With the recent passing of the “VAWA” or the “Violence Against Women Act” in the United States, The White Ribbon Campaign has gained popularity and has been spreading worldwide. The White Ribbon Campaign is “the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. Starting in 1991, we asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Since then the White Ribbon has spread to over 60 countries around the world”.
Samar Fatany, a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station, recently published an article in the Saudi Gazette entitled, “A Saudi ‘White Ribbon Campaign’ is Needed”. She advocates for the need of a movement to protect women in Arab countries with Saudi Arabia in particular. Saudi Arabia is slowly integrating progressive views towards women with recent statements from King Abdullah who strongly disagrees with extremists that discriminate against women and the violence committed against them. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal supported many programs to protect women’s rights and status. Men in media continue to expose the criminals who commit crimes against women and get away with minimum or no punishments.
She calls for more men to speak out in support of the message the White Ribbon Campaign spreads. The media could play a much larger role than it is now. One direct suggestion she makes is in education, children should learn from an early age to respect one another, and specifically, to treat a woman right.
In the year 2013, a woman should not have to fear any man, whether it be her father, her husband or a stranger. Women’s rights worldwide have come so far yet have so much farther to go, but to extend the White Ribbon Campaign to the Arab World is a step in the right direction.