Mar 20 2013
When former prisoner Aisha Awdat talks about the experiences of Palestinian women inside Israeli prisons, she delves into the details of pain and endurance. The month of March, which saw the worst of her suffering and sexual assault at the hands of her investigator, remains deeply entrenched in her soul and memories.
Awdat cannot forget the night of March 10, 1969, when she was raped with a stick by her Israeli investigator, who violated everything that is human and revealed the ugliest face of the Israeli occupation. She has documented that night and her experiences in prison in her book, titled “Dreams of Freedom,” which was published in 2004. Awdat is now the head of the association “Women Imprisoned for Freedom,” dubbed “Masira” and is keen on documenting the experiences of female prisoners.
It is true that Awdat’s experiences are like no others among Palestinian prisoners. Awdat was the first to talk about sexual assault among Palestinian women. Her book came as a surprise to many people in the conservative Palestinian community. She was released in 1979 on the condition that she would be exiled from Palestine, and returned to her homeland in 1994 with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.
She still believes that the experience of female Palestinian prisoners has not received enough attention and there are many stories that should be documented.
In 2011, Awdat, along with several other former female prisoners, founded the Masira Association, which came as the result of an urgent need to establish a group for former female prisoners. Previously, there was only an association dedicated to male prisoners and organizations and institutions addressing the issue of Palestinian captives in general such as the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club. There was no institution that represented female prisoners in particular and helped them to adjust in society after captivity.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/03/palestinian-female-prisoners.html#ixzz2O6MJOWhw