VAWG is a phenomenon that persists in both the private and the public sphere. It affects women of all categories, in their personal and social statuses. Due to the complexity of this issue and how widespread it is, international and regional documents on combating violence against women recommend the adoption of comprehensive laws to combat it, including a definition on VAWG, and the criminalisation of all its forms, regardless of the context in which it occurs and of the nature of the relationship between the aggressor and the victim.
Special protection must be granted to women under circumstances that could increase their vulnerability as victims: their age (young or old), a disability or illness, an asylum or immigration situation, whether legal or illegal, a detention or imprisonment, or a state of war8.
Only Tunisia and Morocco have such comprehensive laws on eliminating VAWG. Still there are many forms of VAWG that are not comprehensively criminalized in most of the countries included in this index such as: marital rape, early marriage9, polygamy, inequality between men and women in inheritance, “honour” crimes, sexual harassment10 in the work place. While sexual harassment is criminalized under penal code in all countries, sexual harassment specifically in the workplace is prohibited under the labour law only in Morocco and Jordan. In December 2020, Lebanon adopted a special law prohibiting sexual harassment in workplace.
8Silvia Suteu, Salsabil Klibi, and Ibrahim Draji, ABC for a Gender Sensitive Legislation, EuroMed Feminist Initiative, Paris 2020.
9Please refer to indicator No. 13 for more information on early marriage.
10Please refer to indicator No. 12 for more information on sexual harassment in public and private spaces.