Tunisia: Chasm between Gender law and its enforcement

Tunis, March 7 (AFP/APP): When Nadia told police about her husband’s violence during a coronavirus lockdown in Tunisia, she nearly lost custody of her daughter, illustrating a chasm between a gender law and its enforcement.

Adopted in 2017, the celebrated law greatly expanded the scope of punishable violence against women and in theory provides wide-ranging support to victims, making the country a pathfinder among regional peers. But getting justice remains a battle without any guarantee of success, due to waning political will and scant funding.

For several years, Nadia, in her forties, weathered threats and mistreatment at the hands of her husband. With no income of her own, she did not feel she could complain. “He would do it when drunk, then apologise,” Nadia said. “He left for several months every year to work abroad, so I preferred to do nothing” about the abuse, she added. But things became intolerable during a three-month lockdown to forestall the spread of the coronavirus a year ago.

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