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Giving a voice to Tunisia's black women, victims of double discrimination

Audio 05:34
Khawla Ksiksi, co-founder of the Voices of Black Tunisian Women collective.
Khawla Ksiksi, co-founder of the Voices of Black Tunisian Women collective. © Khawla Ksiksi
By: Alessandra Bajec
8 min

The Voices of Tunisian Black Women, launched early this year, is a group offering a safe space for self-expression so that black women can speak out about the racial discrimination and abuse they face in Tunisian society.

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The feminist group started off with collecting testimonies, then expanded its scope by organising group discussions on matters affecting black females on a daily basis.

The 400-member Facebook group is run by four founders of the collective, allowing interactions and opening discussion on issues specific to black women, from standards of beauty to everyday abuse and institutional racism.

The collective is planning to set up a website producinganalysis and research along with stories from members about personal experiences and issues of concern to the Tunisian female black community.

Long stigmatised and additionally subjected to sexual harassment and violence, black women are victims of discrimination twice, on account of their colour and gender, as group co-founder Khawla Ksiksi has pointed out.

Reluctance to occupy public space

They are typically excluded from a number of jobs, ignored in various spheres of life. Such exclusion is also motivated by self-censorship and the black woman’s reluctance to be present in the public space, as noted by Saadia Mosbah, president of anti-racist association Mnemty.

Black women and girls are not adequately protected despite the fact that Tunisia passed an anti-racism law (Law 50) two years ago. Some of the shortcomings identified by activists and lawyers include lack of training for judges and police officers, incorrect classification of complaints for racially motivated crimes as acts of ordinary violence, and light penalties envisaged by the law.

Feminist lawyer Heyfa Abdel Aziz has two cases of racist offenses that she is currently dealing with, in an effort to obtain justice for black women victims of discrimination and harassment based on race.

 

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