HRW Report Finds Afghan Women Police Officers Face Harassment, Violence
Female police officers in Afghanistan are fighting harassment in co-ed changing facilities and restrooms at the hands of male colleagues, according to a recent report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW).
In the story, released today, HRW found that women in the Afghan police force face sexual harassment, assault, and even rape from male colleagues. Many of these attacks occur in changing rooms and bathrooms, which have peepholes or no locks. Women are forced to stand guard for each other while they change or use the restroom. On April 10th, the police chief ordered that all stations have separate facilities for women, however such orders have been ignored before. Despite a goal of increasing the number of women in the Afghan police force to 5,000 by 2014, women currently only make up 1% of the country's police and the conditions faced by women present a recruitment challenge. A senior official, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters, "Men whose rank is junior to me won't salute me. They don't value women as they should... I am supposed to recruit women, but people say they can't send their daughters because it is not safe."
The attitude toward women in the police force combined with the small numbers of women police officers have broader implications for the women of Afghanistan, according to HRW. The organization is concerned that without women police officers to assist victims of sexual and gender violence, including fellow police officers, cases will not be reported out of fear of cultural retaliation. Brad Adams, the Asia Director for the HRW, said "The Afghan government's failure to provide female police officers with safe, secure facilities makes them more vulnerable to abuse. This is not just about toilets. It's about the government's recognition that women have a crucial role to play in law enforcement in Afghanistan... Without the consistent presence of female police officers across the country, legal protections for women will remain an unfulfilled promise."
Media Resources: Human Rights Watch 4/25/2013; News Pakistan 4/25/2013; Guardian 4/24/2013
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .