Tunisian women continuing their fight for true gender equality and exploring the female perception of violence against women and girls through film. A report covering how COVID-19 has impacted the rates of violence against women and girls in Morocco. The tragic death of Specialist Vanessa Guillen, and the call for systemic change in the U.S. military towards sexual assault cases. How the COVID-19 pandemic can trigger survivors of sexual violence and how understanding the pandemic’s impact and trauma can lead survivors to a path of holistic healing and empowerment.

  1. Morocco. Mobilizing For Rights Associates just released a comprehensive report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Violence against Women in Morocco. The report covers research developed from 16 NGOs, and explores “emerging forms of violence, the impact of confinement on women, transformations of NGO services offered to women, the public actor responses to such violence during the state of health emergency, and proposals for legal reforms and effective measures to combat such violence during a pandemic.” (MRA)
  2. Jane D. Tchaïcha and Khedija Arfaoui explore the female perception of violence against women in a post-revolutionary Tunisia through a year-long study of evaluating women’s responses to viewing the Tunisian film, The Beauty and the Dogs, a film about a woman raped by several policemen and has to decide whether to stay silent or report their crimes. (Mediterranean Knowledge)
  3. Vanessa Guillen’s, a 20-year old soldier from Fort Hood, Texas, remains were found at the end of June, months after her disappearance. Her family pushed for an investigation back in April after her sudden disappearance from base when her belongings were left in the last place she was seen. Concerns grew as Guillen had also voiced to her family that she had been sexually assaulted in the past. (NY Times)
  4. The International Labour Organization (ILO) warns that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a negative effect on gender equality norms in workplaces. “The report said women were being especially hard hit by the crisis because they were over-represented in some of the economic sectors worst affected by the crisis, such as accommodation, food, sales and manufacturing. Globally, almost 510 million or 40% of all employed women work in the four most affected sectors, compared with 36.6% of men.” These sectors also include domestic care, social and healthcare which has also been hard-hit by the pandemic. (The Guardian)
  5. Molly Boeder Harris, Founder and Executive Director of The Breathe Network, writes about the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic can trigger survivors of sexual violence – physically, mentally and emotionally – and the ways that survivors and their supporters can use empowering methods to  help understand their body’s responses to trauma and heal. (Medium)

More to Read: 

Khedija Arfaoui, an independent human rights researcher, explores the advances and setbacks that Tunisian women have endured in their fight for gender equality. From education to their activism against sexual harassment, Tunisian women have not stopped their fight for true equality. “Discrimination has persisted in Tunisia and it seems the freedoms granted to women were mostly implemented in order to improve the country’s reputation in the West.” (Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy)