Experts: Palestinian culture accepts marital rape and domestic violence, laws don’t protect women
Monday, 02 December 2019 - 06:57 AM
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Birzeit University social sciences lecturer Bader Al-A’araj: "There are a number of reasons for the issue of violence against women. The first reason… relates to the social culture and the domination of a male-patriarchal culture that justifies this type of violence. Secondly, a lack of defined and detailed deterrent laws that will protect women from violence – whether at home, on the street, or at the workplace. There is also a third reason… There is tolerance especially when the violence is within the family. In the sense that the person who attacks the woman is her relative, husband, or lover… There is a kind of tolerance for this type of violence because its source is a person who is close to us… This tolerance leads to continuation [of the violence] in many cases… Some women think that if they forgive, it will make the violence stop…"

Independent Commission for Human Rights’ (ICHR) Legislation Monitoring Department Director Khadija Zahran: “There are a number of types of violence against women… There is physical violence… that is sometimes fatal … Another type is verbal violence… There is also a type of sexual violence, which is an assault against the body or sexual acts against the partner or another person against their will… There is no recognition [in Palestinian society] of psychological or sexual violence. There are assumptions that the husband has sexual rights to the wife, and she does not know that there is a concept of 'marital rape.' Her body is a right permitted to the man or the husband…"

Bader Al-A’araj: "Especially in our society, this type of research hits a number of obstacles… The concept of 'marital rape' – some countries like France sentence a husband who has raped his wife to 2 to 3 years. For us, this concept is not present in our social consciousness. When I teach at Birzeit [University] about violence against women and I speak about marital rape, some of the students are amazed at the very concept itself: 'How could someone rape his wife?' Not only do we still not have laws protecting women from violence – some of the types [of violence] are not even recognized in our social consciousness as being part of the types of violence."
[Official PA TV, Gently, Nov. 20, 2019]