This post was written by guest contributor Arwa Aburawa.
Back in December 2011, gender-based violence hit the headlines in the Arab world when soldiers brutally attacked a hijab-wearing Egyptian protester. Following the incident, there was widespread outrage that a woman would be treated in such a violent manner. And rightly so. However, it got me thinking whether there would have been such a public display of anger if that kind of abuse was happening in someone’s home. By someone’s brother or husband.
The answer to that question is an obvious one. And it reflects back not only on the politics and timing of the incident in Egypt but also on the state of Arab/Muslim society. It seems that public violence between strangers is just not acceptable whilst abuse that occurs behind closed doors between a wife and husband or even a daughter and father is a different beast altogether.
I want to make clear that this problem isn’t something unique to the Arab/Muslim region. It something I see all time in the UK where I live, and it’s something that frightens me. What also trouble me are the statistics about the level of violence and abuse that occurs inside our homes, not only in the Middle East but the world over. It’s our job to change that – to deal with the messy, troubling, disempowering and gut-wrenching issue of domestic violence and sexual abuse wherever we are.
Samar Hazboun, a Jerusalem-born photographer is doing just that. She has released a documentary called Hush, which exposes the harsh realities of life in a women’s shelter in Palestine. [Read more...]