Some 200 people demonstrated in the Arab town of Tamra on Wednesday to protest violence against women.
The protest took place two hours after the funeral of Amana Yassin, a mother of two in her ninth month of pregnancy who was stabbed to death early Tuesday morning. Her ex-husband, who was taken into custody at the scene, is the primary suspect in the murder.
Hiam Diab, an actress from Tamra who organized the demonstration together with Duaa Diab, said it was the first time many people from outside Tamra have attended such a demonstration. But it “has to be more than a demonstration,” she said. “What are the next steps?”
The organizers are working with the municipality to build a plan of action against violence, she added, but the solution also has to come from women themselves.
“Every woman who encounters any kind of violence, the onus is on her to tell, not to remain silent,” Hiam Diab said. “If she would scream and say something, nothing would happen.”
She cited Yassin’s case as an example of the problem. After the murder, it emerged that Yassin’s ex-husband had abused her. But Diab said she had spoken with the principal of the school Yassin’s children attend, “and she said nobody knew; she never said anything.”
Mueen Armush, a lawyer who lives in Tamra, said he attended the demonstration because “it’s our duty.” He said the problem of violence “exists throughout Arab society, not just in Tamra, and not just against women; it’s a flawed mode of behavior that apparently needs to be treated at its roots.”
Rajab Uthman, also an attorney from Tamra, said the solution “has to begin with the family,” then spread to schools, local governments, state institutions and the police. The murder isn’t representative of Tamra’s population, Uthman said, but he added, “we won’t deny that violence is a problem in Arab society.”
MK Aida Touma-Suliman (Joint List) also attended the demonstration. She said solving the problem of violence will take time, “but it could be shortened if all the relevant actors would do what is necessary — if the authorities would allocate the resources and the plans, if the police would do their jobs and the welfare authorities would provide protection.”
One problem, she added, is that responsibility for dealing with this problem is divided among several different agencies.
“We need to set up a government agency that will deal just with this,” she said.