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Taleen El Gharib 22 Sep 2022

3600 Calls From Domestic Abuse Victims Recorded In 2021

The gender equality NGO ABAAD has revealed that their call center received upwards of 3,600 calls from distressed women and girls who experienced some form of gender-based violence in 2021 alone.

Speaking to Annahar, ABAAD’s case coordinator Leila Hamdan revealed that for the year 2022, the center has received about 1,200 calls thus far. It is important to note that ABAAD is but one channel for reporting domestic violence. Others include NGOs or the dedicated ISF hotline, but unfortunately many cases also go unreported.

Last year, Lebanon witnessed a shocking rise in domestic violence cases. During the first few months of 2021, Zeina Kanjo was murdered, Lara was left in critical condition after being stabbed by her husband, and Najah Obeid was shot 15 times by her husband. Many of the women who end up being killed would have previously filed some domestic violence claim against their abuser (such is the case with Zeina and Lara), but they fall victim to discriminatory laws and religious courts that often favor forced reconciliations or do not view domestic violence as a problem.

Although many campaigns have been encouraging women in the MENA region to speak up against domestic violence, lack of knowledge surrounding what constitutes as gender-based violence has been a lasting hindrance along with the deep-seated normalization of domestic abuse as a “regular occurrence”.

These numbers only highlight the need to advocate for the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, as well as providing rehabilitation for those who have fallen victim to it. Matters pertaining to women’s rights are constantly overlooked, now more than ever as many have deemed it a low-priority cause amid a worsening crisis.