Karama
Karama

"Democracy without women is hypocrisy"

Hibaaq Osman, Founder and CEO, Karama

Launching the Activities of the Realms

Karama supports many national action plans promoted by our partners in the education, law, culture, media and economic realms in order to study the socio-economic dimensions of violence against women and analyze its manifestations in society in all fields, These initiatives are key in cultivating social forces to challenge violence against women and empower women to participate as a major party in this confrontation.

After holding several preliminary meetings to discuss the action plans and drafting of the work protocol among partner organizations in each realm, Karama partners carried out several activities. The following shares details of work proposed, developed and implemented with Karama’s support, listed by realm.

Economic Realm

Measuring the Economic Cost of Violence against women

Project Objectives: To conduct research on the economic cost of violence against women and raise societal awareness on the ramifications of violence against women and its impact on society as a whole

Coordinating Organization: The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement (EACPE)

Member Organizations:

  • Foundation for Alternative Development
  • EACPE (Fayoum Branch)
  • Egyptian Association for Comprehensive Development

Activities:

  • Holding meetings with the member organizations, as well as experienced researchers to reach the proper methodology for conducting research on the economic costs of violence against women
  • Discussing and following up on the proposed strategy and procedures
  • Commissioning Dr. Hamdy El-Hinnawy, a social economics professor, to draft a preliminary research plan and discuss it with member organizations and other experts on violence against women, as well as finalize research
  • Training activists from member organizations on interviewing cases and data collection

Within the Activities of the Economic Realm:

The EACPE held a roundtable for the members of the Economic realm and researchers with expertise in calculating the economic cost of violence against women.

The EACPE invited the following individuals to participate:

Researchers

  1. Dr. Hamdy El-Hinnawy, Professor of Social Economics
  2. Dr. Huda Zakariyya, Professor of Political Sociology and Columnist for Al-Shorouk Daily
  3. Dr. Buthayna Al-Deeb, Former President of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics; Fellow of the Demographic Center

Representatives of member organizations

  1. Mr. Mahmoud Murtada, Foundation for Alternative Development
  2. Mr. Samir Abdil-Baqy, EACPE (Fayoum Branch)
  3. Dr. Afaf Maree, Executive Director, EACPE
  4. Dr. Amal Belel, Professor of Civil Law
  5. Ms. Dalia Zakhary, Project Coordinator at EACPE
  6. Dr. Ashgan Abdil-Hamid, Karama

Roundtable Minutes

Dr. Afaf Marei opened the discussion, welcoming and introducing the participants. Following a brief background on Karama’s vision and objectives, and on the proposed project, she launched a brainstorming session during which researchers began sharing their perspectives on the methodology of the proposed research, its objectives and the major points of the research plan.

Dr. Buthayna Al-Deeb explained that she conducted previous research with UNIFEM on the effects of violence on children, wives and women workers. She averred that the most common form of violence against women is domestic violence.

Dr. Huda Zakariyya shared, “Sociology analyzed a conception of social roles where males are wage-workers and females are non-wage workers. Consequently a woman belongs to the man who “owns” her. Men therefore monopolize the right to use violence against women since they provide for them. The forms of violence are different from one society and culture to the other and there are various case studies on these forms. There have been three conferences to survey violence against women organized by the National Council for Women, Ain Shams University and the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services. Society resists any research facing violence against women, through the dominant religious masculine discourse and TV shows.”

Mr. Mahmoud Murtada spoke of the importance of establishing a referential definition of violence, with the aid of the international documents and conventions on the issue. “There has been no previous study on the relationship of violence in its relationship to economics,” he declared. He then posed the question of whether the objective of the research is the “economics of violence” or the “economic cost of violence.” The economics of violence refer to financial situations which leave women vulnerable to abuse and/or violence such as prostitution and human trafficking.

Dr. Hamdy El-Hinnawy noted, “The economy consists of production and consumption, and as long as there are consumers of violence, production will continue. Even the producer pays some cost. The goal of direct violence is for women to remain dominated by or subservient to men, so however high the capacity of a woman, violence keeps her under pressure and thus she is always beneath her optimal production level.”

He continued, “We will conduct a regression analysis with many variables. There should also be an index for violence and its forms. Every woman has been subjected to violence, but there are different forms and they are relatively applied. The calculation will take place through the regression analysis; the highest level, those who receive protection and support from their families, will be the standard of calculation. Therefore, the sample should be representative of Egyptian society in all its classes and sectors.”

An important point, he emphasized that he would not focus on one form of violence. “All the manifestations of violence are connected and we’ll measure the impact of violence on women which varies from one woman to the other. The impact of verbal violence on one woman might equal that of physical violence on another.”

Dr. Ashgan Abdil-Hamid deliberated over several additional points, particularly the proposed scope of the research. “Will we confine ourselves to domestic violence?” she asked the group, “Or will we extend the research to institutional violence? How will we link violence to productivity? In my experience with psychotherapy for victims of violence, forms of violence are interrelated and sometimes leading to one another. The impact is often psychological. Violence affects children through the victimized mother or the father. How will that be considered?”

Dr. Amal Belal spoke of the importance of establishing a definition of violence and identifying each of its variable forms, even those which are taboo. “As regards the methodology we should establish a definition of violence from the start so as to have a referential point, therefore becoming able to add several variables to the forms of violence. There is legislative violence against women,” she shared. “There is also silence over and avoidance of observation of certain types of violence, like incest, which introduces a challenge to the research.”

 

Education Realm

Enhancing the role of women in the making of the future through adult education

Project Objective: Promoting the life skills of women through adult education programs, entrenching Karama’s approach by measuring the impact of violence on the education of women and summoning the forces of civil society to adopt the issue

Coordinating Organization: Women and Society Association

Member Organizations:

  • Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services
  • Helwan Foundation for Society Development (Bashayir)
  • Slama Mousa Foundation for Education and Development Services
  • Arab Women Association for Development
  • Sainai Women’s Rights Association

Activities:

  • The coordinating organization has held a series of meetings with the member organizations to discuss the action plan, the execution of activities, and the distribution of tasks and responsibilities, in addition to the implementation schedule and follow up.
  • Building a data base comprising all organizations working in the field of literacy and adult education in order to better document their efforts, enable better communication among them and make relevant information available for new organizations
  • Preparing the outline for the Life Skills Guide to assist organizations in developing their life skills for women programs in literacy classes.
  • Capitalizing on the life experiences and skills of women to develop effective education programs
  • Preparing for the central workshop (March)

Member Organizations Contributions (Life Skills of women)

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Mass Media Realm

Raising media awareness of the impact of violence against women on family and society

Coordinating Organization: Act Development

Member Organizations:

  • Hiya Association
  • Helwan Foundation for Society Development (Bashayir)
  • Egyptian Association for Family Development

Activities:

A documentary on violence against women will be produced to raise the awareness of its impact. The movie will be played on local and satellite TV.

The movie will discuss several forms of violence against women—for instance, sexual harassment within the family and outside of it, and physical violence committed by the husband, father or employer—as well as pose questions on less obvious manifestations that deal with violence from a different perspective.

The following are examples of the type of questions and situations that will be considered in the film:

  • Is prostitution violence? Is it entered into by choice or by necessity? If it is the latter, is it a result or reaction to violence against women?
  • The counter-violence practiced by women on other women, for instance in cases of housemaid torture and harassment
  • The case of a man or boy affected by domestic violence committed against his mother or any other family member. Does violence committed in a male-dominated society effect men?
  • The role of Egyptian law in dealing with cases of violence against women as discerned through study and follow up of select lawsuits.

The movie poses its questions through 3-4 female characters and the men around them. The movie is keen on penetrating different social classes and will also monitor the mass-harassment phenomenon.

The following activities were pursued in support of this project:

  • Collecting research and studies on how the media handles the issues of violence against women
  • Collecting the contact information of mass media representatives and figures
  • Holding several meetings with the organizations working in the field of violence against women, and interviewing some of the cases of victimized women (El Nadim Center for Psychological Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, Al Shehab Institution for Promotion and Comprehensive Development, Helwan Foundation for Society Development (Bashayir))
  • Interviewing public figures (Dr. Ayda Seif El-Dawla, Mr. Ziyad El-Elimy)

The movie is currently in the final production phase.

 

Legal Realm

Studying the impact of violence against women on law

Project Objective:

  • Entrenching Karama’s approach in measuring the impact of violence against women on the legal realm and summoning the forces of civil society to address the issue
  • Monitoring and documenting cases of violence against women in 10 civil society legal aid centers in greater Cairo and Alexandria, and the women complaint offices of the National Council for Women in these two cities
  • Training 20 of the NGO youth in the two cities on using Karama’s approach to end violence against women
  • Capacity building for 50 lawyers on the subject at hand
  • Raising the awareness of 200 women of their legal rights and the types of criminalized violence that could be inflicted upon them

Coordinating Organization: Egyptian Association for Family Development

Member Organizations:

  • Women and Development Association
  • Nazra Association for Feminist Studies
  • Al Shehab Institution for Promotion and Comprehensive Development

Activities:

  • Holding preliminary meetings to discuss the action plan and roles of member organizations
  • Holding a training course on the new approach in measuring the impact of violence on law

The second activity, as referenced above, took place over two days. The training course was hosted by the implementing organization and helped familiarize member organization with Karama’s approach.

