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Gazan Domestic Abuse Victim Highlighted… By UN Agency

The United Nations Population Fund has issued the following press release, which I suspect won’t make it to most of the world’s press:

“I believed the recipe for a good marriage would be respect, two-way communication, and love. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.”

When Inas*, 28 from the Gaza Strip, got married five years ago, she believed her new husband was the love of her life. But after just a few months, her delight turned to despair as he subjected her to increasingly harsh verbal, emotional and physical abuse. “I was beaten in front of his family too,” she told UNFPA.

Inas soon discovered that her husband was also addicted to drugs and alcohol, and decided for her own safety to leave the marriage. But social and cultural norms in Gaza mean divorce is often viewed as the fault of the woman, and those who seek a separation can face stigma within their communities – even by friends and family.

Although anxious about her future, Inas was determined to find a way out of her situation.

Following a particularly bad attack from her husband, she visited a UNFPA-supported safe space in Jabilya, in the Gaza Strip. Set up in 2017 together with UNFPA partner the Abdel Shafi Community Health Association, it is one of two safe spaces in northern Gaza and Gaza City, offering survivors of gender-based violence a secure haven where they can access social and health services as well as request legal advice.

A 2019 survey revealed that one-third of married women in Palestine are subjected to domestic violence, but there is no law currently in place that criminalizes it. More than half of sexual and gender-based violence survivors choose not to report it, with many women justifying their husbands’ abuse.

According to a Reuters report from earlier this year, the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics said in 2019 that 41% of women in Gaza had faced domestic violence, which is even higher than the one-third quoted in the above press release.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

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
Picture of David Lange

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
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