Sunday, 26 October 2014

Women's rights campaigner Dr Eman Sharobeem recognised with Australian of the Year nomination

Women's rights campaigner Dr Eman Sharobeem is a finalist for the 2015 Australian of the Year awards after receiving a nomination as a New South Wales Local Hero.
Egyptian-born Dr Sharobeem is the director of the Immigrant Women's Health Service in western Sydney.
Her work campaigning to improve the health, welfare and status of women came from personal experience - Dr Sharobeem was forced into an arranged marriage to her first cousin at the age of 15.
"I lived a life of absolute violence," she told 702 ABC Sydney.
"I studied hidden away from my husband."
For 14 years she endured a violent marriage, finding herself widowed with two young sons at the age of 29.
Freed from the shackles of a tyrannical husband, Dr Sharobeem pursued university studies, gaining two doctorates and a masters degree.
Determined that her own experiences would not define her, Dr Sharobeem was inspired to change others' lives for the better.
As chief executive of the Immigrant Women's Health Service, Dr Sharobeem has been recognised many times for her outstanding contributions to women's rights.
"My goal is always to educate the community, engage in a conversation, have a dialogue about girls' safety and girls' future," she said.
"I am absolutely delighted and honoured," Dr Sharobeem said of the nomination.
"Anything I have achieved was because of the support of wonderful teachers and wonderful human beings who held my hand through difficult times."
But despite her efforts, Dr Sharobeem said not enough was being done to stop forced marriages of young women in Australia.
"We're not yet near the right approach against this criminal act against children," she said.
Dr Sharobeem is encouraged by the support of Margie Abbott who has shown a close interest in the plight of young girls forced into arranged marriages in Australia.
The Immigrant Women's Health Service was established in 1987 to address the needs of immigrant and refugee women in regard to health information and health services.
The service, which runs centres in Fairfield and Cabramatta has been involved in stopping honour killings and freeing women from forced marriages in which they were held in sexual servitude.


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Oscar Pistorius: Women's rights groups call for action to combat 'worryingly short' prison sentences for domestic violence

News that Oscar Pistorius could be set to serve as little as 10 months of his five year prison term for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013 was met with shock by women’s rights groups today, who called for “robust and urgent action” to end violence against women.
By South African legal guidelines, this means the athlete, who was found guilty of the culpable homicide (the equivalent to manslaughter in the UK) in September, might carry out a shorter sentence for his violent crime than if he had been found guilty of two counts of breaking and entering, or of supplying illegal drugs.
"This case will set a precedent all around the world," Reeva Steenkamp’s British sister, Simone Cowburn, told theDaily Mail ahead of sentencing on Monday. "We do not want other men to get off just because Oscar Pistorius has. It is still homicide.
"If a man steals a block of cheese here, he can get 20 years and that is for theft. But if you take somebody's life like Oscar has, you can get house arrest. It is not right."
Cowburn’s sentiment was echoed by a number of leading organisations campaigning for tougher sentencing for perpetrators of domestic violence.
"Violence against women is a global pandemic with one in three women experiencing violence in her lifetime," Bethan Cansfield, Policy Manager at Womankind Worldwide, told The Independent.
She added that although Womankind did not comment directly on individual cases of violence, "low levels of convictions and short sentencing given to perpetrators of violence against women is rampant across the world."
"This violates a woman’s right to justice and sends a strong message that states do not take violence seriously," she continued.
"As the Oscar Pistorius trial comes to an end, we hope governments across the globe take robust and urgent action to end violence against women. They should also increase support to women’s rights organisations which provide specialist support for women survivors of violence."
Polly Neate of Women’s Aid in Britain added that Pistorius’ sentence was "worryingly short" and declared strong sentences to be "essential" in showing perpetrators of such violent crimes that the law takes domestic violence seriously.
Parents of Reeva Steenkamp leave the High Court in Pretoria after Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to 5 years in prisonParents of Reeva Steenkamp leave the High Court in Pretoria after Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to 5 years in prisonThe White Ribbon Campaign, which aims to end violence against women by encouraging men to support female victims, called for more prominent males to speak out when high profile cases, like the Pistorius trial, come to light.
"What concerns us is the substantial silence from men around the issue when prominent cases of sexual assault or domestic abuse occur," a spokesperson told The Independent.
"Silence is not an option. Silence excuses violence against women and girls. White Ribbon Campaign needs men to join the campaign listening to and as allies of women.
"We ask men to swear the pledge, wear the ribbon and share the message by becoming an ambassador and speaking out."
The 2014 White Ribbon campaign will mark 16 days of action. It will start on the UN International Day to Eradicate Violence against women (White Ribbon Day) on 25 November.
Visit here for more information.