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.


King Salman meets GCC leaders for 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

Updated 35 min 38 sec ago

King Salman meets GCC leaders for 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

  • Heads of the delegations land in Riyadh before the 40th Supreme Council meeting gets under way
  • Among the many issues expected to be discussed is a greater level of integration between Gulf countries

RIYADH: GCC leaders arrived in Riyadh Tuesday for a summit that will focus on improving integration between Gulf countries.

The 40th Supreme Council meeting will be chaired by King Salman, who met the representatives from each country as they landed.

The heads of the delegations including the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani said Gulf leaders will discuss a number of important issues to enhance the process of cooperation and integration among member states in various political, defense, security, economic and social fields.

They will also review regional and international political developments, security conditions in the region, and their implications for the security and stability of the GCC countries.

Among the topics on the agenda is the war in Yemen and Iran’s interference in regional affairs.

At a preparatory meeting on Monday, Gulf foreign ministers approved the nomination of former Kuwaiti Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf as the next secretary-general of the GCC.

His term will begin in April 2020 following the end of Al-Zayani’s term.