Moroccan state TV shows women how to conceal evidence of domestic violence with make-up

'We hope these beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life' says host at end of segment accused of normalising abuse

Charlotte England
Sunday 27 November 2016 18:56
Women shown how to hide signs of domestic violence by state TV in Morocco

A Moroccan state television channel has broadcast a tutorial showing women how to conceal the evidence of domestic violence with make-up, sparking fury within the country.

The segment, in a daily programme on Channel 2M, showed a smiling makeup artist demonstrate how to mask injuries inflicted by a beating, on a woman whose face had been made up to appear swollen and bruised.

“We hope these beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life”, the host said at the end of the segment, which critics quickly pointed out coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

"Make sure to use loose powder to fix the makeup, so if you have to work throughout the day, the bruises don’t show," the host said, cheerfully, before recommending the best beauty brands for heavy coverage foundations and concealers.

People who watched the segment said on social media that it was "brainwashing" women to believe that violence was a normal and acceptable part of a relationship, and that the right thing to do was to conceal it rather than report it.

A petition signed by hundreds of women said the "standardisation of violence against women" must be denounced, and demanded an apology and sanctions against the station.

“As Moroccan women and as feminist activists in Morocco, and in the name of all Moroccan people, we denounce the message of normalisation with violence against women," the petition read. "We demand severe sanctions against this show, 'Sabahiyat', and the channel 2M."

It added: “The violence should not be covered by makeup and the aggressors have to be condemned.”

In response to complaints, the channel has now removed the clip from its website and placed a "clarification" on its Facebook page, saying that the section was "completely inappropriate and has an editorial error of judgement in view of the sensitivity and the gravity of the subject of violence against women".

But women activists said the apology was inadequate. In addition to questioning its sincerity, they said many of those who watched the segment and might be affected by domestic violence could be illiterate and unable to read the statement.

The clip also continued to be circulated on social media.

The channel later broadcast an apology.

At the start of 2016, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the Moroccan government expressing concern about the way women who experienced domestic violence were treated.

"Moroccan police, prosecutors, judges, and other authorities often fail to prevent domestic abuse, punish the abusers, or assist survivors," the organisation said. "In part, that is because Moroccan laws don’t provide officials with guidance on responding effectively.

A national survey of women aged 18 to 65 by the Moroccan High Commission for Planning found that in 2009 nearly two-thirds – 62.8 percent – had experienced "physical, psychological, sexual, or economic violence".

Of the sample interviewed, 55 per cent reported “conjugal” violence and 13.5 per cent reported “familial” violence. Only three per cent of those who had experienced conjugal violence had reported it to the authorities.

If you think you may be experiencing domestic violence visit for support and information or call the 24-Hour Freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Refuge and Women’s Aid, on 0808 2000 247

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments