Violence against woman and its impact on familial life

Mr. Ramdan El.Helew, ( from Gaza Center for Psychological Health), focused on the dissemination of violence against woman in the Palestinian community, he talked about the violence concept based on discrimination forms in regards to cultural, societal, economic and political backgrounds.

He pointed to the offenses include domestic violence, rape, incest, child abuse and violent responses to so-called honor crimes, like adultery, that embarrass the clan, family or community, he hinted that the Palestinian community suffer from violence problem pointed to women and girls based on gender.

Mr. El.Helew clarified the factors contributes violence increasing included, poverty, illiteracy level growing, the absence of the religious awareness and human rights toward woman, the negative accumulation of cultural heritage, the community view of woman’s inferiority, the absence of the legal and legislation rights regard to woman and the tumble of the economic conditions. Consequently, those factors contributed largely aggravation of violence inside the family and the whole Palestinian community. Hence, he mentioned the outcomes resulted of violence against woman contribute community’s relationships dissolution.

At the conclusion, the participants recommended to the necessity of providing support, psychological and societal aid and protect for women exposed violence; providing awareness programs through conducting meetings and seminars to empower and strengthen women to face their problems and to make a lobby on decision makers toward modification of the Palestinian Penal law.

Empowerment Women Political and Socio-economic Participation Program

After school program: Weekly Activities

SVF continues After School Program activities for this week in cooperation with the Woman Activity Center – Khanyounis attended by 60 students their age between (12 – 15) years.
The program conducted several workshops daily as follows:

1. Democracy, Good Governance and Rule of Law Corner: several workshops were conducted daily, several activities were applied such as ” rub your mind “, ” child rights and duties “, ” the moral and the law “, ” happened in my life “, ” identified convention concepts: theater sketch, through asking some questions related to law aiming to enhance student awareness of his rights and duties.

2. Parents and sons Dialogue Corner: Several workshops were conducted aimed to reach an understanding and dialogue conditions between parents and sons to enhance the friendly relationship and cooperation inside the family.

3. Educational Support Corner: the children were supported and aided through provided the children with educational support stressed on the difficult subjects and the problems facing them, aimed to improve the student learning and to simplify difficult course in the Palestinian curricula including English, Math and Science subjects.

4. Recreational Corner: the children were activated through practicing entertaining activities such as the hunter man, the teacher said and drawing, aimed to enhance the social relationship among children, the friendship, and the cooperation and promote the free of expression.

· Empowerment Women Political and Socio-economic Participation Program

Workshops:

“Promote women’s steering capacities and democratic civil participation project” Stop Killing women Campaign”

1. SVF held a public meeting in cooperation with “Al.HAyat for Familial progress Association – Khanyounis “on “The Islam and the law view on women killing on social background” on February 18, 2008.

Mr. Mohammad El.Salmy said that due to recent media attention, the problem of “women killings” has come under increasing global scrutiny. In various countries throughout the world, particularly in the Palestinian community, women who bring dishonor to their families because of sexual indiscretions are forced to pay a terrible price at the hands of male family members. Clearly, the prevailing view that devalues and belittles women is derived from socio-cultural factors that are justified by a distorted and erroneous interpretation of religion, especially of Islam.

Unfortunately, the legal safeguards to protect women and men from indiscriminate and unlawful enforcement of presumed Islamic injunctions have been forgotten. Indeed, the legal system and law enforcement agencies including police officers have been implicated in the perpetuation of the problem by their willful lenience towards men who have carried out an assault in the name of “honor” and by their abuse and denigration of women who stand accused.

Mr. El.Salmy called the Muslims to reject this distortion of Islam that is used to violate the most basic Islamic rights of human decency, integrity and justice.

He said that to confront the problem of “women killing on social backgrounds” and other crimes that disproportionately affect women requires a change in attitude that pervades all levels of society where such attacks occur, Muslims leaders can taking an unequivocal stand against behavior that is in direct violation of Islam. In addition, legal reform must occur with the intention to protect the victims and punish the perpetrators, all totally possible within a legitimate Islamic legal framework. Concomitant attention must be paid to meeting basic human needs and solving problems stemming from poverty and illiteracy that are often at the root of disturbing social trends that seek out the most disenfranchised to serve as scapegoats.

2. SVF held a public meeting in cooperation with “Al.Adham Charitable Association – Beit Hanoun “on “The judiciary authority’s role to stop violence against woman” on February 18, 2008, attended by 51 participants of women and graduates.

