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Richael

Richael

Richael

International Youth Leadership Council member. International health major. Blogging about all things SRH, including violence against women, unsafe abortion, maternal mortality, and contraceptive access.


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When I first began to read the article How a German Elementary School Taught Sex Ed“ published today in The Atlantic, I was a bit shocked. The first sentence describes how a high school biology teacher in Idaho is under investigation by a “professional standards commission” for using the word vagina. Okay, that wasn’t what shocked me. After all, there was that Michigan State Representative who was censored last year for using the same word in front of adults. What surprised me more was the …

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Among both pro-choice and anti-abortion activists, the story of the abhorrent conditions and Kermit Gosnell’s actions at the Women’s Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia brought feelings of anger and sadness as it lit up Facebook and social media. People expressed outrage not only at the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a Nepalese refugee who died after receiving an overdose of a sedative at the hands of Gosnell’s staff, but also at the failure of officials to close Women’s Medical Society and revoke Gosnell’s license, and at the media for …

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Women practicing taekwondo, fully dressed in hijabs and crisp white uniforms. A young female student training to as a midwife.  A woman operating the controls at a radio station. A modernly-dressed fashion designer directing models. Young girls sitting in a tented school, small chalkboards perched on their laps.

These are some of the images from a photo gallery published on Foreign Policy’s website. The gallery is aptly subtitled “Don’t tell these women nothing’s changed in Afghanistan”. Indeed, these photos show the best of modernity in Afghanistan. An all-female Olympic …

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With the re-election of President Obama, there has been much discussion about the War in Afghanistan. Usually, this discussion focuses on troop withdrawal or American deaths in Afghanistan. While these topics are undoubtedly important, Americans often forget to consider the plight of civilians remaining in Afghanistan. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with extremely high maternal mortality, infant mortality, and under-5 mortality rates. Beyond the dismal health indicators, women and girls suffer tremendously. Behind the burqas are tales of domestic violence, sexual violence, and targeted …

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Beginning yesterday and extending through tomorrow, there is a symposium entitled “Missing Peace: Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings” taking place at the United States Institute of Peace in DC. As we discuss and take action around sexual violence for Valentine’s Day, and with the one billion rising campaign, it is important to have serious discussions about the impact sexual violence has on women, girls, boys and men worldwide. This symposium brings together NGOs, activists, and UN and government officials to discuss how to best persecute sexual violence …

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Female genital mutilation (FGM) is currently practiced in 28 countries in Africa, and it is predicted that up to 140 million women worldwide have undergone the procedure. In many communities, it is believed that the practice reduces a woman’s libido. For this reason, and because of the procedure’s inherent medical risks, the practice is widely opposed by the Western practice as demeaning to women.

However, there is a different practice common in Rwanda, just south of Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia, where extreme female genital mutilation is widespread. During the …

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After months of accusations of violent mistreatment towards women by Amnesty International, a senior general in the Egyptian military confirmed to the American media earlier this week that virginity tests had been performed during protests in Tahrir Square earlier this week.

The reasoning given for performing these tests? The military wanted to protect itself from accusations of sexual assault or rape during the revolution by proving that the female protesters weren’t virgins in the first place.

Saying that these women “were not like your daughter or mine. These were …

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 Can a TV show cross boundaries and change perceptions? Can it spark discussions and erase stereotypes? Most importantly, can it stop the spread of AIDS?

The impact of a MTV show in three developing countries demonstrates that the answer to all of three of these questions is a resounding “yes”.

In 2010, MTV created the Ignite Campaign in partnership with UNICEF as part of MTV’s larger HIV/AIDS Campaign called Staying Alive. MTV used what it knows best – gripping TV dramas that spark conversation (The Hills, anyone?) – to …

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At the end of February, I had the amazing experience of attending the 55th Meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with Advocates for Youth. The sessions I attended covered many different issues, from comprehensive sex education to violence against women to education of young women. However, from three days that I spent at CSW, one memory stands clear: people do not understand emergency contraception.

It happened more than once – representatives from different NGOs, in the United States …

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I’d heard of it, but I’d never actually seen of it. I thought it was about women going through menopause, which seemed pretty out of place on a college campus. So when I saw the flyers for auditions in the student center, I was slightly more than curious. I was completely perplexed as to why college students, particularly men, would want to see a bunch of girls talk about hot flashes and estrogen. This perplexity carried me all the way to auditions for the Vagina Monologues.

I still …

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After scouring the internet for a while, I have found plenty of websites addressing World AIDS Day. There’s the CDC, HHS, World Aids Campaign, UNAIDS, Avert (who made this fantastic video that I posted a month ago). Yet, after all of this scouring, I still have difficulty figuring out exactly what action needs to be taken to address the growing AIDS epidemic. All of these organizations seem pretty content to sit around and pat themselves on the back for all of the headway that they’ve made about AIDS, yet …

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World Aids Day 2010 is on Wednesday, December 1st. What are you planning? 


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 As news reaches us of the newspaper article published in Rolling Stone (a Ugandan paper not connected to the U.S. version) which commanded its readers to hang the ‘Top 100 Homosexuals’ in the African Nation and David Bahati’s announcement that he has been promised a second reading of the anti-homosexuality bill in Ugandan Parliament, attention has once again turned to the role of American Evangelicals in the formation of this bill and the fervent anti-homosexuality sentiment found across Uganda.

When news first reached American ears a year ago about

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In a recent episode of America’s Next Top Model, Kayla, an openly gay contestant, struggles with her emotions at a commercial shoot where the contestants must kiss a male model. After being pressed about the reason for her emotional state by the creative director, Kayla admits that she was sexually abused for a year and a half beginning at the age of eleven; she had never told anyone. She has been fearful of men ever since. The clip of the incident is below.

The creative director pressed Kayla to …