Moroccan women dare to expose and confront family violence

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Rabat – Fatna came to a counseling and guidance center in a poor neighborhood near Rabat, carrying pictures of bruises and scars hidden by her clothes after she and her mother were subjected to domestic violence by a relative.

The 40-year-old Bengala is not unusual or unusual in Morocco. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Solidarity and Family recently showed that about 54.4 percent of Moroccans experienced violence, a figure that translates in numbers to millions in a country with a population of about 35 million.

The survey showed that the most violent women aged between 25 and 29 and only 28.2 percent of women victims of violence might dare talk to a person or institution about their suffering, while only 6.6 percent of their cases were brought to court for justice.

Bangla said she went to the hospital to seek treatment and was referred to the compassionate listening and guidance center for battered women and girls.

"The people who raped me from my family attacked me and my mother. They took a piece of land from us and prevented us from the other piece. My mother and I live under oppression … we live in agony. Because of the beating on my head, my vision became weak. I suffer a lot. I went to the hospital, but I have no possibility of buying medicine or anything else. It was the hospital director who advised me to go to this center. "

Last year, the Center provided counseling to 146 women who had been subjected to violence of all kinds and mistreatment. Morocco has dozens of similar centers across the country.

Raja Zoro, a 19-year-old victim of violence and unemployed, complains about her husband's violence and now lives with her parents.

"My husband insulted me verbally and physically, all of this did not happen at first when we got married. I do not understand this change; is it a tradition or a mental illness or something else? Not understand. He began to harass me and expel me from the marital home to the extent that I was subjected to abortion because of beatings and psychological pressure. Aborted after seven months of pregnancy. "

About 54.4 percent of Moroccans were subjected to violence
About 54.4 percent of Moroccans were subjected to violence

Sharifa al-Ashhab, 26, said she was beaten by her husband who drove her out of the house and separated her from her 7-year-old son and her 6-year-old daughter. "I have a problem with my husband. He beat me and attacked me and drove me out of the house. Now I live with my parents and I have no possibility of being next to my children. They are not registered in the family book, so I could not enroll them in school until they study like other children. He does not spend on us. "

Despite the psychological and physical wounds borne by the three women, Bengla, Zoro and El Zahab need to provide more evidence and witnesses to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Naima Saber, director of the center, said it was very difficult to provide witnesses in cases of domestic violence because it occurs behind closed doors and because courts often refuse testimony from those who happen to be close to homes to hear screaming and crying but accept those who see with their own eyes the facts of beatings, violence and abuse.

She said Morocco had passed a law criminalizing domestic violence and all kinds of verbal harassment on the Internet but added that much needed to be done to reduce the evidence needed.

"Law 13/103 is in addition to a set of legislation. It was good and gave greater protection to women, but all we were asking for and looking for was to reduce the evidence. If a husband assaults his wife inside the house, who will testify for her? Where are the witnesses? If the witnesses volunteered and said that we heard beatings, for example, they ask them, did you see the beatings? Which means that proof is necessary in some cases and these are among the points that must be reviewed.

Lawyer Houria Hammas said that women do not find them encouraged to resort to the judiciary in cases of domestic violence and are often asked to make concessions in order to preserve the family.

"The law criminalizing violence against women encourages women to report and prosecute those who assault them," Basima al-Harkawi, minister of the family, solidarity, equality and social development, told a television channel.



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