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JASS Movements Newsletter

March 2014

Dear Friends,

Happy International Women's Day! A big theme around the world is violence against women and how to stop it, and despite some grim realities, we're actually feeling optimistic. First, let's acknowledge how much progress has been made – laws, policies, services, task forces, research, training, and even phone apps! Though uneven, there is awareness that violence is wrong and unacceptable – in homes, in wars, in the military, in schools, at workplaces, at parties, on buses, and in intimate relationships. While blaming the victim remains a constant, and even as new and horrendous forms of violence come to light, so too are new voices, new strategies, new data, new tools. At JASS, we're excited to contribute to all of this, and we're happy to see how many boys and men have joined us to end gender-based violence and even grapple with patriarchy at its core. We're excited about the actors, rock stars, writers and artists who are lending their creative power to this tsunami. So, this March 8th join us in celebrating how far we've come, and the many women activists and feminist movements who've gotten us this far. Let's feel the change and continue to support the kind of collective power that keeps activists going and makes the world better and safer for everyone.

As always, we thank you for your support and solidarity.

Lisa VeneKlasen & the JASS community

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Young Activists Push for Change in Cambodia

Sophoan Chan, International Women's Day, Phnom Penh

On the eve of International Women's Day, the Cambodian government blocked an effort by Cambodian women activists to finalize a "Women's Demands Paper" by pressuring the university which was hosting their meeting to cancel the booking. Government crackdowns against citizens and political opposition rallies are becoming commonplace in the country. Most recently, protests for higher wages for garment-factory workers and against land evictions were met with violence by security forces. Read more

Zimbabwean Women Say "No more" to Rape, Again

"I cannot accept a rose from anyone as long as there's a woman out there being abused," was the rallying cry of the hundreds of Zimbabweans that took to the streets to protest against violence against women as part of the global One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign on February 14th. The march that captured the attention of the nation was a vivid example of the creative ways that women are standing up to say enough is enough, even in a country where continued repression makes speaking out dangerous. Read more

End Rape Now, Zimbabwe

Activists & Donors Unite Against Violence

Women Human Right Defenders
photo credit: Consorcio Oaxaca

"We are united in our diversity by a common experience of repression," explained Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic at an unusual gathering between 30 women human rights defenders in Central America and Mexico and 40 donors committed to advancing social justice and human rights. This unique convening provided the opportunity to build new alliances to strengthen and sustain the Mesoamerica Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative and the women activists involved in it. Read more

WOMEN CROSSING THE LINE: I Learned Resistance at my Mother's Feet

For young Zimbabwean feminist writer Hellen Matsvisi, there is something truly powerful about telling women's stories that celebrate rebellion or crossing the line in their daily lives: "When I tell my mother's story, I tell it with power and courage, not from the point of view of a sobbing, helpless and defeated being. She is a role model and an inspiration. But most importantly, she is the hero of her own story and not just a victim." Read more

Helen Matsvisi, Zimbabwe