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Social Issues
Saudi Social Media Campaign Takes On Violence Against Women
June 4, 2013
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Photo: Riyadh Bureau

A new social media campaign called 'Multiply' is trying to stop violence against women in Saudi Arabia with an unusual tagline: "Hit her, I dare you."

'Multiply' encourages young people - both male and female - to express their anger with men who hit women, with the central message that if you dare to hit a woman, you'll face serious consequences.

According to Al Jazeera, the campaign has received a huge response online, especially from men.

People are encouraged to Tweet about violence against women in their own words, adding the hashtag #اضربها ("hit her" in Arabic) to join the conversation.

Users can also post images of themselves holding signs on the 'Multiply' Facebook page.

"There is no manliness in violence. I salute your manhood".

The campaign was organized by a group of young Saudis, with sponsorship from music management agency Libra Productions, which is based in Jeddah.

The company has also partnered with a law firm to provide consultations to women who are the victims of violence.

Three in 10 women in Saudi Arabia are subjected to domestic violence according to the National Family Safety Program (NSFP).

The head of NSFP recently spoke out about the media's crucial role in raising awareness about the issue, calling publicity "one of the bases of dealing with domestic violence in society," according to Riyadh Bureau.

"I'd kill myself if I ever thought of hitting you."

'Multiply' is the latest in a series of recent campaigns against domestic violence in Saudi Arabia.

A campaign of anti-domestic violence ads called 'No More Abuse' was launched by King Khalid Foundation a few months ago, receiving international media coverage as the first campaign of its kind in the country.

"Just because you are male doesn't necessarily mean you are a man".

Around the same time, activists started a White Ribbon campaign, the Saudi version of an international campaign that started in Canada.

While these initiatives are a welcome sign that the conversation is changing in some parts of the country, women in Saudi Arabia still face severe challenges.

The World Economic Forum ranked Saudi Arabia 131st out of 135 on its 2012 Gender Gap Report.

And there are some prominent voices in the country actively trying to undermine women's rights.

In reaction to a growing number of women in the workforce, for instance, Saudi writer Abdullah Mohamed al-Dawood recently told his Twitter followers to physically molest female cashiers, Foreign Policy reports.

On a more positive note, Saudi newspaper Al Watan reported yesterday that the first women's sports centre in the country just opened.

It's located in the eastern town of Khobar, and it has been granted a license to allow women to practice sports like karate. The centre will also run weight loss programs and special activities for kids.

Via Al Jazeera


Survey: Canada Top G20 Country For Women; India, Saudi Arabia The Worst

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