Skip to main content

Sexual Violence Laws are Failing Adolescents

At Equality Now, we have been on a years-long journey to track and analyze sexual violence laws and their implementation around the world. This work was born after working with survivors of sexual violence for over two decades and observing that women and ...

READ MORE

End Sexual Violence: Good laws

Around the world, sexual violence laws are failing survivors. From proof of force requirements to discriminatory evidentiary burdens, from permitting marital rape to statutes of limitations which place a time limit within which victims can get justice, laws ...

READ MORE

Discrimination in sexual violence laws: Estupro

What is ‘estupro’? The crime of estupro usually describes cases in which an adult has sexual relations with a minor above the legal age of consent by means of seduction or deceit. This discriminatory law mislabels rape and contributes to impunity ...

READ MORE

End Sexual Violence: Effective Implementation

Good laws are a critical first step, but they alone are not enough to prevent sexual violence and deliver justice to survivors. Effective implementation of laws is also critical. This requires educating the population on their rights, dismantling negative ...

READ MORE

End Sexual Violence: Intersectional Analysis

Marginalized groups are more likely to experience sexual violence, and to have had negative interactions with the criminal justice system. From indigenous women in North America who are less likely to have their cases investigated by the police to women ...

READ MORE

Watch Your Voice Matters: Talking GBV in Kenya

Together with Better4Kenya and Capital FM Kenya, in 2021, we hosted a series of conversations with remarkable influencers in Kenya on the advancement of the rights of women and girls in order to hold the Government of Kenya to account through the Generation ...

READ MORE

Sexual violence against adolescent girls

Adolescent girls are disproportionately vulnerable to human rights abuses that can have severe and long-lasting consequences. At the same time girls generally lack a support system through which they can protest abuses and attempt to access justice. Why are ...

READ MORE

Repealing ‘marry your rapist’ laws

Most of the countries in the Arab region have or have only recently removed, laws that pardon rapists and perpetrators from punishment if they marry their victims. These laws: Deny justice to survivors Signal that rape is not a serious crime and can be talked ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in Georgia

In Georgia, the definition of rape in the Criminal Code still falls short of international human rights and criminal law standards and important protections to assure survivors are able to obtain justice and adequate support services are still lacking. This ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence In Eurasia

In eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, impunity for sexual violence is further exacerbated by the widespread practice of early and child marriages and bride kidnappings in some parts of the region. Understanding gaps in laws and criminal ...

READ MORE

Improving Access to Justice in Georgia

Although laws on women’s rights and violence against women in Georgia have improved in the past few years, and a lot of work is yet to be done to ensure justice for sexual violence, put in place gender-sensitive criminal procedures and support measures, and ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in Bangladesh

Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for survivors of sexual violence in South Asia, including in Bangladesh. Patterns of Sexual Violence in Bangladesh  Prevalence of Sexual ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in India

Sexual violence is a major problem faced by women and girls in India. It is already a challenge for survivors to obtain justice in the Indian legal system, and those from the country’s marginalized communities face even more major barriers. There were ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in Bhutan

Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for survivors of sexual violence in South Asia, including in Bhutan. There were 49 reported rape cases in Bhutan in 2018, rising to 54 in 2019, ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in Nepal

Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for survivors of sexual violence in South Asia, including in Nepal. There has been a sharp increase in reported cases of rape in Nepal in recent ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka

Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for survivors of sexual violence in South Asia, including in Sri Lanka. Patterns of Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka Prevalence of Sexual Violence There ...

READ MORE

Sexual Violence in the Maldives

Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for survivors of sexual violence in South Asia, including in the Maldives. Though sexual violence had traditionally been considered as a private ...

READ MORE

Ending Sexual Violence in South Asia

What is the problem?  Women and girls across South Asia face high rates of sexual violence. Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for many survivors of sexual violence.  ...

READ MORE

Forced Pregnancy

Forced pregnancy, including forced pregnancy of young girls, is a problem across Latin America. Forced pregnancy is defined as when a woman or girl becomes pregnant without having sought or desired it, and abortion is denied, hindered, delayed or made ...

READ MORE

Help stop child sexual abuse in Bolivia!

Bolivia has the highest rate of sexual violence in Latin America. Sexual violence against children is especially common in Bolivia, with 1 in 3 girls experiencing sexual violence before age 18. The country also has the highest adolescent pregnancy rate in ...

READ MORE

Bolivia CAT Submission 2021

This joint submission details our concerns with regard to laws related to rape and other forms of sexual violence and procedures and practices which effectively deny access to justice for survivors of sexual violence. Bolivia’s legal system continues to ...

READ MORE

Mariam – Armenia

Equality Now has the privilege to partner with women’s rights activists from around the world. We’re sharing their unique perspectives and challenges advocating for change in their communities. We spoke to Mariam Torosyan, CEO & Founder at Safe ...

READ MORE

Baia – Georgia

Equality Now has the privilege to partner with women’s rights activists from around the world. We’re sharing their unique perspectives and challenges advocating for change in their communities. We spoke to, Baia Pataria from Union Sapari in ...

READ MORE

Nadezhda – Russia

Equality Now has the privilege to partner with women’s rights activists from around the world. We’re sharing their unique perspectives and challenges advocating for change in their communities. We spoke to Nadezhda Zamotaeva, Psychologist and Head of ...

READ MORE

Nina – Ukraine

Equality Now has the privilege to partner with women’s rights activists from around the world. We’re sharing their unique perspectives and challenges advocating for change in their communities. We spoke to Nina Potarska, WILPF National Coordinator for ...

READ MORE

Irina – Uzbekistan

Equality Now has the privilege to partner with women’s rights activists from around the world. We’re sharing their unique perspectives and challenges advocating for change in their communities. We spoke to Irina, founder of Nemolchi.uz, from ...

READ MORE

Stephanie – Ecuador

A survivor who has faced guilt, shame, and the possibility of being blamed and disbelieved is now legally barred from bringing a case against her abuser because of the statute of limitations. This story was shared as part of the launch of Failure to ...

READ MORE

Brisa – Bolivia

A survivor of incest, who was failed and revictimized by the State and still awaits a fair trial at the national level, is now as a lawyer working to end sexual violence while her own case is pending before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ...

READ MORE

Jennifer – Jamaica

A sociologist presents the exploitation of poverty in the sexual exploitation of adolescent girls*. This story was shared as part of the launch of Failure to Protect: How Discriminatory Sexual Violence Laws and Practices are Hurting Women, Girls, and ...

READ MORE

Viviana – Guatemala

An indigenous lawyer offers her perspective on the multiple forms of discrimination and the legal barriers faced by indigenous survivors of sexual violence. This story was shared as part of the launch of Failure to Protect: How Discriminatory Sexual ...

READ MORE

Paula – Ecuador

As told by her mother, Doña Petita, who faced the femicide of her daughter after the school’s vice principal exploited his unequal power dynamic with her daughter. This story was shared as part of the launch of Failure to Protect: How Discriminatory ...

READ MORE

Mandi – Canada

A survivor’s experience demonstrates that having strong laws is not enough and the failure to effectively implement good laws on sexual violence stifles the ability of survivors to access justice. This story was shared as part of the launch of Failure to ...

READ MORE

Brisa – Bolivia

Sobreviviente de incesto, a quien el Estado falló y revictimizó, ahora como abogada trabaja para poner fin a la violencia sexual mientras su propio caso será escuchado por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos el 29 y 30 de marzo de 2022. Esta ...

READ MORE

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the amount of time (usually specified in years) that a victim has to come forward and report a crime before prosecution is no longer possible. Applied to sexual violence cases, statutes of limitations add an ...

READ MORE

Understanding Estupro

The crime of estupro usually describes cases in which an adult has sexual relations with a minor above the legal age of consent by means of seduction or deceit. This discriminatory law mislabels rape and contributes to impunity for rapists as it ignores the ...

READ MORE

Consent-based Rape Definitions

Definitions of rape need to be based on voluntary, genuine, and willing consent and recognize a broad range of coercive circumstances where consent cannot be voluntary, genuine, or willing and where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Concerningly, ...

READ MORE

Joint Statement: Governor Cuomo Must Resign

The New York State Attorney General’s investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo has revealed multiple and repeated allegations of sexual harassment and assault against eleven women, as well as a toxic work environment that has persisted throughout his three ...

READ MORE

Kenya Must Prioritize Ending Sex Trafficking

July 30th, 2021 marks the ninth annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a day designated by the United Nations in 2013 to raise awareness about the impact and scale of human trafficking around the globe. In Kenya, there have been positive ...

READ MORE

Make gender equality a reality, Kenya!

It has been more than 26 years now since governments, including Kenya, came together and committed to promoting gender equality through the adoption of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Gender Equality. *Patricia was a small scale ...

READ MORE

Maya – Bangladesh

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Maya is a ...

READ MORE

Yeshey – Bhutan

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Yeshey is a ...

READ MORE

Bhavna – India

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Bhavna is a ...

READ MORE

Rita – Nepal

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Rita is a ...

READ MORE

Ambika – Nepal

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Ambika is a ...

READ MORE

Dhriti – India

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Dhriti is a pseudonym. I ...

