Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lebanese women: Call 112, then call 140.

There are currently, not one - but TWO - different campaigns running which aim at defending beaten or threatened women. One cannot but be very enthusiastic about this. But this being said, I never understood the difference between ABAAD and Kafa - for me they are the typical "I want to work on my own instead of pooling resources and achieving synergistic results with someone else who have the same target as myself"... 
On all accounts, the ABAAD campaign is about "God help her, doesn't help her much". So yes, lamenting a woman's case (who is beaten) is not of practical effect. Now, Kafa aims to highlight their partnership with the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and invite threatened women to call 112 on such occasions. Sadly, and very much so, we live in a very oriental society whereby the ISF memebers themselves are also part of a chauvinistic culture just like anyone else. Will a woman's call to 112 be taken seriously? Will the ISF be complicit with the woman or the man? And worse, what if the man in question is notified, which would make him even more violent which would require 140 and not 112 (140 is the immediate number for the Red Cross)?
I wish to be optimistic, but then one better be safe than sorry, and in this case it implies calling 140 after calling 112.


Maya said...

Hello Tarek, just to clarify some points:

1) KAFA and Abaad are not the same. They have different programs, and different views and approaches. I also hope we stop labeling women's organizations as "all the same" since they're all put under "women's issues" category.

2) As for your very legitimate questions on the role of ISF and 112, and having taken part in KAFA's campaign, I can tell you that nobody is saying ISF are perfect now. What we can say is that ISF (who will have a huge role in implementing the domestic violence law when approved) are starting to take their new (&current) role seriously and are being trained by KAFA and other ISF officers on how to deal/communicate with/ &protect women victims of violence. The objective is to enhance their actual performance as well as to prepare them to implement the law later on.
112 respondents are also trained on how to deal with women's complaints over the phone.

Difference between now and before, besides the training and other preparations, is that a new official service note was issued by the Directorate General of the ISF based on which women can file a complaint against any officer who does not respond to her call for help. The service note clearly states the officers' duties when he/she receives a family violence complaint.

Will we stop needing the Red Cross? No. Even if ISF officers are perfectly sensitive and serious about this, we will not stop needing the red cross. There's no police officer behind each woman.

Tarek Chemaly said...

1) Maya please let me first express my appreciation for all your programs and I mean it. As an end user of your ads I see no difference between you and Abaad - maybe it is just me, but I don't see any differences in the end outcome as an outside observer.
2) I know that no matter how much training there is, a person brought up on the notion that being in the armed forces is a sign of power (and therefore trespassing of the law itself they are supposed to uphold) will not be changed by a simple workshop, but again, there should be a start point and you seem to be tackling that.
3) If I understood correctly, the woman can file a complaint against an ISF officer dismissing her case. Which would make her case even more public... Anyhow, my brother overheard a minister (I won't say which ministry) on a MEA plane say "bass hayda 7aki neswen" (Oh it's just women's talk!)... So if a minister thinks this way, what do you think about lower ranking governmental officials
4) Truly, I am on your side, maybe I have grown defeatist as to what is going on!

Maya said...

Unfortunately yes! Most of our institutions are corrupt and oppressive (especially the military structures)

But as you said, we have to start somewhere to protect the lives and the rights of women. Indeed it's very hard to change mentalities with a number of trainings, which is why we also introduced a teaching curriculum in the ISF police academy on domestic violence so that future ISF generations (women & men) are a bit more sensitive. And we think of the police of being more of a "social/protective police".

It's still not enough. But it's better than nothing due to the fact that no other frameworks and structures exist in our societies.

Think of alternative structures? Why not :)


Tarek Chemaly said...

Maya, trust me, the whole reason why Beirut/NTSC still exists after 7 years (and the 8th starting soon!) is because I believe in making a difference (whatever that means). I also discovered it irritates people when you shake the status quo, but then "kafa" idiocy, right? You are doing a good job, keep at it. And don't let cynics like me dissuade you (I wish I can stop being an idealist, but...)

Fadi said...

Just for the record, the Lebanese Red Cross hotline is 140 not 120.

Tarek Chemaly said...

Now THAT is a major blunder from my side. Thank you for the correction Fadi. Much appreciated.