An alarming increase in cases of domestic violence!

Asrar Shabaro wrote in “Al Hurra”:

An alarm bell rings with every new complaint that reaches the Lebanese Internal Security Forces hotline 1745, bringing with it the muffled cries and great suffering of victims subjected to violence at the hands of the people closest to them.

79 cases were recorded by the Lebanese security forces during the month of May alone on the hotline dedicated to domestic violence, while 56 cases were recorded in January, 40 cases in February, and 69 cases in April, which confirms the urgent need to take serious steps to stop this disturbing phenomenon.

Cases of physical violence witnessed a noticeable escalation, as the number rose from 45 cases in January to 60 in April and then 66 in May. There were also 5 cases of sexual violence recorded in May, while there was one case in each of April and January. As for cases of moral violence, 8 cases were recorded in the three months, and no case of economic violence was recorded in May and April, while one case was recorded in January.

The General Directorate of Internal Security Forces provides the hotline 1745 to receive calls related to cases of domestic violence. These communications include reports of physical, sexual, moral, and economic violence. The victim, family members or witnesses can report these cases. Identifying the perpetrator or perpetrator by the victim helps to understand the family dynamics that lead to violence.

“What is hidden is greater”
Victims of domestic violence are often women who suffer silently in a society that suffers from their marginalization, as data from the security forces indicates that in May the husband was responsible for 47 cases of violence, fathers for 16 cases, mothers for 3 cases, brothers for 3 cases, and 5 cases for which people are responsible. Others.

In January, the husband was the perpetrator of 34 cases of violence, fathers were responsible for 7 cases, mothers were responsible for one case, brothers were responsible for 3 cases, and 11 cases were committed by other people.

In April, the husband was responsible for 45 cases of violence, parents for 9 cases, brothers for 2 cases, and 13 cases were committed by other people.

University professor and social researcher, Professor Wadi’a Al-Amouni, defines domestic violence in an interview with Al-Hurra website as “the abuse or harm to which individuals are exposed, and it takes multiple forms, including physical, psychological, sexual, and economic violence.”

Fatima Al-Hajj, a lawyer at the Kafa Association, warns that official statistics on domestic violence do not reflect reality, stressing that the actual number of victims far exceeds what is reported.

“Kafa” conducted an analysis of the calls received on this hotline, and it became clear, according to Al-Hajj, that “95 percent of these calls were made by women, and the remaining 5 percent were by men, and an analysis of the cases of the men who complained showed that either the son is abusing his father or vice versa.” “This negates the statement that men are exposed to violence at the hands of women just as women are exposed to violence.”

Al-Hajj said in an interview with Al-Hurra website, “A very small segment of women are aware of this line designated for reporting domestic violence. Most of those who know about it are those who have previously contacted women’s associations and reported their exposure to violence, and there are those who go directly to the police station in If they are exposed to violence, a report will be filed within 24 hours, or they will go to the Public Prosecution, and these complaints are not counted, and a large number of women are exposed to violence without being informed.”

The director of the “Key to Life” Association, the psychological and social specialist, Lana Qasqas, also warns that the number of complaints submitted in cases of domestic violence does not reflect the actual reality, noting that there is a wide segment of women who are exposed to violence without informing the authorities for cultural and social reasons, and the same is true of women. Related to violence against children.

Qasqas confirms that failure to report does not mean that violence is not practiced, but rather it may be due to the victim’s lack of awareness of her rights, her fear of society, or her feeling of inability to break the cycle of violence.

She stresses the importance of following up on the numbers of complaints issued by the security forces, as they represent an indication of women’s interaction with awareness-raising and encouraging them to report.

Male authority and unjust laws
Al-Hajj stresses the importance of the hotline that was established in cooperation with the “Kafa” Association to provide immediate assistance to abused women, as “the Internal Security Forces Directorate receives the communications, then communicates with the police station closest to the victim’s location, sends a security patrol immediately, and maintains constant communication with the police station.” “To follow up on the progress of the case and ensure that the victim receives the necessary protection.”

The security personnel who receive hotline calls have received specialized training from the “KAFA” Association on how to deal with calls professionally and effectively. According to Al-Hajj, these personnel are familiar with “the domestic violence law and know how to convey the necessary information to the public prosecutor.”

Violence against women in Lebanon stems from the roots of entrenched male authority, according to Al-Hajj, “which is clearly evident in the personal status laws that strengthen men’s authority and give him the right to discipline women, considering that he is her guardian, and if she deviates from the line drawn for her, he has the right to rebuke her.”

