Violence against women is a prevalent and serious issue. It might not seem urgent or particularly relevant to you, but that’s just another aspect of how dangerous and pressing an issue it. Violence against women most often happens behind closed doors and gentle, decent-looking masks. It also happens in different ways: verbal, psychological/emotional, physical and sexual.
The first step of combating violence against women is recognizing the fact that it happens and ensuring its victims that we are there for them. Pressuring women into accepting abuse (regardless of its kind or origin) or stereotyping them for it only serves to worsen the problem.
Because we live in a society where violence against women is often condoned, justified or ignored, where women fear speaking up because it could mean damage to their own personal lives more than anybody else’s, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources. These initiatives and places all offer one form of support or the other to female victims of violence.
Launched as a way of showing the extent of sexual harassment on Egyptian streets, Harass Map has since become an initiative to report places with dominant harassment and give Egyptian women the support they deserve outside the safety of their homes. It raises awareness about harassment and conducts research in an effort to stand up to the phenomenon. As a means of overcoming the social stigma associated with reporting sexual harassment cases, and acknowledging the psychological and/or physical damage that befalls victims, Harass Map offers support through its website. Among them is a guide to reporting and filing a case against the harasser. It also includes a list of places where women can learn self-defense.
Nazra for Feminist Studies
Nazra is a non-governmental organization that hopes to build a feminist movement in Egypt and empower women. In doing so, it conducts research and engages in politics, but most importantly, it offers services to Egyptian women; legal aid, and psychological support to women human rights defenders and victims of violence. Their support is free of charge. You can contact their hotline at: 01011910917, or through the information available here.
Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR)
The Center is non-governmental and not-for-profit. Its primary work involves advocacy for women’s rights and pushing for gender equality and better integration of women’s issues in the law. In addition to that, the Center also offers legal advice and support to women, especially those who cannot afford it. They can be reached at (+2-02) 252 821 76 or www.ecwronline.org.
El Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
Although dealing with victims of violence in general, including victims of torture, El Nadeem has a special unit dedicated to violence against women. It provides women who have been through torture, rape and/or domestic abuse psychological support and rehabilitation. It also trains women on dealing with women victims of violence. El Nadeem has hotlines dedicated to complaints regarding violence against women: 01006662404 or 01006664894. Late last month, the government ordered the shutdown of the Center, only further proving the urgency for such services. Whether it will remain closed is unclear.
The Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA)
In addition to its research on gender equality in the law and its work against gender discrimination, CEWLA offers legal support and assistance to Egyptian women. They can be contacted at: 02-3715 4557.
The Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW)
ADEW is a non-governmental organization and the first to directly interact with female heads of households. It works on the improvement of women’s conditions, both personally and at a societal level, conducting workshops, awareness campaign, literacy programs and others. In combatting violence against women, ADEW offers a range of services through its shelter Beit Hawa, Through Beit Hawa, ADEW supports female (or children) victims in different ways. It provides them with psychological counseling and support, legal aid, as well as meetings where they can connect with one another, share their stories and learn to build and depend on themselves. Beit Hawa’s services are available 24 hours. ADEW can be reached at any of the contacts provided here.
Even children are sexually abused, even if they might not realize it or speak up about it. Safe Kids offers workshops for both children and parents on recognizing sexual abuse, preventing it and dealing with it. Safe Kids can be contacted through their Facebook page or via telephone at: 01204575909.
The world might look dark and it may seem like there aren’t many options, but there always are. If you or somebody you know is being subjected to violence, don’t hesitate to take a step towards confronting it. Violence against women is violence against society as a whole.