erupted after an interview that Andrew gave to the BBC in 2019, set off a tumultuous period for the royal family. Two months later, Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back from official duties and leave Britain.

They settled in Southern California, resurfacing last month for an extraordinary interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan said that a member or members of the royal family had raised qualms about the skin color of the couple’s unborn baby.

Philip retired from his duties in 2017, moving to a cottage on the grounds of one of the queen’s estates, Sandringham, where he painted in oils and pursued his hobby of driving carriages.

There was a quiet nod to Philip’s hobby at the funeral: As his coffin traveled through the quadrangle at Windsor, it passed a polished dark-green carriage with his two beloved ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm.

Stephen Castle contributed reporting.

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Expert Panel to C.D.C. to Vote on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause

An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is discussing the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine pause during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon while a possible link to a small number of rare blood clots is investigated.

The emergency meeting follows the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it was studying six cases of rare and severe blood clots in women aged 18 to 48, one of whom died. All of the women had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before developing the clots, though it is unclear whether the vaccine is responsible. As of Tuesday, more than seven million people in the United States have received the shot, and another 10 million doses have been shipped out to the states, according to C.D.C. data.

Following the call from federal health agencies, all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico on Tuesday quickly paused or recommended that providers pause the administration of the vaccine. The U.S. military, federally run vaccination sites, and a host of private companies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Publix also paused the injections.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, is a panel of independent experts who advise the C.D.C. on its vaccine policies. At the meeting, the experts are reviewing and debating data from the rare cases, and will later hear comments from the public, before a possible vote on how to proceed. They could vote to recommend that the pause continues, for example, or to specify that it should apply only to a certain age or sex.

reiterated on Wednesday that the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations gives public health officials a chance to investigate the cases and discuss them with health care professionals. He added that pauses are common when new vaccines and drugs are rolled out.

“We’re just doing the due diligence we need to do to make sure everything is safe so we can continue with our vaccination efforts,” Dr. Murthy said on “CBS This Morning.”

was not worth the trade-off of slowing the vaccination campaign and potentially eroding the public’s trust of vaccines in general.

At the news conference, Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House’s pandemic coordinator, said that the pause would not generally interrupt the momentum of the country’s vaccination campaign.

“In the very short term, we do expect some impact on daily averages as sites and appointments transition from Johnson & Johnson to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” he said. “We have more than enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccine supply to continue or even accelerate the current pace of vaccinations.”

Noah Weiland and Madeleine Ngo contributed reporting.

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Expert Panel to CDC to Vote on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause

An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet on Wednesday afternoon to discuss whether the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine should remain paused while a possible link to rare blood clots is investigated.

The emergency meeting follows the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it was studying six cases of rare and severe blood clots in women aged 18 to 48, one of whom died. All of the women had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before developing the clots, though it is unclear whether the vaccine is responsible. As of Tuesday, more than seven million people in the United States have received the shot, and another 10 million doses have been shipped out to the states, according to C.D.C. data.

Following the call from federal health agencies, all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico on Tuesday quickly paused or recommended that providers pause the administration of the vaccine. The U.S. military, federally run vaccination sites, and a host of private companies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Publix also paused the injections.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, is a panel of independent experts who advise the C.D.C. on its vaccine policies. At the meeting, the experts will be reviewing and debating the data from the six cases, and listening to comments from the public, before taking a vote on how to proceed. They could vote to recommend that the pause continues, for example, or to specify that it should apply only to a certain age or sex.

reiterated on Wednesday that the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations gives public health officials a chance to investigate the cases and discuss with health care professionals. He added that pauses are common when new vaccines and drugs are rolled out.

“We’re just doing the due diligence we need to do to make sure everything is safe so we can continue with our vaccination efforts,” Dr. Murthy said on “CBS This Morning.”

was not worth the trade-off of slowing the vaccination campaign and potentially eroding the public’s trust of vaccines in general.

Madeleine Ngo contributed reporting.

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South Korean Man Gets 34 Years for Running Sexual Exploitation Chat Room

SEOUL — A South Korean man was sentenced to 34 years in prison on Thursday as part of the country’s crackdown on an infamous network of online chat rooms that lured young women, including minors, with promises of high-paying jobs before forcing them into pornography.

The man, Moon Hyeong-wook, opened one of the first such sites in 2015, prosecutors said. Mr. Moon, 25, operated a clandestine members-only chat room under the nickname “GodGod” on the Telegram messenger app, offering more than 3,700 clips of illicit pornography, they said.

