There’s no excuse for violence or abuse!
As we believe that change is best realised in a micro-to-macro fashion, we will start acting locally before we think nationally and why not globally. This initiative aims at raising awareness among the Sfaxian population as a whole but mostly teenage girls as well as young women as to the notions of violence and harassment. These notions are generally misconceived as being restrictively physical whereas, in reality, they bypass the physical realm to include the psychological and sexual spheres. What unites different women is that all of them are potential subjects to one kind of « trauma » or another from the patriarchal environment which they live in.
Psychologically speaking, that kind of hostile environment actually puts a lot of pressure on them, and more often than not pushes them to give up on their dreams, objectives and ambitions; and ultimately kills their potentials for the sake of forcing them to fit into the « patriarchal box »! Young, unbalanced, shaky, fragile, sensitive, vulnerable, and naive, many of them inescapably begin internalising the sexist expectations that society has towards them, eventually start defining themselves in terms of their own marriageability and a lot of them unsurprisingly end up in unsuitable unions with three kids in toe and a merciless surrounding that will judge a divorcee twice as harshly as it twill judge a “normal” woman.. This social action will work towards resisting this kind of obsession via raising awareness among these women as to their own rights from a legal as well as religious angle.
On the other hand, we want to shed light on physical harassment and its far-reaching effect on the lives of so many women. As a matter of fact, according to “The National Survey on Violence Towards Women” conducted by the Tunisian National Office of Family and Population, among a sample of 3873 women aged between 18 and 64, physical violence is the most frequent kind of violence in Tunisia and followed by sexual violence! According to the same source, one out of five Tunisian women has experienced physical violence and one out of six Tunisian women has been the victim of sexual violence. Moreover, 47% of Tunisian women aged 18 to 64 have been victims of violence. It has to be noted that 42.1% of Tunisian women have never spoken about violence before. More surprisingly, 55% of the victims accepted violence as part of the order of things, 73% of the victims do not seek help from anyone out of fear and shame and still, the lucky few who do seek help turn mostly to their families and only 3.8% turn to the police and 2.30% to health services! In front of such shocking numbers and figures, one would wonder what possible causes could have driven such animalistic phenomena!! The answer ranges from the sexist objectifying ways of looking at women to the lack of serious sexual education for youngsters. Tackling these issues, therefore, requires healthy socialisation of young people, more enlightenment on, and less tabooification of sexual matters.
As far as the concretisation of these ideas is concerned, we plan raise awareness through creating an online community of discussion forums and websites, targeting children through cultural activities, setting a toll-free number for victims and, if possible, building a shelter. This might sound like a too optimistic endeavour to indulge in. Yet, we firmly believe that through advocacy and collaboration, a coordinated community response is likely to build efficient partnerships within different NGOs and civil society organisations in order to create a sustainable front fighting for this cause and spreading its network gradually and continuously for these issues could never be treated for real by scattered individual efforts only.
Hence, this initiative will subjectively motivate women to act collectively! Finally, as we believe that men are no less affected by the issue (a world full of unbalanced females will not produce nor will it make room for the growth of balanced males), we plan to work on a mixed target if we are to expand this initiative once it proves its success.