Lebanese Outlet Takes on Domestic Violence Against Gaza Women

Raseef22, a liberal Arabic media network founded in Lebanon, has published a piece that details the terrible conditions many women in Gaza have to endure.

At the hands of their husbands and fathers.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2019, the rate of Gazan women participating in the labor market was 30%, the highest rate reached by women. However, the work of these women had opened the door to a new form of suffering: it had not made them freer but in many cases, more submissive and humiliated.

“My father has agreed to my work after I had promised to pay him half of my salary under the pretext that his income is not enough,” said T.C. who works in a big Gazan company in the accounting field and who was reticent about mentioning her name for fear of reprisal.

The 20-year-old woman continues: “I used to give my dad half my salary and live off a small amount until the end of the month. I had to buy clothes that suit my work and pay the transportation fees, but the money was never enough and I was always forced to borrow from friends.”

Once she had objected to the amount paid and tried to decrease it, the young woman was subject to violence and bullying by her father. “Open your mouth, and I will throw you out into the streets,” he replied.

She adds: “I have a young disabled brother and I have wished to be by his side. However, my father beats me and pushes me with his hands once I tell him so. He says: “We won’t be able to change what God has destined.”

She continues: “After two years of exhaustion, enduring hardship, and paying half of my salary to my father, I was, one day, surprised that he wanted to marry our neighbor under the pretext that my mother was unable to fulfil his desires. I was the provider of the new bride’s expenses.”

When asked about the reason she is crying, the young woman responded: “Excuse my tears. I am not able to cry in front of any family, because they will tell my father that I did so. I will be subject to a pointless investigation, will not be able to tell him that he is the reason and will have to justify to stop him from doubting me and accusing me of being a bad daughter.”

When this home’s breadwinner became a woman, the toxic masculinity started. The husband went on to ask his wife for money in order to give his family: three unemployed brothers, his father and his mother.

Hana adds: “I had hoped to live a normal life with no crises. However, my husband severely beat me when I was 6 months pregnant, because I had refused to give his parents money. As a result, I gave birth to a visually impaired girl.”

The 36-year-old woman adds: “If I had known this would be my destiny, I would not have gotten married. We, women, have come to live in a patriarchal society that pressures us to work and support our families.

Lastly, she says: “I do not think of getting a divorce, because its consequences are extremely serious. If I ever choose to return to my father’s house, I will then have to fight a social war from a different kind: one that is full of oppression, interdiction, bullying, doubt, and honor impugnation.”

For many years but intermittently, women in Gaza have fought different kinds of wars. However, they are engaged in a permanent social war with male domination that has its ancient origins as sacred inscriptions. Those who deviate from them, fall into the swamp of oddity and incomprehension. In such patriarchal societies, there is no space for anything except for male domination that underlies the continuous production of female victims. 

And these poor women have no allies in the so-called human rights defenders who are quick to shout out when Israel can somehow be blamed, but are (not-so) strangely silent when this is not the case.

Hat tip: Michal

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media