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Salam@ conference addresses culture of silence around digital gender-based violence

By Maria Weldali - Sep 15,2022 - Last updated at Sep 15,2022

AMMAN — Self-blame for digital gender-based violence perpetuates the culture of silence in Jordan, according to a recent Salam@ survey.

Salam@ for women and youth in the MENA region, a multi-year programme implemented by the Canadian think tank SecDev, seeks to change perceptions and behaviours as well as increase awareness of digital safety.

The survey, which was presented during Salam@ regional conference, revealed that 30 per cent of its 525 female respondents blamed themselves after they experienced digital violence.

The first Salam@ regional conference, which was launched on Wednesday in Amman, saw the attendance of activists, experts and relevant representatives from different Arab countries.

The second day of the programme’s first dialogue session brought together experts and activists from Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco to reflect on their countries’ experiences in combating digital violence, and to share stories of Arab women who have confronted abuse in the digital space.

During the first session, Hala Murad, head of the Dibeen Association for Environmental Development, said that the programme’s philosophy is based not only on providing information, but on making sure that digital safety awareness actually reaches more people.

Representing Jordan, Murad, who is also a human rights activist, reiterated the importance of preventative action, noting that “we should not wait for the abuser to find online blind spots and commit digital violence”.

In an interview with The Jordan Times on Thursday, Lina Momani, national coordinator of Salam@, said that there will be 12 workshops at the Dead Sea on Friday and Saturday.

The workshops will discuss challenges faced by Salam@ in the region and come up with concept notes relating to promoting the concept of digital safety. The workshops will also cover cohorts of women and youth that have been formed in Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, 

Momani noted that “the last session on day two is of particular importance, as it delves into the realities of psychosocial support for those who have experienced digital violence”.

On the same note, Farah Shash, a psychologist specialising in psychosocial trauma, told The Jordan Times that “Salam@ works on a deeper level of support for women who have experienced digital violence”.

According to Shash, the primary focus is making sure that women have access to safe spaces, and providing them specialised support services.

 

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