Women from the city of Raqqa have come together to discuss gender-based violence and the role women can play in their societies after years of conflict.
In the city of Raqqa in Syria, the Women’s House Organisation held a seminar entitled “No to Disgrace, Slavery and Oppression, Yes to Equality and Coexistence,” which aims to discuss violence against women. The female attendees at the seminar stressed the importance of such seminars that aim to empower women in post-conflict cities in Syria.
“Today, women are liberated, and they are no longer subjected to slavery and tyranny like before,” said Najma al-Kurdawi, one of the attendees of the seminar from Raqqa. “Violence against women is old, and today, we are free, more developed, and have independent thinking. This has a democratic impact on our lives and the freedom we want.”
Since the liberation of many cities in Iraq and Syria from ISIS, women have played an essential role in rebuilding societies and civil activism.
During ISIS’ rule, many women were enslaved, brutality punished and used by the militant organisation.
According to some women who lived under ISIS rule, the militant organisation would not let them leave their houses unless they were fully covered and accompanied by their male guardians. Furthermore, many women were forced to marry ISIS militants, who violently abused them.
As a result, after being liberated from ISIS, women have been much more active in trying to educate society about the horrors and brutality that they witnessed, while promoting ideas such as equality and coexistence.
The city of Raqqa, which was the de-facto capital of ISIS in Syria, was liberated from the militant organisation in October 2017, by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Following the city’s liberation educational seminars, courses and workshops have taken place to empower the role of women in Raqqa in rebuilding their city, despite the dark times that they lived in.
At this time in the country, it is crucial for women to be brought into the public domain for the society to move past the archaic image of women being simply housewives.