This Week in Women: #MeToo Moments Around the World

This Week in Women is part of a series produced in partnership between Ms. and the Fuller Project for International Reporting. This column is also part of a newsletter; sign up here to receive it regularly.

A 2016 #NiUnaMenos march in Peru. (Lorena Flores Agüero / Creative Commons)

From #MeToo to “We Believe You”

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to bar convicted domestic abusers from purchasing firearms. The hope, he said, is that the legislation would help save lives and “sever the undeniable connection between domestic abuse and deadly gun violence.”

And at long last, the U.S. this week also allowed dozens of men, women and children to enter the US and apply for asylum from the caravan of people (mainly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) who trekked some 2,000 miles from southern Mexico. The caravan is predominantly made up of women and children fleeing violence. Fuller Project contributing photographer Meghan Dhaliwal, based in Mexico City, has been following the caravan for the New York Times. Check out some of her photos here.

Last weekend, more than 30,000 people protested in Pamplona, Spain against the acquittal of five men accused of gang raping a woman during the 2016 running of the bulls festival. Some protesters chanted, “Yo te creo”—”I believe you.” Spain’s government said it would consider changing rape laws. And for the first time since World War II, the Swedish Academy will not award the Nobel Prize in literature this year; the academy is currently embroiled in a very public sex abuse scandal in which Jean-Claude Arnault, a photographer with close ties to the academy, sexually assaulted at least 18 women.

As Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen rages into its third year, women are starving themselves in an attempt to save their children, The Associated Press’s Maggie Michael reported this week. Two months ago, Trump happily touted a $670 million deal to sell U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia, and we learned today that U.S. troops are secretly on the border.  This conflict is spiraling down—aid groups had predicted 50,000 children would die by the end of 2017. Already nearly 2 million are out of school due to this tragic conflict.   

Women’s voices are needed more than ever in that region. Not far from Yemen, Fuller Project reporter Neha Wadekar travelled to Somalia to tell the story of a 28-year-old female police officer who defends Somalia’s #MeToo women—victims of rape and assault who want justice. Read her reporting in British ELLEStay tuned in the coming weeks for more Fuller Project reporting from Chiapas, Mexico, the Hebron Hills in the West Bank and Knox County, Ohio.

Other Stories from The Week

On Wednesday, Iowa’s legislature passed a “heartbeat bill” making it illegal for women to get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable. This normally happens around the six-week mark, when many women do not yet know they are pregnant. If it’s signed into law by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, an outspoken opponent of abortion, most abortions would effectively be banned, except in cases of rape or incest. Less than ten percent of abortions performed by medical professionals in 2016 occurred before a woman’s sixth week of pregnancy. Meanwhile, South Carolina senators met early this morning to pass a bill to ban all abortions, except when a mother’s life is threatened, or in cases of incest or rape. They failed—but only just.

In Ireland, abortion is largely illegal, but that will be challenged in a late May 25th referendum in which voters will decide whether to repeal the constitution’s 8th amendment, which states that a fetus has the same rights as its mother. Such a repeal would allow parliament to draft a law permitting abortions in hospitals up to 12 weeks. Many Irish women now travel to the UK and elsewhere to seek out abortions.

Stormy Daniels continues to be one of Washington’s most powerful women: On Wednesday night, the Trump team accidentally admitted on Fox News that Trump reimbursed $130k to his lawyer, Michael Cohen, effectively paying off an adult film star for her silence. The payment could violate campaign finance laws.

Take a moment to read this Ms. Magazine Q&A with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an intrepid reporter with the New York Times covering race relations in America, MacArthur fellow, and co-founder of the Ida B Wells Society, an organization supporting reporters of color in the pursuit of investigative journalism. It’s named after pioneering investigative journalist Ida B.Wells, who battled rampant sexism and racism to report the truth about discrimination and racism.

In Pacific Standard, Elizabeth Weingarten, the director of the Global Gender Parity Initiative at New America, argues that gender is crucial to understanding national security and that it must be taught in international relations classrooms. In the New York Times, Claire Cain Miller writes about how a common interview question about salary history fuels the gender pay gap.

If you’re a woman or non-binary photographer seeking funding for a project, apply by May 15 for a grant up to $5,000 from our friends over at Women Photograph.

Sophia Jones is a senior editor and journalist at the Fuller Project.

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