BY Inas Miloud
In 2018, Tamazight Women’s Movement and other partners collected stories for measuring daily safety in Libya. Gender-based violence was identified as a recurring concern across the country in the report.The majority of testimonies provided by men, women and youth outline a common pattern of physical violence, rape, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, abductions and domestic violence. Women and young people have expressed specifically that they were impacted by violence directly due to their gender or identity. Furthermore, we found strong ties in their stories between the spread of weapons and sexual and gender-based violence in almost every story of violence involving the use of weapons.
Gender-based discrimination and patriarchal values are deeply entrenched in Libyan society. This has always placed women and girls in secondary position politically, socially and economically.
The war has intensified – and justified- the role of militarized patriarchy to further shape the values and norms of the “Libyan society”, including gender norms and power dynamics.
These norms also affected the way we perceive “important issues of war”, what type violence gets to be more visible, and who has more value in war. Soldiers and fighters became the primary focus, and since women are not directly fighting inside the battlefields, this has marginalised their roles further and silenced any gender related issue.
In addition to being caught in between crossfires, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted significantly the livelihoods of people, and exacerbated pre-existing structural inequalities and barriers for women and girls. This has increased the burden of unpaid care and emotional labour for women and girls, with many adolescents experiencing gendered division of house chores.
Tamazight Women’s Movement has launched its campaign“Violence outside the Battlefields” in collaboration with civil society partners in the framework with the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism, to highlight issues of gender-based violence, especially the experiences of women and girls, and to capitalise on personal and political experiences of gender-based violence and bring these issues forward where everyone could discuss and engage.
You can kindly access the virtual exhibition curated by the talented Surur Alakari and Abdallah Aturki specifically for the campaign
Featuring young Libyan Artists: