The Human Impact

Girls for sale: “A Day in the Life”

A diverse, fresh-faced group, the 20 American girls standing still and expressionless on stage create a striking opening tableau. Between the ages of 13 and 17, they could be anyone’s daughter or sister or cousin – or any sex trafficker’s prey.

Their voices ring out, one after another, in a litany of the ways in which girls become ensnared in youth sex trafficking.

“I was recruited at my school.”

“I met him at McDonald’s.”

“I was 12.”

“I was 14.”

“And now look at me.  I’m for sale. On your street.  On your browser.”

It can happen to anyone.

That is one of the points of “A Day in the Life,” a one-act play drawing on the real experiences of ordinary teenage girls whose lives have intersected with the world of commercial sexual exploitation.

“Sex trafficking is a problem all over the world, including the United States,” said Yasmeen Hassan, the global director of Equality Now, the international human rights organization that sponsored the performance in New York. In introducing the play, she said that “98 percent of all sex trafficking victims are women and girls and 300,000 children in the United States are at risk of being sex-trafficked.”

One of the most powerful and touching side events during the United Nations’ recently concluded 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the play was created in collaboration with Equality Now by The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company, which works to empower girls between the ages of 8 and 18 through acting training, community events, workshops, public service and plays such as “A Day in the Life.”

Gender violence in EU lowest in Poland – should we rejoice?

Poland is the country with the lowest rate of violence against women in the European Union (EU), according to a report published on Wednesday.

Are women really safer in Poland compared to, say, Denmark which came last in the survey with a staggering 52 percent of its female population having experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lives?  In Poland that percentage is “just” 19.

So is “scoring” lowest a reason to celebrate or is it rather a wake-up call? After all 19 percent still means that almost one if five women in Poland experienced violence.

“Tiny number of men” tackle gender violence – male activist

You are out with a group of friends at a bar and you see a male friend groping a woman.

How should you respond? Turn a blind eye, say something, physically intervene, call the police for help?

It’s one of several scenarios that activist Jackson Katz has put before thousands of high school and university students, professional athletes and soldiers in the United States as part of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) he co-founded in 1993 to tackle violence against women.

Ending the beatings, rapes, murders: Where are India’s men?

Violence against women is widespread across the world. Globally, 35 percent of women have been beaten by an ‘intimate partner’ or suffered sexual violence at the hands of a non-partner in their lifetime, the World Health Organisation says.

The same research suggests that almost one third of women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner, and that some 38 percent of all murders of women are committed by their husband or boyfriend.

In India, the situation is little better. The International Centre for Research on Women reports that 37 percent of men surveyed admit to inflicting violence on their intimate partner.

Postcard from Brazil: A woman free in Rio, not in Delhi

I have lived in the Indian capital for several years and, like many other women in this metropolis of 16 million, I soon learned how to deal with the lecherous stares and dirty comments, the drunken men in cars who follow my auto-rickshaw home from work at night.

I have learnt to be aggressive, to talk straight and serious when addressing male strangers, to not make eye contact, to not extend a handshake and to certainly not smile, share personal details or be friendly when dealing with men I do not know.

Some may think this is a little severe, but when you are bombarded with reports of crimes against women — of men throwing acid in women’s faces, of women being dragged off the street and gang-raped in moving cars, of little girls being lured, raped and murdered, of women being stalked and harassed, most here will likely agree my actions make sense.

    •