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Source£ºYueyangNewsNetwork    Updated£º2021-01-20 10:55:35


The woman is Sihem Ben Romdhane.  Her husband  of 19 years often beat her. She lodged complaints with the police. They told her they would have to jail him. So, she would  withdraw her complaints each time. She said, ¡°I don¡¯t want my children  to be without their father.¡± Last November, her husband started beating their  9-year-old son. Romdhane said, ¡°I  just could not take it anymore.¡± She decided to leave and found refuge in a shelter for battered women. For women in  Arab   countries, Tunisia is the best place to live. There are seven women¡¯s shelters in Tunisia. Most opened after the country¡¯s  Arab Spring revolution in December 2010. The shelters offer protection,  legal advice, and job training. They also provide child  care. There are mental health programs and medical treatment. Tunisia  prides itself on being the most advanced Arab country. And that  includes women¡¯s rights. Women  here have long had the right to divorce and gain custody of their children. The country became  independent in 19 56. Polygamy ended that the same year There is still a great deal of violence  against  women. In 2016, sixty percent of Tunisian women were victims  of domestic violence. Private studies say  the percentage may even be higher. A new shelter in the city of Gafsa looks like an ordinary house. The  manager  of the  shelter  said, ¡°Sometimes the women who come here ran away from a desperate situation with no luggage whatsoever. So, we provide  everything.¡± A law passed last year outlawed violent acts against women. The law also called for the opening of new shelters  and other facilities to protect women. The law outlaws domestic rape. It bars a rapist from marrying his victim. Before, a rapist  could do that to reduce his sentence. Even  police can face jail time if they do not follow up on a woman¡¯s abuse complaint. Even if the   victim drops the charges, the investigation must still go on. The new law and the shelters  are  breakthroughs. The next challenge is to get more  abused women to make use of the new shelters. And to use  the rules to protect them. The police, judges, and doctors must also learn about the new law.  ¡°We need to educate  children  and their parents. All should respect family values. This includes women¡¯s rights,¡± said a  government worker. A man  from the ministry of justice said, ¡°The new law is innovative. Before, when the woman was abused and forgave the abuser, he  would not be punished by law. Now even if the woman forgives him, he will face the law. He will be accountable.¡± An official confirmed,  ¡°The subject of domestic violence is not taboo  anymore.¡±? Source: The New York Times May 12, 2018 )

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