college campuses.
DeVos argues that the Obama Administration's policy for handling sexual violence on campuses across the nation has resulted in a new type of victim: men. She claims that the existing policy leads to men being falsely accused, and in response, men's lives being ruined. While DeVos claims that she is not attempting to undermine a sense of security for women on campus, and is instead trying to protect the rights of the accused, that is not the case. She is instead implying that there is an incentive system to the current policies regarding rape and sexual abuse, and withdrawing a system that is essential to the safety and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of women nationwide.
The current system provides no incentive to women who choose to report their case of sexual assault, abuse, harassment, or rape to officials on campuses. Most women find it embarrassing to report incidents of sexual violence to officials, and feel as though they are not taken seriously. There is no reward for reporting incidents. There is nothing but courage and bravery required to tell the truth about a traumatizing event like sexual violence. I will clarify now and admit that in the history of this policy, there have been those who have been wrongfully accused. No system is perfect. But, the vast majority of cases have been reported truthfully, and are crucial to justice and safety of women everywhere. If every case reported is considered a falsified report of sexual violence for the sake of a vendetta, then no justice will ever be served to those who are victims, and sexual assault will never be taken seriously or avoided. It is very difficult to falsify sexual violence or rape due to the injuries and trauma sustained to the victim and the rigorous investigations that follow the reporting of the incident, and this fact must be recognized by DeVos. The men being accused of sexual violence do maintain their rights in the manner that an intense investigation ensues, and they get to plead their case as well.
DeVos seems to ignore this fact, and instead recount all of the stories that she has heard from parents of young men accused of rape or other forms of sexual violence that have had their lives "ruined". This is an interesting component of her argument, as it seems that parents of the accused seem to be the most enraged. The simple fact of the matter is that men are finally being held accountable for their actions, and the ugly truth of college campus rape and sexual abuse have come to life. Parents are unable to believe that their child could ever be capable of such an horrific action, but it is an unfortunate reality, not a falsified accusation.
The only remedy DeVos should be making to the rape and sexual violence policies on college campuses is one that clarifies the standard procedures for rape investigations. Implementing a thorough, routine, clarified, and universal procedure for all universities would silence all ridiculous complaints of men being "targeted" by rape policies, and instead serve justice.
Men are not being targeted by rape policies.
Women are not being incentivized to accuse men of rape.
Instead, men are being held accountable for their actions as policy continues to evolve and provide a platform of justice for women.
Betsy, don't take a step backward for your fellow sisters. Take a step forward. Help justice persist. Don't give men more leeway when it comes to college rape policy. Instead, let's ensure that colleges respect the current investigative procedures and serve justice.
By Eunji Yoo
Photos: [Left] Elders line up in front of a South Korean church for food, [Right] Elders eat on the sidewalk upon receiving their meals (via NPR)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA is a glowing metropolis known for its dazzling pop culture, prestigious research universities, and frighteningly fast Internet speed. It holds a reputation as one of the most tech savvy cities in the world and receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. But behind the fortress of luxury makeup stores and high rise condos, hidden in the shadows of the wealthy Gangnam district of Seoul, sits a small patch of low income apartments, where a severely underrepresented portion of South Korea’s population quietly resides: the elderly.
The elderly, anyone over the age of 65, make up over 14% of the South Korean population, according to The Hankyoreh. With the advent of the brutal Korean War in the 1950’s, the Baby Boomer generation carried the daunting task of recuperating following the conflict. To say that they succeeded in their task would be an understatement. A former rural community, Seoul is now one of the most technologically advanced and fastest growing cities in the world. The Baby Boomers are entirely responsible for building the foundation that the country of South Korea currently sits on. The Asian technology and culture hub that we know to be Seoul would not be present without the Baby Boomer generation. To see that these people have grown old being forgotten by the very society they constructed is heartbreaking.
When one thinks of growing old, most people envision a relaxing retirement filled with enjoyable vacations, bubbly grandkids, and a sense of contentment. However, over half of the elderly in South Korea live in stagnant poverty, dreadful loneliness, and desperate despair for an activity to fill their days. There is not much an 80 year old living in poverty with little means of transportation can do for fun.
Much of the adult population invests lifelong savings into furthering their children’s academic experience, whether that be through paying for expensive private tutors or top tier learning academies. By the time the child grows up and begins university, lower income parents are left with just a little more than barely enough to get by. The immense focus placed on education contributes to the increasing amount of South Koreans, particularly those over the age of 60, living in poverty.
