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Maldives: Report reveals police attitudes to domestic violence

Graphic: Muslim women walking

Some police officers believe violence against women is caused by women failing to fulfill their duty as submissive wives.

Some police officers believe violence against women is caused by women failing to fulfil their duty as submissive wives, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has said.

In a report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the HRCM said that meetings held with police during monitoring visits in the atolls revealed some police officers' "initial belief is that the role of women is to raise children, take care of her family and be submissive to the husband".

"Also, they have the notion that violence against women is mostly the result of women not fulfilling their duty as submissive wives."

Reporting of violence against women is "proportionally low", the HRCM said, noting it had received only 16 such cases in the period between 2008 and 2013. The Family Protection Authority had meanwhile received 19 cases in 2013 and 154 cases in 2014.

"The lack of confidence in the system, fear of intimidation, inadequate information on protection measures, stigmatization by the community, along with lack of opportunities for economic empowerment are some of the factors that hold the victim from reporting to authorities," the HRCM said.

Women's empowerment is showing a negative trend, the HRCM continued, stating that conservative beliefs are fuelling an increase in the attitude that women's role in society is to be submissive wives and to raise children.

Further, the report said there are an estimated 1,139 female sex workers in the country, while studies have shown children as young as 12 are involved in commercial sex, and that eight percent of female sex workers from 12 islands were under the age of 18.

The report also expressed concern over health risks to women, under-representation of women at policy and decision-making levels, high rates of unemployment among women, and high levels of sexual harassment at work.

Date: 19 January 2015

Source: Minivan News

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  1. Muslim women walking - libertygrace0, Flickr Creative Commons