VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: WOMEN’S VOICES FROM THE MENA
Violence against women and girls is a widespread, devastating human rights violation in the Middle East – and societies also deny them a platform to speak out about it. Through live programs and audience support teams, SAT-7 gives women the valuable chance to be heard; today, we share their voices with you.
For many women in the Middle East and North Africa, violence is part of life from an early age.
“When I was a kid, I dropped something and it broke. My father hit me very hard on the head, and it affected my hearing. I can’t hear with that ear anymore. I don’t think what I did deserved this punishment.” – Maria* (SAT-7 ARABIC)
In addition to physical violence, gender-based violence includes sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse, all of which target a woman’s dignity as a human being.
“I was raised to believe that since I am a girl, and the oldest, I must sacrifice for my brothers. I don’t matter.” – Anonymous (SAT-7 ARABIC)
In many cases, as women grow up and seek increased freedom to study, to work, to go out and meet friends, or even choose to wear what they want, they are met with opposition and violence. Mehrangiz, a 17-year-old Iranian girl, became friends with a boy, and because of this friendship, she was severely beaten by male members of her family.
“On one occasion, one of them sat on my chest and was repeatedly punching me. All I could do was to try and shield my chest to prevent my ribs from breaking. I cannot forget the pain of these beatings.” – Mehrangiz from Iran
Often, abuse continues when women are married.
“I got married at the age of sixteen to a man that I had never met. I suffered a lot with him beating me without reason. I begged my husband to divorce me, but he refused.” – Amar from Algeria
And this year, due to pandemic lockdowns, domestic abuse and femicide cases spiked and are expected to show an overall rise across the year.
“It is as if we are in a war. Women are being killed in their hundreds. I really call out to government leaders, there are laws: please, we want these laws to be applied.” – Şemsa (SAT-7 TURK Presenter)
As a broadcast ministry, SAT-7 recognises its responsibility to contribute to the empowerment of women and girls across the region. Through programs, live discussions with viewers, and Audience Relations (AR) teams, SAT-7 ensures that women’s voices are heard, and that they learn of their God-given value and dignity.
“At a time when support systems for women and girls across the world shut their doors and vulnerable women and girls are inside, SAT-7 is providing a haven to connect, find encouragement, and a place to speak out against brutality experienced by women and girls across the region,” shares SAT-7 CEO Rita El-Mounayer in a special vlog for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Through viewers’ testimonies, SAT-7 staff witness not only the pain, but the healing God is bringing in women’s lives in the Middle East and North Africa. When the AR team responded to Mehrangiz by sharing God’s love for her and by praying for her, she said:
“When you prayed for me, I felt a power leave me through my mouth and I started to weep like someone who has just been freed and is weeping tears of joy.” – Mehrangiz (SAT-7 PARS) after giving her heart to Christ
We also witness renewal in families when they come to Christ.
“After 23 years of suffering, my husband heard about Jesus Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. My husband changed! He is not that rough, bullying man anymore. He shared his experience with the God of hope with me. My sons, daughter, and I have all accepted Jesus, who has changed my husband’s life.” – Amar from Algeria.
Along with allowing women’s voices to be heard and offering them this haven of support, SAT-7 programs provide a rare space for open discussion, including with men who respond to the issues we raise.
“I have been watching your channel for the last month. I particularly love your talks about the violence which women are subjected to. In my opinion, violence against women exists because people are not educated enough on the matter.” – Fatih, a male viewer from Turkey.
While God is working powerfully in these lives and families, the need for support for women – for renewal in attitudes in societies, improved legal protection, and support for victims of violence – is urgent.
Please pray with us:
- That women across the Middle East and North Africa will know their God-given value despite the attitudes they face, find comfort in Him, and be empowered to seek change.
- That women’s rights will be upheld, and that they will be protected from violence and allowed to make decisions concerning their own lives.
- That God would continue to work in the hearts of men and women across the region.
- That SAT-7 programs will continue to educate people of human rights.
*Names have been changed to protect identities