Algeria: Battered Women

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Cases of women abused by their Husbands and disowned by their families are prevalent in the Algerian Society in which the male sex is thought superior mainly in Islamic circles.

More than 1,000 sexual assaults on women are recorded per year in Algeria , according to the National Gendarmerie services. Experts say that these figures do not reflect the reality because many victims do not reveal what is considered to be a “shameful crime” in Algerian society in which Islam is the religion of almost all of the Algerian people. This Mohametan religion provides the society with its central social and cultural identity. Indeed, the number of the declared rapes achieved, in the first quarter of last year, reached 229 according to the department of the Algerian national Gendarmerie.According to other figures issued by the Algerian police one year ago, more than 7,500 women have experienced various forms of violence, only during the first ten months of 2010. This violence against women takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence.

The situation is dramatic and the phenomenon is not confined to a specific region, but occurs throughout the whole nation. In the absence of complaints by the victims who avoid being the laughingstock of the neighborhood, this perceptible fact remains a serious, present-day terror affecting, primarily women and girls.

The most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner, with women beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise badly treated. Up to 30 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime, according to public authorities who are indignant against this recurring phenomenon no without taking the commitment to punish the perpetrators.

The president of the Algerian Observatory of Women, Ms. Djaâfri, believes on the possibility of launching a “brainwashing campaign to end this phenomenon.”

“Basta!”, “Stop violence against women”, “we must break taboos” stated the President of the Algerian Observatory of Women, Ms. Djaâfri Djadi Chayaa in what seems to be a real SOS towards the Algerian public authorities to contain this Physical and psychological injury that takes alarming proportions.

The President of the Algerian Observatory of Women caught the spotlight when she focused recently in a parliamentary day on violence against women and deplored the behavior of the Algerians against the woman. “The statistics on battered women are frightening,” she said. In nine months of 2011, 7042 cases of battered women with physical violence including 5074 have been reported.

The husband tops the ranking perpetrators, on battered women cases.

In the Algerian legislature system, domestic violence is at issue in either a criminal or civil context, it aims at the dissuasion of the perpetrators requested to not persevere in their violence towards their social partners.
The ways in which women respond to domestic violence and abuse inflicted by an intimate
partner, parents or husbands are often confined to silence to avoid shameful act to their next of kin or families. In this North African country, incest-related cases were handled in courts.

Cases were recorded between fathers and their daughters, others between brothers. This phenomenon is not as widespread as immoral acts such as sexual advances. Figures issued from security services for the year 2011, indicates that 46% of violence against women are domestic. The head of the Observatory suggests that 64% of cases of violence are extremely serious and that the husband was high on the list in terms of perpetrators of violence (29, 4%), followed by brothers (6%), father (2.1%) and groom (2%). Ms. Djaâfri, considers that these figures are far from reflecting reality. “The Algerian woman experiences every day the violence in all its forms and her fear of divorce remains the focal cause her hesitation to denounce the perpetrator of the abuse”. This phenomenon also affects educated women.

“Over 26% of battered women have an advanced education” noted Ms. Djaâfri according to whom:”For shame to disclose it to the family, the woman continues to suffer in silence”.

A call for “a brainwashing campaign to end this phenomenon» is launched by the Algerian Observatory of Women which plead also for more action and better cooperation with all parties, to break taboos that surround the phenomenon of violence against women.

Its president called for the enactment of coercive laws to preserve the cohesion of the Algerian family and avoid the breakup of the family unit. Sexual violence, verbal or psychological are not well defined by law as they remain more serious than physical abuse.
A serious issue of concern that does not leave indifferent the president of the National People’s Congress, Abdelaziz Ziari, according to whom the Algerian Parliament is committed to respect the international instruments and conventions on the protection of women that Algeria has adopted and which contribute to advancement of women.

“The commitment of Algeria is in harmony with the provisions of the Convention adopted by Algeria in 1996, hence the creation in 1997 of the National Council of woman in 2000 and a National Reception Centre for women victims of violence. ” M.Ziari said to the deputies before adding that “ Algeria had adopted the Protocol to ban human trafficking, particularly that of children and women, the full text UN Convention to combat against organized crime and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women”.

For him, the president of the Algerian parliament, the fight against the violence on women “requires the combined efforts of all structures that can help raise awareness of the importance of the fight against this phenomenon”.

The need to strengthen the legal framework and the development of repressive laws to fight against this phenomenon remains one of the wishes of one victim of the violence under anonymity:” When I get married I never thought that I can live in such situation. When my husband feels unable to afford something, he beats me for being unemployed and issued from a poor family” Said the woman who wants the establishment of “rigorous measures to prevent men from doing harm”.

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