READ MORE

Kiba – Bhutan

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Kiba is a ...

READ MORE

Prabha – Bangladesh

This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Prabha is a ...

READ MORE

President Suluhu: Please remember the girls

By 2017 the World Bank documented that upwards of 5000 girls a year were forced to permanently drop out of school in Tanzania on account of pregnancy. On the backdrop of this, Tanzania’s Law of Marriage Act permits girls as young as 15 years old to get ...

READ MORE

Roundup: Equality Now at CSW65

Despite being fully virtual, CSW65 was a very active two weeks, full of interesting events, and good opportunities for high-level advocacy. Equality Now staff spent March 15-26 learning, networking, and holding governments to account on women’s and girls’ ...

READ MORE

Tajikistan UPR Submission 2021

During the previous UPR cycle, Tajikistan received 29 recommendations to strengthen and improve measures regarding women’s rights protection. From these recommendations, twelve of them related to preventing and eliminating violence against women, five of ...

READ MORE

Russia CAT Submission 2021

Our joint submission details our concerns with regard to laws related to rape and other forms of sexual violence and procedures and practices which effectively deny access to justice for survivors of sexual violence. Russia’s legal system continues to ...

READ MORE

UK Women and Girls Manifesto 2019

The upcoming UK General Election offers an opportunity for all political parties to explicitly support equality for women. Women’s lives have changed significantly in the last 50 years but there is still lots of work to ...

READ MORE

Savitri – India

Like many in India’s marginalized communities, Savitri* and her husband Parshu work as labourers in the informal sector, where employment is badly paid, insecure, and often involves toiling long hours in exploitative and unsafe conditions. This story was ...

READ MORE

Kamla and Gudiya – India

Kamla* is a young mother of four. One night while her husband was away for work, she fed her children and put them to bed. When she woke in the morning, her elder daughter came to her crying that Gudiya*, the youngest child, was missing.  This story was ...

READ MORE

Reena and Roshani – India

One day, Reena* and Roshani* went to gather firewood along a dirt road by a field. Both in their twenties, Reena was six months pregnant and Roshani had recently married. The pair was accompanied by six other Dalit women and girls from their neighbourhood. ...

READ MORE

Rekha – India

Rekha, a 16-year-old Dalit girl, visited a grocery shop in her neighbourhood. At the store, the 46-year-old shop owner offered to give her free toffees and snacks and called her to come inside. When she refused, the man forced Rekha into his store, raped her, ...

READ MORE

Pallavi – India

Pallavi* was 16-years-old and on the way to visit her grandmother when she was kidnapped and gang-raped by 12 young men. They filmed her attack and threatened to share the video if she told anyone.  This story was shared by Equality Now and Swabhiman ...

READ MORE

The Rape of India’s Dalit Women and Girls

Shabnam*, a young woman from Northern India’s Haryana state, is two years away from becoming a law graduate. She sees parallels between her own rape and that of the 19-year-old Maha Dalit woman whose brutal rape and torture by a group of men from a ...

READ MORE

Not Just One Bad Man

Athlete A is more than just the story of one bad man, it is an exploration into the systems of power that perpetuate the abuse and objectification of girls and young women. Equality Now is incredibly proud to partner with the Netflix ...

READ MORE

Madam K – Sierra Leone

People know me as Madam K. I am 42 years old. I am a teacher by profession and love working with girls because I know how invaluable it is to educate the girl, empower her and give her a voice.   I have been mentoring girls through this club ...

READ MORE

#SaferInternetDay 2020

February 11 is #SaferInternetDay which aims to create both a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. This is particularly important as the instances of online sexual ...

READ MORE

Add your name in support of survivors

It takes great courage for any survivors of sexual assault to come forward, especially publicly. We admire the bravery of all of the Russell Simmons survivors and #SilenceBreakers. As organizations and individuals who are dedicated to ending sexual violence, ...

READ MORE

A failure of Cyprus’ legal system

Today, a British teenager was given a four-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of lying about gang-rape in Cyprus. In July last year, she reported to police that she was gang raped in a hotel room. She later recanted the claim and was charged ...

READ MORE

19 times women led the way in 2019

Here are 19 times women led the way in 2019. We hope they will lift you up and motivate you to continue to fight for gender equality in 2020, they sure have for us! 1. Thousands of women in India walked 10,000km across 24 states to raise awareness about rape ...

READ MORE

CEDAW at 40

International law is the foundation of Equality Now’s work to ensure all women and girls are able to live safe, fearless, and free. December 18th, 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women ...

READ MORE

Victory for pregnant girls in Sierra Leone

ABUJA, Nigeria, Dec 12 – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice has found that the government of Sierra Leone breached the right of pregnant girls to education by prohibiting pregnant school girls from accessing ...