Mrs. Wafa’ Al.Ashqar, (the lawyer from the Alquods Center – Beit Hanoun provided a definitions for domestic violence, physical domestic violence, psychological family abuse and sexual domestic violence, and the reasons lead to violence dissemination against women included the security tumble, the absence of law and the cultural factors contributes to increasing violence in all its forms. She pointed to the absence of the judiciary role at defending woman rights and issues.

She referred to the problem of violence against woman as one of the urgent issues in the world; special concern is raised by the constant increase in cases of violence against women. The general perception of violence is that it is a private issue. There is a lack of social and legal mechanisms of protection for victims of violence.

Mr. Al.Ashqar called the responsibilities to take serve actions toward providing equal rights and opportunities for persons of both sexes in social, political, economic, cultural, and other aspects of human life and to protect women against discrimination on the basis of sex.

She focused on the need of intensify authority efforts to combat violence against woman, the need to address root causes, protection of victims,, the need to increase the related capacity of police and the judiciary, and the need to raise public awareness.

She recommended that awareness-raising campaigns targeted at women be undertaken to enhance women’s awareness of their rights and to ensure that women can avail themselves of procedures and remedies for violations of their rights.

3. SVF held a public meeting in cooperation with “Sharek Association – Al.Maghzi – Middle Governorate” on “After Women killing…the causes and the consequences” on February 19, 2008, attended by several of women and graduates.

Mrs. Sana’ Tabasha said that violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. He pointed to the long-standing failure to protect and promote those rights and freedom in the case of violence against women is a matter of concern to all States and should be addressed. The term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Mrs. Bassma Abu Is’aid referred to Violence against women which derives essentially from cultural patterns, in particular the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices and all acts of extremism linked to race, sex, language or religion that perpetuate the lower status accorded to women in the family, the workplace, the community and society. Violence against women is exacerbated by social pressures, notably the shame of denouncing certain acts that have been perpetrated against women; women’s lack of access to legal information, aid or protection; the lack of laws that effectively prohibit violence against women; failure to reform existing laws; inadequate efforts on the part of public authorities to promote awareness of and enforce existing laws; and the absence of educational and other means to address the causes and consequences of violence.

At the end, the participants demanded the Government, including community organizations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, the public and private sectors to:

- Enact penal, civil, sanctions in domestic legislation to punish and redress the wrongs done to women and girls who are subjected to any form of violence, whether in the home, the workplace, the community or society.

- Work actively to ratify and/or implement international human rights norms and instruments as they relate to violence against women.

- Ensure that women with disabilities have access to information and services in the field of violence against women.

- Support initiatives of women’s organizations and non-governmental organizations all over the world to raise awareness on the issue of violence against women and to contribute to its elimination.

- Develop programs and procedures to educate and raise awareness of acts of violence against women that constitute a crime and a violation of the human rights of women.

Education, Community Intervention and Emergency Program

After school program: Weekly Activities – Khanyounis Governorate

The activity team continued the activities in the After School Program in cooperation with ” The Activity Center – Khanyounis ” participated by 60 students of the preparatory grade, Recreational Corner was activated which aimed to increase interesting and the activity to children, in addition to increase the ability to drawing the attention and the focus, includes using of several entertaining plays to break the shame barrier and strengthen the social and the friendly relations between children.

The free drawing activity was activated during this week, where the opportunity was given to students to draw and express their feeling aiming to develop the artistic skill and to empting the psychological feelings for the children.

In the Educational Support Corner, the students activated positively, the student attended the meetings continually and noticeable improving at the learning was achieved in all subjects, verified by the written and the verbal tests were conducted.

After school program: Weekly Activities – Middle Governorate

SVF is continuing After School Program activities, based on educational support, democracy and good governance concepts disseminating in cooperation with “Women Activity Center – Al.Brij, Al.Maghazi, Deir Al.Balah “and “The Palestinian Student Care Association “. The program conducted several workshops daily as follows:

1. Democracy, Good Governance and Rule of Law Corner: 3 workshops were conducted daily, several activities were applied such as ” rub your mind “, ” child rights and duties “, ” the moral and the law “, ” happened in my life “, ” identified convention concepts: theater sketch, through asking some questions related to law aiming to enhance student awareness of his rights and duties.

2. Parents and sons Dialogue Corner: three workshops were conducted daily aimed to reach an understanding and dialogue conditions between parents and sons to enhance the friendly relationship and cooperation inside the family.

