How one woman could have been saved from 17 bullets

Estimates indicate 50 percent of Lebanese women are victims of domestic abuse, at some point in their lives

Yara al-Wazir

Published: Updated:

In yet another case of repeated domestic violence in Lebanon, a mother lost her life this week after an alleged repeated cycle of abuse on the hands of her husband, marking the end to a 25-year marriage.

The murder was gruesome; media reports claim Sara al-Amin’s body took 17 bullets, the day after her husband allegedly threw a party to celebrate them getting back together, after some time apart. In an interview, a neighbour tells the story of how Sarah had left her husband and filed a report against him for years of abuse.

A repeated incident that 50% of Lebanese women endure

This wasn’t the first time Sara Al-Amin was believed to be attacked by her husband. Media reports tell a story of repeated domestic violence. In an interview with her father, he claims that if he had “known he had a gun, (he) wouldn’t have let her go back.”

Yet Sara is not alone. Estimates indicate 50 percent of Lebanese women are victims of domestic abuse, at some point in their lives.

Going back doesn’t protect anyone

In another interview, a family member recalls how a neighbour helped convince her to go back to her husband and claims that Sara “went back for her children, for her house, for her family.”

Estimates indicate 50 percent of Lebanese women are victims of domestic abuse, at some point in their lives

Yara al-Wazir

In the conversations about domestic violence, rarely is the issue of the divorce-associated stigma mentioned. What shame is there in a woman having the courage to decide to walk away? There is nothing but bravery in making such a decision, and in fact, that is the decision that truly saves children, a family, and in fact has the power to save lives.

If anything, this is an opportunity to highlight the importance of getting over the stigma associated with women who have the courage to leave their abusers.

They are not damaged, they are not “home wreckers” – they are brave courageous women who should stand on the highest pedestal of society. Women who have the courage to leave their abusers are nothing short of role models.

Her family and neighbours didn’t fail her – the system did

Protecting any human being from an individual who is reportedly capable of firing 17 bullets into the body of his partner of 25 years is not the responsibility of any individual; it is the responsibility of the judicial system, which failed Sara.

In an interview with an unidentified man who interacted with both Sara and her killer, the man makes references to his attempts at rectifying the situation by “(trying to) make him promise to stop abusing her, but he kept avoiding – he turned his phone off in the end.” He continues by stating they will “seek the maximum penalty,”

What kind of fix to an abusive relationship is a request that the man “promise to stop?” If someone was caught embezzling and stealing money from their business partner, would the judicial system “request that they promise to stop,” or would it take action to punish them for stealing? Sarah’s life was stolen from her, a mother was stolen from her kids, and a “promise” did not, and could not have stopped that.

The truth is that it wasn’t Sara’s family or neighbours who failed her, it was a system that is so broken it doesn’t even realize it. There are policies in place that have outlawed domestic violence. These laws need to be implemented before it’s too late for another woman.

Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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