A controversial pamphlet that describes how to “hit your wife” has been described as “useful” by the curator of the International Book Fair of Algiers (SILA).
Speaking in an interview with Ennahar TV, Hamidou Messaoud complained how a “pamphlet of a few pages” caused so many controversies when featured in SILA in October 2016.
He affirmed that such publications “can prove beneficial” for women who are victims of domestic violence in Algeria before adding that the pamphlet should also include “how to strike your man” because “sometimes they also deserve it.”
The SILA commissioner, interviewed by Ennahar about banned literature at the exhibition, then concluded his comments by comparing battered women with vehicles hit by a truck.
His statements did not go unnoticed on the web, arousing the anger of internet users on social media networks.
His words have caused anger with some taking to social media to express their anger at the commissioner’s words.
Twitter user Adlene Meddi wrote: “The Commissioner of SILA explains that you can hit your wife with a little kindness! No words.”
Le commissaire du Sila explique qu'on peut frapper sa femme avec un peu de gentillesse ! Pas de mot. https://t.co/3fufNT8k4o
— Adlène Meddi (@adlenmeddi) September 20, 2017
Violence against women is not a light issue in Algeria and calls to take the issue more seriously have been renewed regularly.
Read more: Algerian women protest against violence
In 2015, the Algerian Parliament approved amendments to the Penal Code which criminalises violence against women. The law also enables for perpetrators to be imprisoned for up to two years if they “dispose of the assets or financial resources” of their wife and criminalises harassment of women in the workplace or public places.
Last year, the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) warned against images and speeches contained in programmes broadcast by certain Algerian television channels which “publicly incites violence against women.”
The CNDH criticised the fact that “programmes by certain television channels that are supposed to be entertainment, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, undermine the dignity of women and publicly incite adults and children alike through images and speeches.”
Women have also taken to demonstrating and initiating sit-ins to protest the increase in violence and social attitudes towards victims.
In 2016, the police recorded more than 4,000 cases of domestic violence against women but these are not representative of the full effect of violence due to many women not coming forward to report the crimes.