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October 5, 2018

Activists Fighting Against Sexual Abuse Win Nobel Peace Prizes

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two people who have been fighting against rape as a means of warfare. Nadia is an Iraqi Yazidi who was captured by ISIS and repeatedly raped and tortured over the course of three months. She became the second youngest woman to win the award after Malala Yousafzai. After she escaped captivity, she became an activist campaigning to end human trafficking and calling on others to take a tough stance against rape as a weapon of war.

Dr. Mukwege is a gynecologist who has developed an expertise in treating victims of rape and sexual abuse carried out during war. He observed that rape is often used as a militant strategy to scare people, force them to flee their villages, and abandon all their possessions. Dr. Mukwege lives in his hospital under the permanent protection of UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege have different stories but share the same desire to campaign against sexual abuse.

Man Sentenced After Slapping Woman in Viral Video

On July 25, a video was uploaded by Marie Laguerre that showed her getting slapped after she confronted a man who was sexually harassing her on the street. In light of the #metoo movement, the video went viral and brought forth discussions about sexual harassment in France. The support shown in the aftermath of the video prompted new legislation that punished perpetrators of this behavior with fines on the spot.

After police found the man from the video, he was fined 2,000 Euros and sentenced to six months in jail. He wasn’t charged for sexual harassment under the new law because the assault happened before it was passed. Instead he was charged for aggravated violence with an object used as a weapon for throwing an ashtray at Ms. Laguerre. Recently, a man was fined under this new law for sexually harassing a woman on a bus in Paris.

Reaching for the Stars in Ethiopia

Beze Tesfaye has been interested in outer space since she was a child growing up in Ethiopia. Living in a rural community without internet, it was difficult to nurture her interests, but she didn’t let that stop her. When it was time to head off to college, she wanted to study astronomy, but instead got assigned chemical engineering. The government uses a lottery system to decide which students study which subjects.

Deciding to pursue another facet of space studies, she quit the engineering program and instead chose to study international relations and global studies. She decided if she couldn’t study astronomy, she could at least work alongside astronomers influencing space policy. Now she’s the manager of the Ethiopian Space Science Society where she organizes education programs for students across 100 schools in Ethiopia. When the path Beze wanted to take was blocked, she simply found another path.