Saudi Arabia finally says no to domestic violence

Friday, April 26, 2013
Saudi Arabia's first ever domestic violence campaign
The King Khalid Foundation's anti-domestic violence ad (translated from Arabic by BuzzFeed).

It's 2013, but Saudi Arabia has only just started informing its citizens that domestic violence is wrong.

The Middle Eastern country — which is ranked 131st out of 134 countries for gender parity in the World Economic Forum's 2012 Global Gender Gap Report — has released its first ever advertising campaign condemning violence against women.

The poster features a woman in a burqa with a black eye next to the slogan "Some things can't be covered: Fighting women's abuse together".

It is the first ad for the King Khalid Foundation's No More Abuse campaign, which encourages Saudi women to report domestic violence.

Currently, all Saudi women are under the guardianship of a man, usually their father, brother or husband, so most domestic abuse is not reported. Violence against children, particularly female children, is also believed to be endemic.

"The phenomenon of battered women in Saudi Arabia is much greater than is apparent on the surface," the No More Abuse website reads.

"It is a phenomenon found in the dark. We want to achieve justice for all women and children exposed to abuse in all parts of the Kingdom."

It's been a big year for women's rights in Saudi Arabia. In August, two athletes became the first Saudi women to compete at an Olympic Games.

Women are forbidden from playing sport in the conservative country, but the rules were relaxed to allow Sarah Attar, 19, and Wojdan Shaherkhani, 16, to compete, although they had to do so in a full burqa.

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