Women sharing stories on everyday violence in Libya
Project silphium recently published the “stories of violence” tool on our website to collect different stories around Libya from anonymous sources.
The tool wasn’t created to go after anyone or report groups but just to open the discussion about different incidents happening all over the country that rarely get any attention.
The aim was to get people to start talking out loud about it and stop ignoring violence.
For example, recently there was a video of a Libyan woman being raped by a group of men published online. It created a disruption in society. They finally had to talk about women being used as tools in this conflict. All over social media and mainstream media the topic of rape was covered. It made people take a look at laws like 424 that let the rapist off the hook if he marries the rape victim. It also allowed people to ask what rape actually was and what the definition for it is. Usually this topic is off limits but because of the shock that society had from the event it allowed for discussions to happen. Rima Ibrahim, a Libyan blogger wrote a post explaining Libyan and Arab laws in the region which went viral(link here) .
Stories have the power to educate us about things we didn’t think about before, they have the power to invoke new ideas and thoughts.
Here are some of the stories being shared with us:
Violence in Educational Institutions
“For nearly the 10th time there was shooting at the university, one of the students passed away i’m not sure if it was a girl or boy. In addition to this they attacked the girls and took them by force outside the university. the sentence used was “ this isn’t the year for studying”
“They want to make the male students to stop going to university and join armed groups, it’s easier to recruit then”
“There should be an agreement that makes educational institutions off limits, or the university should be moved to another city”
Violence at home
“ I was at a gathering with Libyan women and they were talking about a girl in the family who had to get surgery because she was hit in the head by her brother”
“The women were saying how she probably deserved it, boys can’t handle anyone talking back at them. She must have said something to provoke him”
“ I was just sitting there not knowing what to say, we need a lot of awareness that targets families about domestic abuse, how can this be allowed”
Violence grows, when our whole environment is filled with conflict and instability. It seeps into all parts of our lives.
A lot of people comment on the uselessness of such a collection of stories.
If we don’t begin to identify the issues out loud and talk about them, how will we start to tackle them?
Is it a problem with our school curriculum? is it a breeding ground for violent behaviour?Maybe it’s tv programs and video games?Is this all a result of the current 5 year violence we’ve been witnessing?
We don’t know, maybe it’s a mix of everything.
Would people be more open to receiving anti violence coaching if it were anonymous perhaps ? could this be a potentially useful way to council women who were subjected to violence anonymously?
There are still many questions to be asked, I don’t think anyone is an expert on the path Libya is on right now. This level of violence hasn’t happened to us before in recent history on a scale we see today, we’re kind of starting from scratch.
The youngest victims of the current violence are the younger generation. Thats why in our #youth4peace “youth and development” project with Jusoor Center for Studies and Developmentwe we discussed the affects of violence on kids. How young kids were even drawing violent scenes in their art classes.
One participant talked about how videos were used as a way to show people how to vote in 2011. she wondered if that’s what we need for countering violence.
Changing the attitude that society has against violence is one of the first places that should make an impact. If there were videos/cartoons that showed the harm of violence on different segments of society maybe people would start being more aware of it in their lives and in their children’s lives and be encouraged to counteract it.
What do you think is the right way to reduce the current violent environment’s effects on future generations?
Written by Khadeja Hussein