PhD student launches successful sexual health initiative for Arabic speaking women

Wed, 30 Sep 2020 16:19:00 BST
(Pictured above) PhD student and creator of the Sex Talk Arabia, Fatma Ibrahaim
(Pictured above) PhD student and creator of the Sex Talk Arabia, Fatma Ibrahaim

A PhD student at GCU has created an online initiative which focuses on teaching Arabic women about sexual health knowledge.

PhD student Fatma Ibrahaim, whose research focuses on the financial lives of refugee women in the UK, decided to create the initiative to tackle the stigma around sexual health in Arabic- speaking countries.

Sex Talk Arabia” is an online resource which includes educational and scientific content, which also includes a platform that allows women to discuss and ask questions surrounding sexual health.

Fatma created this online resource to provide support for women that would otherwise not exist. She said: “The Sex Talk Arabia is an online initiative that aims at tackling issues of sexual health among Arabic-speaking women and promoting and normalising sex education and sexual health, by creating online, scientific, educational and accessible content on sexual health, for women.

Through the initiative’s platforms, women get to ask questions in confidentiality about their health and sexualities, get connected with professional medicals, share body positivity campaigns, support women going through abortion or a health crisis, as well as providing support for women and girls who are handling a domestic violence situation.”

Fatma is very passionate in tackling the stigma. She said: “In Arabic-speaking countries, a culture of silence still exists around the topic of sex and sexual health.

This culture, combined with many harmful traditional practices towards women’s bodies (such as female genital mutilation (FGM), early and forced marriages and honour crimes) create great challenges for women’s and girls’ health, violate their human rights and, in many cases, cost them their lives.

I grew up in Egypt, and as a member of multiple women’s rights activist groups in the Arab world, I noticed and experienced, the increase of sexual health issues among women in our society and the silence around these issues.”

She added: “This environment which leaves many women in a position of vulnerability and prone to exploitation. I came to realise that one of the main causes of these issues is the lack of sexual education and restrictions on any attempts to fill this gap and this was when I created ‘The Sex Talk Arabia’.

We have an aim to normalise the discussion around sexual health and sex education and to discredit misconceptions and myths about sex and women’s bodies and health which will help save hundreds of women’s and young girls’ lives.

However, the initiative faces challenges given the controversy around the issues we discuss and due to patriarchal norms that limit women’s sexual literacy and awareness. We are currently working towards establishing our own website to overcome one of these challenges.”

Find out more about The Sex Talk Arabia here

By Rachael McAlonan

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