The Algerian deputy adopted last Tuesday, March 5th a new law criminalizing violence against women, a decision welcomed and considered as a great step forward for feminists but strongly denounced by the Conservatives. They accuse that this is an intrusion into the privacy of the couple, supposedly contrary to the values of Islam. The legislation provides for the cessation of legal proceedings if the victims forgive their husband.

This law came just two days before the International Day of Women's Rights and it is a well-deserved gift for all the Algerian women.

Some of them have suffered silently with domestic violence and abusive relationships for years and years. This text amending the Penal Code also introduces the concepts of harassment in public places as well as marital harassment.

The law came into being to defend women against violence from their spouses, as well as to preserve their assets and financial resources. Now anyone who hits his wife will risk, depending on the severity of the injuries caused, from one to twenty years in prison and life imprisonment in the case of the death of the victim.

A text that stirs controversy

This text was highly requested for many years by the protectors of women's rights. What concerns a fundamental right has created a major controversy in Algerian Society.

Some politicians have even accused the government of imposing Western rules on our Muslim society. Some deputy voted against this law, saying "unveiled women and nudity of women in public places are the main cause of harassment."

Against these detractors, Tayeb luh, the Algerian Minister of Justice concluded that "the Quranic verses protect the honour of the woman and do not accept this kind of things and violence." In turn, the associations welcomed the vote but also ask the authorities to implement more ways to protect women.

Nadia Ait Zaj, a lawyer, said about it: "The problem is the lack of support mechanisms for women victims of domestic violence.The fear and oppression are everywhere in an abusive relationship and talk remains a major challenge for most of these women. The passage of this law shall, to the ideal, to create a safe space in which women can be free themselves without fear of reprisal from their abusive partner."