Despite advances in women’s educational and health rights, Lebanon continues to be governed by a patriarchal state and society where visibility of women’s presence in fields ranging from politics to academia belies deep gender inequities. Based in Beirut, KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation is a shining example of a feminist organization that addresses gender based violence at multiple levels.Using three key strategies of providing critical relief and support, raising consciousness/awareness, and promoting advocacy, KAFA consistently struggles to achieve its vision of a world free from violence and exploitation of women and children. KAFA was founded in 2005 by a group of committed activists and professionals with a long history of working on women’s rights in Lebanon.
KAFA fills a critical need for Lebanese women to access safe spaces and resources to resist domestic violence and abuse. Its workshops and seminars bring together a diverse constituency of social workers, specialist doctors, therapists, and others to provide vital resources and support for women and children to resist violence. KAFA operates a helpline and a ‘Listening and Counseling Center,’ which provides a wide-range of services: legal support and consultation, psycho-social support, safe shelter, court representation, and referral services.
During the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon (that lasted 34 days, killed at least 1,000 people, and displaced nearly a quarter of its population), KAFA also undertook providing much-needed relief and medical assistance to displaced women and children, who are the most vulnerable to violence during and post-conflict.
In January 2008, KAFA presented a report on prostitution and trafficking of women to the United Nations’ CEDAW. In the same year, they released a book called Femicide in the Judicial System in Lebanon, which researched the way the court systems have treated and ruled on the cases of women killings. At the book release, KAFA displayed 37 Silent Witness Silhouettes representing actual women who have been killed, to demonstrate the need to break the silence around violence. In 2009, KAFA created the National Alliance for Legalizing the Protection of Women from Family Violence to mobilize support and advocate for the adoption of the Protection of Women from Family Violence bill it drafted with key consultations, to ensure protection to women and persecution of perpetrators who usually receive reduced sentences. The bill is currently being studied by a committee appointed by the Cabinet.
As part of its current focus on the 16 Days campaign, KAFA is running a parliamentarian workshop: for the first time, the Lebanese parliament decided to commemorate the 25th of November as the International Day to Fight Violence Against Women. The inaugural event in Beirut will include a round table to discuss and advance the legislation prepared by KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation to protect women from family violence.
Since 2006, the GFW has been a proud supporter of the work of KAFA with grants totaling $70,000.
More web resources:
- Visit KAFA’s web site
- Read more about KAFA’s work around the 16 Days campaign this year
- Find out more about KAFA’s work in raising visibility and its advocacy work
- Read a recent HRW report on Lebanese women’s political participation
- Resources focused on human rights in Lebanon
- Find out more about the Israeli attack on Lebanon