Originally published on Hummus For Thought on March 8th 2012.
On average, 1 woman dies every month from family violence in Lebanon. To honor their memories and press for the law to protect women from family violence, we will be marching through the neighborhoods of Beirut this Saturday, March 10 starting at 3pm.
A protective law is our only hope to stop these murders. Please join us. And please wear black.
It’s a shocking number, yes. But it’s true. On average, one woman was killed every month as a direct result of family violence between May 2010 – May 2011. These are the murders you read about in scarce lines in the papers which usually go something like: A.B. killed his wife, S.B in some town in Lebanon. We never get the names without investigating and we rarely read the full stories. Kafa logged the reports of these as you can see in the photo below. Imagine how many of these stories didn’t make it to the papers? That means there might very well be more than one woman killed by a family member every month.
This disturbing act of violence is called femicide. Azza Charara Baydoun studied 66 cases of femicide in Lebanese courts between 1999 and 2007. That’s over 8 cases every year and it doesn’t include cases that were not yet concluded by 2007, meaning there are many more lost in the judicial mazes of Lebanon.
Femicides are not necessarily “honor” crimes. They are not always murders to protect the family’s “honor” – such as in the case of adultery or whatever. Femicide is often the result of an escalation in violence that goes unreported and unaddressed and eventually leads to a murder. As long as we don’t have any protective mechanisms for women in Lebanon, violence will continue to go unreported and women will continue to be forced to live with violence until it kills them. What a horrendous way to die.
Diana Moukalled did a beautiful film a few years back called “About Latifa and Others” detailing the stories of women who were killed by their husbands. She interviews their families, children, and friends. And in every case, it is clear that the violence was going on for years and nobody interfered and then Latifa (and many like her) died. The regret expressed by her sisters for not intervening before it was too late is heartbreaking. Watch the trailer below.
Intervene now so that we don’t regret many more lives. Help us save the draft law to protect women from family violence today before it is too late. Put pressure on your MPs, talk to the media, blog and spread awareness online, join us on the streets in funeral marches this International Women’s Day to let people know that domestic violence leads to murder and that we urgently need state mechanisms to protect women from it. Become an activist for change, join us.