Gender Based Violence Sparks Controversy Again in the Middle East

Published February 20th, 2022 - 12:35 GMT
Domestic violence against women
Domestic violence. (Shutterstock/ File Photo)
Domestic violence against women remains a huge issue in the Middle East amid weak laws to protect women's rights.

Written by Sally Shakkour

In the past few days, domestic violence discussions against women have been the top trending topic in the Middle East following two cases in Jordan and Egypt that caused huge debate about women’s rights across the Arab countries.

An Egyptian bride has ignited social media outrage after a video of her husband violently attacking her while in her wedding dress. The video has gone viral shortly and was covered by major streaming T.V. channels.

A hashtag “#عروس_الاسماعيلية - the bride of Ismailia'' crashed Twitter as people split between supporters and opponents. Some defended the groom saying that he is free to attack his wife as long as she didn’t complain while others called on the authorities to interfere and called it domestic violence.

A well-known Egyptian T.V. presenter Yasmin Iez was accused of supporting domestic violence after decriminalizing the incident. A campaign was launched to ban Iez her from performing again. On the other hand, the popular T.V. presenter Radwa El-Sherbiny, who is well known for her pro-women activism, has denounced incident.

The couple later appeared on a T.V. programme explaining the incident. They appeared smiling as if nothing happened; saying that they have been lovers for 13 years. 
In the interview, the groom said, "this is normal in our culture if I hit my wife who is also my cousin. However, In another video, the groom said: “I apologize to my wife and all the women in Egypt.”

In Jordan, a new girl took her fears to social media crying for help after her family threatened to kill her for failing courses at the university. A girl called Panda has sought help online after fearing to go to authorities; knowing that they might hand her back to her family who is planning to attack her.

A hashtag "#انقذوا_باندا - Save Panda” circulated the internet following the girl appeared in two videos after leaving the country requesting help after her family knew where she was and threatened to send someone to kill her.

Women’s rights activists have called Middle Eastern countries to further toughen penalties for gender-based murderers and attackers in order to reduce the number of crimes committed against them.

Data shows that gender-Based Violence is still perpetrated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. At least 35% of women in MENA have experienced some form of violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime – placing MENA second highest in the world.

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