Sudanese women rally against gendered violence, inequality

Sudanese women rally against gendered violence, inequality
3 min read
08 April, 2021
Protesters were reportedly faced with incidents of harassment and violence.
A car reportedly drove in to a crowd of protesters [Twitter]
Hundreds of Sudanese women protested in Khartoum on Thursday, calling for more robust protections against gendered violence and enshrine equality within the law.

The march from the ministry of justice to the ministry of interior follows weeks of widespread anger sparked by the killing of a 13-year-old Samah Al-Hadi.

The teenage girl was allegedly shot dead by her father.

Hadi's killing prompted Sudanese women to publicly disclose cases of sexual harassment and rape by relatives, compounding calls for improved legal protections of women and girls in the country.

The #MeToo-style movement has also been galvanised by reports of routine sexual violence in the western Darfur region and sexist comments made by the head of Khartoum's police force in the wake of Hadi's murder.

Photos and videos shared on social media showed large crowds of women gathering in central Khartoum on Thursday, carrying banners and signs with slogans including "The streets are our right" and "No to the protection of killers".

Women's right groups are also calling for an end to "patriarchal" laws that discriminate against women.

The Sudanese transitional government has made some headway in reforming the so-called public order laws introduced under Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019. Feminist campaigners say inequality remains enshrined in the law.

Civil society organisations including the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) and the Coalition of Demand-Based Groups (TAM) have also called for the adoption of international treaties on women's rights, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Car 'plows through crowd'

The women's rights march was met with opposition from male counter-protesters on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses on social media reported a pick-up truck without license plates driving into a crowd of protesters, injuring at least two women.

The New Arab could not independently verify the reports but a protest organiser speaking to the Akhbar al-Aan news site 
confirmed the claims.

"Young women crowded, pulled the man out of the pick-up truck and beat him up. Bloodied, he was taken into the building by nearby police officers," writer Dinan al-Asad said in a series of tweets.

A video shared on Twitter by Asad shows a crowd of women shouting for the police to bring the man back outside.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the man has now been arrested.

Other participants in the women's rights march have claimed they faced harassment and assault during the protest.

A university student "threatened us with rape and beat me", wrote Twitter user @YourGoddess4444.

Sudanese journalist Reem Abbas described another incident in which a male university student allegedly told protesters: "I'm a rapist. I'll rape you all."

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