Preventing gender based violence in public spaces: from knowledge to action towards change : MOROCCO

The present study has been prepared as part of the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research/CAWTAR and the Open Society Foundations/OSFs Partnership, and in the framework of a sub-regional project.

It falls in line with CA WTAR ’s mission, which is to “contribute to the empowerment of women in the Arab World so that they can fully exercise their human rights, economically, socially and politically, through gender- and human rights-based approaches”.

To this end, CAWTAR generates knowledge with the aim of producing a core, evidence-based database to advocate against all forms of discrimination and violence against women, and to promote gender equality.

To convert the vision and goals of CAWTAR and other partners in Morocco into concrete results, an action-research entitled: “Prevention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Public Spaces, especially in Universities:

Building Evidence for Effective Solutions”, has been conducted in universities in Morocco.

This research aims to contribute to a forward-thinking process for the conduct of a broader and more in-depth survey whose results would later serve for purposes of advocacy.

At the core of this action-research lies the issue of the disclosed or undisclosed existence of GBV, the discriminatory practices involved, and the way GBV is perceived in universities.

According to data collected in 2013, 35% of women around the world have already been victims of physical or sexual violence.

Moreover, data from the National Survey on the Prevalence of Violence Against Women/ENPVEF reveal the magnitude of violence against women in public spaces, with an overall GBV prevalence rate of 62.8%, and with a rate of 32.9% in public places.

The same source indicates that educational and training institutions are not exempt from this scourge, with a GBV prevalence rate of 24.2%.

The documentary analysis also shows that in higher education and scientific research institutions, as revealed through testimonies collected by associations, there exist, as elsewhere, inappropriate, discriminatory, and even violent behaviors that adversely affect the integrity of individuals and the course of their studies or career.

There, as elsewhere, gender stereotypes and the associated inequalities, discriminatory acts, and violent practices are perpetuated.

It also turns out that in universities, colleges, and training/research institutions, be they public or private, there are power relations that are likely to be conducive to acts of violence.

However, for many reasons, GBV in universities, while being actually present, remains a hidden issue, as demonstrated through our field survey.

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