Although Tunisia initiated years ago the development of basic laws to criminalize all forms of physical, psychological and physical violence against women, they were not sufficient to deter abusers, as the courts continued to receive thousands of complaints from battered women, most of which are still pending in the corridors of the courts without a decision.
It is noteworthy that the United Nations chose this year to be the slogan of the International Day to Combat Violence against Women on November 25, and in all countries of the world "No excuse", as the organization classifies violence against women as one of the most common forms of human rights violations in the world and its latest estimates show that 736 million women, almost one in 3 women, have been victims of physical or sexual violence at least once in their lives.
Domestic violence victims have been subjected to a course of violence
In Tunisia, which in recent months has seen an increase in femicides, the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, the most active women's rights organization, launched a massive campaign to denounce the killing of women in Tunisia.
Feminist activists organized a moot court to present the details of these crimes and their causes and to emphasize the lack of justice for the victims and their families in many cases, and the moot court was set up in the presence of families and civil society to commemorate the dead women and to open platforms to their stories and the family tragedy they left behind.
The head of the moot court for women victims of murders and feminist activist Hala Ben Salem told Sky News Arabia that the murders of women are "hate crimes" imposed on victims in the face of the state's laxity in resolving cases legally despite the issuance of Law No. 58 of 2017, which criminalizes violence against women.
Feminism stressed that the slow pace of litigation encourages ignoring the seriousness of violence in society and gives the impression of leniency and justification for femicides, and that the penal code in Tunisia does not classify the murders of women as crimes of privacy and does not single them out with aggravating circumstances.
Hala Ben Salem considered that Law 58 needs to set the necessary budgets and political will to activate all its chapters, especially those related to prevention and protection measures and psychological, legal and material briefing of battered women, especially since all studies have shown that all murders of women occurred after they were subjected to violence more than once without the state being able to provide protection for them.
Family suffering bequeathed to children
For his part, the brother of one of the victims, Jalloul Mathlouthi, spoke in statements to the site about the circumstances of the murder of his sister in 2020 at the hands of her husband, who assaulted her with a hammer after he took their children out of the house, saying that the deceased was subjected to violence more than once and filed many complaints to no avail and that he was encouraging her to divorce before she faced her painful fate, which separated all family members and affected the psychology of her four children after the death of the mother and the imprisonment of the father.
Jalloul considered that the life sentence on the perpetrator did not end the tragedy of the family, as the deceased left her children in front of an unknown fate and a fragile psychological situation, and the sharp disputes between the victim's family and the family of the perpetrator after the crime caused the children to be deprived of seeing their mother's family.
Zahra al-Ajili, the victim's mother, Suniya, told us that despite the passage of 14 years, she has not forgotten the moment her 3-year-old grandson told her about the scene of the killing of her only daughter by her husband, who slaughtered her and then dismembered her body and abused her before burying her in the garden of the house.
Zahra added that she searched for her deceased for nearly a year without security assistance before discovering her burial place in the garden of the house, and that she faced social stigma and defamation of her late daughter's honor before discovering the crime and arresting the offender husband because society often accuses women even if they are subjected to injustice and violence within the marital home.
Zahra said she regrets every time her daughter told her about her husband's violence and demanded that she return to the marital home and be patient with his ill-treatment.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Family, Women, Children and the Elderly explained in a statement that it is keen to evaluate the measures and measures taken to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, unify advocacy efforts, mobilize collective awareness and create a supportive public opinion to resist violence and discrimination against women, which would contribute to reducing the spread of the phenomenon and reducing its danger to individuals, families and communities.
According to the Ministry of Family, the number of centres for women victims of violence and children accompanying them increased from one in 2021 to 12 in 2023.