Nov 1, 2018

New report details rampant sexual assault in North Korea

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.

Go deeper

Coronavirus stay-at-home orders crater voter registration efforts

A volunteer looks for persons wanting to register to vote on July 4, 2019 in Santa Fe, N.M. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is scuppering usual "get out the vote" efforts, leading to fears that large swaths of Americans could miss out on this year's elections.

What’s happening: Advocacy groups typically target college campuses, churches, festivals, fairs and other gatherings to seek out people who have yet to register, but many of those places are now closed. Voter registration efforts have largely moved to the internet, but advocates question whether that will be as effective as the person-to-person pitch.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,471,768 — Total deaths: 344,911 — Total recoveries — 2,223,523Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,660,072 — Total deaths: 98,184 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.