Amal Mandour, a single mother, woke up to what seemed like a good day. She had nothing to do that day but a normal family visit; her ex-husband’s sister has been calling relentlessly asking to see her kids.
She could never have expected that she would be spending the night in a hospital due to that particular visit. Mandour arrived at the hospital with life-threatening cuts to her face, neck, and arms, all near vital veins and arteries.
The crime took place when her husband paid a surprise visit to his sister’s house, cutting Mandour’s face and body with a knife in front of their three kids.
Such acts of brutality are unfortunately quite common in Egypt, and while many women have sought protection from the courts, they have often been unsuccessful.
Mandour is one of the many victims of domestic violence who still cannot find the legal protection they need. In September 2014, she filed a lawsuit accusing her ex-husband of attacking and injuring her with a knife.
However, the judicial system has failed her, just as it has failed so many other women. Her case has been the subject of endless delays since February 2015. Meanwhile, her ex-husband is left free.
Over the years, several women have been successful in being released from a miserable or violent marriage by giving up their financial entitlements, something that is provided for in Egyptian law.
However, progress in such cases can be incredibly slow, and many husbands find rulings against them difficult to accept, leading to even worse acts of violence afterwards by way of revenge. It doesn’t help that there is a persistent social taboo against women seeking divorce due to domestic violence.
“I am against the amount of violence that women have to endure due to our traditions,” said Mandour during a TV interview. “I am here because of our traditions. Families should encourage their daughters to speak for themselves and stand up for their rights.”
The knife attack on Mandour was not her husband’s first act of violence. During their 12 years of marriage, there were numerous violent incidents at home, including one that led to their young 5-year-old daughter being hospitalized.
Mandour is still waiting for the law to defend her right to a safe and peaceful life, which she says has been denied her for years.