News / Middle East

Lebanese NGO Collaborates with Religious Leaders to Combat Domestic Abuse

Lebanese NGO Works with Religious Leaders to Combat Domestic Abusei
X
March 19, 2013 11:48 AM
In Lebanon, it's difficult to obtain statistics about gender based violence and domestic abuse because of family honor and a culture of silence. According to one report by the Lebanese non-governmental organization Kafa, some 75 percent of Lebanese women have reported at least one incidence of domestic violence. In a society that relies heavily on religious leaders for guidance, a group called Abaad decided to take a novel approach to combatting violence against women. Paige Kollock reports.
TEXT SIZE - +
Paige Kollock
— In Lebanon, it's difficult to obtain statistics about gender based violence and domestic abuse because of family honor and a culture of silence. According to one report by the Lebanese non-governmental organization Kafa, some 75 percent of Lebanese women have reported at least one incidence of domestic violence. In a society that relies heavily on religious leaders for guidance, a group called Abaad decided to take a novel approach to combatting violence against women.
 
Samah al Turk lives in a one-bedroom apartment with her four daughters, her mother and her sister. The oldest daughter is 12, the youngest, five. Their father is absent from this picture and from their lives. They divorced when she could no longer tolerate his abuse.

"He hit me for things I never did, and people used to shout in front of me: 'Stop hitting her.'  When we called the police hotline, they told me they could not interfere," she recalled. "And I believe that this is a tragic mistake. They wait until the husband kills the wife, or their children get hurt, until anyone interferes. We should make this generation much more aware than they are now."
 
That's not easy in a society that shies away from talking openly about domestic violence. Many organizations have tried to tackle the problem without success. Recently, Abaad solicited help from religious figures.

Lebanon is a country with 17 sects. Although most Lebanese are Muslims, Maronite Christians make up about one fifth of the population.

Abaad wanted to represent all of Lebanon's religions in a video for Lebanese TV, the Internet and on billboards.  But in the end, the message was the same, “Violence against women is a sin. Jesus Christ denounced acts of violence against women.”
 
"Many people wait for these men to speak to gain some sort of insight towards their lives and how they should live their lives, and so these men coming out with a powerful, direct message about ending violence against women and how the religion stands against violence against women, is so important for the cause," stated Anthony Keedi, program coordinator at Abaad.
 
Nabil Shehadi, pastor at All Saints Church in Beirut, says religious figures have more clout in the Middle East than in the West. "In the Middle East and in Lebanon, there isn’t such a separation between faith and daily living," he said. "And so religious leaders have a big say in society and can be political mobilizers, not just religious leaders, and they’re social mobilizers."
 
Human rights activists in Lebanon believe civil society campaigns like this one are having an impact, but that violence against women and domestic violence require greater attention from both the government and law enforcement for things to truly change.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nancy Coviello from: Washington, DC.
March 22, 2013 1:27 PM
Love this piece, a great example of a non-profit and community leaders (in this case religious leaders) working together to empower people and end domestic violence.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid