Volume 94, Issue 90

Tuesday, March 13, 2001


USC gets the budget blues - "Conservative" figures go to council tomorrow

Ex-U of T profs sue for equality

Toronto university plagues by unfortunate incidents

New Web site says no ixnay on the apsternay

Amnesty report sours celebration for Women's Day

Arizona U studies psychics' abilities

Drunk drivers, knives, and crack, oh my!

Amnesty report sours celebration for Women's Day

By Clare O'Hara
Gazette Staff

Just in time for International Women's Day, a new report from Amnesty International called "Broken bodies, shattered minds," suggests many women in the world in fact have little to celebrate.

The report is part of Amnesty International's two-year Campaign Against Torture, which began in the fall of 2000, said Cheryl Hotchkiss, the staff co-ordinator for the Women's Action Network. The document urges governments to commit themselves to protecting women and children from torture and violence.

"Trafficking women and children is the third biggest organized crime in the world and has become a major issue in Europe," Hotchkiss said. "These women are being sold for the sex trade and domestic work. We have to find out how they were trafficked and how they were being treated where they ended up."

The Campaign Against Torture focuses on issues such as bringing torturers to justice and fighting discrimination, she said.

While Amnesty International's report concentrates on Europe and Asia, it also discusses abuse in the American prison system and the abuse of authority. "Police officers and military can still continue practices involving torture and it will not be seen as wrong," Hotchkiss said. "The government must commit themselves to protecting the women and children within their country."

Beverly Wybrow, executive director of the Canadian Women's Foundation, which deals with issues of violence and economic development and how these issues affect women with low incomes, said women's rights is an issue that affects everyone.

"A lot is left to be done by the government," she said. "It is important that everyone get involved. Individuals need to be speaking out, donating money or donating their time."

According to Wybrow, women in some countries are denied the right to organize. "Women are organizing around the world and speaking out, even though many of them are in danger when they meet. It is very important for us to realize this and get involved, especially with International Women's day upon us," she said.

Western Women's Issues Network member Eric Fortin, said women need to be seen as people, not property. "I think the first thing you have to look at is that women are still being seen as property of their husband, therefore the government is seeing this as a private matter. It wasn't until the 1960s that Canada began to take domestic assault seriously. We have come a long way."

Fortin also said Canadians need to rethink the way marriage relationships operate. "We need a new cultural understanding that redefines the role of women in the marriage, then we can work our way up to the government, not the government down."

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