The Mehwar Centre: Women Agents of Change
Across the globe, violence against women threatens to destroy the social fabric of societies and communities. It is a manifestation of unequal power relations between men and women, and the need to exercise control over women's lives. In the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), this imbalance is compounded by cultural and social norms and traditions, as well as the ongoing Israeli occupation - all of which are used as ground to justify various forms of violence, including sexual abuse, home imprisonment, forced marriage, and so-called "honour" killings. The need to establish a space, where women victims of violence feel safe and have access to services needed to deal with their trauma led to the establishment of the Mehwar Centre in 2007. Funded by the Government of Italy, it is the first centre of its kind in the oPt, combining prevention, protection, empowerment, and community awareness activities, and offering social, psychological, and legal counselling services. The Mehwar Centre - Women Agents of Change report illustrates the achievements of the Centre between 2008 and 2012, as well as the diversified efforts and collaboration among its key partners, including governmental and non-governmental, national and international institutions - all of which have contributed to its success. The report offers personal accounts of women, highlighting the achievements of the Centre, and paying tribute to the women agents of change who have given life to an innovative women's support system.