Fighting violence against women, Swedish style

26-09-2014 10:36 PM

Mary Fikry

Last week saw a delegation of Egyptian, Lebanese, and Moroccan representatives of civil society organisations, policewomen and judges head to Sweden for a study tour on the Swedish experience in fighting violence against women (VaW) and gender based violence (GBV). The tour was organised by the Swedish Institute in Alexandria in collaboration with the Lebanese ABAAD Resource Center for Gender Equality, and ACT Egypt, with the purpose of studying the approaches the Swedish society has developed to fight VaW and GBV, and support and rehabilitate victims and perpetrators.
The programme, which ran from 22 to 26 September included visits to shelters/safe houses for abused women, police stations, counseling centers for both men and women, and a working session on models and means to establishing centres for men engaged in violent behaviour. The participants in the visit saw first-hand how the shelters are run.
The visit offered a valuable platform for exchange of experiences on how non-governmental and governmental organisations can work together to relieve the suffering of women subjected to violence. Participants also shared ideas on societal structure and the support needed to help victims and perpetrators in a constructive, holistic manner. The study tour helped build networks between workers in the field in the MENA region to pave the way for continuous dialogue and experience sharing.
In all national and cultural contexts, violence against women is a widespread, deep-rooted problem that spreads across borders ad cultures, and affects the lives of women, children and men. SwedAlex started working on a project on “Masculinities and ending GBV” in 2013 with ABAAD. In May 2014, the institute cooperated with several NGOs in Egypt on the ten-day initiative “Stop Harassment” which included workshops, seminars, debates and other activities.
Sweden is a society with a well-developed and established welfare system. It still faces the problem of violence against women, but it worked to overcome the problem with adequate legislation, shelters, rehabilitation of both survivors and perpetrators, and a new start for the victims if needed. The Swedish example is often considered as a progressive one in dealing with the problem.

Watani International
26 September 2014

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