Women wearing traditional Korean dress in Pyongyang. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

A new Human Rights Watch report released this week uncovers rampant sexual assault throughout North Korea.

Why it matters: While it's not entirely surprising that the imbalance of power in North Korea is drastic, the report provides a detailed account of what women face in the country, which the report describes as "endemic." According to HRW, which spoke with 54 North Koreans who left the country after 2011, sexual violence has become a "part of ordinary life."

The details: One of the women they interviewed, Oh Jung Hee who worked in trade, told HRW that men consider women "[sex] toys," and women "cannot survive without having men with power near them."

  • Women in North Korea are "socialized to feel powerless, to demand accountability for sexual abuse and violence, and to feel ashamed when they are victims of abuse," the report says.
  • Women who work in trading — which is an increasingly female-dominated industry — experience a higher risk of abuse and harassment. The women interviewed by HRW said the only way to avoid it is "give up hopes of expanding one’s business and barely scrape by, be born to a powerful father with money and connections, marry a man with power, or become close to one."

The big picture: While the #MeToo movement is re-shaping the conversation about sexual assault and harassment around the rest of the world, it hasn't even scratched the surface in North Korea, where women are continuing to suffer under a brutal dictatorship with no end in sight.

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Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected in a 5-3 decision Monday Wisconsin Democrats' request to reinstate an extension of the deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they're postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.

Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett before a meeting on Capitol Hill on Oct. 21. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 52-48 on Monday to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She is expected to be sworn in within hours.

Why it matters: President Trump and Senate Republicans have succeeded in confirming a third conservative justice in just four years, tilting the balance of the Supreme Court firmly to the right for perhaps a generation.

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