Mr. Moon, an architecture major who was expelled from his college after his arrest last year, was one of the most notorious of the hundreds of people the police have arrested in the course of their investigation. Another chat room operator, a man named Cho Joo-bin, was sentenced to 40 years in prison last November.

“The accused inflicted irreparable damage on his victims through his anti-society crime that undermined human dignity,” the presiding judge, Cho Soon-pyo,​ said of Mr. Moon in his ruling on Thursday.​ The trial took place in a district court in the city of Andong in central South Korea​.

Mr. Moon was indicted in June on charges​ of forcing 21 young women, including minors, into ​making ​sexually explicit videos between 2017 and early last year.​

He ​approached young women looking for high-paying jobs through social media platforms​, then lured them into making sexually explicit videos, promising big payouts​, prosecutors said​.​ He also hacked into the online accounts of women who uploaded sexually explicit content, pretending to be a police officer investigating pornography.

​Once he got hold of the images and personal data, he used them to blackmail the women, threatening to send the clips to their parents unless the victims supplied more footage, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors demanded a life sentence for Mr. Moon.

Last December, the police said​ they had investigated 3,500 suspects, most of them men in their 20s or teenagers, as part of their investigation of the online chat rooms that served as avenues for sexual exploitation and pornographic distribution​. They arrested 245 of them.

The police also identified 1,100 victims.

The ​scandal, known in South Korea as “the Nth Room Case,” caused outrage over the cruel exploitation of the young women​. Women’s rights groups picketed courthouses where chat room operators were on trial, accusing judges of condoning sex crimes by handing down what they considered light punishments.

On Thursday, outside the Andong courthouse, advocates held a rally demanding the maximum punishment for Mr. Moon.

In recent years, the South Korean police began cracking down on sexually explicit file-sharing websites as part of international efforts to fight child pornography. As smartphones proliferated, ​they soon realized that much of the illegal trade was migrating to online chat rooms on messaging services like Telegram.

The police said they had trouble tracking down customers of the online chat rooms because they often used cryptocurrency payments to avoid being caught.

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Amid Sexual Harassment Scandals, Australia Plots a ‘Road Map for Respect’

SYDNEY, Australia — After two months of sexual assault scandals, including an alleged rape inside Parliament House, Australia’s conservative government agreed on Thursday to accept a series of recommendations that aim to prevent gender-based abuse and increase accountability for misbehavior in the workplace.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called his response to the report from the country’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner “a road map for respect” that would improve workplace culture in the public and private sectors. It includes more education in schools and the promise of new legislation to end exemptions for judges and members of Parliament from the country’s Sex Discrimination Law, and allows victims to file complaints for up to two years.

Mr. Morrison’s announcement was his most comprehensive effort so far to tackle a problem that has been festering for years in Australian politics, with women mistreated, demeaned or sexually harassed, usually without recourse.

A federal review focusing on Parliament’s workplace culture has also just begun, led by the same official, Kate Jenkins, and it may produce additional calls for reform as the demand for demonstrable change has continued to intensify.

the initial report was published in March 2020, with much of its findings overlooked by Mr. Morrison’s government until now, many women demanded more details and a clear timeline.

“It’s going to take more than just words from this government to correct the impression that they don’t care about these issues,” said Louise Chappell, a political science professor at the University of New South Wales. “This is not going to go away.”

Emma Husar, a former member of Parliament with the opposition Labor Party, said the government was still delivering only “the bare minimum.”

marches for justice that drew tens of thousands of women to the streets of Australian cities.

Mr. Morrison appeared on Thursday to leave some wiggle room for himself and his Liberal Party. He said his government accepted all 55 suggestions laid out in the report “in whole, in part or in principle,” leading his critics to question which measures would be put in place at the federal level, or passed on to states or given little more than lip service.

Many of the recommendations — from the creation of a national sexual harassment research agenda to “respectful relationship” training in schools — could take years to develop. And some of the changes announced on Thursday would simply bring Australia in line with other developed democracies — such as Britain, Canada and the United States — that have also passed legislation in the past few years tightening workplace standards for lawmakers.

Professor Chappell said the exemption for members of Parliament, for example — a carve-out in the sex-discrimination law also given to religious organizations — seemed especially outdated. Like many others, she welcomed the prime minister’s promise to ensure that lawmakers and the legal profession would no longer get special treatment.

“With all the cases we’ve seen so far, they have been able to act with impunity because they are not accountable in the same way that people outside Parliament are,” she said. “There’s been pressure to change that for many years.”

