AtTransparency International, we recognise female anti-corruption fighters — including fierce advocates from our movement — each and every day, but this International Women’s Day we want to get real in honour of women who are often unable to stand up against abuses of power.
You’ve heard us say over and over again that women are disproportionately affected by corruption. This week, we took a closer look at sextortion — a distinct phenomenon occurring at the intersection of corruption and sexual abuse.
Sextortion is a silent form of gendered corruption preying on women in rich as well as low-income countries. We found evidence that sextortion affects women of all ages and in all areas of life; women who are vulnerable because of their socioeconomic situations, but also established professionals.
Sextortion has been largely ignored, under-reported and unpunished because those who abuse power take advantage of legislative gaps and the stigmatising nature of sexual abuse that prevents it from being reported.
This must stop.
As the first order of business, we need to break the silence on this often-ignored issue and make sure the victims and survivors receive the help and support they need.
Next, we need specific laws that better address these abuses and guarantee redress for victims and survivors.
Finally, and most importantly, we need to tackle the power asymmetries in our societies that enable sextortion as well as other forms of corruption.
Gendered corruption continues to deepen gender equality, disempower women and violate human rights. This will change if we gather more data on how corruption affects women, remove barriers to women’s participation in politics and put their perspectives at the heart of anti-corruption policies.
What do you think? Let us know @anticorruption.
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