Philippine President Duterte Under Fire for Saying He 'Touched' Maid
Straits Times - Manila, Phillipines, 12/30/2018
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte drew outrage after saying he ‘touched’ his maid when he was a teenager, with women's rights groups accusing him of attempted rape and encouraging sexual abuse. Duterte frequently sparks uproar with his comments on women, including rape jokes and boasting about adultery. In his latest remarks, Duterte recounted a confession he had with a priest in high school, detailing how he had touched his maid without her consent. Women's rights political party Gabriela denounced Duterte's ‘repulsive’ comments and called for him to resign, saying he had confessed to attempted rape. Responding to the criticism, Duterte's spokesman said on Sunday that the president had ‘made up’ and ‘added and spliced’ the story.
Shashi Tharoor's Private Member's Bill Seeks to Criminalise Marital Rape
Daily News and Analysis - New Delhi, India, 12/29/2018
Indian parliamentarian, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, has introduced a private member's Bill seeking to criminalise marital rape, to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, and to provide for free sanitary napkins to women across the country. The Women's Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill 2018 aims to give more agency to women. "Marital rape must be criminalised to eliminate the loss of a woman's sexual independence post marriage. Further, unrelated facts about a woman's life such as caste, profession, clothing preference, personal opinion and past sexual conduct, among others should not be factors in presuming her sexual consent," the statement of the Bill states. “The Bill seeks to restore a woman's autonomy, married or otherwise, including her sexual, reproductive and menstrual rights," said Tharoor.
Malaysian Activists Condemn Assault of Two Men Accused of Homosexuality
Today Online - Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 12/28/2018
LGBTQ activists on December 27, 2018, condemned the violent assault of two young men after they were beaten up by several unknown assailants for allegedly having sex in a car. LGBTQ activist Numan Afifi Saadan, who shared the video, which has since gone viral, chastised the act of violence against the LGBT community and said it needed to stop. In the 96-second video, several individuals believed to be security guards can be heard in the background verbally abusing the duo while cursing them in Malay and calling them an ‘embarrassment’. The video has since been shared at least 1,200 times and viewed over 88,000 times. Local LGBT rights group, PELANGI Campaign, also condemned the violent assault on the two young men, and so did multiple human rights lawyers.
Thai Government Approves Draft to Legalise Same-Sex Civil Union
Business Standard - Bangkok, Thailand, 12/26/2018
The Thailand Government has approved a draft legislation to allow same-sex civil unions, a step which could make it the first Asian country to recognise such partnerships once the bill is passed, official sources said on December 26, 2018. The Government approved the Civil Partnership Bill on December 25, 2018, though officials said no date has been fixed yet for the legislation to be presented in the National legislative Assembly for a debate and approval, as the State Council was still reviewing its details. This bill has been in discussion for more than ten months now, and its approval from the legislative assembly would prove historic for LGBTQ rights both in the country and in the Global South region.
Trans Persons Can Now File Sexual Harassment Complaints under IPC, Delhi HC Rules
The News Minute, India, 12/26/2018
The Delhi High Court, in what seems to be an inclusive move, has ruled that section 354A of the Indian Penal Code can now be used by transgender persons to register complaints of sexual harassment. This came as the High Court heard a petition by a transgender student from Delhi University who wanted to lodge a sexual harassment complaint, but was not entertained by the police. The petitioner argued that interpretation of the section 354A in a way that it denies protection to someone who does not conform to the gender binary of ‘woman’ is a violation of the complainant’s fundamental rights. The Delhi police has now registered the petitioner’s FIR under section 354A of the IPC and proceeded to investigate the case.