We asked members to communicate about a crucial issue in their region and what women in media can do. From Iraq, Binay Shorsh writes: In Iraq, women face a lot of danger and threats and are killed if they defy traditions. Increasingly women are breaking the barriers and working in media, but they also face gender based online attacks.
"I never feel shame to confess that my society is killing women to keep traditions alive -- there is only one thing I am ashamed of ... the killing of women in my community."
Women are an important part of society and societies must do their utmost to ensure that women can choose their way of life on equal terms with men.
In Kurdish society in Iraq, despite some small progress in women’s rights, there are still people who consider women as less than the opposite gender, because we live in a tribal society which prefers males over females .
If we looking back into the past, most women when they get married wish to have male children more than female children, because boys have more chances in life and they became freecreatures. But if they have females even if the mothers wish for the same freedoms, society makes mothers feelof afraid of raising them.
First, raising girls and preventing them from doing many things does not give them rights so when they grow up they are not asking for their rights, for example. there are many women who will not express their opinion in society because they consider themselves to be uneducated and have no right to express their opinion freely, and they must listen to the words of their brother and father before marriage and after marriage the words of their husbands.
In the past, women were considered to be weak creatures, a creature that had to bow to the words of the male, for example, if they do not want to marry, but when her father asks to marry the man he has chosen, she has no right to refuse him because she is breaking her father's words and it’s not accepted .
In recent years because of technological development, we have been able to learn about some of the world's cultures and change our ideas through our connection with the outside world, but now there are still some areas where women face a lot of danger and threat to their lives.
* Most prominent is the issue of honor, in the past period many women have been killed due to violence and because of bribery the case has become a suicide issue and closed .In factle killing for many this is a disaster, women are killed daily, and most of the time the killer are a father, a brother or a husband, unfortunately The law does not penalize them, and We Scarcely hear that the “Criminal has been punished”, Every time we hear and hear in the media about the killing of women because of honor, but so far we have not heard any man killed because of the same issue, and what makes us more sad because these situations make a noise for some days and then forgotten as if nothing happened.
* according to 2017 data, the violence rate has been increased 30% compared to 2016 data. and unfortunately I’m sure that this rate will increase for 2018. Judicial intervention has been increased and most interventions indirect , but most cases result in low levels of, or no punishment for the accused.
Somne reasons for this are
- Lack of necessary proof.
- Victims fear of society, slander and defamation.
- Society, law, religion which are supporting male gender.
- Judges, police and investigators who are involved in the case always look at victims as contributing to the problem,rather than the "accused" because we are in a society that supports males more than females and they believe women are guilty most of the time, for example: The victim: “After my husband tortured me, they took me to the hospital, where the wound was treated with six stitches. When I met the judge, the first question he asked, was: “What mistake did you make, that your husband tortured you like that?”
In some cases the families of the victims avoid taking legal avenues, and the main reasons are that they feel ashamed or fear scandal, desoite the fact that only one person should feel shame and this is the guilty person. But the guilty person does not feel he is guilty.
online and on screen
* There are many girls who do not put their own pictures on their account in social media because there are some people who steal their pictures will change or distort it to destroy their reputations or threaten them; there are many girls who use tnicknames as a protection.
* In this country women are not allowed to take every job that men can, because society pretends that women are weak and while women try to achieve their goals, there are many people including men and women trying to stop them instead of supporting them. In the past, a number of female candidates presebted themselves for election to the Parliament of Iraq in 2018 but they faced online attacks, with opponents trying to distort them through the publication of their private documents on social media.
* In some areas, people watch the artists and the media category in the other eye, because according to religion and tradition it is not appropriate to have women on the screen, so many women who work on the media or acting face difficulties and bad words from society.
Here I would like to explain more about the media situation in Kurdistan. In the past, the number of women in the media was slight, because of a lack of education and the opposition of families to girls and women being shown on the public screen. They were thinking that women must be home workers and raising children. Luckily now a days we can see the number of women in the media field is increasing but clearly we can note that still a section of society make gender-based attacks on them with bad and inappropriate words and also trying to ruin their personal reputation, But rarely we notice the same level of efforts to discredit men who work in the media.
If you see social media, every week, you'll see a lot of fake accounts trying to defame women, and you'll notice that many victims are women in every area of life. There are many female journalists and news editors facing harassment from their office manager, as well as in some cases they are pressured, even required to have sexual relations and if the senior men are rejected, they threaten to expel them from work.
As a result of their conditions in media, many women leave their jobs.
Women in Iraq
Sometimes those activists who ask for women’s rights and solutions to women’s problem, also face violence. In my opinion some women can not bear the situation and they find all the doors closed and resort to suicide.
The main reasons for increasing death rates victims are broad: Family. Society. Authority. Economy. Religion. Prevalence unlicensed weapons.Lack of awareness in society. Inequality in law.
Families does not raise their daughters to be powerful and to stand on their feet and face the society, so when they advane into participating with society, they find it hard to bear society's commentary.
As well corruption is an issue in the government authorities of this countrry, and there is no plan or strategy for protecting women and also Iraq's economy is reduced, so budgets for for women's organizations are cut and there are no funds to spread awareness in society. Religions are forbidding so many things for women which are normal for males, and some of the clergy spread wrong education in society through their speeches, for example telling families it is not suitable for a female to work in a public place because it is mixed with male and this is against religion.
There is also an increase in the proportion of weapons without authorization, where people get weapons easily.
And what is the solution?
The authorities should educate the community by opening courses and media channels, and also government must develop plans to improve the country's economy and trying to identify foreign traditions by opening courses and training in foreign countries.
Courts should make an effort to interrogation women's issues and supporting them rather than looking at them inappropriately, and also Justice must sanctions the guilty.
Despite all this, women should not be silent, and demand their rights and reject violence and never give up.
Also i must to say that there are a lot of males which are supporting women to reach their rights and refusing all violence toward women and killing them, and trying to spread awareness in society.
I never wanted to know that my community, is in a society where killing women is easy but it is a dark fact that we must to fight it, I never feel shame to confess that my society is killing women to keep traditions alive!!!
Actually the only thing I am ashamed of is... the killing of women in my community....