Algeria: actresses mobilize against feminicides against a background of controversy

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Tunis | In Algeria, the commotion caused by recent feminicides prompted a group of actresses to launch an awareness campaign on social networks against violence against women. An initiative that starts against a background of controversy.

“We, Algerian actresses, are united today to say stop to violence against women and feminicides”, they denounced in a message published on the networks at the launch of their action on October 15.

“We call for awareness and general mobilization to end this violence!” they add.

To kick off their campaign, the actresses posed all together for a symbolic photo, widely distributed on the internet.

In the photo, they are more than twenty renowned actresses, all generations combined, gathered to defend the same cause.

Among them: the Algerian TV icon Bahia Rachedi or young talents like Nardjes Asli, Souhila Mallem, Leila Touchi or Adila Bendimerad.

Dressed in black and their hands intertwined in front of the camera, they mourn the 41 feminicides identified since the beginning of the year in the country by Algeria Feminicides.

In 2019, 75 feminicides were recorded. A number well below the reality, according to the two initiators of the monitoring project, Narimene Mouaci Bahi and Wiame Awres.

In the absence of a response from the authorities and faced with the emergency, the actresses use their notoriety to attract public attention.

“This campaign is aimed at everyone, men and women. This is not to incriminate Algerian men but to make everyone responsible, ”explains actress Salima Abada.

For her, even if the campaign gave rise to some “misunderstandings”, it remains positive. There is a debate, anger, a fed up, that’s already won! ” she assures AFP.

The group subsequently plans to broadcast an awareness video.

A truth that hurts

At the same time, the video of another actress taking part in the campaign, Mounia Benfeghoul, which has gone viral on social networks, has sparked a heated debate.

The actress and TV presenter posted this video on October 5 on Instagram in reaction to the sordid murder of Chaïma, 19, who was beaten, raped and burned alive near Algiers.

In this video, Ms. Benfeghoul lashes out at those who have advanced justifications to her murderer.

“There are no excuses for rapists. It was rape! She was not consenting! ” she was indignant.

While speaking out against the death penalty, the actress is in favor of corporal punishment against those convicted of sex crimes.

Using harsh words, she denounces harassment in the street and pleads for the education of children.

In order to break the silence, they “must not be brought up in taboo (…). We are supposed to give young people a good example ”by talking about these subjects, she pleads.

These comments earned him a torrent of insults on social networks.

“She didn’t say anything new. She confirmed what we already know, that taboos in Algerian society are at the origin of the silence around rape, incest and pedophilia. It is only the truth that hurts, ”commented on Facebook the presenter of the web station Radio Corona Internationale (RCI), Abdallah Benadouda.

Free speech

This controversy “proves how sick our society is,” said singer Amel Zen, who posted on social networks her support “for Mounia in these moments of harsh truth”.

At the beginning of October, the death of Chaïma, followed since by the discovery of three other bodies of women, mobilized public opinion on the internet and in the street.

While there are no official statistics on violence against women in Algeria, the number of complaints registered in 2019 rose to more than 7,000, according to figures from the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN).

Same echoes in Morocco and Tunisia. The #Masaktach (Take the floor) and #EnaZeda (Me too) campaigns have been speaking out in recent months, revealing thousands of anonymous testimonials on social networks. A first step towards legal support, according to associations.

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