A man who gouged his wife's eyes out has sparked protests in Amman. Hundreds of Jordanians from all walks of life protested near Jordan's Prime Ministry on Saturday November 16th to condemn the crime and demand more protection for women against all forms of violence.
Men, women and children gathered at a sit-in, urging Jordanian authorities to endorse stiffer penalties on perpetrators of all forms of violence against women following the November 6th crime when a husband, a resident of Jerash to the north of Amman, gouged out his wife’s eyes following a domestic dispute. The wife, named Fatima, is a mother of three children.
More legal and social protection is a must in Jordan to prevent such cases of violence, the protestors said as they held banners with words of support to victims of gender-based violence. They urged women who are subject to any form of violence not to hesitate in reporting it to authorities.
"We are here to demand better laws to protect victims of domestic violence…we are here for the sake of Fatima's eyes," the protestors chanted.
Women Should Speak Up
Laila Abu Aloleh, an activist taking part in the gathering, said, "We want better laws to punish such demons like Fatima's husband.” Aloleh told 7Dnews, “The key in protecting women is to have laws that protect them properly, so perpetrators do not get away with their crimes easily.
"At the same time, women should speak up…Women should not remain silent fearing the will lose their children or they will lose their home because if such crimes continue and they are silent they could lose their life," she added.
According to the Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) in Jordan, only 19% of Jordanian women who are subject to physical or sexual violence from their husbands seek help and only 3% of them file complaints.
The report by SIGI indicated that only 8% of married women seek help when subject to sexual violence, while 17% of married women seek help when subject to physical violence.
Around 77% of the married women who seek help when subject to physical or sexual violence resort to their families, 21% resort to their family in law, 6% resort to their neighbours and 6% resort to civil society organisations, while 3% resort to the police or lawyers.
Fatima's husband was charged with causing permanent disability, which, according to current laws, is a crime that could land him a prison term ranging from 3-15 years in prison.
Sahar Hamdan, another participant in the protest, said, "Women need to speak up…They should not refrain from reporting any form of violence they face because things could escalate and eventually they are the only losers.
"The government and the lawmakers need to work together on drafting better laws that stipulate tougher penalties on gender-based crimes and all sorts of violence…This situation cannot continue as more victims will be around because of loose laws…The problem is that not many women complain and report what they are subjected to," she added.