How did you come to work at Kayan?
Actually it was not planned, I heard about the job and already had known Kayan for a long time and admired Kayan’s work, so when I heard they needed a lawyer for personal status issues, I thought I would try since I was Human Rights oriented from the first day I studied Law. It is a very tough and demanding issue, one of the hardest Arab society has. We deal with the daily problems of women, I didn’t know what I was going into. Since December 2013 we had around 60 consultations in the personal status issues.
Has being a lawyer always been your dream?
After finishing law school I did my one-year internship at Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, so I was always oriented towards human rights issues. Before going to law school I got a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. Now, apart from being a lawyer at Kayan, I also work for New Profile, a feminist and anti-militarization movement, where I give legal consultation to military service refusers.
But your main field of work is Kayan. How do women learn about the Legal Department of Kayan?
There are different ways. Some have participated in the projects of the Community Department, some find us through online search, others hear about us from the department of welfare and social service,and the rest come to us through word-of-mouth recommendation.
Can you give us one of your current cases?
Well, there is a woman who got divorced a few years ago and her former husband got remarried. All this time, he didn’t pay alimony. Recently, he claimed custody for his children and took the case to court. He claims to be in favor of shared responsibility for both parents and that his former wife denies him contact to the children, but in reality he just wants to avoid paying alimony. I recently wrote a report about the issue of custody after a woman’s remarriage (see on our wordpress blog). Traditionally, a woman loses the custody rights after getting married again. But in the last years, there has been a change, and the best option for the child is being taken into consideration.
Is there a special case that impressed you?
Yes. There was a woman who has very little education, but when her ex-husband wanted to take everything from her and used violence, she stood up to him. She did everything that was necessary to prove that she was right. I admire her for her consistency and so does her family.
Did your work at Kayan change your view on feminism?
No, but it exposed me more to reality, to the injustice happening every day to women. I would say that I have always been a feminist when it comes to my beliefs and actions, so working at Kayan suited my vision.
What about your own children?
I want them to grow up as humans first, and to implement equality and justice values, the basis of feminism as I understand it. Not an easy mission since the society effect is strong as well. There is a lot of work to be done, we have to make people see the injustice out there and not take what weachieved for granted.