Violence against women is not related to the freedoms enjoyed by a society and the perpetrator of violent acts is not mentally ill, according to Clarissa Humphreys, Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Manager at Durham University.
Her remarks came during a webinar on the concept of violence held by the British Council.
The British Council, in cooperation with the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, organized a symposium aimed at raising awareness of the gender-based violence, under the title “the concept of violence against women in the university setting”.
The symposium was presented by Clarissa Humphreys, an expert in preventing and combating violence against women at Durham University, in the presence of the Country Director at the British Council in Egypt, representatives of the European Union, and students and professors from the Cairo University who are interested in the issue of gender-based violence.
During her speech, Humphreys pointed out that statistically, men are more violent than women, but this does not prevent women from committing violence as well, explaining that anyone can commit violence, and according to her experiences, they do not suffer from mental illness and there is no specific diagnosis of why they commit violence, but some commit it because they have been subjected to violence or in search of power and imposing control over others.
The symposium was held within the framework of the program “Anti-violence against women to achieve a safe campus for all” presented by the British Council in partnership with the Unit to Combat Violence against Women at Cairo University and with the support of the European Union.
The Violence Against Women (VAW) Program for a Safe Campus for All, is a three-year plan offered by the British Council in partnership with the Anti-Violence Against Women Unit at Cairo University.
The program aims to address the phenomenon of violence against women in cooperation with the Anti-Violence Against Women Unit at Cairo University in its mission to provide a safe and violence-free environment for the entire university community (students and staff). The unit works to raise awareness, create a system for the university community to report cases, develop the capacity of university staff to deal with gender-based violence, and change perceptions of violence against women.
The programme is funded by the European Union within the framework of its Women Empowerment Program “Increasing Women’s Participation in Public Life” with a financial contribution from the British Council and an in-kind contribution from Cairo University.
During her speech, Humphreys, pointed out that “the symposium aims to exchange experiences and shed light on the concept of violence and share a number of ideas and assistive tools coming from several countries to contribute to bringing about change in local and university communities,” adding that “Durham University in the United Kingdom was one of the first universities to address the phenomenon of violence On campus, we are still trying to explore new ways to combat this phenomenon.”
The symposium began with opening speeches, followed by a first session, during which Humphreys, explained the objectives of the symposium, which is to introduce the types of violence and build awareness about the impact of gender-based violence within the university community, followed by a question segment, and then a second session in which she explained how to build a framework to help raise awareness of anti-violence, prevention and handling methods with survivors of violence.
Elizabeth White, Country Director at the British Council in Egypt said, “We are proud to be participating in the fight against violence with the support of the European Union and in partnership with Cairo University through the Violence Against Women Unit to achieve a safe campus for all.
Maurizio Giachero, Programme Manager of the Governance, Human Rights and Civil Society Section at the EU Delegation to Egyptsaid, “Violence is a devastating element for the well-being of any society and the European Union is committed to supporting Egypt and supporting the National Council for Women, NGOs and educational institutions such as Cairo University, which in partnership with the British Council play a pivotal role against such practices on campus.
For her part, Amira Tawadros, Executive Director of the Anti-Violence Against Women Unit at Cairo University, said that the presence of many individuals, whether from inside or outside the university, reflects the importance of the project, adding that “Cairo University was the pioneer in confronting gender-based violence on campus in Egypt and perhaps the Middle East through The unit that falls under the supervision of Mohamed Othman Elkhesht, President of the University.
The symposium witnessed many questions about the reasons for the spread and the reasons for the resistance of some in society to the idea of confronting violence, the role of each university in addressing the phenomenon, and how survivors of violence deal with the community after informing them about the aggressors.