Digital Violence Against Women in MENA: Original Data and Groundbreaking Research

September 2023

Responding to digital violence against women (DVAW) starts with understanding women’s local realities and experiences. With support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the SecDev Foundation’s Salam@ team is building unprecedented insight into psychosocial, legal, media and governance dimensions of DVAW in the MENA region.

IDRC wordmarkSince 2019, Salam@ has been helping women and girls strengthen their digital resilience—so they can take safer, fuller advantage of digital space. This puts our team on the front lines of digital violence against women (DVAW) in the region. Understanding women’s localized experience of DVAW is key, but from early days, we found wide gaps in MENA-specific research that could help. That’s why Salam@ moved forward with our own research—working with partners and scholars in seven countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Together, we explored key psychosocial impacts of digital violence women face. And we recently began to share reports from that DVAW research.

Now, with support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Salam@ is deepening and widening this knowledge on DVAW across the region. This project leverages Salam@’s on-the-the ground work with IDRC-supported global research led by the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)— to help us build a comprehensive understanding of the landscape across the MENA region. 

This partnership is enabling deep dives into the legal, media, governance and psychosocial dimensions of DVAW. It will support a diverse array of qualitative and quantitative findings to deepen the value of research investments. More reports are coming soon: Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Over the next year, guided by lead researcher Dr. Nadia Al-Sakkaf, the scope will expand to some 20 MENA countries.

As this research moves forward, we will continue to share insights here and through several upcoming events. Those events include the upcoming launch of CIGI’s global survey report and a MENA-region discussion this October in Amman, Jordan. For early 2024, we are also planning a regional summit where researchers, policymakers and stakeholders will explore opportunities to collaborate on the road ahead. And by late 2024, these findings, insights and recommendations will be compiled in book form (in both Arabic and English)—concrete groundwork for improving the digital resilience of women and girls across the MENA region.