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IGLHRC (INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION) REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN ASIA

in ASIA, 12/02/2010

Violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression against non-heteronormative women in Asia

Lesbians, bisexual women and transgender (LBT) people in Asia experience forced institutionalization in mental rehabilitation clinics, electro shock treatment as aversion therapy, sexual harassment in school and at work, threats of rape to make you straight, school expulsions, eviction by landlords, police kidnapping, family violence, and media stigmatization. Lesbians face discrimination in the workplace because of their gender and their sexual orientation. Employment and job promotions are denied if women look too masculine. Male coworkers stalk and sexually harass lesbians who cannot report for fear of backlash and retaliation. Transgender/gender variant people are marginalized in their jobs, and are targeted for blackmail, harassment, and sexual violence from the community or people in positions of authority like the police. Activists who defend the rights of LBT people experience threats to their safety, in some cases, harassment, attacks, even torture and abuse, with police participating in or doing nothing to stop these violations.

Frequently, LBT people in Asia face violence in the “private” sphere—by members of immediate and extended family, community and religious groups.

(...)

Many humanitarian organizations and women’s rights NGOs fail to understand the severity of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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In China, where there is currently no law against domestic violence, the LBT group, Common Language worked on a two-year domestic violence study, funded by the Anti Domestic Violence Network of China Law Society, a government supported organization with the largest network of programs on domestic violence in the country.(...) Lesbians experience revenge rape by boyfriends and husbands to punish them when their sexual orientation is discovered or revealed. Both husbands of lesbians in heterosexual marriages and parents of lesbians rationalize the use of physical violence to “pull lesbians back to normal track.”

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In India, violence experienced by heterosexual women parallels violence experienced by LBT individuals, especially in the family and marriage, with the main difference being that violence is also directed against LBT sexual identities and practices. (...) According to Sahayatrika, an LBT group based in the South Indian state of Kerala, the impact of violence is different because there is no social
recognition of lesbian identities and relationships or changed gender, and in much of India same sex is criminalized. Forms of violence include forced marriage and punishment by family members for exercising sexual choice. Types of punishment include home confinement, family expulsion, denial of economic and material resources, forced psychiatric treatment, and forced termination of education.

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In Indonesia, an LBT youth group, notes, “Violence against women is marginalized in general, violence against LBT is further underrecognized, and violence against young LBT is invisible.”  (...) Instances of violence involve forced marriage, forced institutionalization in psychiatric or religious facilities and physical violence. According to Indonesian LBT activists, perpetrators are usually parents or members of religious groups. In addition, young LBT people experience verbal abuse and bullying in schools by students or teachers, street harassment, and harassment and intimidation by police. Corrective rape also occurs where women are “forced to have sex with a man to cure them” of their non-conforming sexuality or gender identity.

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In Japan, although domestic violence is widely acknowledged as the “most recognized form of violence against women” it only applies to heterosexual women. LBT people experience all the same forms of physical, psychological, verbal and sexual harm as heterosexual women and men but their violators come from a wider spectrum—husbands, boyfriends, same sex partners, immediate and extended family members, homophobic friends, teachers and public authorities.

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In Malaysia, the Domestic Violence Act offers women redress for and protection from violence only within heterosexual marriage. For LBT people, there is the added jeopardy of criminal sanctions against same sex. Activists report that perpetrators of violence against LBT people are mostly family members. Violence is also perpetrated or ordered by religious authorities and members of religious groups

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In Nepal, the Supreme Court ordered parliament to enact legislation that will protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination by the state. However, the national domestic violence law excludes protections for LBT people. According to lesbian activists in Blue Diamond Society (BDS), violence experienced by LBT people includes verbal humiliation and torment, physical assault, forced
marriage, forced reparative therapy to “correct” sexual orientation and gender expression, murder and rape including corrective rape. Violators are usually husbands, immediate or extended family members.

(...)

In Pakistan, LBT activists report that national laws do not recognize the forms or reasons for violence that LBT people experience. Most violence against sexually and gender non-conforming women is committed by family members. It involves forced home confinement, mental and psychological abuse that causes shame and self-hatred, pressure to marry, expulsion from family events, silent treatment by the family, and childhood sexual abuse. In some instances, there are honor killings by the family.

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In the Philippines, Rainbow Rights and Lesbian Advocates Philippines (LeAP) report a “unique kind of gender-based violence, not only because LBT people are women but also because they are third sex and defy the dictates of society. Through the efforts of the women’s movement, there is widespread acknowledgment that violence against women is related to women’s subordinate status
in society and patriarchy.” (...) Perpetrators are usually family members. Other perpetrators include church leaders, students, teachers, employers and co-workers. Young lesbians also experience physical punishment fromparents, corrective rape organized by a family member to “cure” them, forced psychiatric treatment for mental illness, and “pray-overs” by religious groups to “convert” them to heterosexuality - which sometimes leads to suicides.

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In Sri Lanka, the Domestic Violence Act addresses co-habiting people and technically can apply to same sex couples but they may have to hide the relationship, according to the Women’s Support Group (WSG) because Sri Lanka criminalizes same sex relations. To date there is no information on who might have used the law for protection from domestic violence. Most violence against LBT people occurs when immediate and extended family members discover the sexual orientation or gender identity. Penalties include family expulsion, forced home confinement, and denial of any communication with non-family members.

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In Taiwan, despite general awareness that women are the primary targets of violence rooted in a patriarchal culture, there is also confusion and lack of awareness about how to categorize violence directed at people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Gender/Sexuality Rights Association (GSRAT) reports that lesbians and transgender (masculine) youth experience violence not only as women but also as sexual and gender variant people. They are forced into re-education programs to correct their sexuality and gender expression, incarcerated at home by parents who physically batter them, or expelled from the family, and denied family resources.

 

You can download the full report in PDF by clicking the below link.

 

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