- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Saudi Arabia has long been known as one of the worst places in the world to be a woman: Under the kingdom’s legal system, women are treated as minors and are forbidden from traveling or working without the permission of their male guardians. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2012 Global Gender Gap Report, Saudi Arabia ranks 131st out of 135 countries when it comes to opportunities for women.
And yet, there have been small signs of change. Two Saudi women competed in the Olympics for the first time last year, and King Abdullah broke new ground by appointing 30 women to the consultative Shura Council this January. Now the kingdom has its first anti-domestic violence campaign: The ad above is from the "No More Abuse" campaign, which seeks to promote awareness of domestic violence and encourage citizens to speak out when they hear of it. The website promoting the ad features a list of phone numbers for Saudis to call in order to address cases of domestic violence.
The Arabic text in the ad translates roughly as "the tip of the iceberg." The slogan accompanying the English-language version of the ad features a play on words, given the niqab-wearing woman: "Some things can’t be covered."