But the complaint process is still not clear. When Mr. Morrison was asked what the consequences would be for a sexual harassment complaint against a lawmaker, he said that was not yet decided.

“There are many issues that we’re still going to work through as we draft this legislation,” he said.

Professor Chappell said Mr. Morrison still seemed to be struggling with how far to go with policy and how to talk about the issue. In his news conference on Thursday, he emphasized that to change the culture of disrespect in the workplace, all Australians needed to take responsibility, but not “in a way that sets Australians against each other.”

“What does he mean here?” Professor Chappell asked. “That women are being too strident? Is it possible to address sexual harassment without some level of confrontation? I don’t think so.”

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Shamed Over Sex, a Generation of Evangelicals Confronts the Past | Retro Report

“We are the legacy of the purity movement, the people who grew up in it, who grapple with its impacts every day.” As a Christian teenager growing up in the Midwest in the 1990s, Linda Kay Klein got swept up in the emerging purity movement, which advocated strict sexual abstinence until marriage. “It had, in fact, started right around the time that I joined my youth group as a seventh grader. This movement saturated the lives of evangelicals, but that was really just the beginning. It entered into public schools, it entered into grassroots organizations.” “Sex is a great thing within marriage.” “Our country started to shift the way that we talked about sexuality. The purity movement introduced a purity industry, with purity rings and purity pledges and purity balls.” “A new ritual aimed at encouraging girls and young women to abstain from sex until marriage.” “I am living my life the way that I think it should be lived, and that’s, um, staying pure, so.” “They’re actually purity rings, and they’re promises to ourself and to God that we’ll stay pure until marriage.” But before purity made its way into pop culture, evangelical Christian teens like Joshua Harris often found themselves at odds with the world they were living in. “You had the culture pushing the envelope in different ways when it came to, to sex. Like, my generation growing up. Like, MTV for Christians was like, oh my gosh, you know, all these terrible things that are happening in these music videos and so on. So there’s a reaction in the, in the Christian culture to that.” “The campaign is called ‘True Love Waits’ and it’s sponsored by the Baptist Sunday School Board.” “Thousands of teenagers are vowing to be something that most teens are not: virgins until they are married.” “I make a commitment to God.” “To those I date.” At the time, fear over the spread of AIDS only bolstered the argument for abstinence above all else. “Stace and I don’t have to worry about STDs or contracting AIDS or having an unwanted pregnancy.” “You kind of have this sense of, I’m going to choose the more difficult path and do the right thing, and God is happier with me because of that. It’s kind of like the Christian form of veganism or whatever. You know? It’s like I’m, I’m special. I’m doing something different than everybody else.” By the time he was a teenager, Harris was becoming a leader among his peers. “I remember going out to Washington D.C. and there was a huge Christian concert/festival that was taking place. And they placed all of these promise cards on the mall.” “Teenagers signed cards pledging their virginity and planted 200,000 of the cards, creating a field of abstinence.” “[shouting] Woo! True love waits. Wait till you get married. Woo!” Rallies promoting purity were held across the U.S., and Klein, who became enthralled with evangelicalism growing up, still remembers the fervor of one she attended. “We were all, like, this is the biggest, best concert we’ve ever been to. And then there was a motivational speaker who spoke about purity and how important purity was. And in the midst of that, with tears rolling down people’s faces, they handed out these contracts: I promise that I will save my purity for my partner. I will not have sex before marriage. Uh, I’m making this commitment today, and I will hold to it, you know, for the rest of my life. As a young person, I was confused, and wanted so badly to be good and wanted so badly to please God and to be acceptable in my community. With my leaders looking over my shoulder and moreover, my peers sitting right next to me signing their contracts, I signed the pledge.” “[shouting] I want to know, how many virgins do we have out there?” “Woo!” “When I embraced my faith, I wanted to figure out, what did it mean to be a Christian and relate to the opposite sex, to think about sexuality.” Harris, who had come close to having sex at 17, doubled down on his resolve afterwards. “I ended up becoming, really, a spokesperson for these more radical ideas of saying, we should not only, you know, save sex for marriage, but we should do dating differently. We should reject dating because it’s leading us towards compromise.” “Do you see the problem with so many of our dating relationships today? Instead of guarding the sacredness of sexual intimacy, we are stealing from it.” “If you’re, uh, an alcoholic, don’t go into a bar. You know? It was like, if you don’t want to have sex, then don’t get into these, sort of, short-term romantic relationships where there’s an expectation to become intimate.” Harris’s book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” went on to sell over a million