The traditional idea that children should watch over their elderly parents seems to have fallen on deaf ears over the past two decades. Taking numerous sick days or appearing undedicated to your work is looked down upon by several top tier businesses in Korea. Once a person begins work in a competitive sector, he or she quickly begins to prioritize business over family life. Consequently, children are trapped between family obligations, such as taking over elderly parents, and employment obligations, typically opting for the latter, while the aging parents begin feeling more and more like a burden to their children.
The amount of fiscal dependency aging Korean parents have on their children has decreased over the years, relying more on local community efforts in order to try and loosen their burden on their working kids. Just outside of Seoul, hundreds of older Korean citizens line up in front of local churches every week for a small but hearty meal, a measly but valuable 50 cent coin, and a bit of overdue but much needed company. Some stand in line for hours waiting.
The reliance on nongovernmental efforts is also partially due to the lack of government assistance for the elderly. While the South Korean government does provide pension for retired people, it only amounts to $200 a month, barely enough to get by. Furthermore, only around 35% of the elderly population receive this pension, according to the National Pension Research Institute Survey. The government should be obligated to provide a universal social security system for civilians who are no longer capable of supporting themselves, but the South Korean government has met criticism for failing to fulfill the needs of the elderly. It is obvious that the generation of people who should be most content with their lives are spiraling into growing despair, yet there is little being done to change their predicament.
The elderly population in Seoul is projected to grow tremendously, with over half of all Koreans estimated to be over the age of 52 by 2040, a statistic provided by the Korea Times. The institution of universal social security should be made a top priority for the South Korean government. The creation of well-funded support groups at public civic centers can also provide the elderly with an outlet for physical and emotional assistance. The treatment of elders should be continuously emphasized to local and national government leaders.
It is not right that the elderly live in the shadows of a modernized city they helped create.
By Robson Swift
Money in politics is a plague on American democracy. It spits in the face of American values, and the only way to stop it is to amend the Constitution. The term “money in politics” refers to cooperation and wealthy individuals being able to spend an unlimited amount of money to political campaigns. The history of money in politics before the 1900s is relatively unknown due to the lack of records, but in 1921 the Supreme Court of the United States case Newberry v. United States held that Congress can’t regulate primary elections and the financing of political campaigns and in 22 years the first political action committee or PAC was established. In short PACs are organizations that raise money to influence elections and are usually attached to political campaigns especially at the federal level. These entities were heavily regulated and restricted in their influence, but with waves of deregulations in the 1970s and 1980s they gained more and more influence as they spent money on political campaigns. But the most influential decision on money in politics happened in 2010 when the Supreme Court decided Citizens United. This landmark decision was the most important decision in modern American politics. In it, the Supreme Court treated corporations as human beings with rights. It also considered that money was free speech. Since corporations were human beings and money free speech, corporations were able to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaign.
By Navneet Khaira, Co-Editor for CA Chapter
Several American adults possess the ability to vividly recall weekly family trips to produce-stocked grocery stores. To the displeasure of the supervising parent(s) on these trips, children place all of the appealing food items in the cart before reaching the cashier. This parent, either mother or father, will demand the return of the added commodities to their respective shelves. The items of the family’s usual purchase tend to be staples, of which may include eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits, or bread. Grocery stores that sell standard options contribute to an overall healthy, local economy; the diverse range of options serve as economic magnets which ultimately attracts a large amount of consumers. Despite the unsatisfying appeal of these items, several fail to consider the fact that access to supplemental food group(s) is anywhere but close to being universal.
This challenge of access to healthy foods has proved steadfast throughout history; impoverished communities become more prone to disease and long-term nutrition deficiencies. For countless communities across the United States, “nutritious, affordable, and high quality food is out of reach— particularly low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and rural areas” (1). With limited options, poverty-stricken communities are forced to choose cheap, unhealthy options, such as fast food restaurants. Poverty directly parallels severe hunger and malnourishment on an international scale because “795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment” and of those “hungry people, 780 million, live in developing countries, representing 12.9 percent, or one in eight, of the population of developing counties” (2). The strive for universality regarding access constitutes a viable mission for basic human rights. Finding quality, fresh food proves a great struggle for impoverished and isolated communities. The lack of this fresh food directly contributes to malnutrition—and in several cases, access to cheap, unhealthy foods contribute to cardiovascular diseases. This disparity ultimately narrows the population that possesses the ability to attain a balanced diet. This polarized spectrum establishes major health discrepancies not only in the United States, but also on an international level. This system is oftentimes described as unsustainable and ineffective. The economically unstable population is threatened by malnutrition and in some respective states, are limited to unhealthy fast food alternatives, thus creating a ceaseless food desert. Therein, fundamental human rights are infringed upon by several states due to the lack of both accessibility and educational outreach regarding diverse nutriment as mandated by the United Nations.
