Tunisia: Report on Violence against Women
Tunisia, a pioneering country in the Arab world in promoting women’s status, has a wide range of legal resources for defending women’s rights. Article 21 of the Constitution of January 2014 stipulates that male and female citizens are equal in rights and duties before the law, without discrimination.
According to article 46 of the Constitution, the State must take the necessary measures to eliminate violence against women. Women can be victims of multiple forms of violence, most of which are addressed in the Tunisian legal system. The Tunisian Penal Code currently criminalises rape, forms of sexual aggression classified as indecent assaults and sexual harassment. Punches and wounds caused by the partner represent aggravating circumstances. However, if rape is criminalized, other forms of sexual, moral and economic violence are not when committed within the marriage. With regard to domestic violence, the victim has the possibility to withdraw the complaint, leading in turn to the suspension of the proceedings against the offender. This suggests that cases of domestic violence are considered as private matters before the law. A man kidnapping a minor or forcing her to a sexual act can escape prosecution by marrying the victim. Women’s trafficking for a purpose of professional or sexual exploitation is criminalized under the new Law to fight human trafficking adopted in 2016.