In Kenya, the women said, “NON-NEGOTIABLE: my body my womb my rights”. Nine years later, they were heard. Why did it take so long?

Nine years ago, almost to the day, five women wearing t-shirts walked into a Nairobi court. On the back, the t-shirts read: “NON-NEGOTIABLE: my body my womb my rights.” On the front, the t-shirts read, “END FORCED AND COERCED STERILIZATION OF WOMEN LIVING WITH HIV”. In September, finally, Kenya’s High Court ruled in their favor, awarding each 3,000,000 Kenyan shilling, or approximately $20,000. This is the second such case in Kenyan history. In December 2022, another Kenyan woman was also awarded 3,000,000 shilling, also for a sterilization without informed consent. So, 3,000,000 shilling, or $20,0000, is the going rate of `compensation’ for violence against women.

We wrote about the case nine years ago. We began writing about forced sterilization in 2012, concerning a case in Namibia, a case to which we returned in 2014. At that time, we argued that the decision in favor of the three women who had sued the State was “a victory for HIV-positive women, for all women, everywhere”. A decade later, we wonder if that declaratino of victory was perhaps a bit premature. Why does it take nine years for the High Court in Nairobi to decide the case, especially when one considers that the final decision absolves the State of all responsibility?

In 2014, we wrote, “The news this week from Chhattisgarh, India, is tragic. At latest count, 15 women have .died in a `sterilization camp’. Fifty others are in hospital, with at least 20 in critical condition. At first the operations were widely described as `botched.’ After only preliminary investigations, the response moved from `botched’ to `criminal’ and `corrupt’. Finally, the reporting has landed on how Indian this all is. It’s not. Forced sterilization of women is a global phenomenon, actually a global campaign, and it needs to be addressed, immediately. The women, all poor, of Chhattisgarh are part of a global public policy in which women’s bodies are, at best, disposable and, more often, detritus.” It’s now 2023, moving into 2024. Why did it take nine years for a High Court to decide?

In late September 2014, California formally banned forced and coerced sterilization of women prisoners … again. Then Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill No. 1135 into law. The bill read, in part: “This bill would prohibit sterilization for the purpose of birth control of an individual under the control of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or a county correctional facility, as specified.” Not forcing sterilization on women prisoners seemed pretty straightforward. Some would even say a no-brainer. And yet, that law took a lot of brains, and muscle and organizing and history. Think about the brains, muscle, organizing and history it took and takes for a group of women, say in Kenya, to discover they’ve been sterilized, without their knowledge much less informed consent; find the means to take the State and so-called health providers to court; and then to wait, not idly but rather mobilizing the entire time, for nine years.

That all happened before the Kenyan women went to court. Since then …

On February 26, 2015 the Virginia legislature agreed to pay $25,000 in compensation to those who had suffered forced sterilization during the Commonwealth’s decades long adventure in eugenics. What’s the rate of exchange between 2015 and 2023? Apparently $25,000 to $20,000.

In March 2015 in South Africa, 48 women living with HIV and AIDS responded to the indignity and abuse of forced sterilization. Represented by Her Rights Initiative, Oxfam, and the Women’s Legal Centre, 48 women who had suffered forced sterilization in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal came forward and lodged a formal complaint. These 48 `cases’ were from 1986 to 2014. Their case has been reported on, fully researched, and documented. As of now, they have received neither compensation nor a formal apology of any sort.

In March 2019, all major parties in Japan agreed to pass a measure that would “deeply apologize” and offer compensation to victim-survivors of forced sterilization. The compensation would be a one-off payment of around $28,700. Now we know the value of life in Japan … and beyond. What is the price of a `deep apology’ when made to women?

On May 26, 2022, Colombia’s newly elected President Gabriel Boric announced, “I would like to start by apologising to Francisca ….  for the serious violation of your rights and also for the denial of justice and for all the time you had to wait for this. How many people like you do we not know? It hurts to think that the state, which today I have the honour to represent, is responsible for these cases. I pledge to you, and to those who today represent you here in person, that while we govern, we will give the best of each one of us as authorities so that something like this will never happen again and certainly so that in cases where these atrocities have already been committed, they will be properly redressed.”. Boric went on to promise to provide specialist training to medical workers on HIV/AIDS to curb discrimination and to ensure that judges and lawyers are aware that affected women have a right to reparations. Who is Francisca?

