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.
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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid