A survey conducted in 2016 by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in Egypt indicates that the economic cost of “intimate partner violence” has amounted to 2.17 billion Egyptian Pounds, with around 2.4 million women sustaining at least one type of injury as a result of violence perpetrated by the husband or fiancé. Likewise, around 200,000 women suffer from pregnancy complications due to spousal violence every year.
According to many civil society organizations, including the Women and Development Association, this type of violence is widespread in Alexandria governorate, especially in densely-populated neighbourhoods that are marked by poverty, illiteracy, the spread of erroneous religious concepts, male-dominated cultural heritage, and family disintegration. To better understand this situation, the Women and Development Association conducted a field diagnosis based on a survey and focus group discussions with 370 women of different social and professional backgrounds, and meetings with lawyers, jurists, religious figures, journalists and other parties involved in women´s issues. This as part of an action that was implemented in the second half of 2018.
The diagnosis came up with several interesting findings reflecting the psychological and economic impact of violence against women (VAW). It also explains how violence perpetrated by men against women within families may end up triggering a vicious cycle of domestic violence where female victims commit violent acts against their family members. For instance one of the surveyed women said that for 12 years her husband used to hit her and that she never received help from anyone, until one day she couldn’t stand this abusive situation anymore and she hit him back and hurt him.
This case is also interesting because it reflects women’s unawareness of the entities and mechanisms available in Alexandria to protect them against violence. When asked about their reactions to violence, 111 of the 370 surveyed women said they would tell relatives and friends about the incident and ask for help, followed by 74 women who would take no action, and 37 who would file a lawsuit or deposit a complaint at the police.
The diagnosis also reflected the urgent need for combined efforts to inform women of their rights and of the ways, entities and places they can seek help from, as well as men’s full engagement in fighting VAW, as they are its main perpetrators.
The diagnosis is the fruit of a collective action by members of the local cluster of gender equality actors© that the Women and Development Association formed and coordinated in Alexandria and which consisted of 4 associations (Forset Amal, El Baraka Fi Al Shaba, Ahlu El Kheir and Family Planning Association in Maamoura), the ministries of Health and of Social Solidarity, the Sheikdom of Azhar in Alexandria, the Children Protection unit in Hay Al Muntazah.
The diagnosis was promoted in several media platform like Radio Alexandria, Al lliwaa El Watani newspaper and one TV channel, and most importantly among 120 people who attended the diagnosis launch event which was held on 30 September 2018. Furthermore, the diagnosis was presented during an event organized by the Women and Development Association, the Union of Egypt’s Women and the Social Service Institute as part of their contribution to the international campaign ‘’16 Days of Activism” against VAW.
The diagnosis on protection mechanisms and engaging men in the fight to eliminate VAW elaborated by Women and Development association is part of the project "Strengthening the capacity of equality actors" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) in synergy with the FFEM.
This action also falls under the framework of the project "Developing women’s empowerment", labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
For more information on the local clusters of gender equality actors set up by the FFEM, click here
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.