In 2002, a 20-year-old, married rural woman known as Francisca discovered she was pregnant. She and her partner were elated. When, early in the pregnancy, Francisca went in for tests, she discovered that she was HIV positive. She immediately began a protocol of antiretrovirals. She had a caesarean delivery, successfully, and the child was HIV negative. That child, now 22 years old himself, is still HIV negative. When Francisca emerged from the surgery, a nurse informed her that the surgeon had sterilized her.  Francisca never asked for or wanted to be sterilized and had never consented. In 2007, Francisca sued the doctor. In 2008, the case was dismissed. In 2009, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Vivo Positivo took the case, on Francisca’s behalf, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In August 2021, the Chilean government signed a settlement accepting responsibility and offering something like reparations: a housing subsidy and healthcare for both Francisca and her son as well as a commitment to raise awareness of HIV and reproductive rights … after thirteen years.

In Peru, from 1996 to 2001, the Peruvian government, under the leadership of Alberto Fujimori, forced at least 2000 indigenous women to undergo forced sterilization … all in the name of family planning. In 2018, Fujimori and his accomplices were informed they would be facing charges. That case basically ended in mistrial. In September 2023, the same month in which the Kenyan women heard they would be receiving `compensation’, the daughters of Celia Ramos, who died in 1997 days after being forcibly sterilized, learned the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hear the case.

In all of these cases, the justification, if any was even given, included public health, family planning, protection of the individual women. Society must be protected. In each case, the procedure was conducted by trained medical personnel. Women have been subjected to the torture of forced sterilization for a myriad of reasons and, ultimately, for no reason at all. You want to know why it takes the court so many years to adjudicate these women’s complaints? You want to know why it takes so long for these women to find even a modicum of justice? No reason at all.


(By Dan Moshenberg)

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Who will remember the women and children of Gaza?

“Write my name on my leg, Mama
When the bomb hits our house
When the walls crush our skulls and bones
our legs will tell our story, how
there was nowhere for us to run”
Zeina Azzam

Once more we `discover’ that `indiscriminate bombing’, just like so-called stampedes and so-called natural disasters, is never indiscriminate. The bombs and missiles seek out children and women. This is the case in Gaza. On November 3, the World Health Organization reported, “As of 3 November, according to Ministry of Health data, 2326 women and 3760 children have been killed in the Gaza strip, representing 67% of all casualties, while thousands more have been injured. This means that 420 children are killed or injured every day, some of them only a few months old.” And this week, under the headline “Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace”, The New York Times reports, “People are being killed in Gaza more quickly, they say, than in even the deadliest moments of U.S.-led attacks in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, which were themselves widely criticized by human rights groups.”  The article goes on to explain, “It is not just the scale of the strikes — Israel said it had engaged more than 15,000 targets before reaching a brief cease-fire in recent days. It is also the nature of the weaponry itself.” Israel has chosen to use specific armaments that would cause the most damage and death. And who are the overwhelming majority of those killed and injured? Women and children. More women and children have been killed in the shortest period of time ever recorded.

As Neta C. Crawford, a University of Oxford professor and co-director of Brown University’s Costs of War Project, noted, “This is a scale of immiseration over such a short period of time that it’s really difficult to comprehend.” According to Marc Garlasco, a military adviser for the Dutch organization PAX and a former senior intelligence analyst at the Pentagon, to comprehend the devastation of, and the death toll among, women and children, one would ““have to go back to Vietnam, or the Second World War.” We have gone back to Vietnam or the Second World War.

What else is there to say? Who will remember the ultimately uncounted, uncountable women and children? When the world `returns to normal’ in the great promised `after the war ends’? When the discussions turn to public policy and `reconstruction’ and `national security’, who will lift the stones and whisper or shriek or simply speak the names, the lives, the …

Instead of conclusion, a poem, once more, from and by Paul Celan …

Whichever stone you lift

Whichever stone you lift –
you lay bare
those who need the protection of stones:
now they renew their entwinement.

