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For International Day Of The Girl, Roxiny Debuted A Music Video About Childhood Sexual Violence

October 11 marks the International Day of the Girl, an initiative started in 2012 by the United Nations to acknowledge and spread awareness on critical issues impacting girls across the globe, like child marriage or malnutrition, and how to address these gendered problems. The theme for 2018 is “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce,” with year-long international efforts that seek to provide adolescent girls all over the world with the tools they need to carve out their professional paths. One of the biggest hurdles these girls will face, whether studying to obtain an education or entering the workforce, could be sexual violence, an issue Dominican-American artist Roxiny explores in her latest song, “Golden Prophet,” released on Thursday.

“She was so young when you burned her eyes, golden prophet size of a god. Can’t you see her? Like an angel, she’s fallen,” the 29-year-old Spain-raised, New York-based singer croons in the music video for the song, which showcases a diverse group of female dancers with inspiring handwritten messages for survivors of sexual violence in various languages on their bodies.

While enrollment rates for girls has increased all over the world, schools have sometimes become sites where these young people experience sexual, physical, emotional and mental violence. In the United States, where girls attend school at higher rates than boys, 76 percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 19 report feeling unsafe, and 69 percent say they feel they are seen as a sexual object. This isn’t unique to our country. In South Africa, where girls and boys share similar enrollment rates, girls experience high numbers of rape and sexual violence on campus. In Ghana, where girls are less likely to attend schools than boys, 26 percent of schoolgirls say they have experienced sexual abuse.

Even more, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a nonprofit organization advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research, when students fear violence in school, they are more likely to miss class or lose focus during lectures, putting them behind on coursework and less likely to succeed academically, ultimately impacting their job prospects and income.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Roxiny understands how violence can negatively impact all facets of a young girl’s life.

“It’s the one thing that I can honestly say has affected every aspect of my life. As with many survivors, it took me a long time to come to grips with it, let alone share it. It’s been a long road to recovery, and writing ‘Golden Prophet’ was just another stage in healing,” Roxiny told FIERCE.

A member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, Roxiny uses her talent and passion for music as a tool for social change, often advocating for women’s rights. With “Golden Prophet,” she hopes to spark much-needed conversations about child sexual violence and help survivors in their healing journeys.

“As a survivor, I know firsthand the strength it’s taken to break free and heal from the shame, humiliation, anger and pain caused by sexual abuse. Every one of us has had to fight a very solitary fight to hold our heads above water once again, and here we are in 2018 raising our voices to a system that emboldens leaders in spite of their numerous sexual allegations,” she said.

Watch Roxiny’s powerful video for “Golden Prophet” above and visit the United Nations website to learn how you can participate in the International Day of the Girl’s “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce” campaign.

Read: Latinxs Talk About Consent And How Their Parents Helped Them To Understand What It Meant

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Study: Police In The Dominican Republic Are Abusing Women Sex Workers With Impunity

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Study: Police In The Dominican Republic Are Abusing Women Sex Workers With Impunity

Sex workers in the Dominican Republic, where the profession is illegal, are vulnerable to violence, but many don’t feel safe reporting these crimes to law enforcement because, in many cases, it’s police officers who are responsible for their abuse.

This month, Amnesty International released a report detailing how law enforcement in the Caribbean country rape and torture women sex workers. The study, harrowingly titled “If They Can Have Her, Why Can’t We,” includes interviews with 46 cis and trans sex workers who discuss the abuse they experienced at the hands of local police.

According to the report, of the 24 cis women interviewed, at least 10 had been raped by law enforcement, several at gunpoint. Similarly, many trans women disclosed being violently mistreated, some even tortured, by officers.

“The interviews reveal how a deeply engrained culture of machismo within the National Police, coupled with intense societal stigma and discrimination and conservative religious values, embolden law enforcement officials to unlawfully abuse their powers and punish women who engage in sex work as a form of social control,” reads the report.

One woman shared her account of being gang-raped by three policemen. In October 2017,  the woman was pulled over by an officer who spotted her waiting for clients when he forced her to enter his police van. There, he and two other patrols started groping the woman and ripping off her clothes.

“I was afraid. I was alone. I couldn’t defend myself. I had to let them do what they wanted with me,” she told Amnesty International. “They threatened me, that if I wasn’t with them they would kill me. They (said) that I was a whore, and so why not with them?”

The woman, whose shocking account influenced the title of the report, said that the officers called her a “bitch,” among other expletives, adding: “They saw me, I guess, and they thought ‘Well, if they (clients) can have her, why can’t we?’”

This mentality isn’t uncommon. The report notes that the government, and society at large, often views sex workers as less than human and are thus “deserving” of the violence they experience.

“The harrowing testimonies that Amnesty International has gathered from the Dominican Republic reveal that police routinely target and inflict sexual abuse and humiliation on women who sell sex with the purpose of punishing and discriminating against them,” Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said. “Under international law, such treatment can amount to gender-based torture and other ill-treatment.”

While this particular study looked at the problem in the Dominican Republic, Guevara-Rosas says police violence against sex workers isn’t unique to the region but rather follows a pattern of gender-based violence across Latin America and the Caribbean. She calls it an “epidemic” and notes that marginalized women, like sex workers, are at increased risk because of fear arrest.

Read: Mothers, Students And Teachers Protested — And Were Attacked By Police — At Puerto Rico’s May Day March

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The Mirabal Sisters Died Seeking Justice In The Dominican Republic And Now Their Legacy Lives On Through A New York Street Sign

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The Mirabal Sisters Died Seeking Justice In The Dominican Republic And Now Their Legacy Lives On Through A New York Street Sign

The Mirabal Sisters are being commemorated in Washington Heights.

The late Dominican sisters, famous for their brave activism against dictator Rafael Trujillo in the 1950s-’60s, now have a street named after them in the largely Dominican New York neighborhood. According to New York City Council Member Ydanis, “the southeast corner of 168th St. and Amsterdam Avenue will be co-named Mirabal Sisters Way.”

“They stand as inspirational and visionary activists for social and political justice and role models to generations of women since their untimely death in 1960 at the hands of the Dominican tyrant Trujillo,” Rodriguez, who was born in the Caribbean country, said.

On Sunday, he joined members of the city’s Dominican community — including the Mirabal Sisters Cultural & Community Center and Altagracia Mirabal, the late siblings’ cousin — for the naming ceremony.

Throughout their lives, Minerva, María Teresa and Patria Mirabal, known as Las Mariposas, resisted Trujillo’s oppressive regime, forming the Movement of the Fourteenth of June that attempted to overthrow the president and speaking out, often by distributing informative detailed pamphlets, against his atrocities. For their dissent, María Teresa and Minerva were sentenced to three years in prison in May 1960. They, however, were soon released following international calls for their freedom. But three months later, on November 25, 1960, the sisters were assassinated by Trujillo’s henchmen.

The women’s fight for justice has been honored by the United Nations General Assembly, who designated the anniversary of their murder as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In popular media, the Mirabal sisters have also been celebrated in Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez’s book “In the Time of Butterflies” and the film adaptation featuring Salma Hayek and Marc Anthony.

(h/t Remezcla)

Read: To Dream, Create and Celebrate: La Galeria Magazine Print Edition Aims to Redefine the Dominican Experience in the US

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