CHALLENGING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN ALL ITS FORMS
As the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November, a new SAT-7 program is challenging aggression and brutality across the Arab World.
Today Not Tomorrow, broadcast on SAT-7 ARABIC, provides a platform for viewers to share their heart about topics that are rarely discussed even in their own households. It highlights not only physical violence, but also more subtle forms of coercion.
George Makeen, SAT-7’s Executive Director of Arabic Channels, said, “The program is not shy to present the Gospel to the full, either by stressing positive messages, such as God’s will for everyone to be equal and free, or by praying for a better future for women under stress and reminding them of the Christ who experienced pain and injustice, or by presenting testimonies of women who choose to act against the norm and implement equality between males and females in their household.”
Responses from viewers express a deep need to engage in candid discussions and be heard.
Maggie, a female viewer, spoke about passive violence. “There’s a hidden violence where men sometimes deny their daughters’ presence by not mentioning them but always proudly share stories about their sons,” she said.
“Before she goes on a trip, I call her brother who lives in the USA to ask his opinion first,” said a mother of a thirty-year-old woman. Despite living miles away from his family, a male figure can control the lives of his mother and sister.
Callers agreed that even though all forms of violence are unacceptable, many perpetrators legitimise violence under false pretences such as protection or guidance.
Christina in Minya said, “Thank you for discussing this topic because it is of great interest to me. Violence in all its forms is not acceptable or justified. In my work, I see a lot of violence against women, especially in rural areas. Side-lining women and belittling them is also a form of violence.”
Today Not Tomorrow broadcasts from a different village every week, allowing viewers from all over Egypt to participate in the program.
“The premise is to ask the ‘why’ questions today, here and now,” said Maggie Morgan, producer and director of the program. “Asking why can make tomorrow better, for everyone, not just for women. Freedom is worth its price.”
Today Not Tomorrow crowns months of research as part of SAT-7’s Gender Equality and Freedom of Religion and Belief project. This aims to overcome bias, stereotypes, and discrimination against women. It has included workshops with school children on ‘Girls in education’ and with women, reflections that create a space for female voices to inform theological understanding, and documentaries featuring leading female figures.
SAT-7 programs help women across the Middle East and North Africa to be heard and equipped to make a full contribution to society. They call on women and men to work together to reflect God’s glory and acknowledge their equal value within families and communities.