Whichever tree you fell –
you frame
the bedstead where
souls are stayed once again,
as if this aeon too
did not

Whichever word you speak –
you owe to

(By Dan Moshenberg)

(Image Credit: Ad Reinhardt / Tate)

Art is the way

Hlelo Kana, a grade 4 learner at Samora Machel Primary School, won second place at the Philippi Arts Centre’s book quiz

Art is the way

Art is the way
is what they say
those bookworms
out Philippi Arts Centre way

(though art seems
only to matter
come vote-catching time)

Art is the way
where 40 or so
grade 3s and 4s
ace a book quiz

A book quiz
where they show
they can read
for meaning
(in isiXhosa)

Notwithstanding the ritual
of those PIRLS studies
that go the other way

What might the bookworms
have to say

Book worms : Philippi learners ace Arts Centre book quiz

(By David Kapp)

(Photo Credit: GroundUp / Qaqamba Falithenjwa)

Code Red: Period Poverty is an Imperative Public Health Issue


Whenever my mother got her period during her adolescent years in India, she was prohibited from entering the temples in her community. She was instructed to stay out of the kitchen until after her cycle was over because a period of menstruation was thought of as a dirty and unholy time for a young woman. Feminine products were expensive, so she would have to wear and reuse one singular piece of cheesecloth or gauze instead. She could not discuss her cramping, nausea, or other effects with anyone, because it would be improper. For a long time, she thought it was abnormal to be feeling these things, making her unsure of her place as a woman in society and lowering her confidence to thrive in her environment.

Reproduction and anything related to it has always been stigmatized, particularly in places where cultural/religious norms surrounding it are associated with shame and embarrassment. Because menstruation is associated with reproduction, this creates a disparity in global menstrual health (MH). According to the NIH, Period-poverty, which can be defined as limited access to MH resources and education, is experienced worldwide, even in underserved communities in the United States, such as areas with lower socioeconomic statuses, correctional facilities, etc. This includes physical/financial access to period products, sanitation facilities, and knowledge, all of which should be basic human rights for those who menstruate. Moreover, period-products are inelastic, expensive goods, made even more costly by luxury sales taxes.While cloth provides a modest alternative to synthetic product material, a lack of adequate locked and private water and hygiene facilities in underprivileged areas makes it unsafe for repeated use.

While there are humanitarian campaigns working towards these MH goals of alleviating the physical issue across the globe, the core of the MH epidemic lies in the gender inequality that plagues it. If there was less of a taboo on menstruation and overall reproductive health for women throughout history, women everywhere today would be able to express their natural rights safely.

In terms of physical resources, luxury taxes on period-products must be repealed, and distribution of products must be made a priority. Second, our governments must support developments of sanitation facilities ensuring safe changing/bathing spaces for those who menstruate, and waste-management systems that will properly dispose of used products.

More importantly, we should advocate for legislation to be passed that would actively work towards shifting societal attitudes regarding menstruation. For example, educational policy could be enacted that would ensure a well-rounded sex education for all students, not just female students. In order for society to shift away from the taboo, those of all genders should receive a comprehensive biological and social sex-education. Moreover, such policies endorsed by public figures would promote the deinstitutionalization of the stigmas against periods. Normalizing safe conversations between all genders contributes to reducing the patriarchal prejudice about periods, allowing society to move away from systematic ignorance about menstruation.

Hearing my mother’s story, I recognized how privileged I am that my family and socioeconomic status have allowed me to live in an environment where I can be safe, sanitary, and informed with my menstruation, and how imperative it is that all girls have this protection. As members of our global community, we should strive to protect our women in all facets. Gender inequality is the primary factor in determining the social accessibility of MH. Working towards closing that gap through education-policy is an important step for the safety and health of women who face period-poverty.

(By Radha Vinayak)

(Image Credit: Galchester / Saskia Tolka)

(Radha Vinayak, a Public Health student, is passionate about bridging the health equity gap for women across different socioeconomic positions all over the globe)

Julia Quecaño Casimiro, Veronica Baleni and the struggle for farm workers’ and small-scale farmers’ dignity

Julia Quecaño Casimiro

It turns out it’s not the meek who shall inherit the earth, but rather those who have been mistakenly deemed as meek by the seemingly powerful. This is especially true of those who work the earth, day in and day out. Consider the tales of Julia Quecaño Casimiro and Veronica Baleni. Julia Quecaño Casimiro is a seasonal or migrant farm worker in England; Veronica Baleni is a small-scale farmer in South Africa. Consider their stories and imagine the conversation their tales weave together.

Julia Quecaño Casimiro is Bolivian. She hopes to study biochemistry. To pay for her studies, she went to England to work as a cherry picker, where, the recruiters told her, she would earn about £500 a week and that she would have to repay no more than $1,000 , or £800, for the flight.  After a month, when Casimiro left the farm, she was broke and homeless. Last week, she sued her employers, Haygrove, claiming unlawful deduction of wages, unfair dismissal, discrimination and harassment. Haygrove is one of the UK’s biggest fruit producers. At first, she was given no shifts, then barely given a shift the following week. Then Haygrove told the workers they had to pay £1,500 in six weekly £250 instalments for their flights to the UK. For many, that demand was the final straw. When government inspectors visited Haygrove, they found and reported numerous violations. The State did nothing. So, last week, Julia Quecaño Casimiro filed a complaint, becoming the first person on a seasonal worker visa to take a farm to an employment tribunal.

Julia Quecaño Casimiro had worked before on farms, in Bolivia and Chile, but she had never experienced the kind of intimidation and exploitation that she saw and was subjected to at Haygrove. Julia Quecaño Casimiro’s parents are small-scale farmers in Bolivia. She grew up on farms and has worked on numerous farms. Julia Quecaño Casimiro knows a thing or two about how farms should be run. She also knows what slavery is: “As soon as I started, I saw that it was exploitation. It was modern slavery.”

Veronica Baleni is a small-scale farmer in Riverlands, near Malmesbury, about 45 minutes by car from Cape Town. Veronica Baleni is one of over 100 small-scale farmers who work on a large piece of land in Riverlands. Many have been working this land for generations, in some cases for over a century. Veronica Baleni grows vegetables and has over 200 fruit trees.

The land is owned by the government’s Housing Development Agency, HDA. In May 2022, HDA initiated eviction proceedings, at first allegedly against three farmers but ultimately against the whole population. The farmers resisted, secured legal representation and went to court. On Monday, the Judge in the Western Cape High Court ordered HDA to withdraw their application for eviction and strongly urged the agency to enter into “meaningful engagement” with the community. According to Veronica Baleni, the real impediment for the farmers, both as farmers and as citizens of the Republic of South Africa, is ownership of the land.

In both instances, the ones threatened are assumed, by their aggressors, to be powerless, uninformed, helpless and hopeless. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Workers know the score and they know abuse, exploitation and slavery when they see it. Small-scale farmers know that those who work the land have a right to fully inhabit the earth on which they walk, in which the toil. The fruit of one’s labor must include and support the dignity of those who labor, from the fruit farms of the United Kingdom to the fruit farms of South Africa and beyond.

Farmers celebrate their victory in court


(By Dan Moshenberg)

(Photo Credit 1: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism / Nacho Rivera)

(Photo Credit 2: Groundup / Liezl Human)

Australia’s investment in the cruelty of spit hoods: “I can’t breathe”

On July 25, 2016,  Australians watched in horror as the investigative journalism series Four Corners showed the torture and abuse of children in the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory. The scenes were from 2015. Children, sometimes as young as 10 years old, were thrown into solitary, or shackled, strapped into a chair, head covered with a so-called spit hood, and left alone, for hours. For hours, children moaned, cried, whispered, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe”. Australians were shocked and horrified, or so they said. In November 2021, Selesa Tafaifa, a 44-year-old Samoan woman, died in custody, in the Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre. Selelesa Tafaifa died writhing on the floor, with a spit hood over her head, wheezing, moaning, crying, whispering, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” According to the Commission for Children and Young People Annual Report 2022 -2023, tabled today in the Parliament of Victoria, “In February 2023, a child under the age of 18 in adult custody contacted the Commission and reported that prison officers had applied a spit hood on him earlier that day. The Commission established an individual inquiry.” Yet again, Australians will express shock and horror. Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People in the state of Victoria, said she was “shocked”: “I almost couldn’t believe it. We like to think in Victoria that we avoid the very worst abuses of children in custody, that sometimes unfortunately we see in other parts of the country. This case unfortunately showed me that is not true.” We like to think. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. We like to think.

