A video dialogue program for young women in the USA and Muslim countries
February 28th, 2007 at 7:56 pm
Posted by Zia in Sessions

Our 9th conversation dealt with crime and violence. We hit on a wide variety of topics; below are just a handful we discussed. I’m also planning to post some video clips from the session - the connection wasn’t quite as good as usual, however, making it a bit harder to understand the conversation on the video.

Defining and preventing violence.  We started out with a discussion about what defines violence. One US participant defined it as an act of aggression by one person against another. The two groups then got into a conversation about the prevalence of violence in our societies. One participant in Gabes said her younger brother played a lot of violent videogames; other participants asked about crimes in the US that had been tied to exposure to violence in the media. We discussed the importance of ensuring that children understand the difference between fiction and reality; we also talked about the need to instill values in children at an early age and to engage in an ongoing dialogue with them.
Domestic violence. We also discussed the issue of domestic violence. In Tunisia, the women explained that a man was forbidden to abuse his wife; he would go to jail if reported. The American participants said that many domestic violence incidents in the US were not reported; women often lived in fear of their husbands or boyfriends hurting them or leaving them. When asked if women in Tunisia reported domestic abuse, the participants in Gabes said women do indeed report these crimes.
Gangs. One of the Tunisian participants asked about how widespread gangs were in the US. One of the American participants responded that there was some gang activity in most of the major urban areas in the US; gangs had arisen in response to poverty and, in many cases, a lack of community. She explained that gangs provided people with a sort of surrogate family and support, often replacing what the gang members were unlikely to get at home.
Safety as a woman. Our final conversation was about safety as a woman: a participant in Gabes asked if it would be safe to walk around as a woman in the US. The response was that most women generally wouldn’t walk alone after dark, except in very busy areas. It might be safe, but she’d probably feel nervous regardless of the location. The Tunisian participants responded that it was similar in their country: women also wouldn’t walk around alone at night most anywhere there.

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