Violence against women comes in many different forms. One such form of violence is sexual assaults and rape of girls and women. Sexual assault within Palestinian society is a continuous problem that needs to be addressed and dealt with, particularly because Palestinians continue to live in a culture that fosters silence related to sexual assaults in the name of honor and considers sexual matters a taboo that should not be discussed.

Sexual violence is an on-going problem within the family, in schools, at the workplace and in public places. Not only has there been a lack of awareness within Palestinian society, particularly amongst children, related to sexual assault, but the perpetrators themselves often take advantage of the ignorance and the lack of understanding related to sexual violence, whose victims are often girls and women.

Furthermore, the absence of sex education in school curricula represents a constraint to the efforts to raise children’s awareness of their rights to protect their bodies and to break the existing silence around sexual harassment and rape.

Finally, the existing law lacks of a non-discriminatory and equality-based approach towards girls and women which most of the times prevents victims to be recognized by the law and the society as such.

Within this picture, the need to raise the awareness of communities with regards to matters of sexual assault and rape, the attempt to include sex education in schools, assist parents and teachers to identify cases of sexual violence, as well as lobbing for changes of current laws to be based on equality and non-discrimination, represent an urgency.

The Awareness Raising Campaign Against Sexual Assaults and Rape, supported by UNIFEM in the oPt and implemented by the Non-Governmental Organization Women’s Study Centre (WSC) is based on the results and recommendations of a study conducted by a trained WSC researcher entitled “Sexual Assaults Within the Family between Reality and Law: A Socio-Legal Study”.

The research expectedly found that the current laws of the criminal code dealing with sexual harassment and rape need modification toward a women’s rights-based approach.

While aware that change in law depends upon social change, laws that are based on equality inevitably have an effect on social practices and attitudes. Hence, as part of this campaign, activities of lobbying and advocating on the legal level as well as raising awareness at the societal level to assist in prevention and identification of such cases have become part of the Campaign.


• Members of the Legislative Council
• Members of the Judiciary
• School students
• Teachers
• Parents

Development Objectives

Community understanding of the phenomenon of sexual assault and rape enhanced as well as efforts to include sex education in school curricula and to modify discriminatory laws on rape and sexual assault within the criminal code fostered.

Immediate Objectives

Legal Objectives:
- Awareness of people working in the Judiciary sector, with particular reference to dealing with sexual assault within families as a crime raised.

Social Objectives:
- Awareness of students in the elementary, primary and secondary stages in 10 schools, through sex education raised;
- Awareness of teachers and social workers in schools raised;
- Teachers skills on sex education and protection from sexual assault strengthened;
- Awareness of parents on symptoms of sexual harassment amongst children raised and the need to break the culture of silence promoted;
- Lobbing actions with school directors to employ social workers in schools on a permanent basis implemented.

Source: UNIFEM -