Today – International Women’s day – PAX wants to highlight the brave work of our partners in Iraq by showing the documentary film Between Four Walls. The film was produced to contribute to a national advocacy campaign demanding protection from sexual and gender-based violence in Iraq.
This film presents cases of three women who have survived domestic violence and shows social, legal, and religious opinions about the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which has been advocated for by Iraqi civil society since 2014 with no success of passing it yet. The film is part of the program ‘Engendering the Transition to Peace and Security in Iraq‘, which was developed by PAX, Impunity Watch, Iraqi Al Amal Association and Alfirdaws.
Domestic violence has increased
In Iraq, domestic violence remains a serious problem, which has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. The rise in domestic violence has highlighted the limited legal and financial support available for victims in Iraq, who often find themselves trapped in abusive households due to conservative social norms that consider it shameful for women to leave or seek justice. Violence against women is normalized in Iraqi society and laws. United Nations statistics suggest that 46 percent of currently married women in Iraq were exposed to at least one form of emotional, physical or sexual violence by their spouse.
Gender based violence is NOT a private issue
Rajin Alqallih-van der Zijde, project lead Iraq: “It is important to show that Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is NOT a private issue. Violence against women is clearly entangled in social and political patterns. And there is little to be done since Iraq currently does not have a domestic violence law. A change is needed in cultural gender norms, laws and institutions in Iraq by promoting equal rights, capacities and opportunities for men and women. So that they can fully participate in transformative peace building and social reconstruction.”
Watch the full documentary here.