MP breaks House of Commons taboo by discussing her period

Scottish Labour’s Danielle Rowley, who represents Midlothian, apologised for being late to a House of Commons women and equalities debate, saying she was on her period and it had cost her £25 so far this week.
She called for action on the cost of sanitary products. “We know the average cost of a period in the UK over a year is £500. Many women can’t afford this. What is the minister doing to address period poverty?” she asked.
The UK government is under pressure to follow the lead of the Scottish parliament and offer free sanitary products to women on low incomes. One in 10 girls in the UK cannot afford them, according to a study by Plan International UK.
A survey into the effects of period poverty in Scotland released this year showed the extreme lengths some women go to, including resorting to using old clothes or newspapers, when they cannot afford sanitary protection.

Domestic violence offenders no longer allowed to question abuse victims in Family Court

Self-represented litigants have had the ability, in certain circumstances, to cross-examine their victims during family law matters.
But the Federal Government will today introduce legislation scrapping the practice, citing significant community concern and a desire to avoid further trauma of victims.
“In the criminal jurisdiction, many years ago, the practice was ended where a self-represented litigant would be able to cross-examine their victim in a sexual violence or in a rape matter,” Attorney-General Christian Porter told ABC News Breakfast.
“That situation, unfortunately, persists in a very small number of incidences in the Family Court.
“For those very small number of cases where there are clear allegations or indeed convictions of violence, the perpetrator of the violence should not be able to cross-examine the victim of the violence.”
Courts would also have the discretion to stop the direct cross-examination where domestic violence was alleged, and would be required to put in place extra protections for alleged victims — including screens or video links in court rooms — where questioning was allowed to occur.
Where questioning is allowed, it would have to be done by a lawyer, including legal aid lawyers where an alleged abuser does not have their own representation.
“In those circumstances, cross-examination can and should probably still happen, but it will have to be conducted by an independent counsel,” Mr Porter said.

Transgender woman says restaurant hassled her for ID before using restroom

A restaurant in Washington, DC, is apologizing for an incident that took place Friday night, when one of the eatery’s managers unlawfully asked a transgender woman for ID before she used the ladies’ restroom.
Charlotte Clymer was dining out with her friends at the Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar when, toward the end of their meal, she was asked by an employee to provide ID stating that she was “female” after she attempted to enter the bathroom.
“I told him that’s nonsense, turned on my heel, and continued into the restroom,” Clymer wrote on Facebook.
Clymer, who works for the Human Rights Campaign, said she informed the manager that he was mistaken and asked him to show her a law that backs up his claims, to which she was simply told, “You being in [the women’s bathroom] will make women uncomfortable.”
When he didn’t pick up the phone, Clymer took matters into her own hands and called them herself.
“I could not have asked for a more professional and affirming experience from the Washington Metropolitan Police Dept,” she wrote. “The responding officers — all cisgender men — were patient and kind in their communication, assured me I was right on the law, and radioed for their LGBTQ liaison unit to respond.”
Clymer now claims the restaurant is being investigated by the city’s Office of Human Rights, and says she, too, is pursuing “legal options” against Cuba Libre.

What’s Current: Ministers vow to defend women's rights to female-only spaces in the UK

Ministers have vowed to defend women’s rights to exclude transgender people from female-only spaces such as changing rooms, lavatories and swimming sessions.
In a significant victory for campaigners, the government has promised not to put the rights of those who identify as women ahead of those who are biologically female. Its intervention comes in the wake of a series of clashes that have come to light in the year since the government floated proposals to allow adults to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis.
Men identifying as women were permitted to swim in the ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath in north London; a woman who requested a female nurse to perform her cervical smear was called in by a person with stubble; and a woman with a fear of men was locked in an NHS women’s psychiatric ward with a burly 6ft transgender patient.
Now the government has faced down pressure from Labour and influential backbenchers to tilt the balance further in the direction of transgender rights, as it prepares to announce a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act. This is expected to coincide with the Pride in London parade on July 7.
A statement from the Government Equalities Office, overseen by Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, promises that “advancing the rights of trans people does not have to compromise women’s rights”.
It said: “We are clear we have no intention of amending the Equality Act 2010, the legislation that allows for single-sex spaces. Any Gender Recognition Act reform will not change the protected characteristics in the Equality Act nor the exemptions under the Equality Act that allow for single and separate-sex spaces.”
It pledges: “Providers of women-only services [can choose not to] provide services to trans individuals, provided it is objectively justified on a case-by-case basis. The same can be said about toilets, changing rooms or single-sex activities. Providers may exclude trans people from facilities of the sex they identify with, provided it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim.”
The government statement came in response to a petition launched by Amy Desir of Man Friday, a feminist group that seeks to ridicule the notion that people should be allowed to self-identify with a particular gender.