copies. And as he and others pushed for purity, another more insidious message took root. “Well ladies, I believe you also have a unique opportunity to protect the purity of your brothers in the Lord. What I think you probably are not aware of, is how difficult it is for a guy to look at a girl with purity in his heart when she is dressed immodestly. You have no idea how difficult it is. You have no idea.” “I remember feeling like I was a threat. And I remember feeling like I was a bad person. My sexuality was dangerous. It was something to be feared. The narrative that we’ve internalized is that pure girls and women protect us all. They ensure by their proper covering up, by their not taking up too much space, whatever it is, then none of us are going to have sexual thoughts and feelings.” Klein had left evangelicalism by the time she was 21, but she continued to struggle for years afterward. “When I would have any sexual experience with my boyfriend, I would find myself in tears and in a ball in the corner of a bed, crying. My eczema coming out, which it does when I’m stressed, and scratching myself until I bled, and having a deep shame reaction. I could actually be this close to doing something that, if they were right, if the purity movement was right, would make me worthless.” Klein began reaching out to friends from home, and then, over the next 15 years, to other people all around the country, collecting their stories about growing up in the purity movement. She published a book on the topic in 2018 and continues to hear new stories all the time from people she meets at her book events. “This all feels really new to me. Like, it wasn’t until a few months ago that my therapist brought up the concept of purity culture to me, and I didn’t even know what that was. But I realized I was raised in it, and that led me to finding your book. And when I read it, I kind of cried through the whole thing because it now makes so much sense why I have this trauma that I carry and why it’s not going away.” “They had word for word been taught the same things that we were taught and were experiencing it in their bodies in the same ways that we were experiencing it. Once that happened not three times, not four times, but 30 times, 40 times, I started to be like, O.K., this is obviously much bigger than me, this is obviously much bigger than my youth group, this is much bigger than my state. During Klein’s conversations, one name kept coming up: Joshua Harris. Harris had gone on to become a pastor, but in recent years, was starting to question his leadership role, and quit in 2015 to enroll in graduate school for theology. Soon, he was also beginning to re-examine the messages of his book. “It was something that had given me a sense of success and personal identity. Um, and so, to question that felt like I was kind of unraveling myself, honestly. I remember one key moment that, kind of, tipped this into the public sphere was that, uh, a woman on Twitter wrote, your book was used against me like a weapon. And I responded to her saying, I’m so sorry.” “Whoa. That changed everything, right? All of a sudden, people were, like, what did you say? Did you say you were sorry for something? So now, we had this huge slew of people who were tweeting, I was hurt by this, I was hurt by this, I was hurt by this, I was hurt by this. You had all these different conversations going on, and they are really about people coming together and healing in a collective experience.” Harris, meanwhile, decided to engage with his critics in person, and made a film about the process. “I’ve looked into the eyes of people who’ve said, this created fear in me. This created intense shame and guilt for me. And your book was, kind of, in my head and shaped, you know, the way that I, I viewed myself.” Harris, who pulled his book from publication, faced some criticism that the film didn’t go far enough. He’s since issued more apologies. Last summer, he announced his separation from his wife, and that he no longer considers himself a Christian. “The process of unpublishing my books is a pretty big statement of, of regret for me. It doesn’t make up for, or fix the, the past hurt but I, I want to try to take responsibility for that.” Klein has continued meeting with women in towns and cities all around the country. “I like held hands with a boy when I was 14 and cried, like, you know, like felt really impure.” “The unintended consequences is what we’re really dealing with today.” “I didn’t know why I was physically shaking, why I would burst into tears, why I would cower in the corner, why all these things were happening to me.” “Some things that we put out there don’t work, but they don’t do damage either. This is something that didn’t work and that has caused a tremendous amount of damage.” “It’s not about taking big steps. It’s about taking these little steps. Teach your brain to function differently by like, trying to do just enough where you’re not triggering a huge shame response that reiterates that old neural pathway. Is that helpful?” “I think that change is going to happen when we have people on the ground, coming into voice with one another, and telling their truths to one another. We’ll all continue to learn. And that’s the real work.”

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‘They Have No One’: At 88, a Transgender Icon Combats Loneliness Among Seniors

MEXICO CITY — The pink paint of her stairwell is peeling, the black metal banister chipped, but Samantha Flores is as sharp-witted as ever amid a profusion of climbing plants and bursting red flowers.

