Report: Domestic violence: the case of “wife beating” returns to the fore again

(Research efforts within EUNACR’s “Red line” Campaign)


Collaborative Report:

Arabic Version: Assem Neama
English Version: Mariah Abdel Aziz


In the News:

The report issued by the Studies and Research Unit of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue monitors that one in three women is exposed to sexual or physical violence in her lifetime, and during displacement and times of crisis, the risk of gender-based violence increases dramatically for women and girls.


Decoding in detail:

There are many cases of domestic violence in Egypt and its forms, occasions and contexts.  There is physical violence, verbal violence, moral violence, and physical violence such as beating, whether it causes permanent wounds or effects or for a specific period or not.  Verbal violence, such as insults and insults, and moral violence, such as preventing girls from educating or discriminating between them and their male peers.  Moreover, cases of domestic violence are divided according to the person who engages in “violent” violence into two parts, there is domestic violence that occurs from the husband, and domestic violence that occurs by the guardian before or after marriage.


However, cases of domestic violence have spread, according to a United Nations Women’s report conducted by civil society organisations in the Arab world during the period of domestic isolation, especially with the beginning of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, and the cases have increased dramatically, due to the presence of families with each other for long periods inside the home.  Where 55% of the organisations participating in the study showed that domestic violence against women and girls has increased significantly during the Corona pandemic.


Customary justifications:

One of the reasons for the rise of domestic violence inside Egyptian homes is the culture in some rural places. For instance, in southern or upper Egypt, and in popular neighbourhoods in cities, that the husband has absolute authority over his wife and no one has the right to intervene to resolve a conflict in which the husband beats his wife.  This is evident in the case of the “Ismailia bride”, which spread widely on social networking sites and drew a great deal of disapproval from followers, when a video clip was published showing a man in wedding clothes beating his bride, who also wears wedding clothes, in a ruthless and merciless manner.


Hence, the media held interviews with him and heard people’s jeers from them, he tried to deny the incident completely and denied that he was beating her and claimed that he was helping her to do it despite the clarity of the opposite in the video clip, and with the strong reaction from the audience and what they described as this violent “lie”, the man succumbed to the pressures and confessed;


“He did what he did, but without acknowledging the mistake, and he said that this is a normal matter that is allowed in his culture and the culture of his family and society and their knowledge and is not reprehensible in the environment in which they live” And “ it is the husband’s authority to discipline his wife by beating if necessary, and said that he grew up and found his father beating his mother and his uncle beating  His wife without denial of them”.


Photo: Kholoud succeeded in obtaining a court ruling for divorce, and the court sentenced her husband to be imprisoned for a week because of the fact that he beat her. Source:

Right of violence:

Khuloud says: “My husband took off the slippers, grabbed the belt, and beat me by them. When my father intervened to defend me, my husband pushed him so hard that he fell on his back,” Khuloud told the BBC, and her marriage ended after this incident. Kholoud tells the BBC that her marriage lasted for one year, however, it was a year full of violence against her that began early on the honeymoon, when her husband slapped her in the face a few days after the wedding.


Kholoud says that she was afraid to do anything or take any action because of the fear of her husband’s reaction, which is usually beating or various forms of physical violence, coupled of course with psychological violence. Kholoud adds that with the recurrence of cases of violence against her in various forms and for various reasons, she did not decide to cut the relationship and report it to the authorities until after a year of marriage.


Defining moment:

Kholoud went out in home cloth to the police station, jogging to report her husband and file a divorce case from him and demand his punishment after being patient with violence for a whole year, however , this time was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  When her father intervened to defend her, but her husband pushed him to fall to the ground, so Kholoud decided to end that relationship completely.



 Social stigma:

The BBC states that it has attracted a number of those who have experienced domestic violence, but only a small percentage of them responded. They attributed the reasons for retracting their story to fear of social stigmatisation because they were abused by their partner or guardian.


Legal context:

There are many penalties and cases of beatings in Egyptian law, starting with not being punished and ending with imprisonment from 3 to 10 years.  For instance, a beating that did not leave a trace or wound has no penalty in Egyptian law, and a beating that leaves a mark or a wound that requires treatment for a period of less than 20 days is punishable by imprisonment ‘Several months or a year’.  If the beating leaves a trace that requires treatment for a period of more than 20 days, it is a severe misdemeanour punishable by law with imprisonment from one to two years or a fine or both.  If the beating causes a permanent disability and was premeditated and premeditated, it is a felony punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 10 years.


Beating is a crime that requires a complaint from the victim, and the Public Prosecution cannot initiate a criminal case for the crime of battery on its own, because it is a crime against a specific person and not against society, as is the case in murder, terrorism and bullying.


A dispute arose in the Egyptian judiciary and jurisprudence over the disciplinary power of the husband over his wife.  Wheres the Egyptian Penal Code states in its seventh article that the articles of the law do not violate personal status in Islamic law. However, in a ruling that represents a remarkable development, the Dokki Misdemeanour Court recently sentenced the artist (A.M.) to three months in prison, and a bail of 200 pounds to stop execution, on accusation of beating his wife, the artist (S.N).  The wife had filed a complaint, accusing her husband of assaulting her on October 26, 2018.  The Public Prosecution referred the incident to the Misdemeanours Court, which examined the wife’s complaint, and issued a ruling convicting the husband.


That ruling settled the existing dispute and did not recognise the authority of the husband to discipline his wife, and imposed a penalty on him for beating. In any case, the Egyptian constitution has approved the principle of judicial punishment, and no one has the power to punish except the judiciary.  The international treaties and covenants related to human rights that Egypt has signed and now have by force of law criminalise domestic violence in all its forms and abolish the disciplinary authority of the husband over his wife or of any human being over another at all.



This report highlighted domestic violence cases, it find that the first case is the “Ismailia bride”, although the beating took place in front of a large audience of people, and a lawsuit was not launched because the person concerned “the victim” and the bride did not request that. EUNACR suggests that the legislator and the Egyptian judiciary should treats incidents of street beatings to the wife or others as thuggery and intimidation of the safe, considering it a crime against society against which the Public Prosecution initiates a criminal case directly without requiring a complaint from the victim.


In the second case, the complainant “kholoud” tells that the trial procedures took a whole year to reach a judicial ruling, and before that she had also stayed for a whole year in light of the continuation of violence in its various forms by her husband. So the judicial authorities represented by the Ministry of Justice must open channels to facilitate access to them by domestic abusers, the procedures are easier and faster than normal trials, and also confidentially so that the complainant is not exposed to any threat.


As EUNACR experts also call on the Egyptian state and the Council of Ministers to combat the social stigma associated with violence, to combat domestic violence from the ground up, and to facilitate reporting and dealing with it in new ways that do not harm any of the parties.



Sally Nabil, December 31, 2021: Domestic violence: complaints from women in Egypt and demands for deterrent legislation.  Source:


UN Women, 2020, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and girls in Arab countries through the lens of women’s civil society organisations.Source: