By Wang Xiadong (China Daily)
Although men are still the biggest online consumers of sex products, an increasing number of women in China bought such products in the past year, according to a report released on Monday by online medical and health provider AliHealth.
The report was based on data from last year acquired from retail platforms owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said Hu Nan, a public relations manager for AliHealth, of which Alibaba holds a majority share. The retail platforms included popular shopping websites Taobao and Tmall, which altogether have more than 400 million registered users.
Last year, consumers used more than 10 million different key words when searching for sex products online, such as sex underwear and inflatable doll, according to the report.
Judge: Rape facilitates a natural society where men are protectors
The report, which covered consumers between ages 18 and 59, said that males accounted for 64 percent of all sex product consumption last year on the platforms, although different age groups tended to buy different types of products.
For example, those born after 1985 mostly bought condoms, while purchase of other sex products, such as sex perfumes and toys, increased among older age groups, the report said. This is because older people have sex less frequently but have higher demand for products that can improve the quality of sex, it added.
The report also said that women were generally more likely than men to prefer buying sex products for their partners.
The report said the number of women buying sex products online continued to increase last year, and in Henan, Qinghai and the Tibet autonomous region, the number of women buying sex products in the second half of 2015 increased by more than 14 percent from the first half of the year. That was the fastest increase of all regions in China, it said.
Festivals related to romance also had a remarkable boost on the public’s interest in and sales of sex products. For example, sales of condoms increased significantly for festivals such as qixi, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, which falls on the seventh day of July on the lunar calendar.
“It is reasonable that more women are turning to sex products in China with the development of society,” said Zhang Zhichao, a doctor of andrology at Peking University First Hospital.
“Traditionally, Chinese women play a passive part in the two-sex relations, but … more are turning to sex products for a more satisfied sex life,” he said. “It is also a sign of social progress.”
Possible scenario: Same-sex marriage in Kenya before political federation
Africa, December 17, 2011 – The East African
Two weeks ago, Kenya’s Institute of Economic Affairs released a remarkable document. The brief, entitled KEYS: Kenya Youth Scenarios, is an attempt to grapple with the future of Kenya through the unique lens of the country’s youth demographic. The project revolves around the generation of “scenarios” that posit different futures for Kenya over the next two decades.
These scenarios are, to be sure, highly speculative, based as much on social and economic trends as on the beliefs and prejudices of Kenyan youth at this particular historical moment. But their purpose is not to prognosticate. They are intended to stoke a broad public debate about the direction of the country, and how to get from here to where citizens want to be. They deserve a hearing, if only as one therapy for what Dr Kituyi recently called, in the Sunday Nation, Kenya’s “national malaise”: a failure to embrace serious dialogue.
KEYS is packed with more information than can possibly be summarised here. But a few salient points stand out.
First, Kenya’s youth feel alienated by the political system. This appears to be true across the country, but particularly so in Coast, Northeastern and Central provinces. They do not feel that the current leadership represents their interests, and they are fluent with conspiracy theories about the use of drugs and alcohol to render them impotent in national politics. Their distrust of politicians leads to doubts about the speed with which Kenya’s constitution will be fully implemented.
Second, and of particular interest for readers of this newspaper, Kenyan youth are, at least in the short-term, unenthused about political federation within the East African Community. In the most optimistic of the four national scenarios (the “Ocean” and “Waterfall” scenarios), Kenyans begin to accept and push for political federation only after 2026. In the other two scenarios, political federation fares much worse: it is rejected consistently over the course of the next two decades.
This yields two important observations about the future of the EAC. First, the inevitability with which EAC leaders describe Monetary Union and Political Federation is divorced from the reality of how regionalisation is perceived by Kenyan youth. In particular, the scenarios suggest that if Kenya does not resolve issues of growing inequality between its regions and citizens, the country will turn against federation.
This is at odds with the way in which the European Union has evolved. The larger Union has actually driven equalisation, utilising EU funds to support development in poorer regions within each EU country. Regional inequality within countries has not undermined the Union; in some ways, it may have bolstered its legitimacy.
Kenyan youth, perhaps reasonably, seem to have little faith that the EAC will follow the EU route: unless Kenya’s national politics are transformed, federation will continue to be viewed with deep scepticism.
The second important insight comes from a reflection on developments in the Eurozone over the past two weeks more than the scenarios themselves. The Eurozone crisis has revealed (again) the critical need for some type of Political Federation, or at least political agreement, to support Monetary Union. The notion of Monetary Union without political union is misguided: there is no hard line between monetary and fiscal policy, and no reason to believe that the EAC can implement a Monetary Union without at least embracing binding EAC-wide agreements on fiscal policy of the type embraced by all EU countries except Britain last week. If the most optimistic Kenyan scenarios envision greater political federation only by the 2020s, then the confident assertions of Monetary Union by next year are Pollyanish.
It may come as a surprise that Political Federation is actually less palatable than same-sex marriage in most of these scenarios. In the Ocean scenario, which is the most optimistic for the EAC (ie, federation actually occurs before the period ends), a constitutional amendment in favour of gay marriage is passed into Kenyan law in 2026, before the EAC Political Federation slated for 2031. In other scenarios, while the EAC flounders, same-sex marriage advances through the decade of the 2020s, as the traditional family recedes, and women advance into more positions of power. From this perspective, the current row over tying aid to gay rights looks irrelevant. It may be that long-term processes will both reduce the significance of aid, and alter African’s cultural perceptions, as they have only very recently in Europe and America.
To repeat, one cannot make too much of these scenarios as predictions. Nor are they based on polling respondents in a scientific or representative way. Their value lies in the fact that they represent an attempt by a diverse set of youths to discuss and deliberate about the future. They raise questions for the rest of us, but the answers must be provided through the dialogue they provoke.
New trauma unit to help escaped Islamic State sex slaves
Egypt, February 23, 2017 – Egypt Independent
After their rape and torture by Islamic State extremists for months or years, Yazidi women face ongoing suffering from psychological trauma even if they do manage to escape.
Until now, a lack of psychiatrists and other mental health specialists in northern Iraq meant that many Yazidi women — a minority singled out for especially harsh treatment by IS — got little or no help. That’s about to change with the establishment of a new psychological training center at the University of Dohuk in Iraq, the first in the entire region.
For Perwin Ali Baku, who escaped IS two weeks ago after more than two years in captivity, that can’t come soon enough. The trauma of being bought and sold from fighter to fighter and carted from Iraq to Syria and then back again weighs heavy on both her body and her mind.
Today, when a door slams, the 23-year-old Yazidi woman flashes back to her captors locking away her 3-year-old daughter, captured with her, to torment her. When she hears a loud voice, she cringes at the thought of IS militants barking orders.
“I don’t feel right,” she said, sitting on a mattress on the floor of her father-in-law’s small, canvas-topped Quonset hut in a northern Iraq refugee camp. “I still can’t sleep. My body is tense all the time.”
The training center is the next phase of an ambitious project funded by the wealthy German state of Baden Wuerttemberg that brought 1,100 women who had escaped Islamic State captivity, primarily Yazidis, to Germany for psychological treatment. The medical head of that project, German psychologist Jan Kizilhan, is also the driving force behind the new institute, which opens at the end of the month.
The program will train local mental health professionals to treat people like Perwin and thousands of Yazidi women, children and other Islamic State victims.
About 1,900 Yazidis have escaped the clutches of IS, but more than 3,000 other women and children are believed to still be held captive, pressed into sexual slavery and subjected to horrific abuse. As the fighting rages on between Iraqi forces and IS in Mosul, only about 75 kilometers from Dohuk, the number reaching freedom increases daily.
Right now there are only 26 psychiatrists practicing in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, which has a population of 5.5 million people and more than 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced people. None specializes in treating trauma.
Perwin received brief, basic counseling after being freed December 30 from IS near Mosul — “they asked ‘Do you sleep well?’ and I said ‘No, I can’t sleep well'” — but nothing else. She looks to her toddler, dressed in a red sweatsuit with her hair in pigtails fastened by cherry bobbles, who popped into the tent only to beat a hasty retreat when she saw strangers.
The child has received no treatment at all.
“She’s always scared,” Perwin said. “And she’s had nothing more than cough medicine.”
Fighters from the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, swept into the Sinjar region of northern Iraq in August 2014, an area near the Syrian border that is the Yazidis’ ancestral home.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis escaped to Mount Sinjar, where they were surrounded and besieged by Islamic State militants. The US, Iraq, Britain, France and Australia flew in water and other supplies, until Kurdish fighters eventually opened a corridor to allow some of them to reach safety.
Casualty estimates vary widely, but the United Nations has called the Islamic State assault genocide, saying the Yazidis’ “400,000-strong community had all been displaced, captured or killed.” Of the thousands captured by IS, boys were forced to fight for the extremists, men were executed if they didn’t convert to Islam — and often executed in any case — and women and girls were sold into slavery.
Those lucky enough to escape are left with deep psychological scars. Kizilhan, a trauma specialist and also a university professor and Mideast expert, has been working tirelessly to help them find support.
