A Moroccan TV channel is under fire, at home and abroad, for featuring a segment on how to cover up facial bruising caused by domestic violence. (Pro tip: “Use the yellow foundation, the white one lets the punch marks show through.” Yes, really.) These “beauty tips” normalize misogyny and physical abuse by allowing the abuser to pass as a non-violent man. And this in a society where a majority of men are overtly violent. Is this some kind of dirty joke? Nope…it’s quite in earnest. This is how they “help” abused women “get on with their normal lives”. As though a beating that leaves bruises could be called just another part of “normal life”! The prevalence of violence doesn’t even raise an eyebrow, much less a discussion on what it would take to make men stop abusing women.
As Cenk and Ana point out above, while various forms of woman-abuse are rampant in Morocco (more than 60% of all the Moroccan women officially surveyed reported being victims to at least one instance, whether financial, emotional, psychological, physical or sexual), it’s not as if people in other parts have anything to brag about. Every country and culture has its own abusive “traditions”. We would all do well to look at our own and tackle our problems at home, rather than being complacent and saying “Don’t worry, girls, it’s even worse over there!”
Here in Canada, one woman in every four will have experienced sexual assault in her lifetime. And that’s the general population of all North America. One college/university woman in every five has been sexually assaulted at school. In the military, women are twice as likely to have been physically and/or sexually assaulted by fellow servicemen as they would be in civilian life. And for those who wonder about the menz, female soldiers, sailors and aviators are about four times as likely to be sexually assaulted as their male colleagues. Yes, men can absolutely be victims of all kinds of violence…but when it comes to the sexual kind and domestic abuse, there is a definite gender skew towards women.
And this is in Canada…a country proud of its progressive domestic record. We have no laws against abortion here, and same-sex marriage has been fully legal across the country since 2005. There has been no ban on LGBT people joining the military since 1992. None of this is grounds for complacency; all of it is simply a basis for further progress.
And further progress is necessary. When a quarter of all violent crimes reported to police have happened in the home, and one college man in three says he would rape a woman if it wasn’t called rape (and he could therefore get away with it), we know that we have nothing to be complacent about over here. We may have come a long way, but we still have no small distance yet to go.