Tunisia – Despite strongly worded anti-violence laws, women report a rise in abuse Rate increasing in Tunisia


Location: Tunis, Tunisia

Language: Arabic

Duration: 00:05:37

Voice: Natural

Source: A24 Tunisia

Restriction: A24 subscribers

Date: 27/09/2022


Activists and sociologists in Tunisia are alarmed over an uptick in domestic violence incidents in the country despite the strong laws designed to protect women adopted in recent years.

Statistics from the National Council for Family and Human Urbanism show that about 47 percent of Tunisian women have experienced violence at least once.

Respondents reported that physical violence is the most common type of assault, with 32% saying they had experienced it directly.

Nearly thirty percent of the women surveyed said they had also suffered psychological violence at the hands of men- mostly relatives.

In 2017 Tunisia’s parliament passed Law 58, distinguished as the first piece of legislation in the Arab world to take a comprehensive approach that combined measures for the prevention of violence and support for survivors.

Psychologist Sherifa Tlili told A24 that the rising rate of violence against women results from a lack of funding to enforce Law 58, including the absence of support for women seeking to press violence claims in the court system.

Meanwhile, women are reporting the rise of new forms of abuse in online spaces where digital abuse occurs, with victims harassed by blackmailers through photos or videos.

Shot list:

Soundbite (Saida (Nickname), one of the battered women):

“He treated me badly and did not support his family. Sometimes he would give me five Tunisian dinars ($1.5) a month to meet our needs. He also threatened me, although he did not hit me, he always threatened me. I have always wondered why he would do this, especially since we’re getting older. He is about 80 years old.”

Soundbite (Sherifa Tlili – Psychologist and member of the Association of Democratic Women):

“There is a so-called cycle of violence that begins with isolating the victim from her relatives and society, leaving her in fear. We are studying this case. The abuser makes his victim feel guilt and responsibility for this violence, and that if she did not do “this thing (which angered him),” he would not have attacked her, and she must change so that he does not attack her.”

Soundbite (Arabiya Lahmar – Sociologist and Women’s Escort at the Tunisian Women’s Union):

“Domestic violence by the husband is the most common type in the center followed by domestic violence by the father, brother, or a relative. There is also violence in the workplace in addition to digital violence where women are subjected to extortion through either pictures or videos. Some women had the courage to submit complaints, but many are afraid to file a complaint, which has led to a high rate of violence. In the past, violence was limited to physical beatings, but today we are talking about attempted murder. All this in my opinion is due to two reasons. First, the victims do not complain either because of fear or pressure from the family. Second, and most importantly, weak law enforcement of the institutions involved.”

Soundbite (Jalila Zinaidi – member of the managing board of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) and coordinator of the association’s anti-violence committee):

“If the law is not enforced, there will be impunity, and violence will continue with impunity. According to a study we recently conducted, we concluded that out of 15 cases of violence in which a judgment was passed, Law 58 was implemented only in one case, and here we note the lack of compliance with the application of laws. “

Soundbite (Sherifa Tlili – Psychologist and member of the Association of Democratic Women):

“At the listening center, we see that the rate of violence is rising for several reasons, including state policies that do not provide a budget for the implementation of Article 58 of the law on the ground. In addition, the litigation issue takes a lot of time, regardless of the issue of people’s mentality, which specialized teams faced when they worked at some time. Here, I would like to point out that most studies have shown that children who witness violence within the family repeat the same acts of violence. They come to a realization that they cannot have what they want without violence. Girls also think they should remain silent against violence just like their mothers.”

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