At 88, the Mexican transgender icon remains elegant, funny and at times flirtatious, sitting at a small round table on the landing outside her tiny Mexico City flat where she has received callers, at a safe distance, throughout the pandemic.

After nearly nine decades as a socialite, a manager of a gay bar, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocate, and much more, Ms. Flores has a large community of longtime friends and neighbors who come knocking.

“Without my friends, I wouldn’t be who I am,” she said.

But as Ms. Flores well knows, many seniors are not so lucky. And so there is one part of her world that she’s aching to get back — the drop-in center she founded and runs to help older L.G.B.T.Q. adults combat their isolation. It was the first organization of its kind in Mexico.

Vogue Mexico last June, and was later featured in a campaign for the fashion house Gucci.

But for Ms. Flores, the glamour and attention are just new platforms to talk about what’s most important to her — Vida Alegre, and the rampant discrimination still faced by Mexican trans women, which often makes sex work their only means of making a living.

“It’s society’s fault that trans women have to work on the streets,” she said. “They aren’t given any other option.”

When coupled with machismo attitudes and widespread gang violence, discrimination can also be deadly for trans women in Mexico, which regularly ranks among the most dangerous countries in the world for transgender people. Few are lucky enough to live as long as Ms. Flores has.

But luck, it seems, has often been on Ms. Flores’ side.

Born in the city of Orizaba in Veracruz state in 1932, Ms. Flores grew up in a house with a yard full of orange, guava, lemon and avocado trees. She described her childhood as idyllic. Her family was tacitly accepting even then of what she called her effeminate nature, she said.

“I couldn’t pass by unnoticed, ” Ms. Flores recalled.

But behind her back, there were always whispers from neighbors and schoolmates, Ms. Flores said, and after graduating from high school, she couldn’t wait to leave Orizaba.

“What I wanted was to get out of that damn town and away from those damn people,” she said. “I realized that I was criticized and singled out for being queer.”

Ms. Flores moved to Mexico City, where she began dipping into the capital’s nascent gay scene of the 1950s and ’60s.

“For me, it was freedom,” she said.

One night in 1964, Ms. Flores was invited to a costume party, and together with a few friends, decided to go in drag. She chose the name Samantha for her persona after Grace Kelly’s character in the film “High Society,” which featured music by Cole Porter, her favorite singer.

“I liked Samantha because of the double meaning,” Ms. Flores said. “Bing Crosby called her Sam, which can also be short for Samuel.”

The host of the party was a friend of Ms. Flores, Xóchitl, then one of the most famous trans women in Mexico, who Ms. Flores says, had connections to the rich and powerful that allowed her the freedom to hold extravagant parties for the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

“She was the one that opened the door for trans women,” Ms. Flores recalled.

Little by little, Ms. Flores appeared in public as Samantha until, eventually, she was Samantha.

“I became myself, I found my true personality,” she said.

Soon, Samantha Flores was a staple of the Mexico City club scene.

“She was always a very, very elegant woman,” recalled Alexandra Rodríguez de Ruíz, a transgender rights activist and writer who was a teenager when she started going to gay clubs and encountered Ms. Flores. “Always wearing beautiful dresses and always accompanied by handsome young men.”

Back then, Ms. Rodríguez said, being part of the L.G.B.T.Q. community in Mexico was even more dangerous; the police would regularly detain trans women on the street or raid gay bars and confiscate their belongings.

“There was a lot of persecution,” she said. “Sometimes, if they were bad cops, they would take you to someplace and rape you or beat you.”

But Ms. Flores said she managed to avoid trouble. Whether it was that she could easily pass as female or because of her friendship with the well-connected Xóchitl, she was never bothered by the police.

Still, Ms. Flores said she felt uneasy being a trans woman in Mexico, and decided to move to Los Angeles. For several years in the 1970s and early ’80s, she lived between Mexico and L.A., where she worked managing a gay bar, among other ventures.

By the time she came back to Mexico full-time in the mid-’80s, the AIDS crisis was in full swing.

“My best friends, my most beloved friends, they died of H.I.V.,” Ms. Flores recalled. “I lost count — if I said 300, I wouldn’t be exaggerating.”

Seeing the crisis facing her community inspired her to become more of an activist.

“I became a fighter,” she said.

At first, Ms. Flores volunteered at an AIDS charity, and later began raising money for children with H.I.V. and women facing violence in northern Mexico, collecting funds at theater performances, including “The Vagina Monologues,” which ran in Mexico for years.

Then, a few years ago, a friend of hers suggested that she create a shelter for older L.G.B.T.Q. adults.

