Media campaign gives Libyan women a voice

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A Libyan non-governmental organization has launched a media campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence, using religious passages that point to the proper treatment of women, Your Middle East reported on Sunday.

The Voice of Libyan Women, founded during the 2011 revolution, has launched Project Noor (meaning ‘light’ in Arabic), a public awareness campaign which uses billboards, radio, TV and social media to disseminate messages about women’s security.

The project follows two years of research by the VLW throughout Libya, which documented women’s opinions and ideas about abuse and how to prevent it.

Previously, there were “no clear statistics” on the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence in Libya, said Nadia el-Fallah, manager of Project Noor.

“Starting in November 2012, the VLW led Libya’s first security assessment focusing on the impact of security on women’s political participation,” Fallah told Your Middle East.

“It was an opportunity to gauge women’s national security concerns but also their security concerns that affect them on a daily basis.”

Project Noor aims to raise awareness and provoke discussion about these issues through a national media campaign.

One of the project’s central objectives is to reconstruct ideas about women using religious language.

The campaign uses passages on the treatment of women from the Quran and the Sunna (teachings of the Prophet Mohammed) in order to legitimize its message.

More than 30 graphic designs addressing domestic violence are now on billboards in major Libyan cities, in addition to radio and TV campaigns.

Social media is also being used, with the hashtag #NoorLibya.

Project Noor “will be the tool for sparking conversations in people’s homes, mosques, (and) coffee shops,” said Fallah.

Surveys conducted among Libyan women revealed that the “most common justification for discrimination against women was the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Islamic teachings,” according to the project press release.

Islamic justification is central to Project Noor’s success in making people think twice about the position of women in Libyan society, said Fallah.

“The reason why (the project) has been well received thus far is because we paired issues of women’s security to proper treatment of women in Islam.”

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