Each of these stories should have been enough, and yet, obviously, they weren’t, and of course these are the stories we know, the stories that have been `uncovered’ by the press, as in the Don Dale case seven years ago, or by state commissions, that express shock and concern and then offer remedies of sorts, and family members, such as those of Selesa Tafaifa at the inquest now taking place, who sit in tears, watching the video of their loved one’s death. Selesa Tafaifa’s family’s attorney noted, “The family hopes to expose the truths behind her death … to ensure that what Selesa was forced to endure never happens again to anyone’s mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, grandfather. They want to do what they can to ensure that what happened to their beloved Selesa never happens to any other human being.”

Almost immediately after the expression of shock and horror come the procedural questions. Did the staff overreact? Did the child, did Selesa Tafaifa, did the children in Don Dale actually spit at anyone? These questions defer attention from the real issue. In reporting on Selesa Tafaifa’s death, it was noted that “spit hoods were used 82 times across Queensland prisons last year.” It was further noted that “The use of spit hoods and restraint chairs was described as `inhumane’ by a 2017 royal commission into the protection and detention of children in the Northern Territory, which recommended they no longer be used. Spit hoods are not used in Victoria or New South Wales.” And yet today, a Commission reports that a child in adult custody in Victoria was subjected to spit hoods, among other atrocities. This kind of fog is what happens when torture becomes an administrative rather than a moral and ethical issue of justice.

Selesa Tafaifa’s family knows the way forward. Ban spit hoods. The Commission for Children and Young People is, in its way, equally clear: “children should not be held in adult prisons.” The Commission further calls for the prohibition of use of spit hoods on prisoners under the age of 18. While we would wish for a total ban, at the very least this is a preliminary step. Seven years from now, will we again read, in shock and horror, about a child being subjected to a spit hood, about someone dying, writhing on the floor, choking inside a spit hood? Will we continue to be haunted by “I can’t breathe I can’t breathe I can’t breathe I         can’t    breathe”?

(By Dan Moshenberg)

(Image Credit: Karla Dickens, To see or not to see / Art Gallery of New South Wales)

Prayer of Mothers for Life and Peace

Prayer of Mothers for Life and Peace

God of Life
Who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds
May it be your will to hear the prayer of mothers
For you did not create us to kill each other
Nor to live in fear, anger or hatred in your world
But rather you have created us so we can grant permission to one another to sanctify
Your name of Life, your name of Peace in this world.

For these things I weep, my eye, my eye runs down with water
For our children crying at nights,
For parents holding their children with despair and darkness in their hearts
For a gate that is closing, and who will open it before the day has ended?

And with my tears and prayers which I pray
And with the tears of all women who deeply feel the pain of these difficult days
I raise my hands to you please God have mercy on us

Hear our voice that we shall not despair
That we shall see life in each other,
That we shall have mercy for each other,
That we shall have pity on each other,
That we shall hope for each other

And we shall write our lives in the book of Life
For your sake God of Life
Let us choose Life.

For you are Peace, your world is Peace and all that is yours is Peace,
And so shall be your will and let us say

(By Sheikha Ibtisam Mahameed and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, translated by Amichai Lau-Lavie)
(First published in the Open Siddur Project)

(Image Credit: Come For One, Face Us All by Molly Crabapple / MollyCrabapple)

Write My Name

Write My Name

“Some parents in Gaza have resorted to writing their children’s names on their legs to help identify them should either they or the children be killed.”
—CNN, 10/22/2023

Write my name on my leg, Mama
Use the black permanent marker
with the ink that doesn’t bleed
if it gets wet, the one that doesn’t melt
if it’s exposed to heat

Write my name on my leg, Mama
Make the lines thick and clear
Add your special flourishes
so I can take comfort in seeing
my mama’s handwriting when I go to sleep

Write my name on my leg, Mama
and on the legs of my sisters and brothers
This way we will belong together
This way we will be known
as your children

Write my name on my leg, Mama
and please write your name
and Baba’s name on your legs, too
so we will be remembered
as a family

Write my name on my leg, Mama
Don’t add any numbers
like when I was born or the address of our home
I don’t want the world to list me as a number
I have a name and I am not a number

Write my name on my leg, Mama
When the bomb hits our house
When the walls crush our skulls and bones
our legs will tell our story, how
there was nowhere for us to run

(By Zeina Azzam)

Zeina Azzam is a Palestinian American poet and the author of Some Things Never Leave You (TIger Bark Press, 2023) and Bayna Bayna, In-Between (The Poetry Box, 2021). She is the poet laureate of Alexandria, Virginia.