“That’s when the spark was lit,” Ms. Flores said.

It took years of wading through the Mexican bureaucracy and finding the right venue, but eventually she was able to secure rent on a one-room building on a busy street in the Álamos neighborhood. Vida Alegre now stands there, the building painted bright blue with a rainbow flag out the front.

The community has grown to some 40 people, about half of whom are straight and go there only for the company.

“It’s empathy and being together,” that brings people in, Ms. Flores said. “Abandonment and loneliness have fled.”

Besides reopening Vida Alegre, Ms. Flores has one other wish.

“I’m waiting for Prince Charming on his white horse and silver armor to come and serenade me,” Ms. Flores said. “I’ve been living here for 35 years, with the windows open, waiting for him. But he still hasn’t come.”

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After Claims of Sexual Abuse, Oxfam Suspends 2 Workers in Africa

Oxfam has suspended two staff members over accusations of sexual misconduct in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years, the British charity said on Friday, months after commissioning a broader investigation into abuse claims in the central African nation.

The suspensions were the latest troubles for Oxfam, whose funding from the British government was halted for nearly three years after a sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti in early 2018. The charity was allowed to apply again for that assistance only a few weeks ago.

“We have suspended two members of Oxfam staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an ongoing external investigation, which we set up last November, into allegations of abuses of power, including bullying and sexual misconduct,” the charity said in a statement on Friday.

The accusations against Oxfam and other aid workers in Congo come amid a broader examination of accusations of sexual abuse by humanitarian aid workers and United Nations peacekeepers working with some of the world’s most vulnerable people in war zones and humanitarian emergencies.

The New Humanitarian, a nonprofit news organization based in Geneva, about the conduct of aid workers in Congo during the Ebola crisis from 2018 to 2020. It cited accusations from more than 50 women who said they had been sexually abused by workers at several leading charities, including Oxfam.

The accusations focus on multiple incidents in eastern Congo at a time when several international aid groups were working in the region. The report mentioned staff members of several other aid groups and agencies.

Oxfam said in its statement that it was “acutely aware of our duty to survivors, including in supporting them to speak out safely,” and added, “We are working hard to conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively.” 

In February 2018, the Haitian government suspended the British branch of Oxfam from working in the country after an investigation found that there had been sexual misconduct by employees and that aid workers had abused their power and paid women for sex.

A cholera outbreak that later killed thousands of Haitians was traced to United Nations peacekeeping troops sent in after the quake. And in recent years staff members of U.N. peacekeeping missions and some of its aid agencies have been accused of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic, Congo and Haiti.

The issues have forced a re-examining of safeguarding measures within the organization. Last month, António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, released an annual report on the global body’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

That report acknowledged the most recent accusations implicating United Nations workers involved in the Ebola response, and said that an independent commission and other bodies were “investigating these wrongs.”

“I am deeply concerned that such egregious allegations continue to implicate United Nations personnel and pledge that we will redouble and spare no efforts to address the underlying factors that harm those whom we seek to assist,” Mr. Guterres said in the report.

The U.N. report also noted that the coronavirus pandemic had “deepened existing inequalities and exposed those in vulnerable situations to increased risks of sexual exploitation and abuse.”

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‘They Told Us Not to Resist’: Sexual Violence Pervades Ethiopia’s War

Mona Lisa lay on a hospital bed in Mekelle, the main city in war-torn northern Ethiopia, her body devastated but her defiance on display.

Named for the iconic painting, the 18-year-old Ethiopian high school graduate had survived an attempted rape that left her with seven gunshot wounds and an amputated arm. She wanted it to be known that she had resisted.

“This is ethnic cleansing,” she said. “Soldiers are targeting Tigrayan women to stop them giving birth to more Tigrayans.”

Her account is one of hundreds detailing abuses in Tigray, the mountainous region in northern Ethiopia where a grinding civil war has been accompanied by a parallel wave of atrocities including widespread sexual assault targeting women.

told the Security Council last week that more than 500 Ethiopian women have formally reported sexual violence in Tigray, although the actual toll is likely far higher, she added. In the city of Mekelle, health workers say new cases emerge every day.

The assaults have become a focus of growing international outrage about a conflict where the fighting is largely happening out of sight, in the mountains and the countryside. But evidence of atrocities against civilians — mass shootings, looting, sexual assault — is everywhere.

increasingly desperate pleas for international action on Ethiopia, led by senior United Nations and European Union officials, the pressure appears to be producing results. President Biden recently sent an envoy, Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, to Ethiopia for talks with Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, that lasted five hours.

