Safe World for Women Logo

Compassion In Kenya


Compassion CBO

Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas of Kenya and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo



COFAPRI is based in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Grassroots News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…

pregnant-inmate-shacklesPregant woman in shackles | Photo:

Stop Shackling Pregnant Prisoners!

Alex Berg | Daily BeastAlex Berg As doctors argue that cuffing pregnant inmates during labor leads to serious health risks for mothers and babies, states are finally banning the controversial practice, reports Alex Berg.

From the moment her daughter was born, Kellie Phelan, 37, felt like an embarrassment. It wasn’t that she’d hid her pregnancy from her family, or even that she spent part of it behind bars at Rikers Island. Rather, Phelan was mortified by the metal cuff that bound her leg to her bed during labor at New York’s Elmhurst Hospital—the same cuff that shackled her swollen ankles together during the ambulance ride over.

Phelan’s experience is not unique. In 36 states, it is legal to shackle pregnant inmates during labor and not uncommon to cuff a woman’s limbs to a hospital bed until delivery. Due to health risks to both mother and child, however, a growing number of states are banning the practice with anti-shackling bills.

This year alone, 16 states introduced bills that would restrict the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners at varying points perinatally. Of those states, Hawaii, Idaho, Rhode Island, and Nevada passed bills to join the ranks of 10 others that, at the very least, ban shackling during labor (a ban already exists in federal prisons). And, most recently, a woman in Tennessee was awarded $200,000 after she sued the state for being shackled when she went into labor shortly after she was arrested for driving without a license.

More than 180,000 pregnant women in US jails

According to Malika Saada Saar, founder and executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, little data exists on babies born to incarcerated mothers—yet the Women’s Prison Association reported that 4 percent of women in state prisons and 3 percent of women in federal prisons were pregnant when they were jailed in 2004. Since 1980, the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. has increased eightfold, from 12,300 to more than 180,000, according to the ACLU.

Phelan counts herself among the women locked up as a result of America’s war on drugs, which is largely responsible for the spike in female prisoners. “When I was seven months pregnant, every day [it was] crack cocaine. I was smoking crack. From the second she was conceived, I put her through hell,” Phelan said of her daughter, Savannah Grace, who is now 4 years old.

Shackling refers to the use of restraints anywhere on a pregnant prisoner’s body, from binding her hands and feet to chaining her abdomen. Pregnant prisoners’ arms and legs are usually shackled with metal handcuffs during transportation, then cuffed directly to their hospital bed by an arm and a leg in the delivery room.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the United Nations have condemned the practice, citing the serious health risks posed to mother and infant. Eli Adashi, a professor of medical science at Brown University and member of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, said these risks grow with each advancing stage of pregnancy. During the inevitable transportation between a prison and medical facility, merely walking while shackled could lead to a fall due to changes in balance and weight.

I could barely walk

When Rachel Sutton, 28, was transported from Ohio to New York while six months pregnant in 2009, both her hands and feet were cuffed for the duration of the five-and-a-half-hour trip. During a stop at a gas station, one hand was uncuffed while Sutton used the bathroom. “I could barely walk,” Sutton, who was incarcerated for criminal sales of a controlled substance, told The Daily Beast. “They had to keep stopping because I was out of breath, first of all, because I was huge and I couldn’t even really walk in shackles because they were so small.”

The challenges of shackling become more urgent in the delivery room, where it’s vital for a woman to move around early in labor to appease pain and expedite delivery. Should an emergency arise, including the need for a cesarean section, precious seconds are lost uncuffing a woman, potentially preventing a doctor from delivering necessary care, said Maureen Phipps, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University.

“Anyone who has had a baby knows it’s almost impossible to sit still. So, depending on how the woman is shackled, it’s incredibly debilitating. If her feet are shackled—if she’s forced to stay on her back, it can put stress on the baby’s heart,” said Tina Cassidy, a maternal-health advocate and author of Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

Beyond the physical burden, shackles double as a scarlet letter. When Phelan visited her newborn daughter after giving birth, she walked through the hospital hallway with her feet cuffed together, clad in an orange jumpsuit emblazoned with the Department of Corrections insignia. “Here are all these proud parents with their babies looking at me like I’m a convict,” she said (which, to be fair, she was at the time). “Here I am looking at Savannah like this is a miracle, looking like I’m saved but so sad.”

Comments are now closed for this entry