“We are talking about general trauma, we are talking about collective trauma and we are talking about genocide,” said Kizilhan, who is of Yazidi background and immigrated to Germany at age 6. “That’s the reason we have to help if we can — it’s our human duty to help them.”
The new Institute of Psychotherapy and Psychotraumatology at Dohuk University, in cooperation with Germany’s University of Tuebingen, will train 30 new professionals over three years. The hope is to extend the program to other regional universities, so after 10 years there could be more than 1,000 psychotherapists in the region.
The first class is made up of 17 women and 13 men, Muslims, Christians and Yazidis, with backgrounds in psychology, nursing, social work and teaching.
Galavej Jaafar Mohemmad, a Kurdish native of Dohuk who was chosen for the inaugural class, already has some psychological training but said she wants more.
“Iraq has moved from one war to another war, but this time is the worst that has ever happened to humans — that’s why I want to help,” the 45-year-old said. “Even for the women who have come back from Daesh, Daesh has taken their kids, their husbands — they’re free but they don’t feel free.”
In the Sharya camp, one of about two dozen sprawling facilities for internally displaced people in the Dohuk area, 39-year-old Gorwe has just been visited by two sisters-in-law who are receiving treatment in Kizilhan’s program in Germany. Psychological treatment has helped them, but she said it “is no use” for her.
“No matter how many doctors I see, I’ll still have the same pain inside me,” said Gorwe, who asked that her last name not be used out of fear that the Islamic State would harm her relatives still in captivity.
Twenty-four of her family members were taken by Islamic State militants, including herself, but only 14 — all women and children — have returned. The fate of the other 10, including her husband and four of her children, are unknown.
“I will never forget what happened to us as they were selling us and buying us and beating us, I think about it all the time,” she said. “How could you forget?”
Living with HIV and sexual bliss
Kenya, December 3, 2007 – Afrik News
contracting HIV is often viewed as an event that brings a sex life to a screeching halt, but Africans of diverse age groups have been called upon to go back to their sexuality and live safe and normal lives.
« I contracted this virus [HIV] through sexual relations, so i thought my sex life was over and done with, i thought i had to stop wearing nice and sexy clothes whilst awaiting death », Florence Anam, 28 years, in charge of communication for the network of Kenyan women living with HIV, said in an interview with IRIN/PlusNews Madam Anam says that, in the begining when she told people that she was HIV positive, lots of men avoided her, thinking that she was going to infect them. She herself lost all interest in sex months after her diagnosis. She has since discovered that she can continue having and appreciating sexual relations, inspite of her HIV status. « In my opinion one can have only one sexuality… one should not lose it because of one’s HIV status, one must simply be responsible », she said, adding that for herself, sexual relations « should be good otherwise i don’t have them».
In a recent workshop organised by the African Regional Sexuality Resource Centre (ARSRC),on sexuality at the institute located in the coastal town of Mombassa, Kenya, the questtion of the need to reconsider sexuality in the disease context, particularly in the case of chronic infections like HIV, was raised.
« HIV holds a very moral connotation. Those infected are stigmatised because they are seen as having been sexually immoral », said Richmond Tiemoko, director of ARSRC. « women are mostly affected by this type of stigmatisation because we imagine them to be the overseers of social morality, so contracting HIV is seen as an immense failure in their lives ».
There is an important consideration that people living with HIV know and stand for their rights to sexuality and sex.
Right to sexuality
The Institute of sexuality organises a forum for african health professionals to allow them deliberate on how to encourage more positive attitudes vis-à-vis sexuality on the continent. « We think that to reduce HIV and promote healthy lifestyles, we need to adopt a positive outlook on sex and sexuality», explained Mr. Tiemoko. « Deliberations on subjects like, sexual violence, stigmatisation, self esteem and HIV helps the population to have a deeper understanding of their sexuality, thus making it less of a taboo ».
Researchers, Civil servants and members of local NGO’s took part in the Mombassa workshop, under the Theme Health and AIDS. They were advised to include topics on safe sex in their programmes directed at people living with the HIV virus.
« When i tested positive to HIV, i considered sex to be dirty and blamed myself for my misfortune», said Asunta Wagura, executive director for the Kenyan Women living with HIV network, in a recent interview with the magazine Sexuality in Africa, an ARSRC publication. « I suppresed my sexual feelings for a longtime, until i could not stand it anymore which made me say openly that ‘i am a human being with feelings and sexual needs, which have to be met without having to feel sorry » she said. Madam Wagura, who revealed her HIV status publicly, started a controversy when she decided to have a child in 2006. Her son was born in good health and has until now been tested negative. « i was critisised everywhere… The idea was that people living with HIV/AIDS should not think about having children, because children implies having sex» she said.
