Like a Natural Woman
Ann Friedman, Ms. Magazine: "When Lybrel, a brand of birth control pill that stops monthly menstruation, became available in July, many women expressed skepticism that suppressing a regular bodily function could come without serious side effects. The media quickly latched onto this attitude, with headlines such as 'Many Young Women Wary of a Life Without Periods.' One woman told The New York Times she was worried by 'the idea that you can turn your body on and off like a tap.'" Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Torturing the victim

Afghan foetus 'aborted by razor'
By Martin Vennard
BBC News


The family of a 14-year-old Afghan rape victim face prosecution after her foetus was removed without anaesthetic.

The mother and brother of the girl are accused of cutting her open with a razor blade to perform an abortion.

Doctors say the girl is in a critical condition. A man accused of raping her is under arrest, officials say.

Rape victims and their families in Afghanistan often feel ashamed to report what has happened because people may think the victim consented to sex.

Sex outside marriage is illegal in Afghanistan.

'Dog bite'

The governor of Bamiyan Province, Habiba Sarabi, says that action is being taken.

When the girl was five months pregnant it is alleged her mother and brother took her to a stables and cut her open with a razor blade.

They removed the foetus, which they buried, before stitching up her wound, Governor Sarabi said.

The father eventually took the girl to get medical treatment.

Dr Ghulam Mohammad Nader, head of Bamiyan hospital, said the girl is in a critical condition, but that she had been able to explain what had happened to her.

"The girl stayed at home for three or four days in her condition until her father took her to hospital," Dr Nader said.

"He said a dog had bitten her so that people in the area wouldn't know what had really happened."

The girl has now been transferred to Kabul for treatment.

The provincial governor says the man accused of raping the girl has been arrested and that police are trying to arrest her mother and brother.

The victims of rape and their families in Afghanistan are often afraid to admit what has happened to them because of the stigma and shame attached to the issue.

Sometimes the victims are murdered by their own families.

Critics accuse the authorities of not taking accusations of rape seriously, especially those made by children.

But President Karzai recently called for rapists to be brought to justice and the Afghan Supreme Court suspended three judges who acquitted people accused of rape.

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Suspected witch burned alive in Papua New Guinea

(CNN) -- A woman in rural Papua New Guinea was bound and gagged, tied to a log and set ablaze on a pile of tires this week, possibly because villagers suspected her of being a witch, police said Thursday.

Her death adds to a growing list of men and women who have been accused of sorcery and then tortured or killed in the South Pacific island nation, where traditional beliefs hold sway in many regions.

The victims are often scapegoats for someone else's unexplained death -- and bands of tribesmen collude to mete out justice to them for their supposed magical powers, police said.

"We have had quite difficulties in a number of previous incidents convincing people to come forward with information," said Simon Kauba, assistant commissioner of police and commander of the Highlands region, where the killing occurred.

"We are trying to persuade them to help. Somebody lost their mother or daughter or sister Tuesday morning."

Early Tuesday morning, a group of people dragged the woman, believed to be in her late teens to early 20s, to a dumping ground outside the city of Mount Hagen. They stripped her naked, bound her hands and legs, stuffed a cloth in her mouth, tied her to a log and set her on fire, Mauba said.

"When the people living nearby went to the dump site to investigate what caused the fire, they found a human being burning in the flames," he said. "It was ugly."

The country's Post-Courier newspaper reported Thursday that more than 50 people were killed in two Highlands provinces last year for allegedly practicing sorcery.

In a well-publicized case last year, a pregnant woman gave birth to a baby girl while struggling to free herself from a tree. Villagers had dragged the woman from her house and hung her from the tree, accusing her of sorcery after her neighbor suddenly died.

She and the baby survived, according to media reports.

Killings of witches, or sangumas, is not a new phenomenon in rural areas of the country.

Emory University anthropology Professor Bruce Knauft, who lived in a village in the western province of Papua New Guinea in the early 1980s, traced family histories for 42 years and found that 1 in 3 adult deaths were homicides -- "the bulk of these being collective killings of suspected sorcerers," he wrote in his book, From Primitive to Postcolonial in Melanesia and Anthropology.

In recent years, as AIDS has taken a toll in the nation of 6.7 million people, villagers have blamed suspected witches -- and not the virus -- for the deaths.

According to the United Nations, Papua New Guinea accounts for 90 percent of the Pacific region's HIV cases and is one of four Asia-Pacific countries with an epidemic.

"We've had a number of cases where people were killed because they were accused of spreading HIV or AIDS," Mauba said.

While there is plenty of speculation why Tuesday's victim was killed, police said they are focused more on who committed the crime.

"If it is phobias about alleged HIV/AIDS or claims of a sexual affair, we must urge the police and judiciary to throw the book at the offenders," the Post-Courier wrote in an editorial.

"There are remedies far, far better than to torture and immolate a young woman before she can be judged by a lawful system."

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