“The shadow pandemic”, a description given to domestic violence for its rising rates since the Corona lockdown. As families got stuck at home, with all the pressures and burdens, some decided to take it out on their partners, siblings, or children, creating a parallel cycle of violence. Responding to this harsh reality, former Lawyer and UN Project Consultant Molk Said, founded the online platform Eed Wahda, Arabic for “one hand”.
The initiative’s goal is to help build a community amongst those who have been subjected to all forms of violence to feel belonging to a community. The group is dedicated to all those women and girls who have been suffering in silence, to be their place of comfort and strength, a place where solutions can be found together. We have talked to Molk about the platform and here’s what she shared!
Why did you decide to launch the platform?
It was very important for me to create something sustainable; a platform with no limitations in terms of beneficiaries and with no deadlines. So, the group is there for all survivors to share their stories anonymously if they choose to, which would in-turn lead to grass-root visibility and enable transparency on first hand.
There is also an aspect of awareness raising, indicated on the Facebook page in-order to highlight important factors of violence in an animated and still-motion format.
Domestic abuse survivors need special care and treatment especially with the way people direct them to handle the situation. How are you planning to control that on a Social Media platform where people often bully and use hate speech?
To be honest, this was a very big issue for me. And at times I contemplated whether I should start this initiative or not, because I didn’t want it to lead to more pain or harm. Yet, I truly believe that there is a general shift in humanity. We are dealing with one another with more kindness and care. Strong rules and guideline are also imposed as religious and political matters are not to be discussed under any circumstances.
What do you think the rising rates of domestic abuse during Corona indicate?
I believe that frustration and stress generally instigate violence, and therefore put corona in the equation; everything is magnified and therefore this outcome was inevitable. The “corona baggage” (as I call it) such as heightened financial stress, curfew, social distancing, and so on, enabled a shadow pandemic and basically the ‘volcano of violence’ erupted!
From a legal perspective, what do you think is the best way to tackle the issue?
I believe that there has to be a clear-cut law on domestic abuse. However, there has to be a social and cultural shift first, because even if domestic abuse is clearly outlawed, it does not necessarily mean that it will be implemented, and that women and girls won’t be afraid to report cases. Besides, the tedious judiciary process as well as lack of legal aid have proven to create more backlash than not reporting.
What are you expecting from the group members to offer?
I am expecting the group to transparently raise public awareness on a national, as well as international, level; promoting relevant and required actions to be taken by governmental institutions, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, civil society, private sectors and other stakeholders.
How has the feedback been so far to the initiative?
Honestly, I have been very lucky gaining a lot of support and getting a lot of positive feedback so far. There have been a few who are against this platform, but I am hoping that they would realize that it really is an issue that has caused so much hurt and pain throughout the years.
You can contact Eed Wahda on Facebook
Or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/eedwahda/
And you can join the group and share your story anonymously via this link www.facebook.com/groups/2797069010416208/?ref=bookmarks