The vast majority of women in Gaza face violence of varying types, a new survey has found.
The study, by the Gaza-based Palestinian Women's Information and Media Center, found that violence against women in Gaza has increased since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in the June 2007 coup and Israel subsequently imposed restrictions on the coastal enclave.
The study found that 77.1% of Gazan women have experienced violence of various sorts, with almost half experiencing violence of more than one type.
A quarter of the women said they do not feel safe in their own homes because of violence and more than a third said they were unable to fight back as they had more urgent priorities to deal with.
67% of the women surveyed said they had encountered verbal violence, 71% mental violence, 52% physical violence and more than 14% sexual violence. . . .
Palestinian women's rights activists have told The Media Line that domestic violence is not tackled adequately by the Palestinian police, who often turn a blind eye to such complaints.
There are few shelters for battered women in the Palestinian territories.
Hamouda said laws to combat violence against women were lax and contributed to a culture of impunity for perpetrators, especially in relation to honor killings.
Honor killings are cases in which women accused of bringing dishonor to the family are killed by relatives. Killings often involve women suspected of fraternizing with men who are not their husbands or relatives.
"The authorities do punish them, but they have a weak law," Hamouda said. "When it comes to so-called honor crimes, the articles of the criminal laws still mete out mitigated sentences to the perpetrators. The organization is trying to increase awareness of violence against women and make it a higher priority for rights organization, civil society organizations and factions."
We want them to help women participate in public life and make this an important part of their strategy," she said. "Not just a political slogan." Read More.
For more on violence toward women in Islam, see "Islam and Wife-Beating: Muslim Scholars Speak."