I never cease to be amazed at the foolishness that travels the lines of media across the world. By now you may have heard about the Moroccan TV show that aired a tutorial to teach women who have been victimized at the hands of their domestic abusers how to apply makeup to cover their bruises. After numerous head shakes, I have finally been able to form words that can animate some of my thoughts.
I am appalled that a mainstream Moroccan network channel would deem it appropriate to make domestic violence beautiful. Then I remember, it’s Morocco. A place where, just yesterday (actually 2004 but it seems like yesterday since woman have existed for what, forever maybe), the Moudawana, or family code, was amended to increase some of the rights of women but made no attempt to address or label domestic violence or marital rape as a crime. All hope, however, is not lost for the women of Morocco. They have been extended options:
- Report the abuse but receive no protection from the offender until after the investigation of allegations are completed. Leaving the victim vulnerable to the unthinkable.
“I do not see how intimate acts between men and women that cannot be defined or proven can be penalized.” -Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid
- Leave their abuser but, please, do not look forward to any financial assistance or shelter and be prepared to live a stigmatized life.
No, all hope is not lost because there was never any hope to begin with. How sad it must be to think that it is easier to apply makeup to a battered face than it is to seek justice. How equally horrifying it is to view domestic violence as a way of life as many women do. This Newsweek article further highlights the horrors faced by Moroccan woman.
Life for women in Morocco is far from unique and, before anyone decides to pull the cultural or religious card, let me fly the pigeon with the not so new message. Domestic violence is a widespread contagion from sea to sea, from Australia to Zimbabwe . It does not submit only to a cultural sect. It does not care who you pray to or how you dress. It has no eyes and, therefore, does not see race, color, age, sexuality or gender as a reason to divert its offense.
Domestic violence is a relentless threat to the sanity and existence of society. There is so much more to it than the visible marks it leaves. It causes, depression, anxiety, PTSD, low self esteem, hatred of self and suicidal and homicidal ideation. The psychological effects are, also, not just present in the victim. It trickles down to the children, family and friends who witness or are aware of the situation.
Domestic violence spins a large web of fear and hate and it is, in my opinion, an insult to women worldwide to suggest ways to simply cover it up. Next time, try suggesting tougher laws to protect the victims and their families. Next time, make suggestions on ways to improve family life to prevent domestic violence. Next time, donate time, money, clothing, etc to domestic violence shelters. Next time be a part of the solution. The problem doesn’t need beautification.
Here are some links to true domestic violence experiences from around the world.