Violence against women in North-East Syria

The PKK’s leading ideology, that is followed by the self-proclaimed Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria and its militia SDF, holds a great amount of radical feminism. The militias have been able to recruit a great amount of women, have started women’s foundations and have given women in the region greater freedom than they have seen before. The same feminism is one of the main reasons Western people support the militias, and are often used to commercialize the organisation’s goals.

Radical feminism though, has a downside as well. If we take a closer look at local society, that is highly tribal and male-led, we can see a great division in thought has come forward. Women, cheered by the Kurdish-led militias, are trying to get rid of tribal society and pursue freedom. Men and elders on the other hand, are not ready yet to give up on societal values that have ruled society for generations.

Women’s rights by itself is not a bad thing. Women already had equal rights by law in the Syrian Arab Republic, ghough the North-East is one of the regions of the country that hosts a more traditional society. And the problem lies there, societal change does not happen overnight. Change must take place steadily, from generation to generation. Radical changes will always lead to opposition.

Violence against women and suicide among women has become the highest in the region’s history.

As the ‘Rojava Information Center’ – a local group of researchers – has published in a media statement, in the Kurdish-occupied areas of the North-East, 17 women were murdered by family members, 126 women were violently abused, 8 women successfully committed suicide, and another 14 women attempted to commit suicide this month.

Notable is that almost all cases of murder against women in the region are honour-related. As women explore the borders of their newfound freedom, pursuing fashion, promiscuity and love games, the family sticks to its traditional values.

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