Activists are campaigning relentlessly to get more legislation signed in parliament to effectively combat domestic violence in Iraq.
A number of activists gathered in Baghdad to campaign for lawmakers in Iraq to pass a bill that seeks to take a more proactive stance in combatting domestic violence. Violence against women and even children within the confines of a home is still a major issue in the country that is often swept under the carpet.
In recent years, there has been a spike in interest in issues surrounding women’s rights in Iraq. Women’s rights activism has flourished as politically and socially active women campaign tirelessly to protect and enhance their rights in the country. Despite recent progress, women continue to be marginalised, neglected and treated as subordinates in many parts of Iraq. This treatment has often resulted in acts of violence on women in private and public.
However, the issue of domestic violence is not only important for women in the country, but for all Iraqis. “Certainly, this law, if enacted, has many positive aspects for Iraqi society. It is not limited to women, children or the elderly; it is related to all Iraqi families to protect them against violence according to the law,” explained one activist present in the gathering.
Activists hope that this kind of law could change attitudes towards domestic violence and even towards women by taking a harsher stance on domestic abuse and protecting those who may fall victim to it. It is believed that this could act as the first step towards a cultural shift, whereby a women’s role in society is acknowledged and respected.
Current laws on personal status in Iraq diminish the rights of women and enforce an idea that the man in a relationship has primacy in affairs related to divorce, inheritance and child custody. Laws combating domestic violence could pave the way for further reforms that grant women equal rights at home and in society.