3. Educational Support Corner: several workshops were conducted daily, aimed to improve the student learning and to simplify difficult course in the Palestinian curricula including English, Math and Science subjects.

4. Recreational Corner: several workshops were conducted through practicing entertaining activities, some collective and cooperative plays, activating techniques and expression activities.

After school program: Weekly Activities – Gaza Governorate

- Educational Support Corner: 31 workshops were conducted, 31 children were benefited their age between (6 – 15) years, and they focused on English, Math, Arabic and Science subjects. However, several aiding educational activities were conducted and solving of homework.
- Recreational Corner: 3 workshops were conducted, 20 children were benefited which aim to increase interesting and activity. Several amusing plays were achieved to strengthen the relations between children.

· Empowerment Women Political and Socio-economic Participation Program:

Workshops:

1. SVF held a public meeting on “The Palestinian Woman and the societal violence” in cooperation with Multaka for Khanyounis Graduates – Khanyounis Governorate, on March 4th, 2008 participated by 27 participants of graduates and NGO’s members.

Mrs. Wejdan Abu Jaza talked about the importance role of the Palestinian woman in the society, and her responsibility at develop and rising it.

She pointed to the difficults faced Palestinian woman at the social level, and assisted on the Arab communities’ traditions and habits in general and the Palestinian in special. The reasons caused to spreading the violence phenomenon and increasing it largely, consequently, lead to prevent woman to participate in making decision, express her view and demand her rights.

Mrs. Abu Jazar expressed that the Palestinian society suffer the violence against woman problem as the other communities, and clarified the violence types and forms and dangerousness on the whole community, which prompt us to deal and treat it stringency as an positive step on curbing violence against woman.

2. SVF held a public meeting on “The Violence against woman and its psychological and societal impact on woman” in cooperation with “Al.Maghazi Association For Societal preparation – Middle Governorate “on March 4th, 2008, participated by several of women and graduates.

Mr. Ahmed Bukeir said that violence against women and girls is a major human rights concern. Women can experience physical or mental abuse throughout their lifecycle, in infancy, childhood and/or adolescence, or during adulthood or older age, he continued. It is a social problem that warrants an immediate coordinated response from multiple sectors

The violence concept encompasses, he said, “physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family and in the general community, including battering, sexual abuse of children, dowry-related violence, rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, and violence perpetrated or condoned by the state.”

He assisted that violence against women has serious consequences for their physical and mental health. Abused women are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, eating problems, and sexual dysfunctions
Violence has indirect effects on the society. It represents a drain on the economically productive workforce and generates a climate of fear and insecurity, he said.

Psychological distress can be misinterpreted as physical illness, particularly when certain types of psychological problems include physiological reactions

At the end, he referred to mechanisms facing violence against woman through creating guiding programs to direct families, and making joined campaigns to raise awareness of media tools on violence against woman.

3. SVF held a public meeting on “The economic impact and its reflect on the Palestinian woman” in cooperation with “The Woman Activity Center – Gaza Governorate “on March 5th, 2008, participated by 55 participants of women, graduates and activists.

Mr. Sa’eed Abdullah, talked about the difficult circumstances the Palestinian people live, including closings, siege and the choking economic effects. He provided a review of the three periods “Intifada at 1987, the Palestinian Authority at 1994 and the second Intifada at 2000. and their specific impact on the situation of Palestinian women, as well as the political and socio-economic circumstances of the Palestinian community in general.
Women tend to suffer disproportionately during times of political unrest and instability, he said. He stressed on the need to mainstream gender perspectives in policies and programmes to ensure that the concerns and needs of both women and men are addressed
He assisted on the woman rights in working, political participation, and the equality between man and woman all over the levels.

4. SVF held a public meeting on “NGO’s Role at developing the Palestinian woman’s situation” in cooperation with “Woman and Family Empowerment Center – Jabalia, Gaza Governorate “on March 5th, 2008, participated by 41 participants of women, graduates and activists.

Mr. Husain Abu Mansour, The director of Jabalia Association to rehabilitation disables, said that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have for decades played a crucial role in cultivating Palestinian society. And, it should be recognized that since 1967 their characteristics have emerged in the context of the struggle against Israeli occupation. Throughout their existence, Palestinian NGOs (PNGOs) have striven to enhance and organize society capacities and have offered it support in withstanding the occupation.

The world has in recent decades witnessed a significant increase in the number of non-governmental organizations, he continued. In light of today s overall globalization process, it is no coincidence that their spread has acquired an unprecedented dimension.

