HERStory exhibition breaks silence on gender-based violence

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – It’s time to shatter the silence around violence against women in the Kurdistan Region. That’s the message of an exhibit that opens Monday in Erbil and is both a memorial to the women killed in 2019 and a tribute to the people working on the front line helping Kurdistan’s women.

“We don’t talk about rape. We don’t talk about honour killing. We don’t talk about violence, because it’s taboo,” explained artist and activist Dashni Morad, the driving force behind the HERStory exhibition.

That taboo comes from the culture, Morad believes. “For decades, especially in an Islamic-dominated region… the honour of the woman is the honour of the family, the brother, the father.” If a woman does something deemed damaging to the family’s honour, “there’s an unspoken code of ‘take care of it’” and the community will turn a blind eye to the crime, she said. 


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