New Tunisian bill to counter violence against women

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New Tunisian bill to counter violence against women

Tunisia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs submitted to parliament in mid-July a new draft law on the elimination of violence against women. Article 2 of the draft law extends to “all forms of gender-based violence directed against women by any perpetrator, whatever form it takes, without discrimination on the basis of birth, color, race, religion, thought, age, nationality, socio-economic conditions, civil status, health, language or disability.”

The new articles of this bill have tightened sanctions against the perpetrators of violence and harassment acts against women, compared to the Tunisian Penal Code's provisions in force.Under the draft law, punishment may extend to two years of imprisonment with a fine of 5,000 Tunisian dinars (roughly $2,300) against perpetrators of sexual harassment crimes. Article 16 of the draft law stipulates, “Whoever harasses women in a public place, be it through verbal or nonverbal behavior, or remarks that would offend them, shall be imprisoned for one year.”

The tight sanctions came in light of the alarming figures in regard to violence against women in Tunisia.In March, the Center for Research, Studies Documentation and Information on Women revealed in a study titled “Gender-based violence in public spaces” that 53% of women in the study were subjected to violence in public places. The study, which was conducted between 2012 and 2015, said that 41% of the women questioned experienced physical violence in public places, while 75% of the women in the study were subjected to sexual violence in public places such as on the street or in the workplace. Click here to read the full story.