Mr. Mansour concentrated on the NGO’s efforts in improving the status of women in law and in broadening women’s enjoyment of education, employment and health care rights. PNGO’s played an important role in commenting and adding recommendations throughout the drafting process of several international human rights instruments. In addition, NGO’s undertook studies regarding questions and issues affecting women such as equal access to education at all levels, equal economic rights and opportunities for women, and various aspects of family law.

He referred to some statistics indicate women’s participation weakness in the NGO’s.
On the other hand, the social role of NGOs has manifested itself in many respects including the way they have conceptualized modern development models, programs for developing human abilities, and activities designed to promote democracy and to strengthen civil society, he said.
NGOs vary greatly in the roles they play and the work they conduct. Some organizations are more active than others are. Certainly, the NGOs play a major role in fulfillment Woman’s rights and needs represented by the following:
· Building and formulating effective development models and policies.
· Encouraging capacity building, creativity, innovative methods and providing resources for development activities.
· Transferring the experiences from other countries to Palestine.
· Supporting the tendency towards decentralization and the empowerment of local communities and groups.
At the end, the attendance called for the necessity of promoting the efforts and participation between the authority, the private sector and the NGO’s to face challenges which prevent woman’s development and growing.

5. SVF held a public meeting on ” The Woman’s Reality during the absence of the societal awareness ” in cooperation with ” Al.Nasser Charitable Association – Khanyounis Governorate “on March 6th, 2008, participated by 35 participants of women, graduates and activists.

Mrs. Wejdan Abu Jazzar talked about violence against women which comes in many different forms. One such form of violence is sexual assaults and rape of girls and women. Sexual assault within Palestinian society is a continuous problem that needs to be addressed and dealt with, particularly because Palestinians continue lives in a culture that fosters silence related to sexual assaults in the name of honor and considers sexual matters a taboo that should not be discussed.

Finally, the existing law lacks of a non-discriminatory and equality-based approach towards girls and women which most of the times prevents victims to be recognized by the law and the society as such.

She focused on the wrong conception of the traditions and customs, caused to violence phenomenon emergence and increasing, in addition to the cultural heritage and the absence of the societal awareness which margin woman’s role and status.

Mrs. Abu Jazar clarified the idea of caring the woman’s issues and needs for advancing and raising the community, consequently the whole society. At the same time the woman needs to develop her capacities to challenge the difficults surrounded her, in addition to supply with knowledge, culture, political and societal awareness.

· The Media Program:

SVF invited Mrs. Amaal Hmmad, General Director of the Woman and the Child Quarter in the Palestinian Parliament, and Mrs. Hibba El.Zayan, UNIFEM Program – Gaza, to talk in a prepared, produced and broadcasted radio program on (Women’s Initiatives to defend women’s rights) on March 5th, 2007.

The debate concluded that there important stations in the Palestinian woman’s life affected the woman status in the community although the obstacles the woman face in her life.

The woman falls under difficult depressions as a result of two reasons, the first is the occupation and the second is the community’s oppress of her rights, Mrs. Amaal Hammad said. The great achievements the woman achieve was draw back as a result of the currently conflict which affected the woman progress on the whole levels, she continued.

Mrs. Hammad hinted to the women’s movement worked closely together with NGO’s and the civil community’s institutions presented by women’s personalities through the national campaign on lobbying the decision makers in the Palestinian’s Parliament.

She said that the woman’s struggle, toward improve her reality, was not limited on elections law modification, rather, she worked on the whole issues and laws touch her rights in the life’s enjoyment to achieve civil community appreciates woman’s status and rights.

Mrs. Hibba El.Zayan talked about the UNIFEM, United Nations Development Fund for Women; UNIFEM is the women’s fund at the United Nations. It supports projects that promote women’s economic security, human rights and status. She clarrified the role of the organization in raising awareness of women’s issues across the world, raising money to fund UNIFEM projects and legal supporting through conducting awarness programs in cooperation with Palestinian NGO’s.

She expressed that there is financing for projects related to trainings affected woman’s progress and advance to prepare women’s youth leaders and raising women’s awareness of their legal and civil rights.

According to the statistics, Mrs. El.Zayan said, the violence against Palestinian women increased in large in the Palestinian community, she pointed to the bad and difficult circumstances contributed the violence dissemination against woman.

Mrs. Hammad assisted on the NGO’s headed by women who worked on the developmental and legal issues to achieve equality between man and woman.