Expressing herself during the workshop, doctor Sylvia Tamale, matron of law at the University of Makerere in Uganda, emphasised that there was a « disconnection » between sex in a medical point of view and sex for pleasure… « there is the need to « miseducate » and review certain lessons that the society teaches us, and open peoples mental scopes». She also said that advice on sexuality could do a lot to help change perceptions.
The ARSRC organises workshops in different locations every year (Egypte, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa). The workshop in Mombassa was organised in collaboration with its Kenyan counterpart, The Population council, an international organisation for genesic health.
17 homosexuals face charges in Cameroon
Africa, July 25, 2016, Afrol
A group of 15 men, allegedly gay, and two alleged lesbians has been held detained at a police station in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, for over one month. Being arrested in a bar known to be frequented by homosexuals, the 17 are to be sent to court tomorrow. If found guilty of homosexual activities, they could face up to five years’ imprisonment.
According to the Cameroonian press and pro-gay organisations, gendarmes from the Nlongka Brigade on 21 arrested 15 men at a Yaoundé night club known to be frequented by gay men. Two young women, allegedly a lesbian couple, had been arrested several days earlier – an incident which according to the Cameroonian newspaper ‘Mutations’ led to the police action against the night club.
According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the 17 alleged homosexuals had been detained as part of a police crack-down on homosexuality. “The 17 have been charged with sodomy and all or part of the group remain in detention at Kondengui Central Prison,” IGLHRC reports. ‘Mutations’ in its edition of today added that the group will be taken to court tomorrow.
The newspaper had spoken to some of the detained this weekend, several of which openly stated that they were homosexuals. Others denied the accusations, claiming they had been forced into a homosexual relationship. The journalist especially referred to diverging statements from the alleged lesbian couple.
Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Cameroon, according to national laws, but this legislation inherited from French colonial rule barely has been effective in the country. According to Cameroon’s sodomy law, both same-sex male and female sexual contact is illegal.
The Cameroonian Penal Code criminalises sexual contacts with members of the same sex with a penalty of 6 months to 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to CFA 200,000. If one of the persons involved is under the age of 21 the penalty is doubled, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).
IGLHRC last week said it was “concerned” about the fate of the arrested. The rights group, working with a coalition of human rights activists in Africa, had already petitioned the government of Cameroon for the immediate release of the detainees with regard to the sodomy charges. IGLHRC holds that Cameroon’s sodomy legislation contradicts international conventions signed by Cameroon that guarantee all citizens freedom from discrimination, the right to privacy and the right to freedom of association and assembly.
Also in Cameroon, several individuals have fought for the release of the 17 alleged homosexuals. A Paris-based gay Cameroonian singer on tour in Yaoundé last week reportedly organised protests in front of the police station, threatening to name and shame closeted gay Cameroonian politicians and businessmen. The gay artist, know only as Ayissi, allegedly had achieved the release of some few persons, although this is not confirmed.
Pak HC in New Delhi informed of death penalty to Pak national
India, January 14, 2017 -The News
HYDERABAD: The Telangana Prisons Department has informed the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi about the death penalty awarded to Pakistani national Ziaur Rahman alias Waqas by the Special NIA Court in the February 2013 Hyderabad bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives.
Describing the case as the “rarest of the rare”, the Special NIA Court at the Cherlapally Central Prison here on December 19 had awarded capital punishment to five key operatives of the Indian Mujahideen, including the banned terror outfit’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and Ziaur Rahman.
“Information (with regard to death penalty to the Pakistani national) has already been dispatched to the Pakistan Embassy,” a senior official of the Telangana Prisons said.
On December 13, the court had convicted the five operatives Muhammad Ahmed Sidibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal, Ziaur Rahman alias Waqas, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu and Ajaz Shaikh.
The convicts have gone for an appeal in the high court.
As many as 18 people were killed and 131 injured in two deadly explosions in Dilsukhnagar, a crowded shopping area in the city, on February 21, 2013.
According to NIA, Riyaz Bhatkal, the prime accused in the case, who is absconding, arranged explosive substances and directed Asadullah Akhtar and Ziaur Rahman at Mangalore to receive the same. After receiving the explosive materials and money sent by Riyaz through Hawala and money transfer channels, Asadullah Akhtar and Rahman reached Hyderabad and joined Tahseen Akhtar who was already hiding there.
Together they prepared two IEDs after procuring the other required materials as well as two cycles for mounting the IEDs from Hyderabad, the agency said. After preparation of the IEDs on February 21, 2013, they mounted them on two bicycles and planted them in two places in Dilsukhnagar, which resulted in a powerful explosion.