Although there is a law to protect women and other family members from domestic violence, its implementation faces major gaps. Al-Hajj says, “In many cases, the judicial authority charged with implementing this law shows excessive leniency with the aggressors, which encourages the continuation of violence.”

This judicial laxity reflects “the male authority’s control over the legal system, which contributes to alarmingly high rates of violence against women.” The female, whether she is a child, a girl, or an adult woman, becomes vulnerable to violence by all family members, without any real deterrent to protect her from this injustice.”

As for Al-Amayuni, she considers that the causes of domestic violence “may be psychological, such as addiction to drugs or alcohol, personality disorders, and mental illness, or social, such as poverty, unemployment, and poor education and upbringing. Some cultures even justify violence or consider it a means of disciplining children or partners, especially women, in addition to In addition, stress resulting from financial pressures or marital problems leads to an escalation of violence.”

Devastating effects
The psychological effects of violence on women and children are devastating, as Kaskas describes, and include “post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, stress, constant fear, and a feeling of helplessness.”

She also draws attention to the social effects on women who are victims of violence, such as “isolation from society, loss of support, and lack of a safe environment to speak, which exacerbates their suffering. Violence also negatively affects women’s productivity at work and reduces their motivation, creating an additional burden on their lives.” .

For her part, Al-Amouni says that domestic violence leads to “physical and psychological damage to the victims, as it results in psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety.” Children can also witness or be victims of domestic violence, which negatively affects their emotional, behavioral and academic development. In addition, domestic violence leads to a deterioration in family relationships and increased rates of divorce and separation.”

The economic impact of domestic violence cannot be ignored, as the university professor stresses, “as it leads to increased health and social care costs and loss of productivity.” Moreover, it contributes to the deterioration of societal values ​​and the increase in crime and violence rates in society in general.”

Last March, the Lebanese organization “Abaad” announced that the rate of murders of women in Lebanon in 2023 would increase by 300 percent, or an average of two women per month, according to figures based on data from the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces.

In a statement, the organization revealed that the rate of reports on the Ministry of Interior’s hotline reached 767 complaints, or an average of 64 complaints per month.

Violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world, as the United Nations confirmed last November. Globally, an estimated 736 million women – approximately one in three women – have been exposed to physical and/or physical violence. Sexual violence by an intimate partner, sexual violence by a non-partner, or both at least once in their lives.

Suggested solutions
Reducing domestic violence, according to Al-Amouni, requires “awareness and education about its dangers and the rights of individuals, and the application of strict laws to protect victims and punish aggressors.” Psychological and social support services must also be provided to families exposed to violence, and counseling and guidance programs must be provided to families in which initial signs of violence appear.”

“The importance of strengthening the role of civil society, community institutions, and non-governmental organizations in providing support and assistance, and the necessity of approving and updating the necessary legislation to control and punish criminals, cannot be overlooked. In general, it requires concerted efforts from all members of society, governments and relevant institutions to achieve a safe and stable environment for all.”

But according to Al-Hajj, “As long as male authority remains dominant, permeated customs and traditions, and supported by society, women will face multiple forms of violence, especially with the absence of deterrent laws and the leniency of current Lebanese laws with this injustice.”

Al-Hajj stresses that the radical solution to eliminating domestic violence requires basic steps, which are:

First: The belief that the cause of domestic violence is lenient laws that strengthen men’s authority over women and legitimize their discipline.

Second: Work to reform these laws by approving a unified personal status law that guarantees equality between the sexes and abolishes religious laws that are unfair to women.

Third: Implementing a comprehensive national awareness plan that establishes a culture of respect for women and rejection of violence.

Fourth: Enact deterrent laws to protect against violence that strictly punish aggressors and provide protection for victims.

Fifth: Imposing the prestige of the state by firmly enforcing the laws and combating corruption, especially in light of the current circumstances that Lebanon is suffering from, where all crimes, including domestic violence, have increased due to the absence of an effective role of the authority.

For her part, Qasqas believes that society must come together to combat violence against women, support the victims of this violence, and provide a safe environment for them to speak and express their suffering. She stresses the importance of spreading awareness about their rights and encouraging them to report any type of violence they are exposed to, as she calls for The authorities need to enact strict laws to punish aggressors, and provide psychological and social support to women and children who are victims of violence.


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