New anti-domestic abuse campaign asks: Dare to ‘Hit Her?’

Updated 03 June 2013

New anti-domestic abuse campaign asks: Dare to ‘Hit Her?’

A new campaign that is creating buzz on social media websites shows several Saudi youth holding placards with messages condemning violence against women. The campaign comes at a time when a series of other similar movements are gaining ground in the fight against domestic abuse in Saudi Arabia.
The campaign, provocatively entitled “Hit Her,” is organized by a group of young Saudis and is sponsored by an audio production studio and agency “Libra Productions,” based in Jeddah.
Most of the youth featured in the campaign are popular Saudi tweeps and YouTube hosts, who express their views on domestic violence in their own words. Some of these include: “I’d kill myself if I ever thought of hitting you,” “Just because you are male doesn’t necessarily mean you are a man,” and “Domestic violence? Aint nobody got time for that!“
The photos have been posted on their Twitter accounts using the hashtag #اضربها.
The campaigns come as a breath of fresh air in a country where, until recently, the problem of domestic violence against women has largely remained confined to the house. It’s different in its approach. For the first time, a campaign involves the participation of young Saudi men and women.
Some, however, are questioning the effectiveness of a campaign that may end up looking too arty and not hitting close enough to home.
Arab News contacted Libra Productions, but Thamer M. Farhan, projects and talents manager at the Jeddah-based agency, declined to comment, saying that phase 2 of the campaign, which is yet to be launched, would mark the right time to speak freely to the media.
In April, an ad released by the King Khaled Foundation featured an anti-violence slogan reading “End abuse in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” along with a list of numbers on which cases of violence can be reported and a study in Arabic calling for action to protect vulnerable women and children.
The ad created a stir on social media sites and other platforms because it showed a woman in a niqab with a bruised and bloodied eye bearing the caption “Some things can’t be covered.”
It was followed by what is billed as Saudi Arabia’s first anti-domestic abuse TV advert featuring a man hitting two dummies, which then take the shape of a mother and a child, trembling with fear. The child is then shown on a wheelchair and the mother ailing on a hospital bed. The voiceover quotes a saying by the Prophet Muhammad, “Compassion has never touched something without making it better and never taken out of something without making it worse.” The ad shocks and successfully compels attention to the issue of domestic abuse.
A local chapter from the “White Ribbon Campaign,” an international movement that urges men to take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women, was also launched recently.
According to the National Family Safety Program (NFSP), three out of 10 women in Saudi Arabia are subjected to domestic violence. Violence against women and children is a global epidemic. Studies suggest that at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, forced into sex or abused in her lifetime, while up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
Usually, the abuser is a member of the family or someone known to the victim.
With the sudden increase in awareness on the issue in the Kingdom and efforts to combat domestic violence, Saudi Arabia seems to be moving in the right direction.

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”