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.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman meets Palestinian President Abbas

Updated 16 October 2019

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman meets Palestinian President Abbas

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday in the capital Riyadh.
The king welcomed Abbas and his accompanying delegation to the Kingdom, while the Palestinian president expressed his pleasure in visiting the Kingdom and meeting with the king.
During the reception, the Palestinian president was greeted by a number of princes, ministers and military sector leaders.
King Salman also hosted a luncheon in honor of the president and his accompanying delegation.