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Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Tunisia has decided to take the bull by the horn on the case of women violence. Recently, Tunisian Parliament approved the law on violence against women, including domestic violence. It is a landmark step for women’s rights protection. Tunisian authorities should ensure that there is adequate funding and political will to put the law fully into effect and to eliminate discrimination against women.

Reports have confirmed that women face high rates of domestic violence in Tunisia, with at least 47 percent of women experiencing domestic violence in their lives, according to a 2010 survey from the National Family Office. However, until the passage of the Law on Eliminating Violence Against Women, there had been no specific law on domestic violence. The new law also includes provisions on harassment in public spaces and economic discrimination. This will no doubt strengthen security for women in the country.

In addition, Tunisia’s new law provides women with the measures necessary to seek protection from acts of violence by their husbands, relatives, and others. The government should now fund and support institutions to translate this law into genuine protection. Tunisian women are really excited with this move and hope that it will take full effect in no time.

Many women in Tunisia had waited for so long to achieve this. Also, Tunisian women’s rights organizations have campaigned for a domestic violence law for decades. Their lobbying also persuaded legislators to eliminate from the penal code a provision that allowed a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim, striking a blow against impunity for rape. Consequently, the law includes elements that are essential to prevent violence against women, protect domestic violence survivors, and prosecute abusers.

Reports also confirmed that the law introduces new criminal provisions and increases penalties for various forms of violence when committed within the family. It also criminalizes sexual harassment in public spaces, and the employment of children as domestic workers, and fines employers who intentionally discriminate against women in pay. In effect, criminal act against women and children will drastically reduce.

Further more, the law also provides requirements to assist domestic violence survivors, including providing legal, medical, and mental health support. Significantly, it allows women to seek restraining orders against their abusers without filing a criminal case or divorce. The orders can, among other things, require the suspected offender to vacate the home, stay away from the victim and their children, and refrain from violence, threats, damaging property, or contacting the victim. UN Women, the UN entity for gender equality, considers such orders among the most effective legal remedies to protect women from violence.

Many Tunisian women are extremely excited with the provisions in the new law. They believed it will guarantee a safe future for them and their female children. However, Tunisian government urged other countries to emulate such act which protects women against violence in the society stating that “they are the pillars of every country and deserve to be safe.”

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