READ MORE

Victory at ECOWAS Court for girls in Sierra Leone

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice has found that the government of Sierra Leone breached the right of pregnant girls to education by prohibiting pregnant school girls from accessing school. In a succinct and powerful ...

READ MORE

Favour – Sierra Leone

I like being called Favour because it has a divine meaning. I enjoy reading different books but really liked English, math, agriculture, government, history, literature, and geography when I was in school. My dream was, and still is, to become a government ...

READ MORE

Admire – Sierra Leone

My name is Admire and I am now 18 years old. I have two brothers and two sisters. My father and stepmother have always been business people who sell different goods. Money was always tight for us – it was just never enough. When I was around 15 years old, I ...

READ MORE

Joyful – Sierra Leone

My friends call me Joyful. I just turned 18. I hope to become the first female pilot in Sierra Leone someday.  I come from a large family of 13. We didn’t have much growing up. My mother was and has been the sole provider in our family, ...

READ MORE

Poverty is sexist

Across almost every economy in the world, women earn less than men. According to a 2017 Oxfam report, globally women earn 24 percent less than men. Women are also less likely to be in paid work in the first place. This gendered poverty is not limited to ...

READ MORE

Salome – Georgia

Salome lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. At 20, Salome was studying art at college, working as a tutor and content creator to support herself. “That night I was walking back from tutoring. A man started catcalling me. Then he was right behind me. He was ...

READ MORE

Gilead is a Global Reality

On September 10 2019, Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale was released. Although Gilead and The Testaments are fictional, they hold a mirror up to the state of women’s rights today. In the dystopian future of ...

READ MORE

Consent, power, vulnerability and impunity

On 25 July, 2019, the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission released its report The Limits of Consent: Prostitution in the UK. The Commission provided a balanced look at the evidence regarding the impact of prostitution and related policies, and posed ...

READ MORE

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2019

Tuesday, July 30th is World Day against Trafficking in Persons. It’s a chance to reinforce the urgent need to create and implement laws that seek to end sex trafficking – the illegal trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation – around the world. ...

READ MORE

The World I Want To Live In

We want to live in a world where women and girls are not at risk of sexual violence. Tell us about the world you want to live in with #TheWorldIWantToLiveIn on social media. “I couldn’t believe they were doing it, that it was actually happening,” says ...

READ MORE

Egypt UPR Submission 2019

This submission details our concerns regarding Egypt’s treatment of Women Human Rights Defenders, discriminatory provisions of the nationality law, and the need for a law on violence against women. We make key recommendations for action by the government of ...

READ MORE

Isla – Kenya

Isla*, an 11-year-old rape survivor from Kenya, spoke to us about her experience of sexual violence.  “I was only eight-years-old when my neighbor attacked me. He was 45 when it happened and I had always been very scared of him. It was 1pm, I had ...

READ MORE

Liberia Human Rights Committee Submission 2018

The submission, based on consultation with Equality Now’s partners in Liberia including Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) and the Association of Female Sociologists of Liberia (LAFSO), focuses on continued violations against women and girls, ...

READ MORE

Bahrain CCPR Submission 2018

This submission deals with our concerns, as previously raised in our submission for the Adoption of the List of Issues for Bahrain at its 121st session, regarding the perpetuation of sex-based discrimination against women under the law in Bahrain. The ...

READ MORE

Noor – Jordan

Noor had no reason to doubt her 55-year-old employer when he told her the pills he was giving her would help her headache. But when she woke up hours later completely naked, she realized he had drugged and raped her. With rape still carrying a huge social ...

READ MORE

Paraguay CEDAW Submission 2017

This submission deals with Paraguay’s obligation to address its high prevalence of sexual violence and forced pregnancy against young and adolescent girls under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW”). ...

READ MORE

The World’s Shame: The Global Rape Epidemic

Around the world, rape and sexual abuse are everyday violent occurrences — affecting close to a billion women and girls over their lifetimes. However, despite the pervasiveness of these crimes, laws are insufficient, inconsistent, not systematically ...

READ MORE

Sierra Leone Must Let Girls Learn

Equality Now Is Working With Partners To End Sexual Violence Against Girls In Sierra Leone. UPDATE: In March 2020, the government of Sierra Leone finally lifted the discriminatory ban that prohibits pregnant schoolgirls from attending school, effectively ...

READ MORE

Learning From Cases of Girls’ Rights

Representing the knowledge gained from cases undertaken as part of Equality Now’s Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund (AGLDF), this report identifies and addresses the common obstacles faced by adolescent girls in their pursuit of justice. Since its ...

READ MORE