Women’s groups from the Arab world called upon their respective governments to break through social taboos and stop violence against women. The call was made at a Cairo conference on violence against women sponsored by the Egyptian-based Alliance for Arab Women and attended by some 50 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Arab countries.
The theme of the conference was “Violence Against Women: Aspects and Impacts,” according to ArabicNews.com. The conference focused on various issues relating to violence against women including conjugal violence, honor killings, sexual harassment and white slave trade. The participants at the conference, sponsored by the Arab Women’s League, raised the issue of the need for legal aid centers for battered women and for special departments within police stations to help women, Middle East Online reports.
Participants also raised the impact of taboos surrounding discussion of violence against women. “In most Arab countries, there is an almost absence of statistics,” said Zoya Rhuhana, coordinator of the Lebanese Council to Resist Violence Against Women, according to Middle East Online. “Society and the state do not recognize this phenomenon, which is needed in order to agree to discuss ways to sopt it, and ordinary women are afraid to speak about it.”