Women-Led Synergy for Justice Advances Accountability for Syria

Work being done abroad by Synergy for Justice and its executive director Christy Fujio is enhancing justice and accountability for sexual violence and torture. 

Christy Fujio ( Image Credit: Synergy for Justice)

The conflict in Syria has been going on for roughly ten years now, with little sign of it ceasing. American media coverage has more or less moved on from shedding any light on the topic. Although the general populace has moved on, certain organizations and individuals remain hyper focused on what they can do to help ensure that survivors are supported and justice is achieved.

Synergy for Justice is one such organization. For more than six years, the organization has been working with local partners and lending a hand to the crisis. At the height of the violence, torture and detention in 2015, the organization was founded by Christy Fujio, Dr. Ingrid Elliott and Dr. Coleen Kivlahan. 

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Plan Report: Girls Fear For Safety from Misinformation Online

As our young women come up in the world, they face a deluge of information online, much of which is contributing to their sense of safety, or lack thereof. A new report from Plan International helps to break down the ways that online disinformation is impacting the lives of girls ages 15 to 24 around the world.

The Truth Gap, a new report from Plan International, helps identify the ways that young women and girls are being impacted by online disinformation. (Image credit: Plan International)

The report, The Truth Gap, helps to explain how girls and young women in 33 countries are experiencing information they find online. The report discovered that one in five girls (20%) feels unsafe due to false information that comes from the internet.

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When Will Women be Safer? When the 1% Has Less Power

The ugly truth is that more people are still motivated by the desire to prioritize men’s income-generating and reputations than they are by the desire to ensure women’s rights and safety.” — Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her

women's rights
Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash

Prioritizing women’s rights and safety in today’s world is not easy, and it won’t become any easier as long as our culture puts men’s earnings and men’s reputations first, which it almost always does. Think of any number of powerful men whose reputations and money-generating capacities completely undermined women’s rights and safety: Harvey Weinstein, R. Kelly, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein….and the list goes on and on. It’s a list that defines our culture, a culture of men and money first, and women and safety last, in our public and private lives, in government, business, and the non-profit sector.

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IWMF Responds to Rising Online Violence with New Virtual Hub

Amid growing online violence toward women in journalism, the IWMF launched the Online Violence Response Hub to aid victims.

The IWMF's Coalition Against Online Violence is home to many resources to aid victims of online violence, the Online Violence Response Hub being the newest addition. (Image credit: IWMF)
The IWMF’s Coalition Against Online Violence is home to many resources to aid victims of online violence, the Online Violence Response Hub being the newest addition. (Image credit: IWMF)

The Coalition Against Online Violence today launched an Online Violence Response Hub to aid women journalists with the rising threat of violence online. The Coalition is led by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) with funding from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Emerson Collective, Jigsaw, Knight Foundation, and the Luminate Group. This first-of-its-kind suite of support will provide women journalists with ways to fight back against online violence while protecting their privacy, accessing trauma support, pursuing accountability, and continuing to work without self-censorship.

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Sexual Assault Prevention Orgs and Funders: A New Updated List

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 19, 2017 and has been updated to include more organizations and funders addressing sexual assault prevention.

It’s On Us is one of the organizations that receives NFL support to help educate the public about how to take responsibility for consensual sex. (Image credit: It’s On Us)

In the age of #MeToo, it will probably come as little surprise to learn that I am also a survivor of sexual assault. I don’t want to go into the details here (if you want the full story on that, you can watch this video). When I became a social worker, I chose to build my professional life around helping survivors both heal and fight for justice. Over the past 25 years, I have treated hundreds of sexual assault survivors and their families. I have helped people achieve justice, and I have also seen many survivors choose not to engage with the justice system for fear of being further traumatized. Sadly, that fear is not unrealistic.

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AOC: The Powerful Voice of Feminist Giving In Real Life

Editor’s Note: the following post was originally published on February 3, 2021.

Here at Philanthropy Women, we started a series called Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) to provide a platform for women leaders at all levels who are giving in a feminist way. This giving can happen through donations and funding strategy, through professional excellence, and/or through leadership efforts in the community. Feminist giving is a form of leadership that has special impact because it often combines deeply personal experience and significantly political thinking and acting.

AOC
AOC became tearful as she disclosed that she is a survivor or sexual assault. In a 90 minute video on Instagram, AOC discussed the ways in which the January 6 riots constituted a form of trauma related to sexual trauma experienced by herself and many other Americans. (Image Credit: AOC on Instagram

Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performed what I would call a supreme act of feminist giving. When AOC spoke out against the January 6th riots and connected these riots to her experience of being sexually traumatized, she simultaneously stood up for every human who has experience sexual assault, and challenged the largest political body of our country to acknowledge how the January 6th riots are part of a continuum of pervasive violence against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

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A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

Anu Kumar
Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!

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Blake Bailey and the Rise of Survivor Activists in Academia

Over 200 faculty and alumni at Old Dominion University have signed a statement denouncing the school’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct by Blake Bailey. UPDATE: Since this post was written, Old Dominion has announced they will do an independent investigation of Blake Bailey’s alleged sexual misconduct while holding the Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair for Creative Writing at Old Dominion University from 2010 to 2016.

Blake Bailey, who wrote a biographer of Philip Roth which was removed from print by Norton, stands accused of multiple acts of sexual misconduct. (Image credit: Norton)

From 2010 to 2016, Old Dominion University in Virginia hosted a visiting professor by the name of Blake Bailey. In addition to being a teacher, he was an author and the biographer for several esteemed male literary figures including John Cheever and, more recently, Philip Roth. But upon publication of his biography of Philip Roth, much has come to light about Blake Bailey’s history of alleged sexual misconduct, both during his time as a professor and in his professional life outside the school. As a result of some of these accusations, Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth was removed from print, his literary agent dropped him, and the biography’s original publisher, Norton, has pledged six-figures for sexual assault survivor advocacy.

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Plan Awarded Sizable Grant to Fight Child Trafficking in Burkina Faso

On June 1st, Plan International USA was granted $2 million in funds to aid child trafficking survivors in Burkina Faso. The project, aptly named Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors, is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Plan International USA is joining forces with a local NGO in Burkina Faso, The Keoogo Association, to implement this much needed undertaking.  

Plan International USA will work to keep children attending school in Burkina Faso, where child sex trafficking is prevalent. (Photo credit: Plan International USA)

The project to end child trafficking

Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors aims to not only assist those victims of child labor and sex trafficking but also to stop it from happening in the first place. Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA, states, “due to underfunded education systems, poverty and a lack of employment opportunities, children in Burkina Faso are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, forced labor and recruitment by armed groups.”

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Sex Workers in India Need Our Help. Here’s What Donors Can Do

Editor’s Note: The following post from Katarzyna Rybarczyk, a Political Correspondent for Immigration News, details the increased danger for sex workers in India, and provides ways for donors to step in with support.

Despite India being home to some of the most significant populations of sex workers globally, sex workers in India have very few protections and are alienated from the government’s responses. Even before the pandemic, sex workers in India would face unfair treatment, discrimination, and poverty. Now, these problems have intensified to the point where for the majority of sex workers every day is a struggle to survive. 

sex workers in India
Photo by Sara Bakhshi on Unsplash

The Pandemic Exacerbated Sex Workers’ Vulnerabilities

Because of the nature of their profession, sex workers rely on physical contact and in-person meetings with clients to earn a living. As red-light districts have been recognised as one of the primary sources of new COVID-19 infections, they have experienced repeated closures and a significant decrease in the number of people using sex workers’ services. Their former clients not only fear contracting the virus, but many have also lost their jobs because of the pandemic and thus can no longer pay for regular meetings. 

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