This poem first appeared in Vox Populi. Thanks to Zeina Azzam for permission to share it here.

(Image Credit: Banksy, Bomb damage, Gaza City // Banksy Explained)

It’s the little things


It’s the little things

We two decide
to brave the subway
to the other side
(where the grass is
not any less the smellier)

It’s the little things
the overalled fellow
poignantly observes
post- the Heritage Day
we have just had

It’s the little things
retail workers work
(is there a union
in agreement there)
and the wheels turn

It’s the little things
sardine-filled taxis
rush on by
as I make my way
to a Remembrance Walk

It’s the little things
Preserving Celebrating
and Memorializing
that which was

It’s the little things

I make my way to Livingstone High School, the venue for the Newlands / Claremont Heritage, Environmental Justice and Restitution Society gathering.

(By David Kapp)

(Image Credit: Kamyar Bineshtarigh, Studio Wall XII / Southern Guild)

For women in England and Wales, “safety in custody” continues to mean self-harm

January 2015: “On Thursday, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice issued its Safety in custody quarterly update to September 2014. The report is grim.” September 2018: “In July, the Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales released their annual report, and it was predictably grim, especially for women prisoners.” February 2021: On Thursday, January 28, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice issued its Safety in Custody Statistics, England and Wales: Deaths in Prison Custody to December 2020 Assaults and Self-harm to September 2020. The report is generally grim, and especially so for women.” February 2022: “Once upon a time, the word custody meant protection, safekeeping, responsibility for protecting or taking care of. No longer. If one is to take the sorry and sordid output and history of the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice, custody today means the power to cage and code for cruelty. It’s that time of the year again when the Ministry releases its in no way long awaited “safety in custody” reports, and, yet again, one can only look at the numbers and wonder. If this is safety in custody, what would danger look like?” Well, here we are, September 2023, and the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice has release yet another `grim’ Safety in Custody Statistics, England and Wales: Deaths in Prison Custody to June 2023 Assaults and Self-harm to March 2023, and this one is actually worse than its predecessors, and, like its predecessors, will go largely unread, undiscussed, and without response, in word or deed. So … here it is, and here we are.

“There were 59,722 self-harm incidents in the 12 months to March 2023, up 11% from the previous 12 months, comprising of a 1% decrease in male establishments and a 52% increase in female establishments. Over the same period, the rate of self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners, which takes account of the increase in the prison population between this and the previous year, decreased 5% in male establishments but increased 51% in female establishments.”

Here are the Statistician’s comment: “In female establishments, both self-harm and assault incidents increased, by 52% and 16% respectively, with self-harm incidents reaching their highest level in the time series …. The rate in female establishments has increased considerably by 51% to a new peak (5,826 per 1,000 prisoners), whereas it has decreased 5% in male establishments (523 per 1,000 prisoners), meaning the rate is now more than eleven times higher in female establishments. This was driven by a substantial increase in the average number of incidents among those who self-harmed in female establishments, from 11.1 to 17.0, a much larger increase than previously despite this continuing an increasing trend seen for the last six years.”

The comments continue, more or less in the same vein, but you get the picture. The trend of self-harm among incarcerated women has been bad and getting worse for the past six years, but this year, the increase was much larger. Again, no one other than the usual suspects will pay any attention to this report. How do we know? Because the report was released end of July, and it’s already mid-September, and the response has been a resounding silence. Actually, more like a blurry noise, always there but not worth noticing or discussing.

The violence against women perpetrated by the State is increasing. The report notes that the assaults by women are less violent than those of men. What does that tell you? That the women are sending a message by carving into their own flesh, again and again and again, and all they get, in response, is another government report from a ministry that dares to use the name “Justice”. In circumstances like this, language only exists to demonstrate its own vacuity, our own capacity to empty words of any real significance: grim, custody, justice, harm, responsibility, care, prison, women. We study, we write, we organize … and the violence does more than continue, it escalates: “The number of incidents and rate of self-harm in the female estate are now at the highest level in the time series.” Who cares?

(By Dan Moshenberg)

(Infographic: UK Ministry of Justice)