Cases of violence against women in Iraqi
July 2, 2012
The Second National Conference of Kurdish Women in
Erbil, May 2012. Photo Rudaw.
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ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — In
the last four months, 532 cases of violence against
women have been reported in Kurdistan.
Government statistics from the period reveal that
there have been 26 murders or suicides, 150
self-immolation incidents, 308 discrimination
complaints and 48 cases of rape.
Across all three Kurdish provinces, 876 women
complained of violations. Women’s rights activists
say that violence against women has increased over
the last decade.
As of this year, the Kurdistan General Directory for
Violence Against Women has been publishing their
reports on a monthly instead of annual basis.
Kurdo Omar, the director of the center, said that
the main aim of publishing monthly statistics is to
help NGOs and universities with their research.
“We want to tell people that we won’t hide the
figures,” Omar said.
He added, “Those who face a lot of violence tend not
to make official complaints. The number of
violations is much higher. There are women who are
attacked but don’t come forward.”
Sozan Arif, the head of a women’s empowerment group,
believes the worsening situation for women in the
Kurdistan Region is the fault of NGOs.
“Our mechanisms are not right for those problems
because we don’t work with a plan. All the work is
just for decoration. We have to solve the problem
from the roots. We should do research on those
figures,” said Arif.
An earlier study by the Kurdistan Institute for
Political Research revealed that 60 percent of women
in Kurdistan face violence. Twenty-three percent of
them are government employees,www.ekurd.net
and 23 percent are divorced.
According to the research, social problems are the
main cause behind the violence.
The study also reported that 44 percent of women
believe the Kurdistan Regional Government hasn’t
done much to solve the problem.
Hawre Abdulla, a graduate from the sociology
department at Salahaddin University, feels that
Kurdistan’s policies toward eradicating violence
against women are not on built on the right
“The requirements for working at an organization are
not based on skill or expertise; they’re based on
party affiliations. That’s why we don’t see a lot of
positive results. These problems have being going on
for the last decade and they haven’t done anything
to decrease them,” Abdulla said, also noting that
the media could play a big role in changing the
But Arif thinks that, as long as some traditions
such as arranged marriage and marrying young remain
part of Kurdish society, the problems will not go
However, Omar believes that encouraging women to
come forward and telling authorities of violations
has had a positive impact.
“Filing complaints has decreased suicide cases and
most women have solved the problem through legal
means,” she noted.
By Soran Bahadin
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