From Data to Every Day Work: New Report on Domestic Violence in Palestine

If you drop by The Women’s Group on any given weekday, you’ll quickly realize that we don’t shy away from noise: whether it’s Cindy Lauper songs on full volume in a fitness class or excitement coming from an embroidery class, the sounds of joy are impossible to miss. IMG_2597

But sometimes in our seminars, we approach subjects that are a bit more silent in our communities- like this week, as we discussed domestic violence and protecting our children from abuse. And while these are topics certainly aren’t always easy to open up about, this recent report on gender-based violence in Palestine published in the Violence Against Women journal reminds us that there’s no time to be quiet about this critical issue.

The report- “Domestic Violence against Single, Never-Married Women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”- explores what factors cause single, non-married women to face violence. It raises some very important points, and produces key findings that help inform the sort of work that TYO does:

  • As we know, Palestine has one of the lowest Female Labor Force Participation rates in the world- and this study found that working outside the home is not always a protective factor for women from abuse. But this doesn’t mean that work isn’t important- in fact, the study reports that it's because many women in Palestine work in gender-specific fields, like cleaning homes or craft-like projects. Because of this, there's not always the opportunity to rise to the same economic status or leadership positions as men. This is why TYO's women entrepreneurship programs, like FWEME, are vital- they provide chances for women to create and run the sort of business they desire in any field.
  • The study reports that the more power a woman has to make decision in her household, the less likely she will be abused. Yet it also cites the need for more research on how women can gain authority in their homes- which is certainly a topic The Women's Group is always considering.
  • Early marriage can often increase a woman's risk for domestic violence- and that's why we encourage moms to understand the risks of young marriage to help protect their daughters, and empower single women to make their own choices about their relationships.

So while issues like domestic violence can be difficult to talk about sometimes, studies like this remind us of the reality to speak out about gender-based violence and discrimination. Check out the rest of the report to learn more about what we're talking about within our seminars- and add your voice to this important conversation.

Cayce Pack is the Women's Empowerment Program Coordinator at Tomorrow's Youth Organization. Above, she writes about a recent report in the Violence Against Women journal, and how it relates to daily work here at TYO.