In recent years in the West, women have got more social power on previous decades and centuries. Islam is without doubt unpopular with such behaviors as misogyny, male chauvinism and sexism. That wasn’t to demonize the religion. Dubai, an Islamic domain, as records show is about the most Western, liberal and dynamic city in the Middle East.
Now, fortunately for women in Dubai, the city, in its dynamic spirit, joins global campaign to end violence against women as it did last year. The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children has launched a campaign to end gender-based violence.
This year’s Violence Against Women campaign will make it the sixth time it’s being held. Dubai will start Wednesday to coincide with the International Day of Violence Against Women, also known as Orange Day, and will run until December 10.
In participation, the foundation will light up its buildings in orange for the first week of the campaign, hold a series of online lectures, share awareness tips and release podcasts on their social media accounts with the hashtag #NewNormal.
Last year, landmarks across the Emirates such as Burj Khalifa, the General Women’s Union and Adnoc in Abu Dhabi were lit up orange in a show of solidarity.
As on previous years, there will be a focus on women’s mental health and well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Experts will discuss issues on how a poor work-life balance could create additional stress, resulting in emotional, mental or other types of abuse of women by people around them.
“We live in a country that values the status of women and recognises the importance of their role in building society, and our wise leadership has placed women in the highest leadership positions in the country,” said Sheikha Al Mansouri, acting director general of the foundation.
“In this context, we launched the sixth campaign to highlight the importance of women’s issues, how to deal with them and educate the public on how to support women in their lives.
“We are proud of the great support we receive from our beloved country and our leaders, and we also invite all members of the community to contribute to support this campaign by participating in these events and spreading awareness to as many members of the community as possible.”
Related to this event is the recent legal overhaul of personal and family law in the UAE. This overhaul saw a number of amendments seeking to protect the rights of women. ‘Honor crimes’, where a male relative can get a lighter sentence for assaulting a female relative under the excuse of ‘protecting honor’, will henceforth be treated as any other assault.
There will be tougher punishments for men who subject women to harassment of any kind.
The punishment for the rape of a minor or someone with limited mental capacity will be execution.
In 2018, 1,027 cases of abuse were reported across the Emirates by the foundation.
In 72 per cent of cases, husbands were reported as being the abusers. Every single case involved verbal abuse and 7 per cent of the cases also reported sexual abuse.
Financial abuse was also cited in 58 per cent of the domestic violence cases.