“Living in a jungle ruled by men.” This is how Dahaa al-Rawi, the chair of the Women’s Committee in the local Baghdad government, described the status of women in Iraq. Women are marginalized and their abilities unrecognized — domestically, socially and politically. Women are subjected to violence of all forms and murder on an ongoing basis.
“We do not have any statistics about the status of women, or the daily violence that they are subjected to,” Rawi said, adding, “In Baghdad’s local government council, they view us as merely a secondary committee that does not play an important role.”
Speaking to Al-Monitor, Rawi said that the same also applies to Iraq’s state institutions and ministries concerned with statistics or women’s issues. None of them have accurate data showing the extent of violence against women in Iraq.
In an attempt to obtain figures showing the depth of the problem, Al-Monitor spoke with Dr. Marwa Mohammed, who works at Al-Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad. According to Mohammed, Al-Yarmouk’s emergency room receives an average of two cases per day of women who have been beaten by their husbands or another family member.
“The most dangerous cases we receive are pregnant women who have been severely beaten. This exposes them to the risk of miscarriage,” Mohammed added. She noted that in most cases the beatings cause internal bleeding, which leaves bruises that need a long time to heal.
Baghdad alone has 46 governmental hospitals, while the rest of Iraq’s provinces have more than 200, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health. Mohammed thought that other hospitals might receive battered women at rates similar to that of Al-Yarmouk.