Modern day domestic violence in the Middle East can be described as the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse.
Domestic violence against women is a global issue but according to statistics, it has risen in the Middle East in recent years. Furthermore, gender-based violence and abuse are increasing with new forms of attacks, including intimate partner violence, gender-related killings, early forced marriages, sexual harassment, and female genital mutilation.
Modern day domestic violence in the Middle East is considered a complicated humans right issue on the grounds of the mentality and stereotypes of the nations in which the victims live.
In some Muslim nations women just don’t have support or opportunities to divorce their husbands, sometimes even have to hide evidence of abuse, and are helpless to have it recognized by police or the judicial system.
Without further ado, let’s jump into this topic and find some information about modern day domestic violence in the Middle East.
Modern Day Domestic Violence in the Middle East
Statistics of abuse in different countries
An estimated 30% of women in the Middle East and North Africa have experienced physical violence by men at some point in their lives.
In Egypt, the prevalence of domestic violence hasn’t changed over two decades and almost one-third of married women are experiencing a form of physical violence and abuse from their husbands.
In general, domestic violence occurs largely because the abuser believes that violence is acceptable, and even justified and unlikely to be reported.
Nonetheless, awareness, definition, and documentation of domestic abuse differ widely from country to country.
Except for Somalia and Sudan, all Arab League countries have signed Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Nevertheless, the ratification doesn’t have a real effect on women’s status in the region.
There are few countries that have done constitutional reforms, such as Egypt and Tunisia but this has not been transformed into law. Moreover, even if there is a law, there is no specific strategy and if there is a strategy, there is no available budget.
Domestic Violence in Tunisia
In 2010, National Board for Family and Population of Tunisia lead a survey regarding the prevalence of domestic violence, and what they found is pretty disturbing.
According to the statistics, 47.6 % of women between the ages of 18 and 64 had experienced at least one episode of domestic violence or abuse in their lives.
As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs created a draft bill in 2014 condemning and criminalizing domestic violence. The draft law was approved in 2016, yet it has to go into effect.
The bill prohibits all forms of violence against women including physical, psychological, sexual or economic, and issues either imprisonment or financial penalties. Also, the law criminalizes marital rape and sexual harassment.
A lot of Tunisian women face paramount challenges in bringing their cases to court on account of patriarchal social norms and economic constraints.
Domestic Violence in Morocco
Similar to the Tunisian case, a survey conducted by the Moroccan High Commission for Planning in 2009 found that among women aged 18-65, 62.8 % experienced domestic violence.
In response, two ministries — the Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development and the Ministry of Justice and Liberties created a draft law in 2013.
Ultimately, the bill passed in 2016, though it has yet to go into effect. Even though the bill includes protective measures, such as forbidding contact with the victim, it does not reflect other aspects of spousal abuse, like marital rape.
Like the Tunisian case, many Moroccan women face numerous obstacles in seeking protection from abuse because of patriarchal norms and financial constraints.
Domestic Violence in Iraq, Jordan & Afghanistan
The rate of sexual abuse and rape increased in Iraq after the Islamic State (ISIS) took control over Mosul in 2014. Outrageous is that the law in Iraq determines that if a man rapes a woman and then takes her as his wife he escapes any type of prosecution.
Similarly to Iraq, in Jordan as well a man can rape or sexually assault a woman under 18 and escape legal prosecution by marrying her and staying with her for three to five years.
According to the statistics, Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world. Here it is so common that 85% of women admit to experiencing some kind of abuse. By the way, Afghanistan is the only country where the female suicide rate is higher than that of males.
Modern day domestic violence in the Middle East: Alarming effects of domestic abuse
It’s important to realize that modern day domestic violence in the Middle East is not just punching and slapping, and it’s rare that the first act of abuse is a violent one. That is to say, abuse can be emotional, psychological, verbal, social, economic and sexual.
Domestic violence against women is an age-old phenomenon as they were always considered weak, vulnerable and in such a position that could be exploited.
Cultural mores, religious practices, economic and political conditions come to prove that violence has long been accepted as something that happens to women but, ultimately, committing an act of violence is a choice that the individual makes out of a range of options.
In societies with a patriarchal power structure, women are often not able to protect themselves if their partners become violent.
It’s also important to note that domestic violence is a major contributor to the ill health of women as it not only causes physical injury but also destroys the social, economic, psychological, spiritual and emotional well being of the victim.
Thus, any kind of abuse has serious consequences on women’s mental and physical health, including injuries, gynecological problems, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression, and suicide.
Modern day domestic violence in the middle east| Why is so widespread?
According to conservative interpretations of Surah An-Nisa, 34 in the religious text of Islam, Qur’an concerning to marital relationships hitting a woman is allowed.
Other interpretations, though, claim it does not support hitting a woman, but rather separating from her. These various interpretations are because of different schools of Islamic jurisprudence and politics of religious institutions.
In accordance with the public health research, the most predictive factor for how well a woman will recover from a traumatic event is how well she has been treated afterward.
There are a lot of common misconceptions and myths about modern day domestic violence in the Middle East. To illustrate, some people tend to believe that domestic violence and abuse is something that only happens elsewhere but not in their own community.
Another misconception is that they think it only happens to uneducated or low-income women. But the truth is that violence against women is not limited to any country or culture, it is global.
About half of the world’s population is women and one-third of them will experience abuse at some point in their life. But everyone deserves to have support, so, women have to stick together to support each other when needed.
Not being vocal about spousal violence is common in the Middle East because of shame, fear of retribution, lack of confidence and information about legal rights, fear of the legal system and many other things.
It’s pretty hard to get the real statistics of sexually abused and assaulted women as some of them do not wish to admit that they have been raped or abused. The thing is that in some regions in the Middle East the moment you are sexually abused, you are not anymore considered to be a respectable person.
Even though modern day domestic violence in the Middle East is still common, overall, incidences of violence and abuse have decreased significantly since the mid-’90s. And the reason for this is that women are more economically independent and mobile, moreover, there are numerous services for survivors.
Check Out Other Posts Related to Modern Day Domestic Violence in the Middle East | Find Statistics & More about This Abuse
- How To Raise A Strong Daughter? Find Our Advice, Tips & Great Books On Empowering Teenage Girls
- TOP 10 Most Powerful Queens In History That Were Better Rulers Than Their Counterparts
- Women As Victims Of Street Harassment: Stares And Whistles Of Disgust