What’s Current: El Salvador court upholds murder conviction of woman who had a stillbirth

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

Salvadoran women take part in a demonstration to demand the decriminalisation of abortion in San Salvador on 23 February 2017. (Image: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images)
  • An El Salvador appeal court has upheld the murder conviction and 30-year sentence of Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, who testified that in 2007 she experienced a stillbirth. Vásquez was accused of inducing a late term abortion and convicted of aggravated murder.
  • The RCMP has announced that they will review every sexual assault report since 2015 that did not result in a charge being laid. Nationwide, around 25,000 cases will be reviewed.
  • A 2013 police report shows that Curtis Wayne Sagmoen was accused of, but never charged with, beating a woman in prostitution with a hammer. The police report concluded “It appears [the male] was ripped off by a known Surrey prostitute. Neither want to pursue the matter.” Sagmoen is currently facing charges for another violent attack on a prostituted woman in Salmon Arm. The remains of a missing teenaged girl were recently found on his farm.
  • In the UK, Essex police are defending a social media campaign that features stories of women who “wanted to stay in a relationship where less harmful abuse was taking place” and who had “found safety and happiness doing that.”
  • Wayne Jones, a Toronto pastor, has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women parishioners. The court found that Jones coerced the women by telling them that “sexual intercourse with him was part of a larger spiritual plan”
  • The NYPD has launched an investigation into Russell Simmons after three women told the New York Times that he raped them.
Lisa Steacy
Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy is an Assistant Editor at Feminist Current. She has a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. However, the women she met in her five years as a frontline worker and collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter deserve almost all of the credit for her feminist education. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and their cats.

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  • lk

    I went to the living well essex site that is linked in the guardian article:
    https://www.livingwellessex.org/55-plus

    I watched the videos and the end of each one says : “Leave or stay safe in your relationship, whatever you decide to do, we’re here for you.”

    This line from the article sums up the problem perfectly: “The message that a woman can safely stay in a relationship that is or has been abusive is extremely dangerous.”

    By definition, isnt an abusive relationship also unsafe? I don’t understand what it means even to say you have a safe and abusive relationship.

    “Essex police attracted further criticism after writing on their Facebook page that the stories included people who had left abusive relationships and those who “wanted to stay in a relationship where less harmful abuse was taking place” and had “found safety and happiness doing that”.”

    Less harmful abuse? Again, what does that really mean…abuse (in any amount) is harmful..shouldn’t the aim be to help women get out of relationships where there is any abuse, not just where there is less abuse?

    I do want women to feel supported and not alone/isolated when they are in an abusive relationship, but it just feels wrong to even suggest that a woman can have true safety in an abusive relationship.

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    From the article about Sagmoen:

    “The event was marked “unfounded” and it wasn’t sent to crown counsel to consider the laying of any charges.”

    HE HIT A WOMAN ON THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER IN FRONT OF WITNESSES.

  • fxduffy

    Essex: In very specific case maybe… but a public campaign is blatantly sexist. What is relatively mild or lesser abuse? Is it shoving a woman across a bed, rather than punching her in the face? As with sexual objectification, we know there are continuums and we make personal adjustments with this in mind, but this is distinctly different from advocating the public acceptance of lesser abuse.

    And for god’s sake, why the hell should a city police force be pushing for greater leniency on the part of women toward their not-so-extremely-abusive “partners?” They should be the last to lead, because they only act on battered women’s behalf, when they do it all, because they are driven to by public outrage.

    There are already way too many women locked into these marriages. Many have no one or no place to turn to and, at least in my local area, their very last resort is the police.

  • Omzig Online

    Slightly off-topic, but I thought this was inspiring and funny. Solidarity, sisters!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YuSTkDufasg

    • John Kane

      Oh my God Omzig! You’re the greatest!

    • M. Zoidberg

      Fucking lame, men of Mexico.
      Fucking awesome, women of Mexico!!

    • OldPolarBear

      La estupidez es global, Samantha. LOL she got that right!

      Thanks for posting this vid Omzig; I am sharing it around.

  • thebewilderness

    I suppose the police think this is the appropriate response to the fact that the abuser is more likely to kill when women leave.

    • lk

      You’re probably right.

      Wouldn’t it make more sense for the police to just focus on offering women better/more protection/support and better/more monitoring/conviction of abusive men after they have left?

      The whole message just smacks of the idea that women should just give up on having intimate relationships free of abuse and just learn to be happy in a less abusive relationship.

      I wonder if part of this is fueled by police not wanting to deal with repeat dv calls..like if a woman can remain in a less abusive relationship then that means she won’t call the police as often?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Have you tried clearing your cache and cookies and restarting your browser? A couple of other people had this issue last week (I have no idea why — I haven’t seen it on my end so haven’t been able to determine the issue), but it resolved itself when they did that. Let me know if you continue to have the issue! Sorry for the trouble!

  • Wren

    Ehh, they can be offered support and still be in the relationship (support shouldn’t be dependent on leaving, as leaving puts the woman in more danger sometimes) but no organization should be lying to them and telling them they are “safe.” They should be very clear that the woman will NEVER be safe until she gets far away from an abuser. This is the truth, and anything else is actually confusing and another form of gaslighting.

  • Meghan Murphy

    This is so strange! But thank you for the info. I’ll let our web person know. It’s tough to figure out the problem, as neither of us have been able to replicate the problem on our end. I and our web person have been testing the site on Firefox and Safari, both on desktop and mobile, and haven’t encountered the problem, so are having trouble figuring out what is happening. I wonder if it’s just an issue of updating the browser or something? We will keep looking into it either way. Sorry for the trouble!

    • Wren

      I’ve had it happen on chrome too, but it’s ok right now.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Ok thanks for letting me know!

  • lk

    I have the same experience as u, it only happens sometimes.