Ending the Global Child Sex Abuse Crisis

For the first time in history, the United Nations General Assembly has designated a new annual World Day for the prevention of child sexual exploitation—and it couldn’t come soon enough.

One in five women and one in 13 men worldwide have been sexually abused as children, and 120 million girls and young women under 20 years old have been victims of forced sexual contact. Countless victims around the globe are silenced by bad laws and some countries’ legal agreements with the Roman Catholic Church that weaken, and at times completely dismantle, their opportunity for justice.

Deny, Attack, Blame: The Prosecution of Women Reporting Rape

DARVO is an acronym—Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. It was first identified by trauma researcher Jennifer Freyd in the late 90s, who noticed sex offenders tend to respond with a specific pattern when confronted or held accountable: deny their involvement in any wrongdoing, or deny their actions caused any real harm; attack victim credibility by inserting doubt about their accusers’ motives and psychological soundness; and promote a narrative positioning themselves as victims of false, reputation-ruining accusations.

Being betrayed by the institutions meant to protect them discourages victims from seeking justice. DARVO should have no place in investigations of rape.

‘We Condemn the Public Shaming of Amber Heard’: 130 Women’s Rights Signatories Sign Open Letter

“In the Depp v. Heard trial, behaviors that are common to survivors were relentlessly mocked and misunderstood,” said Dr. Emma Katz, author of Coercive Control in Children’s and Mothers’ Lives. “These common survivor behaviors—including covering injuries with makeup and leaving your abuser then arranging to meet with them again—were widely condemned as signs of deception. Many survivors watched these public conversations unfold with dread, as the question, ‘Will I be believed if I come forward?’ seemed to be met with a resounding ‘no.’”

The War on Women Report: Anti-Abortion Movement Says It’s ‘Pro-Woman’; Kanye West’s Misogynistic Slurs; Brittney Griner’s Appeal Rejected

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

This month: The anti-abortion movement frames its tactics as “pro-woman,” Kanye West claims Black women are engaging in genocide, the House Committee votes to subpoena Trump, Brittney Griner’s appeal is rejected and more.

#MeToo, Five Years Later

In the five years since it took off like wildfire, the #MeToo campaign has made widespread sexual abuse in the U.S. visible for the first time and inspired a record number of sexual harassment lawsuits against employers. It exposed how our decades-old workplace anti-harassment laws were outdated and often ineffective. In the last five years, 22 states and the District of Columbia passed more than 70 workplace anti-harassment bills in the last five years—many with bipartisan support.

Even still, U.S. rape culture persists and creates an environment where women and girls are disbelieved, survivors are discouraged from reporting abuse, and male abusers are forgiven—or even rewarded—for sexually abusive behavior. Congress must do more.

Empowered: Women Tell Family Court Judges of Experiences With Coercive Control Using New Domestic Abuse Law

Connecticut’s new Jennifers’ Law, which went into effect last October and expanded domestic abuse to include coercive control, addresses the way perpetrators weaponize the court system.

“We’ve faced trauma and been dismissed in our marriages—then we’ve seen the truth dismissed in court. We tell people to leave an abusive marriage and go to get help and be protected, but then the judicial system has to step up to protect us. I hope women hear our stories and are empowered to speak up about Jennifers’ Law too.”

What Our Primate Ancestors Can Teach Us About Dismantling the Patriarchy: The Ms. Q&A with Diane Rosenfeld

A new book shines an intriguing new light on the possibilities for alliances among women in the ongoing struggle to end men’s violence against women by examining the social organization of one of our closest primate relatives. In The Bonobo Sisterhood, Harvard Law School professor Diane Rosenfeld shows how we have much to learn from the bonobos about how to eliminate male sexual coercion.  

“Patriarchy is not inevitable; the bonobos are living proof of that.”