On Tuesday, addressing Ethiopia’s Parliament, Mr. Abiy publicly acknowledged that sexual assault had become an integral part of a war he once promised would be swift and bloodless.

said earlier this month.

The war started in November after Mr. Abiy accused the T.P.L.F. of attacking a major military base in a bid to overthrow his government. The T.P.L.F. ruled Ethiopia for nearly three decades until Mr. Abiy came to power in 2018, then retreated to its stronghold in Tigray where it began to openly defy the new prime minister’s authority.

In some ways, the bitter fight is driven by deeply rooted forces — longstanding land disputes, opposing visions over the future shape of Ethiopia, and a rivalry with Eritrea going back decades. But civilians, and particularly women, are bearing the brunt of the most disturbing violence.

Rocks, nails and other objects have been forced inside the bodies of women — and some men — during sexual assaults, according to health workers. Men have been forced to rape their own family members under threat of violence, Pramila Patten, the top U.N. official on sexual violence in conflict, said in January.

“Rape is being used as a weapon of war,” said Letay Tesfay of the Tigray Women’s Association, which runs a safe house for women in Mekelle. “What’s happening is unimaginable.”

called a concerted effort to destroy the region’s health care system. In his meeting with Mr. Abiy in March, Senator Coons said they discussed “directly and forcefully” the reports of widespread human rights violations including rape.

Whether Mr. Abiy delivers on his promise of bringing the perpetrators to justice, he added, “is going to be critical to any successful resolution of this conflict.”

marched into Mekelle on Nov. 28. Some said they had been raped by soldiers in the camps for displaced people on the edge of the city; others were abducted from their homes in rural areas and held for days as soldiers repeatedly raped them.

The doctor, who like several other medics spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the authorities, produced a list of 18 registered sexual violence patients at the hospital. The youngest was 14. Most said their attackers were soldiers, he said.

In one bed, a 29-year old woman who asked to be identified only by her first name, Helen, trembled as she recounted how Eritrean and Ethiopian troops tied her to a tree near her home in Agula, 15 miles north of Mekelle, and assaulted her repeatedly over a 10-day period in late November.

“I lost count,” she said. “They took photos of me, poured alcohol on me and laughed.” Some of her assailants also shot dead her 12-year-old son, she added.

Selam Assefe, a police investigator working on rape cases at the Ayder Referral Hospital, corroborated Ms. Helen’s account.

Most sexual assault cases in Tigray, however, may not be recorded anywhere. Health workers said that officials are reluctant to register such violence, fearing the military could target them for documenting the crime. Patients often remain anonymous for the same reason.

Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed, Ethiopia’s minister of women, children and youth, insisted that the federal government was taking seriously the reports of sexual violence in Tigray, and had sent a task force including social workers, police and prosecutors to investigate.

While her own mandate was limited to providing victims with psychological support, Ms. Filsan said she had pressured Ethiopia’s attorney general to deliver justice. But it is a difficult process, she insisted.

“I cannot 100 percent confirm whom this is being committed by,” Ms. Filsan said, referring to the perpetrators.

The sexual attacks are so common that even some Ethiopian soldiers have spoken out. At a public meeting in Mekelle in January, a man in military uniform made an outburst that was broadcast on state TV.

“I was angry yesterday,” he said. “Why does a woman get raped in Mekelle city?” The soldier, who was not identified, questioned why the police weren’t stopping them. “It wouldn’t be shocking if it happened during fighting,” he said. “But women were raped yesterday and today when the local police and federal police are around.”

Haben, a waitress in Mekelle, was raped with two other women at the cafe where they work in December, she said. Her body is still covered in bruises from the assault.

“They told us not to resist,” she recalled. “‘Lie down. Don’t shout.’”

But even if they had shouted, she added, “there was nobody to listen.”

An employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Mekelle, Ethiopia.

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Women Are Calling Out ‘Rape Culture’ in U.K. Schools

LONDON — For weeks, the harrowing anonymous testimonies have poured in, one after another.

Accusations of sexual assault of girls as young as 9. Girls shamed by classmates after intimate photos were circulated without their consent. One girl was blamed by classmates after she reported being raped at a party.

On a platform called Everyone’s Invited, thousands of young women and girls in Britain have recently been sharing frank accounts of sexual violence, sexism and misogyny during their time as students — accusations of everything including criminal sexual attacks to coercive encounters to verbal harassment to unwanted touching — offering raw and unfiltered discussions of their personal trauma.

