The number of reported cases of violence against women in Qatar rose 54 percent from 2010 to 2011 and continues to increase, according to the Qatar Foundation for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights, the Peninsula reports.
Physical assaults at home and in the workplace, as well as sexual violence and “mental torture” were among the complaints lodged, the organization said during a recent event to raise public awareness about women’s rights.
Qatar currently has no law specifically criminalizing domestic violence, but is working on legislation that would define and outlaw such acts by 2016.
Previously, QFPWC reported that some 995 cases of abuse had been lodged from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1 of this year – an average of nearly four incidents a day.
Husbands are the biggest perpetrators of the violence, the Peninsula states:
A majority 59 percent of the complainants said they were targets of husbands’ fury, while 11 percent pertained to violence at workplace…
The way women are married off by their fathers and family elders in the Arab world was in itself a form of violence against women, said (an) expert.
Adding to the problems is that ”family law as generally interpreted discriminates against women in matters of divorce, inheritance, and child custody, granting men privileged status in these matters,” Human Rights Watch states in its 2012 World Report on Qatar.
The National Development Strategy, which has acknowledged the rising incidences of domestic violence in the country, said two challenges impede Qatar’s ability to tackle the problem: the lack of systematic data collection and incomplete investigations into suspected cases of abuse or neglect.
Credit: Photo by Jeff Hill