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Declaration Against violence against women and for the plurality of their expression We Tunisian women, remain standing!

Author: ATFD

Date: 04/18/2013


Against violence against women

and for the plurality of their expression

We Tunisian women, stay up!

- Faced with the upsurge in violations and multiple violations of the rights of women and girls observed in recent months;

- Faced with the increase in precariousness, unemployment and violence in rural and working-class areas;

- Faced with smear campaigns and attacks against artists, journalists, activists and more generally women active in public space;

- Faced with the implementation of a segregationist policy calling into question the diversity in schools;

- Faced with the proliferation of kindergartens escaping any institutional and educational control, going so far as to authorize the niqab for teachers and the hijab for little girls;

- Faced with the increasing number of descents in boarding schools and hostels for young high school girls and students;

- Faced with harassment of women, intimidation and provocation in the means of transport and more generally in all public spaces;

- Faced with calls for the marriages of minors and the recognition of “orfi” (customary) marriage;

- Faced with the questioning of the right to abortion and all kinds of threats of sexual abuse.

We ATFD activists, shaken by the wave of rapes of women who have reached young children, sometimes involving the very people who are supposed to protect citizens (three cases including two involving police officers and the most recent , workers in a kindergarten are followed by our center), we are outraged against all these forms of violence and we express our solidarity with all the victims.

We consider that this violence, especially sexual, emanates from a patriarchal system, here as elsewhere, stigmatizing the body of women by appropriating and controlling it and permeating all institutions through its representations (police, justice, medical, etc. .)  

Faithful to our principles and constantly committed to the fight against violence and discrimination against women, we continue to lead our campaigns against sexual violence in application of our attachment to the universality and indivisibility of the human rights of women. women.

Convinced that equality between men and women cannot be achieved without democracy and without social justice. Convinced that the recognition of the full citizenship of women, their participation in development, the guarantee of their economic and social rights and the respect for their physical integrity, are the essential conditions of a just, egalitarian and democratic society.

We would like to remind national and international public opinion of our contribution to the advancement of the achievements of Tunisian women, particularly in terms of long-dead violence: the adoption of a national strategy against violence - which has remained unimplemented - the criminalization of the sexual harassment, the rights of divorced mothers over their children, the attribution of the mother's nationality to her children, etc.)

We also recall the involvement and massive participation of Tunisian women and activists of our association as stakeholders in the revolutionary process with the hope that the democratic transition should strengthen their achievements and pave the way for a free and plural debate. on matters related to their conditions and statutes.

Tunisian women, in all regions, in both private and public spaces, continue to mobilize and be vigilant and stand up, in solidarity, and beyond their differences against all attempts to impose a system of sexist representation that does not 'spares no woman.

Against all expectations, the current context, instead of promoting the freedom of each individual - men and women - and instead of allowing living together has renewed and spread, in all its forms, violence against women: political , cultural, religious, social and economic.

These violations come from various circles and backgrounds: preachers setting themselves up as bearers of religious Truth, imams in mosques speaking with total impunity, the media, spokespersons for political parties, police, militias and others. even ordinary citizens who give free rein to their finally "liberated" machismo.

“Democratic transition phase”, “economic crisis”, “security loosening”, “newly regained freedom of expression” “legitimacy and / or electoral majority”… all these answers convey justifications and almost a “legitimation” of the violence exerted on women and aim to exclude them if they do not respond to the patriarchal representation of their body in the public space.

At the institutional level, these responses reflect a terrifying disengagement of the State and particularly of the departments of the most concerned ministries: Ministry of Women, the Interior, Education, Youth and Sports ..., in the face of violations cited above.

At the ANC, the battle for the constitutionalization of equality between men and women is still on the agenda. After the abandonment of the proposal of the concept of "complementarity", the debates at the ANC focus on the opposition by the majority deputies to the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination in 'regard to women (CEDAW) and certain measures concerning the rights of children. By this attitude, the majority strives to want to enshrine the unequal status of women and a patriarchal approach to relations in the family and in society.

The interventions of the President of the Republic, far from being reassuring, themselves fuel the categorization of women according to their body and their clothing and trivialize the dangers and threats they face on a daily basis.

In this context, the reactions of the political parties concerning the demand for equality and the denunciation of violence, although better supported by several democratic parties, fail by the absence of the question for some, the vagueness for others and the These positions are often dependent on political calculations contrary to respect for the human rights of women but also fundamentally compromising the achievement of the objectives of the revolution "Freedom, Equality, Justice and Dignity for all, men and women".

For their part, the components of civil society, yet strongly involved in the fight against violence, must pay close attention to violence targeting women and girls and reflect on strategies integrating specific violence into their projects. that target women.

In general, the responses of each other and in particular of political Islam currents have very often invoked arguments of "cultural specificities", of religious morality; they have relied on a guilty discourse, all to the detriment of national and international positive law and this to trivialize violence or, worse still, to justify and fuel it.

Our association, which itself has been the object of harassment and denigration, has continued to support women in accordance with its principles and ethics, with full respect for the anonymity and free choice of women. The experiences of these women and the repeated attacks against their rights as well as the exchange of experiences with partner associations have reinforced our conviction that patriarchy in its religious, cultural, economic and social sense bases its power on appropriation and control. of women's bodies.

This relentlessness and fixation on the body of women have strengthened our mobilization and our solidarity with all women, whatever their modalities of expression and action. These forms of expression which today take on multiple and new forms escaping the " politically and morally correct », We analyze them without bias and without moral judgment. We place them in the context described above as cries of revolt in the face of attempts to control women and their bodies and in the face of the upsurge in violence and hateful and unleashed cabals, in particular on social networks and in conservative speeches and misogynistic. Let us recall the reactions of the former Minister of National Education to a high school dance the "Harlem shake" phenomenon. The course of action chosen by young Amina should in no way justify the threats to which she is subjected which went so far as to call for murder. At the ATFD, we remain committed to providing her support, to showing her our solidarity as a woman victim of violence by respecting the choice of her act even if her approach is not that of all feminists and all women. NGO.

We reject all attempts to instrumentalize religion or a pseudo-morality to justify attacks on the dignity of women, their physical, moral and psychological integrity.

We call on the authorities to take their responsibility to guarantee freedoms and protect women against all forms of violence and threats.

Plurality of expression and its freedom are achievements of our revolution that we are not ready to give up. 


The president

Ahlem Belhad

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