But when taken together, the accusations paint a troubling picture of widespread sexual violence by students both within the school walls and outside, particularly at parties. In addition to reports of violence, the accounts also included claims of sexism and misogyny.

“This is a real problem,” said Soma Sara, the 22-year-old Londoner who founded Everyone’s Invited. “Rape culture is real.”

killing of Sarah Everard, whose abduction from a London street in early March set off a national conversation about violence women face.

Schools, local and national officials have begun investigations. On Wednesday, the government tasked an education body with conducting an immediate review of safeguarding policies in both public and private schools.

Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council leader for child protection, told the BBC on Monday, “We have a real problem here.”

A helpline will be launched on Thursday, and criminal allegations investigated, the Department of Education said. London’s Metropolitan Police encouraged victims to report crimes to the authorities.

While the accounts omit the names of both victims and perpetrators, they identify the schools the students attended, whether the alleged assaults took place on school grounds or elsewhere. Some were prestigious private schools that soon made headlines.

Dulwich College, King’s College School, Highgate School, Latymer Upper School and more — have now written open letters to school leaders by name, detailing a culture of silence and victim blaming. In one instance, a former student said she was discouraged from taking legal action in a sexual assault case. In another, girls described being groped in a school hallway.

King’s College School and Highgate School issued statements saying they have begun independent reviews of the accusations and school policies, and Latymer Upper School said it had encouraged students to come to school authorities directly. Some of the schools named did not respond directly to requests for comment, but in local news reports similarly said they were taking the matter seriously and investigating in some cases.

Accusations of sexual abuse are not the province only of elite prep schools. Dozens of schools, universities and state-run schools have been named, though testimonies received after March 23 no longer identify the institutions. The thousands of stories speak to a pervasive problem facing young women and girls, Ms. Sara said, adding she hoped the focus on certain prominent schools would not distract attention from the bigger issues.

“If we point the finger at a person, at a place, at a demographic, you’re actually making it seem like these cases are rare or just anomalies, when really, they’re not rare,” she said.

collectively to bear the burden of ensuring safety.

It was against this backdrop that Ms. Sara posed a question this month on the Everyone’s Invited Instagram account and website she started last year, as she grappled with her own experiences of sexual violence while a student.

She asked if others had experienced sexual violence during their school years or knew someone who had. Nearly every respondent said yes.

While the accounts vary, and are anonymous and unverified, the sheer numbers — more than 11,500 and counting — could not easily be ignored. When she shared the accounts, Ms. Sara withheld the names of the victims and the accused, but not the schools they attended.

recommendation to do just that after a 2016 inquiry.

“We need a better inspection regime, we need to have a proper inquiry, we need the government to actually be collecting the data — they’re not actually currently collecting this data anywhere,” Ms. Phillips said.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said in a statement that the accusations were “shocking and abhorrent” and that they must be dealt with properly.

“While the majority of schools take their safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously, I am determined to make sure the right resources and processes are in place across the education system to support any victims of abuse to come forward,” he said.

Government agencies and the police are in contact with Everyone’s Invited to provide support to those who are reporting abuse.

Sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults often go unreported worldwide, so crime data can give only a partial picture of the scale of the problem. But in Britain other statistics show that sexual violence against school-age girls and young women is endemic.

were even more likely to be sexually assaulted.

A new survey from Plan International UK, a children’s charity, showed that 58 percent of girls ages 14 to 21 in Britain have been publicly sexually harassed in their learning environments.

national conversation about violence against women, Chanel Contos, 23, started an online petition in February that included thousands of testimonies of sexual violence among students.

The petition called for an overhaul of sex education with a holistic, early and consent-based approach and is being discussed in the Australian Parliament.

“The fact that two girls on opposite sides of the world, who didn’t know each other, experienced the exact same thing,” is telling, Ms. Contos said in an interview.

Dr. Gill, the criminology professor in London, pointed out that conversations about rape culture in institutions — or environments where attitudes or behavior about gender and sexuality have the effect of normalizing and trivializing sexual violence, like assault or rape — are not new. Successive waves of the feminist movement have called attention to it, she said.

But schools have a duty to safeguard students, she said, from creating safe spaces for victims of sexual violence to come forward to educating other students about their behavior.

“How do they teach choice?” Dr. Gill said. “How do they teach respect? How do they encourage young people to build healthy relationships?”

She noted that sex education curriculum should focus on intersectionality and consent. “I think there’s an opportunity now for transformative change.”

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