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[Sexual violence against women in Tunisia].

Authors
  • Fekih-Romdhane, F1
  • Ridha, R2
  • Cheour, M3
  • 1 Service de psychiatrie Ibn-Omrane, hôpital Razi, 1, rue des orangers, 2010 La Manouba, Tunisie; Université de Tunis-El-Manar, faculté de médecine de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisie. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Université de Tunis-El-Manar, faculté de médecine de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisie; Service de psychiatrie Légale, hôpital Razi, 1, rue des orangers, 2010 La Manouba, Tunisie.
  • 3 Service de psychiatrie Ibn-Omrane, hôpital Razi, 1, rue des orangers, 2010 La Manouba, Tunisie; Université de Tunis-El-Manar, faculté de médecine de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisie.
Type
Published Article
Journal
L'Encephale
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2019
Volume
45
Issue
6
Pages
527–529
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.encep.2018.07.004
PMID: 30301569
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
French
License
Unknown

Abstract

Sexual violence exists everywhere in the world. It depends mainly on the cultural and religious norms conveyed in the various societies. This is a neglected area of research. Available data are insufficient, especially in Arab-Muslim context. In this paper, we comprehensively review the scientific literature in order to clarify the cultural, religious and legal aspects of the concept of sexual violence against women in Tunisia, and ask the question of the urgent need to put in place strategies to counter this problem. The National Office for Family and Population published in 2011 the results of the national survey on violence against women in Tunisia, including data on sexual violence and its impact on women's health and well-being. According to this survey, 14.2% of women reported having been sexually abused by an intimate partner during their lifetime and 9.0% reported having experienced it during the last 12 months. One out of every six Tunisian women has been the victim of a sexual violence in a conjugal setting. More men than women legitimized violence against women in contexts where family control, especially conjugal control, is exercised over them. In a study examining the impact of culture and religion on experiences and sexual practice of women in Tunisian society, the majority of respondents thought that sexuality in women was a religious duty and that they do not have the right to refuse their husbands or to rebel. Thus, women would be doubly sanctioned having neither the right to express their desire nor not to respond to their husband's desire. A survey of a representative sample of Tunisian women found that 56.9% of the participants reported being victims of domestic violence, particularly sexual violence (10.7%) consisting mainly of rape and sodomy, at least once in their lifetime. This survey showed that those victims expressed dissatisfaction with overall quality of life. Moreover, contrary to Western literature, sexual violence was the least reported form of violence by teenage girls in Tunisian schools. Indeed, cultural values of modesty, virginity and honor are socially much more demanded for girls, in Arab countries in general, reinforcing staggering silence and inaction around violence experienced by school-aged adolescents. In Tunisian society, the cultural "solution" to rape wants the woman to marry her rapist which safeguards her family's integrity by legitimizing the union. Sexual violence has detrimental effects on female victims' physical and mental health. Even if the information on this form of violence is not easy to obtain in our environment, and that rates of subjects reporting sexual violence in their lifetimes are not important, the problem of sexual violence must be considered as a public health problem requiring urgent interventions and a greater institutional will. Copyright © 2018 L'Encéphale, Paris. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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