Kirkuk’s Women Take Action Against Violent Men

January 25, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Kirkuk |2011, Women protesting the increase of violence against them. Photo: Kirkuknow

Regardless of boundaries and “tradition”, 24-year-old Shaunm Muhammed eventually took legal action against her husband and had him arrested by the police and prosecuted in the hope of ending the brutal and offensive relationship and his cruelty towards her during the past three years.

Last year the Department of Family Protection from Violence from the Kirkuk police department made a report about Shaunm’s allegations. It became the first primitive attempt at breaking the silence by the woman as no one was aware of her situation before during the previous three years. Shaunm said, “I decided to end the brutal and insulting treatment of my husband.”

Shaunm said, “We were not getting along since the beginning of our marriage. I was too shy to say anything because of tradition and our families.”

Some women are living in insuperable social circumstances in Kirkuk because they are facing violence and brutality by their husbands and their rights are being neglected and ignored. But Shaunm is an example of the ten percent of women in the city who chose not to remain silent.

Shaunm told KirkukNow that, “I didn’t have any choice except to ignore the situation and set aside the society and traditions, and return to my life through those allegations. I was able to inform our surroundings that I was having problems.”

According to the data of the Department of Family Protection from Violence, 334 allegations of violence toward families have been documented since 2016.  Eighty percent of those assertions have been from women against their husbands. However, in 2015 there were only 209 allegations reported.

Following her allegations, the police of Kirkuk investigated her husband. After some hearings in court, their case ended up in divorce. For Shaunm that was her liberation from all of the brutal and inhuman behaviour that she had been facing over the years.

The Department of Family Protection from Violence has been opened as a part of Kirkuk’s police department, and it accepts and records the allegations of people who are facing violence from their families.

Jwan Hasan, who is the supervisor of the human rights council and women and children’s business of the board of Kirkuk said, “Seeing an increase the number of the allegations is on one hand the result of the mindfulness of the women, adhering their problems, and seeking their rights, and on the other hand it is a sign of the rise of the violence towards them.”

The stabbing death of Haifa Sharif by her husband is the latest tragedy of violence towards women in Kirkuk.

Haifa was stabbed and murdered in her house in the Huriya neighborhood in Kirkuk on January 2nd. Even though the husband initially stated that three people had crept up to their house and killed his wife and then ran, after his arrest on January 7th he confessed to killing her.  This is according a statement by Zrar Ahmed, the assistant supervisor of the Aruba police station.

Haifa had not made any allegations to the police or even her family before. According to some of her relatives, the reason for her death was that, “she was rejecting her husband’s wishes to remarry again”.

General Afrasiaw Kamil Wais, the spokesman of Kirkuk’s police department said that they do not differentiate between the allegations of men and women, and they carry out detailed investigations.

A scene from a play highlighting the violence against women and their harsh conditions Photo: KirkukNow

Some women believe that reporting allegations to the police will intensify their problems rather than help to solve them.

27-year-old housewife Fatim Younis says she has been facing violence several times from her husband, but she could not file a report on him. “If the problems were reported to the police, then there would be no hope for solving them.”

Fatim said, “Sometimes my husband frightened me by threatening divorce, and warned me that I would no longer be his wife if I went to the police or reported any allegations against him. I didn’t report any allegations,in the fear of losing my husband.”

Jwan Hasan, the supervisor of the human rights group believes the police have done their jobs well when it comes to the allegations of women. She said, “We need a ministry that will be able to handle the problems; a lot of the allegations have solved the problems of the women.”

General Afrasiaw Kamil said, “We have done our investigations into the violent men. Sometimes the men were innocent, but if they turned out to be guilty thenthey would definitely receive their punishment.”

Unstable economic situations, traditions, the pressure of remarriage, and forced marriages are all common reasons for the violence against women in Kirkuk.

On January 11th, 2016, 793 cases of violence against women had been documented in Kirkuk according to the head of the Council of Human and Women’s Rights in Kirkuk province. This council continues its efforts to cooperate with women’s rights organizations in order to stop the violence against women.

By: Nergz Qadr

NOTE: The name of Shaunm Mhammad and Fatim Younis was created by KirkukNow to protect the person’s privacy.

 

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