In respect to the accessibility aspect of quality food substances, human rights bodies, more specially the UDHR and ICESCR, indoctrinate the requirement of states to implement the individual right to sustenance. Provisions within the UDHR require that state parties establish the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food” (2). The UDHR also requires member states to provide everyone the right to “life, liberty and security of person” which directly applies to an individual’s freedom to maintain himself through any absolute necessary means. Nourishment is fulfilled only when an individual has access to a diverse range of food. With respect to the ICESCR, the provisions require that states of correspondence, under Article XII, that the states should ensure the right for the “healthy development of the child” which proves incomplete due to the lack of widespread quality food access which ultimately increases the possibility of cardiovascular illness or obesity in later years (4).
The access to quality food should be a universal characteristic for all states; every person has an inherent right to live a long, healthy and happy life. The means by which this life is fulfilled is primarily through global access to adequate and healthy food choices; this accessibility would improve not only the health conditions of the impoverished but also empower these poverty-stricken communities to emerge from the crippling social conditions and allow for a manifestation of radical yet profound and needed change.
The method by which this societal shift can occur would be through increased publicity surrounding the subject financial compensation from both domestic and international bodies, and implementation of basic educational resources surrounding the prevention of malnutrition caused diseases. Publicity, through both newspapers and social media, could divert helpful governmental attention towards the rise of health epidemics regarding malnutrition, starvation and obesity. With state government grants to federal projects, widespread establishment of an effective solution can occur. With broad legislation and horizontal integration (through local work of NGO programs and nonprofits), access to both food and knowledge surrounding quality food can achieve abundant success regarding health conditions worldwide.
What is it like to live in Pakistan as an Afghan Refugee? The answer to this question is a harsh reality for over a million people, many of whom deal with police brutality, risk deportation into a war-ridden nation they fled, and are constantly marginalized and vilified by the media and general public.
Over the years, Afghans have fled their country and piled into cities in Pakistan for several reasons; the Soviet Invasion of 1979, Taliban control, and the U.S war in Afghanistan following 9/11 all posed significant threats to their lives.
The Pakistani government has done little to ensure the well-being of millions of displaced people hosted within their borders. Afghan refugees are cooped up in unhygienic, unaccommodating camps in cities like Peshawar and Quetta. These camps offer little to no access to food, health care, maternity support, education, and shelter; billions of dollars worth of international aid falls into the pockets of corrupt politicians and non-governmental organization workers.
Recently, refugees have faced a series of obstacles that have made it extremely difficult for them to enjoy their right to life, liberty, and security of person. Roughly 365,000 people have been deported to Afghanistan, making it the largest most recent case of illegal mass forced return. Human Rights Watch reported earlier this year that many of the returns were carried out in inhumane conditions, often at night in harsh winter. This issue in particular has been largely ignored by the international community, despite the fact that the Pakistani government has violated legal prohibitions against refoulement under the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).
Appeals by the Pakistani media, military establishment, and government in support of forcibly removing refugees have influenced the general population and spread to social media. Trending Twitter hashtags like #KickOutAfghans and #AfghanRefugeesThreat encourage discrimination and the alienation of refugees.
Furthermore, Police in Afghan-populated slums are known for arbitrary detainment and public humiliation. Officials argue that law enforcement officers are fulfilling their duties in combatting frequent terrorism and violent crime. But, the refugees themselves deny involvement and insist they're being targeted unfairly. After all, data from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa prosecutor’s office, reveals that Afghan refugees were found to be responsible for only 1.27% of all violent crimes since 2014.
A 76-page report drafted by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) titled “Pakistan Coercion, UN Complicity: The Mass Forced Return of Afghan Refugees,” addresses specific articles violated by the state of Pakistan. The report also emphasizes the role that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has played in the mass deportation by supporting large-scale repatriation and allocating funds to involved programs.
Pakistan needs to be held accountable for failing to uphold its responsibilities under international humanitarian law. Afghan refugees should be granted rights that protect them from systematic persecution and individual discrimination. It is vital that the suggestions of the HRW are followed and the abuse is put an end to once and for all.