Kuwaiti women’s rights activist
Even in a relatively safe country, with protection for women written into laws and policies, society is still hesitant when it comes to calling out problematic behaviour. Perpetrators often get away with it, while the victims are forced to carry the trauma with them for the rest of their lives. As things continue to go south, statistics have become an unreliable tool of investigation: too many cases unreported, and too many miscarriages of justice—such as Cyntoia Brown’s.
In 2006, Alanoud Alsharekh attempted to launch a movement to look into constitutional gender discrimination in Kuwait. This was after the shocking realisation that the antiquated honour killing laws were still prevalent. Seven years later, her campaign, Abolish 153 took flight after a 2013 incident where a father stabbed his daughter for ignoring him on a phone conversation—an act which he deemed as a sign of disrespect. The father later reduced the incident as his moment of weakness; a result of mental incapacitation. It was clear that heinous acts such as these were often treated as a blip, especially since this is a way to keep female family members “in check”.
For Alanoud, Abolish 153 has a singular focus: creating a safe environment where mothers, daughters, sisters and wives are protected from all forms of violence. As an extension of that mission, Abolish 153 goes a step further by creating safe houses for women who are under threat of violence.
“I hope that no one has to fear the humiliation of systematic violence.”