Youth activists on Monday formed a human chain from Al Hussein Sports City to the Interior Ministry Circle, demonstrating against harassment, so-called “honour crimes” and the practice of forcing rape victims to marry their rapists.
Dozens of young Jordanians representing several women’s rights initiatives held banners carrying slogans such as “We are equal”, “We are no one’s honour”, and “My mother is a Jordanian and her citizenship is my right”.
“This is the first time activists from different women’s initiatives get together for a demonstration… it was a spontaneous event and we only thought of it a few days ago,” said Toleen Touq, one of the organisers of the “There is no honour in crime” campaign.
She noted that the demonstration came after the “accumulation of years of suppression, discrimination and insult against women in Jordan”.
“We wanted today [Monday] to get people’s attention. The fact that passers-by read the banners we held means that our ideas were delivered and they would start to think about them,” Touq, an artist, told The Jordan Times.
Among the activists was 19-year-old Rasha Abu Dajar, who said she was “fed up with the way men harass women in public”.
“Last week I was leaving school after sitting for a Tawjihi exam and a man kept following me and saying dirty words. It was not until I got home that he disappeared,” she said, stressing that “whatever women wear is not an excuse for men to harass and insult them.”
Iraqi Ali Mahdi noted that his sisters do not feel comfortable walking in the capital’s streets, saying that harassment is tolerated in Jordan and is often treated as “justified”.
“I wanted to stand today in solidarity with every woman who is subject to daily public harassment,” he said.
Another male activist, Fawzi Barghouthi, who is pursuing a master’s degree in law, noted that women’s rights are “still neglected” in Jordan and that laws are “prejudiced” against them.
“I always felt that women were not enjoying their full rights here and I think it’s time for that to change.”
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