Syrian media are mobilized on the topic of women former detainees and their difficult reintegration into the society. During a 6 weeks campaign from April 15th till May 30th, 16 Syrian media bring attention on this unknown topic. This campaign is initiated by the platform Ayny Aynak, media of expression for Syrian women, supported by ASML/Syria.
Raising awareness on the exclusion faced by female former detainees
Being released represents the end of an awful experience. However, it does not for many women who, after having survived detention or kidnapping, are facing a new form of imprisonment: the one of exclusion. They are confronted with moral attacks that may lead to physical violence. From the moment of their release, they are constantly put on trail by their society, banning them from the rest of the community and forcing them to live in extreme loneliness, leading some of them to commit suicide.
The idea of the campaign Survivors, or not yet, launched by the training platform Ayny Aynak with the participation of other Syrian media outlets, came from the will to create a medium to gather the testimonies of these women. The campaign also aims to raise awareness among the general audience on what they have been through in a context where psychological support, as well as communitarian and civic initiatives are very limited.
A real civil society movement
The campaign Survivors, or not yet is an opportunity for women who have lived such an experience to tell their stories on social networks, or with their face hidden on Ayny Aynak. It also represents the starting point of a real civil society movement, especially in the regions of Idlib and Northern Syria. Sit-ins and conferences have been organised to go along the publication of articles and videos. Thus, in Afrin and Azaaz (on 15/04 and 16/04), gatherings have been held to support the movement; a conference has been set in Kafr Nbal with academics and women activists from the civil society (on 20/04), and another will take place very soon in Idleb.
Media content dealing with these events (untranslated):
At the origin of this campaign
Beginning in 2018, the women trained in journalism through Ayny Aynak created a set of 12 audio documents entitled Survivors, or not yet, containing the testimonies of women ex-detainees. These women were telling their experiences, describing the way their families and the society treated them after their release. Two of these records are transcripted here: “A hellish return” and “I witnessed my husband’s wedding”. These testimonies have highlighted a real issue in the society and have revealed the need for this campaign.