SAT 16 - 2 - 2019
Dec 4, 2018
The Daily Star
Ending the death machine that is femicide
Nov. 25 marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and kicked off a 16-day activist campaign that ends on Dec. 10, the Human Rights Day.
During this campaign people all over the world speak out to end violence against women and girls under one theme, Orange the World: #HearMeToo.
Light is shed on stories of various women that have survived violence or are defending women’s rights all over the world.
According to the United Nations General Assembly, violence against women is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The U.N. concludes violence against women is “as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.”
Giving the severity of the issue in the life of women around the world, it requires serious public and political attention.
According to the “Global Study on Homicide, Gender- related killing of women and girls” by UNODC, the total number of intentionally killed women is 87,000 in 2017 and more than a third were killed by their current or former intimate partner, someone they would normally expect to trust.
The report highlighted a shocking statistic that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family everyday.
The gender-related motivation associated with the killing of women and girls is usually referred to as “femicide.”
There is no universal clear definition, and no clear legal definition at the national level for this term.
It has been labeled as “gender-related killings of women and girls,” meaning females were killed simply because of their gender.
Noting that femicide has increased over recent years, the key question is: Has violence actually increased or is it only the reporting of such killings that is increasing?
It is well evidenced that violence against women is poorly reported to the police and that a large share of it remains hidden, and this is not limited to developing countries but is common in all countries.
The killing of women and girls by intimate partners does not usually result from random or spontaneous acts. We should dig into the root causes and the psychology of the perpetrators, to understand the factors that lead partners to kill their spouses.
Lebanon is commemorating this international day differently this year, through a series of awareness and advocacy events.
A draft law to amend Law 293/2014 was approved and submitted Monday jointly by 10 parliament members from all political blocs with the National Commission for Lebanese Women and KAFA organization. The bill includes 11 amendments of Law 293/2014 regarding the protection of women and all family members from domestic violence.
The importance of the law lies in setting a new clear definition of “domestic violence,” hindering its negative implications on women and children, and increasing the punishments with maximum effectiveness, flexibility and speed on murder, permanent or temporary physical disabilities, physical and moral abuse, detention at home, and economic harm.
This is considered a milestone in the journey of women’s rights in Lebanon as it will enhance the protection of women and children from domestic violence an issue that’s been a taboo for many years.
Legislation alone is not enough to prevent violence against women. It is the responsibility of all society’s stakeholders to focus on this death machine.
Building a culture of respect of human life and differences requires the input of arts, schools and sports in order to build a society where a person’s gender shouldn’t affect her life expectancy.
Hiba Huneini is the manager of the Youth and Civic Engagement Program at the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 28, 2018, on page 3.
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