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Woman’s Facebook live abuse plea gains ground

By Rana Husseini - Mar 29,2020 - Last updated at Mar 29,2020

AMMAN — Women activists on Sunday said they are following up with a 36-year-old divorced Jordanian woman who used Facebook to broadcast the alleged abuse and threats by her family against her one day before the nationwide lockdown.

On Sunday morning, the account of Eman Alkhateeb on Facebook went live for around 18 minutes to talk about her ordeal alleging that her life is in danger because “her brother wants to kill her”.

“I am appealing to anyone who can help me because I went to the Family Protection Department [FPD] seeking help, but they did not offer me the help that I was expecting and told me they will hold me at a detention cell until they could help me so I went to stay with a friend so I would not be locked up with my abusers because of the government curfew,” the woman said.

On March 21, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“My brother keeps pushing me to give him money and when I refused, he threatened to leave a permanent scar on my face or to kill me and my mother stood by him. I am constantly terrorised and physically abused by some of my family members,” the woman alleged.

“I am telling you my story here on my Facebook live feed so that any woman who is subjected to family violence will not be afraid to speak up and tell her story,” the mother of a 13-year-old boy said.

However, Police Spokesperson Lt. Col. Amer Sartawi told The Jordan Times that officers working at the FPD “did not offer her the solution of being detained but rather to be transferred to the FRH [Family Reconciliation House] that is run by the Ministry of Social Development, but she refused and instead chose to stay with a friend and we gave her a ride there”.

“The woman also refused to file any complaints against her family and asked for her case to be socially monitored by the FPD officers,” Sartawi said.

The FPD officers opened a file for the woman and summoned some of her family members for questioning so that “the proper solutions could be adopted in favour of everyone involved, the police official added.

Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU) Director General Nadia Shamroukh said the woman is currently in a safe place quarantined for 14 days.

“We are currently helping her with her case and providing her with the necessary social, legal and psychological support with the utmost secrecy,” Shamroukh told The Jordan Times.

Jordanian National Commission for Women Secretary General Salma Nims said that she was following up with the case as well “when her video surfaced” before she was referred to the JWU.

“We were able to get in touch with her and referred her to the JWU to seek further help,” Nims told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI) Executive Director Asma Khader said the story of the woman on Facebook should “sound a major alarm that we might see more cases in the near future because of the frustrating and tensed situation people are facing because of the COVID-19 problem”.

“The case of the woman on Facebook, if proven true, is a call on the government entities to ensure that all measures are applied correctly in order to protect gender-based violence victims in our society,” Khader told The Jordan Times.

Khader added that since the curfew was imposed, “the number of calls to our hotline increased”.

“We received various complaints including threats of kicking women out of the house following domestic disputes to complaints that some women are being oppressed by their frustrated husbands who used to work and earn money on a daily basis and now they are stuck at home,” Khader explained.

Meanwhile, SIGI issued a statement shortly after the women’s video on Facebook surfaced condemning the alleged violence and declaring that the organisation was ready to provide her and her son with “any possible assistance”.

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