: Girlie wraps up 2012

Girlie wraps up 2012

Hannah Kah, Mary Christmas and Issie Lamb

At last

Saudi female lawyers will finally be allowed to obtain practise licences. A Saudi newspaper has reported that on 8 October 2012 the Saudi Ministry of Justice gave its approval. The approval followed a series of discussions and consultations with experts and relevant bodies, both legal and religious, according to the Saudi al-Riyadh daily. Women with law degrees in Saudi Arabia have been allowed to work as legal consultants in companies or banks, but could not officially represent clients in court. They were, however, permitted to act as ‘representatives’ but were still not considered lawyers. The absence of a law licence also meant women could not open law firms in their own names.

Sexual assault of older women

A three year research project on sexual assault of older women is being conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. The research team requires participants to be involved in confidential interviews and a survey to develop an evidence base about the context of these assaults, and how they can be prevented. The Project team would like to hear from older women who have been sexually assaulted (after the age of 65); families/friends of older women who have been sexually assaulted, and service providers who work with older women, or other related services. You can participate by contacting chief researcher 
Dr Catherine Barrett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 
phone (03) 9285 5297.

IOs, do they work?

The Herald-Sun in Melbourne has successfully applied to the Magistrate’s Court for the right to publish details of a murder-suicide in the Victoria suburb of Kew on 4 October 2012. The article states that Sargun Ragi was killed by her abusive husband just days after she sought help from the legal system. She obtained an intervention order against Avjit Singh which he breached. Details of family intervention orders are usually suppressed but the Magistrate’s Court agreed to the Herald-Sun’s application on the grounds it was in the public interest. The CEO of the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Janene Evans is reported as saying: ‘In this circumstance it is important that we highlight it because we do not want this to happen to any more women.’ (Herald-Sun, 9 October 2012). The report also includes some shocking data on the number of assaults on women which have occurred despite intervention orders. These include a homicide, five attempted murders, 38 rape charges and 88 abductions.

Amnesty supports brave Malala, you can too

See Amnesty International’s website for ways to provide support for the education of girls. Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl from Pakistan was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on her school bus. Her ‘crime’ in Taliban thinking was promoting education for girls. At the time of writing, Malala had been transported to the United Kingdom where doctors say they believe she will make a good recovery. Her father has said she will return to Pakistan. The Taliban have said they will continue to pursue her and kill her father.

Pussy Riot

While one member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot has been freed from jail two others, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, lost their appeal and have been sent to a remote penal colony. Conditions in such colonies are extremely tough and both women have small children. They were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for daring to lampoon Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The band member serving a suspended sentence, Yekaterina Samutsevich, has vowed to continue her political protests. Her release is considered to be an attempt by an increasingly totalitarian regime to divide the tightly knit group. Please get on the internet and support these brave women.

Abortion

Northern Ireland’s first private fertility clinic opened in October 2012. The Clinic is operated by Marie Stopes International and offers sexual health and family planning advice, treatment with non-surgical abortion and follow up counselling. Ireland has tough anti-abortion laws. In Northern Ireland legal abortion is only available in the first nine weeks and where the woman’s health is at serious risk. In the Republic of Ireland abortions are illegal unless the woman’s health is at serious risk. In November 2012, 31-year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar, who was 
17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying, died in a Dublin hospital 
of septicaemia after being denied an abortion;

In France the National Assembly has voted to fully reimburse all abortions and to make contraception free for minors. The equivalent of Medicare there pays in full for abortions for minors and the poor, while other women can be reimbursed up to 80 per cent of the cost. The new bill which is expected to be passed by the Senate would make all abortions free and pay for contraception for 15 to 18-year-olds.

HANNAH KAH, MARY CHRISTMAS and ISSIE LAMB are feminist lawyers.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 281
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