A UAE-based victim of domestic violence recently sued her abusive husband and won the case against him.
In court, the woman told the judge about her husband's abusive tendency to physical assault her. She also mentioned the most recent incident which resulted in him slapping her on the face four times due to a heated argument.
Fed up with her husband's endless abuse, the wife filed a complaint against him with the Ras Al Khaimah police.
The man said he couldn't remember how many times he beat his wife
The defendant, who works as a grocer, told the court he didn't mean to beat his wife and couldn't recount the number of slaps, whether it was two or four.
He also said he tried to settle the couple's situation amicably but his wife refused and wanted to go to court.
The man's excuses fell on deaf ears in court and he was found guilty in the case.
Domestic violence against women is prevalent in the UAE
Hundreds of domestic violence cases often go unreported in the country due to social norms and stigmas.
In a moving blog post about her own experience with such abuse, UAE-based artist Fathima Mohiuddin broke the barrier of silence, writing:
"Domestic abuse. Domestic violence. Domestic bullying. One person having such a profoundly heavy effect on another person that it changes them forever, is something that we need to talk about."
In her post, Mohiuddin wrote about being subjected to abuse herself and stressed the need for women across the region not to remain silent about it.
Domestic violence laws in the UAE
The UAE has no specific anti-domestic violence law in place and several women's rights activists continue to call for one in the country. However, this doesn't mean the state's legal system doesn't protect women against violence.
According to Hassan Mohsen Elhais, a senior partner at Legal Consultants and Al Rowaad Advocates, some of the country's laws clearly state that physical violence isn't acceptable.
“No slapping, no beating, no boxing. These are all crimes. If there is any mark for any length of time – even a few minutes – the woman has the right to get a divorce, custody of her children, expenses, compensation, everything. This is something every woman should know," he said.
A victim of domestic violence can therefore sue an abusive husband or partner but to win a case, they must provide evidence of the abuse and are encouraged to immediately file a report with police when an assault occurs.