Moroccan TV show giving women tips on hiding domestic violence bruises provokes outrage

غرائب وفضائح حول العالم Scandal in the world ©
A daytime show on Moroccan television has sparked an online petition after staging a detailed live tutorial that showed women at home how to cover up facial bruises from domestic violence. According to international statistics, Morocco is home to some of the world’s most disempowered women.

Sabihayat is a studio lifestyle on the popular majority state-owned 2M channel that airs a regular makeup segment, but the one that appeared on November 23 was unusual, despite presenters maintaining their usual chirpy tone.

In the chair sat a woman who bore lurid purple “bruises” on her face. Over the next six minutes, the victim was covered up with foundation and powder brushes, until it was completely invisible.

The controversial segment could have passed into oblivion if the channel had not decided to post it onto its social media feed, where it immediately went viral, sparking indignant shares, and a petition on Change.org that has been signed by more than 1,500 people.

“As Moroccan women and as feminist activists in Morocco, and in the name of all Moroccan people, we denounce the message of normalization with violence against women. We demand severe sanctions against this show, ‘Sabahiyat’, and the channel 2M,” said the authors of the petition, who noted that the program was broadcast just two days before Friday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. “Do not cover domestic violence with makeup, condemn the aggressor!”

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2M soon deleted the original video, instead issuing an apology through Facebook.

“Management believes that this segment is completely inappropriate and displays a lack of editorial understanding due to the sensitivity and seriousness of the subject of violence against women,” said the statement from the Casablanca-based station. “This approach is in total contradiction with the editorial identity of the channel and the commitment of 2M for 27 years in favor of the defense of women’s rights.”

But the woman who did the make-up, Lilia Mouline, says that rather than “normalizing” domestic violence – which she “in no way condones” – she was merely providing realistic advice.

“We are here to provide solutions to these women who, for a period of two to three weeks, are putting their social life aside while their wounds heal. These women have already been subjected to moral humiliation and do not need to also have others looking at them,” Mouline told Yabiladi, a news website. “Makeup allows women to continue to live normally while waiting for justice.”

The idea that the show was reflecting the gravity of the situation, as opposed to justifying hitting women has independent support.

A survey conducted by the country’s leading women’s groups last year claimed that 62 percent of the country’s women had been subjected to gender violence, with more than half of those continuing to live in abusive relationships.

Meanwhile, the Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum, which measures the differences between men’s and women’s health, education, economic opportunities and political involvement worldwide placed Morocco 137th out of 144 countries.