KUWAIT CITY, May 11, (KUNA): Despite being a problem affecting some 70 percent of women worldwide, violence against women in Kuwait had been one of these topics that are usually “swept under the rug” for various reasons, mostly connected with social considerations.
In 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Declaration defines violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Speaking on the issue, member of the social studies department at Kuwait University Dr Seham Al-Gabandi told KUNA that social norms played a part in either solving or amplifying the problem, stressing that many women in Kuwait suffered from either psychological or verbal abuses, which sometimes come from people that they hold dearest to their hearts.
Part of the cure is to enable women to feel more confident about their selves, informing them about their rights and duties, as well as educating them on how to say no to abuse, said the academic. She also affirmed that society, no matter how advanced, should change its attitudes towards women to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. Providing her input on the issue, family relations’ consultant Mona Al-Saqer said that physical abuse against women could be found in Kuwaiti society.
“There are no clear statistics regarding violence against women in Kuwait, with many people deeming the issue as a private matter,” said Al-Saqer, who added that even if the case ends in courts or police stations, people tend to try and resolve matters without fixing the problem.
Regarding possible solutions to the dilemma, official at the Ministry of Education Dr Suad Al-Suwaidan said that revitalizing laws against women abusers will be a key solution. She also stressed that Islam, as a religion, prohibited any acts that degrade or harm women in any shape or form, noting that this fact was one of the main tools that should prevent such horrible act from occurring.
Meanwhile, the International Conference on Women in Science and Technology in Developing World and the Fifth General Assembly of Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) will be held in Kuwait next Monday, said Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR).
The conference, which will be coorganized by the KISR and Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), is supported by local, regional and international organizations and institutions, including the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), OWSD and the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, KISR’s Acting Director-General Fayeza Al-Yamani told a news conference.
The conference mainly aimed at stimulating and spurring cooperation, sharing knowledge and expertise among the OWSD member states and participants, and involving women in science and technology, she said.
The event is also meant to facilitate variation in the formulation of scientific knowledge and expansion in new criteria in the field of science and technology, and the promotion of better understanding for challenges women face in this field, she added. On her part, Chairwoman of the Organizing Committee Dr Afaf Al-Naser said the conference, which synchronizes with Kuwaiti Women’s Day, will spotlight women’s scientific achievements through an exhibition to be held on the sidelines of the event.