1. Togo - 2012
Women from Togo’s opposition party are currently calling for a one-week sex strike in which they will be completely abstinent, with the goal of demanding that the country’s president Faure Gnassingbe, resign. Gnassingbe’s family has ruled the country for over 40 years, which has caused opposition forces to rebel.
The sex strike is a non-violent protest against a wave of violence in Togo:
The women in Togo say they were inspired by previous sex strikes in other countries, like these:
2. Liberia - 2003
During a civil war in the early 2000s, a group of female activists organized Women of Liberia Mass Action For Peace. The non-violent protests were harnessed by group of interfaith women praying and singing. Part of their protest also involved declining sex with Liberian men until the conflict was resolved. The women were successful — they convinced the president of Liberia to engage in peace talks with Ghana, eventually bringing an end to the civil war. One of the organizers, Leymah Gbowee (pictured), won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. There’s also an award-winning documentary, Pray The Devil Back To Hell, about the women.
3. Colombia - 1997
In 1997, a man, not a woman, had the idea for a sex strike. Colombian military general Mañuel Bonnet asked the wives and girlfriends of guerrillas and drug lords to refuse sex until the groups settled their violent conflict.
4. Colombia - 2006
Nearly a decade later, Colombian women from the city of Pereira (pictured) initiated their own strike, declining sex with the large number of men who were involved in gangs. In 2006, there were nearly 500 murders in the city. Crime did go down over 26% following the strike.
5. Kenya - 2009
In 2009, thousands of Kenyan women (including one pictured above) took on a weeklong sex strike as a protest against disagreements between the President and Prime Minister, which were causing unrest and violence. They asked the wives of the two politicians to take part. It’s not clear if they did, but the protest was seen as successful in starting a dialogue.
6. Philippines - 2011
On the Filipino island of Mindanao, local women were fed up with fighting between men from two neighboring villages. It wasn’t just a matter of safety — the one road between the two towns was closed, which made it difficult for women to cross and sell products, hurting their ability to earn an income. The women from the two villages had the idea of telling their husbands they wouldn’t be welcome in the bedroom if they engaged in the fighting. The strike is credited as one of the key factors in bringing peace to the area.