Workshop Report: Measuring the Impact of Violence Against Women on Law

Location: The Egyptian Association for Family Development (office)

Date: 10-11 February 2010

Attendance: 11 Participants

Trainer: Dr. Amal Abdil-Hamid

The workshop discussed the following points:

• Definition of violence

The trainer defined violence as any harsh or cruel behavior illegitimately applying physical or moral force with the aim of inflicting harm on others or damaging their property. Therefore, violence may refer to physical or verbal behaviors.

• Relationship between violence and discrimination

Discrimination is any distinction, exclusion or limitation on the basis of sex. Its aim or effect might be undermining the acknowledgment, enjoyment or equal practice of women’s rights as human beings, including political, economic, social, cultural and civil rights regardless of marital status.

• Aspects of violence against women

  1. Spheres where women are subjected to violence
    1. Domestic Violence (committed by family members)
      1. Includes: beating, marital rape, assault against females, violent tradiational practices and exploitation-related violence
    2. Social Violence (committed by society)
      1. Includes: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, trafficking of women, and initimidation at work
    3. State Violence
      1. Includes violence committed or overlooked by the Government
  2. Forms of Violence
    1. Include: psychological, corporeal, sexual, legal and economic violence, as well as textual violence, which is divided further into violence of religious clerics responsible for the exegesis of scripture and violence of legislators responsible for drafting legal statutes
  3. Types of Violence
    1. Include: individual (domestic), social and institutional violence
  4. Consequences of Violence
    1. Dysfunctional families of all sorts
    2. Increase in the numbers of homeless children
    3. Increase in crime rates
    4. Increase in drug addiction
    5. Prevalence of psychological disorders
    6. Loss of belonging to family and society in general
    7. Lack of motivation to participate in public life and recourse to solitude
    8. Emergence of a violent and crime-inclined generation
  5. Impact of violence on victimized women
    1. Physical and psychological damages
    2. Feelings of fear and insecurity
    3. Deprivation of resources
    4. Limitation of rights
    5. Obstruction of participation in development
    6. Feelings of guilt and shame
    7. Introversion, insolation and low self-esteem

The trainer divided participants into two work groups to analyze two actual cases of violence against women as regards the forms, types and consequences of violence. The participants later presented the results of their work, as follows.

• Laws discriminating against women:

  1. Labor Law

    Women, among others, are excluded from the protection of the laws on labor and social security

  2. Criminal Code

    Different sentences for men and women for crimes such as adultery and honor crimes

  3. Personal Status Law
    1. Proof of damage is required to filing for divorce
    2. There is no fixed rule for determining legal capacity
    3. Women are not allowed to have custodianship over the property of a minor

• International Conventions:

  1. Definition: a set of principles or articles agreed on by two states or more
  2. A convention must have a mechanism of implementation and accountability (optional protocol)
  3. A state may keep a reservation on one or more articles as long as it does not undermine the main goal of the convention
  4. To be legally valid within a state, a convention must be ratified
  5. States can join or withdraw at any time
  6. A state may lift its reservations at any time

The trainer divided the participants into two groups to perform an exercise on the articles of CEDAW during which they studied the articles on which the Egyptian governments placed reservations. They studied the reason behind each reservation and whether the reservation was general or particular.

• The correspondence of violence and law:

Cultural legacies have played a role influencing legislative policies that are based on the social needs of individuals, as represented in the criminal code, personal status law and labor law.

Some laws emerged as responses to violence. For instance, this includes laws governing: Khul’ (divorce initiated by the wife), marriage age limitation, custody age, marital contract conditions, family courts, unregistered marriage and divorce right in courts.

• How to eliminate this correspondence:

  1. Eliminating all forms of violence
  2. Dissemination of legal awareness of human rights in general and women’s rights in particular
  3. Legislating codes for punishment and coercion in the cases of assault against women and girls
  4. Focusing on television
  5. Dealing with religious discourse from a more enlightened perspective
  6. Targeting all sectors of society, especially those individuals about to marry
  7. Providing for economic means for women as a source of empowerment
  8. Directing education and upbringing against violence and discrimination
  9. Introducing a new subject into school curricula, training students on anger management and conflict resolution methods

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants had a solid grasp on the following concepts and topics areas:

  1. Definition of violence, its forms and consequences
  2. Identifying discriminatory laws cementing violence against women
  3. Measuring the impact of violence against women on laws and legislation
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