Kuwaiti women afraid to speak up against violence
Kuwait has recently witnessed a marked rise in the number of women turning to security and human rights authorities to enforce their rights due to the violence they face. In Kuwait, 71 percent of women have experienced physical abuse, 81 percent have experienced sexual abuse, 89 percent have experienced psychological abuse, 75 percent have experienced violence because of cultural or religious reasons and 65 percent of women were battered, facing severe abuse.
Speaking to Kuwait Times, Mohammad Al-Jasem, a lawyer and Interpol-accredited expert in international law enforcement cooperation, said there is no distinction between men and women in law, as assault is an assault and a crime. Jasem revealed that the problem with filing a case by the abused person is that it has to be filed by themselves. “The person concerned must file her case. There are many people who want to help abused women, but the court will only accept a case from the person concerned. If the woman waives her right, no law protects her unless the assault was in a public place,” he said.
Jasem indicated that in 2020, the public prosecution is looking at the issue of violence under the umbrella of the domestic violence law. This law has contributed to facilitating access to clear information in order to put out clear statistics on the general situation in society, away from other violent crimes.
Activist Sara Issam emphasized the significance of properly enforcing the protection law and for the national committee on family protection to adopt a comprehensive policy, noting that more women now have the bravery to seek protection for themselves. “The procedure for reporting domestic abuse cases to the public prosecution has significantly improved, and this has substantially aided in the growth of legal protection for battered women,” she said. In order to address the rising number of cases of violence against women in the nation, she urged the government to establish shelters for victims.
Meanwhile, the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) reported that during 2022, they received 860 complaints of violence against women and girls, or 2.6 complaints per day. As of writing, 412 of those complaints involved what is known as violence in cyberspace. These include sending unsolicited communications, threatening to publish personal information and engaging in cyberbullying. The complaints committee received 345 domestic violence complaints this year, which equates to an average of one incidence per day.
According to the KSHR report, cases of abused women this year are categorized into economic, psychological, emotional, physical and human trafficking. The complaints committee received 103 complaints of human trafficking, which is one of the types of violence committed against women and girls, which means exploitation of people by means such as force, fraud, coercion or deception.