Mexico: 15 fake transgender candidates disqualified from election

Mexico’s electoral tribunal has disqualified 15 male candidates who pretended to be transgender to get around gender parity rules in the southern state of Oaxaca.
The ruling proved thorny for the tribunal, which said in a statement: “The manifestation of belonging to a gender is sufficient to justify the self-registration of a person.”
But the tribunal added: “Electoral authorities must take care with the possible misuse of self-registration, to not permit … the transgender identity be utilized in a deceptive way to comply with the constitutional principle of equity.”
“Not a single spot designated for men was filled by a transgender person. However, 19 places designated for women … were filled by men who say they’re transgender,” said Anabel López Sánchez, director of the Women’s Citizenship Collective in Oaxaca, which denounced the phoney candidates in May.
Mexico has gradually introduced gender parity rules over the past two decades. Previous rules mandated a 60-40 gender split in nominations, while a constitutional reform in 2013 required a 50-50 balance in all congressional candidacies.
But candidates have attempted to get round the law from the start. In 2009, eight female lawmakers requested leaves of absence immediately after taking their oath of office and were replaced by male substitutes.

Gynaecologist who mutilated women faces inquiry in Australia

Health authorities in Australia have launched a major inquiry into a disgraced gynaecologist who mutilated and performed unnecessary operations on dozens of women over decades.
One patient died after Dr Emil Shawky Gayed operated on her and failed to administer appropriate treatment.
What has become a burgeoning public health scandal in Australia’s most populous state follows an investigation by Guardian Australia into the conduct of Gayed at one of the hospitals where he worked in the regional town of Taree, 310km (190 miles) north of Sydney.
Dozens of women in and around the mid-north NSW coastal town have sustained infections, psychological trauma and other complications because of treatment they received from Gayed at the Manning Rural Referral hospital.

‘Archaic, humiliating’ strip searches in Australia must end

The Human Rights Law Centre has delivered a statement at the 38th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling on the Australian government to improve laws around strip-searching and better uphold women’s rights.
Human Rights Law Centre director of legal advocacy Ruth Barson said that routine strip searches are “archaic and humiliating”, but they remain an everyday practice for thousands of women behind bars in Australia.
HRLC made its case to the UN Human Rights Council, in a statement delivered by one of its lawyers, Lee Jia-Yi Carni.
“There are far more humane and effective alternatives to strip searches such as modern non-invasive search techniques [such as
pat-downs, scanners and x-rays], which have been successfully adopted in other states, such as the United Kingdom,” Ms Carni told the council.
“Australian governments could, and should, end this degrading and dehumanising practice today.”
Australia was recently re-elected as a member of the Human Rights Council for a second term, on the back of a promise to uphold women’s and indigenous people’s rights.

State of Origin domestic violence research: Violence spikes on Origin.

For twelve hours, from 6pm this evening, Australia’s women and children are at more risk of harm than on almost any other Sunday evening of the year.
Emergency services know this. The police know this. Hotels and pubs around the country certainly know this.
Because from now until 6am tomorrow morning, we’ll be riding through one of the few days in the year when incidences of domestic violence surge by 40.7 per cent.
“It’s crystal clear that the State of Origin fixtures are leading to a surge in domestic violence. It’s happening on the National Rugby League’s watch and women and children are being harmed as a direct consequence of these games,” says Michael Thorn, Chief Executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.
The link between booze and football is where all these statistics are pointing – what they’re screaming about, really – as the experts who collate them question the decisions to let alcohol brands advertise around these games, to sponsor teams, to continue to be so very prominent in every aspect of preparation and celebration of big sporting occasions, both for fans and players (Mad Monday, anyone?).

Being a trafficking survivor in a state electing a pimp to the Assembly

Dennis Hof, the outspoken owner of brothels featured in HBO’s “Cathouse” and author of “The Art of the Pimp,” unseated a three-term assemblyman in Nevada’s Republican primary. As someone who works in politics, I have come to expect the unexpected the last couple of years, but as a survivor of child sex trafficking and child pornography, this is just too much emotionally.
[T]his same man who requires women who decide they don’t want to sell their bodies to literally pay for their freedom is most likely going to be a state assemblyman? This man who requires women who work in the brothels to sleep with him for free and his friends for free or minimal pay in order to get his approval is going to serve as a community role model? The one who has been accused by multiple women of rape, proudly sells virginities and boasts about sleeping with 18-year olds on their birthdays is going to have a vote on what protections victims of sexual assault have in this state? What 17-year old who hasn’t been exploited, coerced or traumatized in her young life willfully chooses to have sex with an old man on her 18th birthday?
Many people in Nevada don’t understand why a survivor of child sex trafficking and child pornography has such a problem with legalized prostitution to begin with. These same people don’t understand the chaos and grip of PTSD caused by these childhood abuses that so often throw the lie of “easy money” in the face of victims. Nor do they understand how legalized prostitution expands and welcomes the demand for illegal prostitution and sex trafficking, including of children.

India women: Anti-trafficking activists raped after staging street play

Five Indian anti-trafficking activists performing a street play were gang-raped at gunpoint in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police have confirmed.
The women were working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote Khunti district.
About 40,000 rape cases were reported in India in 2016.
Many cases, however, are believed to go unreported because of the stigma that is attached to rape and sexual assault.
Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus. This latest incident comes as the country continues to reel from a string of recent attacks.
A shocking case of child rape in Kashmir made international headlines in April.
Jharkhand has also been in the spotlight recently after three teenage girls were raped and set on fire in separate incidents in May.