Abused Iraqi Women Fear Stigma

Domestic violence impacts at least one in five Iraqi women and the chances that this trend will change any time soon are slim. Current efforts to reverse abusive laws that permit men to “discipline” their wives have gained little traction with Iraqi politicians. Experts believe the domestic abuse of women has surged since the U.S. and allies first invaded Iraq in 2003. Iraq was recently given a $17.1 million grant by the United Nations to share with 33 other countries to put toward programs that aim to end the abuse of women. But despite the funding for shelters and counseling, very few Iraqi women report their abuse to the police, for fear of retaliation from their families. As one abused Iraqi woman described to the Associated Press, “the threat she faces from her own family, who feel shame because of her divorce, is just as bad as the abuse.”