16 Days of Activism campaign by UN urges fighting violence against women
Fighting violence against women - Aya Samir for The Cairo post

CAIRO: The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women along with the U.N. press center announced the launch of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign Tuesday in Cairo.

“Violence against women is epidemic should be confronted and fought the same as Ebola and other diseases, we should use our culture to defend ourselves not be against ourselves” said Khawla Matar, the director of U.N. Information Center in Cairo.

Violence against women is an attempt push women back to what some consider “traditional roles,” and others claim it is part of religion, “but it’s not,” she said.

In the case of harassment, Matar added that treating victims as victims, not objects of blame, is important, adding that that the true numbers attacks against women is bigger that what is documented or published by newspapers.

Nehad Gohar, representative of U.N. Women said that at least 1 in 3 women and girls their rights will be sexually violated at some point in their lives during certain period of their lifetime.

She emphasized during her speech on the important role that the NGOs should do inside their societies to invite men supporting women’s right and equality such as the campaign of “He for She”. Gohar added that there is a lot of issues still out of the spot light should be covered, despite they are working on different levels and with different entities governmental and civilian.

Matar added that violence against women could be practiced by families that claim that to be conservative; she also criticized the low participation of women in civil society, saying that violence could be huge cause for their absence.

The campaign kicked off Tuesday Nov. 25, The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and is scheduled to end Dec. 10.

The main goal of the campaign according to the U.N. statement released Sunday is to confess that the women rights are among the human rights and violating any of it is violation for the human rights as all , also to confess that violence agents women is violence agents the whole people from different cultures and religions .

Nihal Saad, the cofounder and director of Basma, or “imprint,” said participating NGOs in the campaign will work in different areas over the next 16 days.

Saad added that her organization cannot work on the ground these days due to the new law by the Ministry of Solidarity requiring NGO registration, which she said may take up to six months. “What we can do now is to cooperate with foundations and organizations already accredited by the government until we become official.”

Nazra for Feminine Studies announced that they also launching a campaign called “Nashaz,” or “Dissonant,” Tuesday lasting until Dec.10, also confronting violence against women, and aiming to raise awareness of the legal challenges women face when confronting assaults.

Between June 2012 and June 2014, about 500 cases assaults against women were documented according to Naza, not counting verbal and physical harassment that often goes unpunished and undocumented.

”The government should put the issue of violence against women on the top of their priorities,” Matar told The Cairo Post, adding “Arab governments are still not convinced that violence against women is phenomenon that needs to be confronted.”

“The only reason the government acts to fight against violence is when a real problem in the society happens, so they try as hard as they can to shut it down to control the situation, not because they are convinced of the case,” Matar added.

A video of a brutal attack against a woman named Ikram in June in Tahrir Square during inauguration celebrations for Abdel Fatah al-Sisi went viral on social media, prompting a wave of government and civil society responses. President Sisi visited the victim in the hospital, and promised that he would fight violence against women.

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