Survey on the Security of Women activists and new possibilities for mobilization

Monday, February 12th, 2018 | 11:59

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The project ‘Women’s Security Index’ (WSI) is measuring the sense of safety and security of women active in different social struggles in Israel. In the Israeli discourse the term security (“bitachon”) is used mostly in the military sense.  But is this really the one and only level relevant to women’s sense of security, or even the biggest one? What are the elements that contribute to women’s sense of safety and security and what undermines it? The Women’s Security Index aims at broadening this narrow definition and understanding of women’s safety by relating it to issues of health, social, political, economy, physical, as well as sexual and gender identity, etc.

WSI is a coalition of 6 Jewish and Palestinian feminist organizations: Isha L’Isha – Haifa Feminist Center, Coalition of Women for Peace, Kayan Feminist Organization, Aswat Palestinian Gay Women, Women Against Violence, New Profile, each making it’s unique contribution to the project.

Following a growing sense of escalation in violence used by security forces and civilians to silence and intimidate women activists, Coalition of Women for Peace and Women’s Security Index set a goal to research and present activists’ security from a feminist perspective. We believe there’s a need to develop a strategy and build safety nets to strengthen the activists’ security. In order to present an in depth analysis with reliable information, we conducted a survey concerning security issues among Palestinian and Jewish women activists who live in Israel.

“The protest came to an end when the last protestors who came from Haifa got on a bus and left. Or so we thought. This was actually the beginning. At this point, there remained about 50 protestors, mainly from Haifa, who had come by foot or by car. Our intention was to go home. The police began dispersing as well, but the extreme right- wing protestors did not show any signs of dispersing. On the contrary, they just kept multiplying. Not only that, we soon realized that they were spread out in groups in all the alleys surrounding us, behind bushes at the entrances to buildings, everywhere, ambushing protestors trying to leave. My friends and I (at this point we were 6 or 7) tried to leave through the backyard of one of the buildings, and soon were chased back by angry protestors who ambushed us with the intention of attacking us physically.”[1]

This is only a glimpse of what women activists face every day in Israel.

[1] From Khuloud Khamis’s testimony about a demonstration in Haifa against the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014. First published on her blog.

 CWP WSI WHRD survey findings summary

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