Photos: (Don’t) Hit Her

A group of young Saudis are taking part in a new social media campaign to condemn violence against women. In the campaign, young men and woman pose in front of the camera carrying a placard with their own words. The campaign slogan, “Hit Her,” is a clever message calling on men to dare hit women and face the consequences of that action.

The campaign was launched last week and is sponsored by Libra Productions, a sound studio and music management agency based in Jeddah. They have been posting photos and awareness messages on their Twitter account using the hashtag #اضربها. The company also partnered with a law firm to provide consultations for those who need it.

The National Family Safety Program (NFSP) said that three out of 10 women in Saudi Arabia are subjected to domestic violence. Maha al-Muneef, head of NFSP, said during a recent meeting of experts on the subject that media has a crucial role in raising awareness and that it is “one of the bases of dealing with domestic violence in society.”

In order to raise awareness, several campaigns have been launched recently to combat violence against women. Last month, King Khaled Foundation started a “No More Abuse” campaign that has been widely covered by international media as the first of its kind in the country. Few weeks later a group of activists and writers began a local White Ribbon campaign that has faced a backlash by ultraconservative clerics.

Columnist Samar Fatany wrote earlier this month that violence against women is on the rise in Saudi Arabia despite recent efforts to put a stop to this dangerous phenomenon. “Unfortunately, there are no specific criminal laws addressing violence against women and children,” she said. “Domestic violence cases can be the subject of a police investigation; however, they are not treated as serious criminal cases and they are not prosecuted in court.”