Pass a domestic violence law in Cameroon to specifically criminalise domestic violence

Pass a domestic violence law in Cameroon to specifically criminalise domestic violence

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Nde Ndifonka started this petition to Président Paul Biya and

Domestic Violence is a problem that affects every region of Cameroon. There are increasing reports on social media of men killing their partners. Sadly, many social media users try to justify these acts.

The 2011 Demographic and Health Survey and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (DHS-MICS) conducted through interviews with over 15,000 women and 7,000 men, noted the following results concerning women who are or have previously been in relationships:

In their lifetime, 45 percent of women interviewed had experienced physical violence, 20 percent had experienced sexual violence, and 42 percent had experienced emotional violence from their husband or partner

In the 12 months prior to the survey, 68 percent of women interviewed had experienced physical or sexual violence from their husband or partner; 42 percent responded [translation] "sometimes" and 26 percent responded "often";

In the 12 months prior to the survey, 20 percent of women interviewed had been forced to have sex with their partner, 29 percent had experienced physical violence and 33 percent were victims of emotional violence from their partner;

Legislation

There is no legislation addressing domestic violence. In addition, marital rape is not criminalized in Cameroon. The Advocates for Human Rights state that Cameroon has failed to create "a comprehensive legal regime that protects victims and holds perpetrators accountable". A Family Code was drafted in 1997 to address issues of domestic violence but has still not been adopted.

There are number of articles of the Penal Code could be applied to domestic violence, although they are not being used.

Domestic violence is not recognised as a specific crime in Cameroon and we don't have a legal definition of domestic violence. Cameroon does not have specific legislation by which domestic violence can be prosecuted; the criminal law is notoriously silent and victims often have to rely on the general law of assault.

 

Legal Recourse

Few victims of domestic violence turn to the authorities -  the social cost is far too high for women-isolation, threats, rejection and [sometimes] death are the reality for those who do. Women also lack knowledge about their rights.

Some legal institutions and law officials even see domestic violence as an expression of a husband's 'disciplinary rights' over his wife. Quite often, marital rape is not regarded as a crime. Because of legislative gaps, judges are often tempted to apply customary rules that discriminate against women and puts them at risk. Others view it as a private matter.

The state has, however, provided some legal clinics and toll-free numbers for victims of domestic violence. Several NGOS are also working on information campaigns.

We need specific law criminalising domestic violence to bring perpetrators to justice, give law enforcement a tool to work with, and encourage women to take action to protect themselves.

We can help one woman, but with proper policy in place, we can save thousands of women. Join us!

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