Rothna Begum – Telling Women to Hide Domestic Violence Behind Make-Up?

“We hope these beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life,” said a make-up artist on the morning show Sabahiyat on Morocco’s state television last Wednesday. But this was no typical make-up advice: She was teaching women how to cover up bruises from domestic violence.

It was, to say the least, a misguided attempt to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, November 25.

The show sparked outrage. Activists in Morocco preparing for United Nation’s annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence – from November 25 until Human Rights Day, December 10 –were furious that the show told domestic violence survivors to “cover up” rather than speak out. They started an online petition calling on the government to take action against the channel.

The channel removed the video from its website, and apologized on Facebook that Friday and on the show Monday, calling the segment “completely inappropriate” and “an editorial error of judgement.” It hosted an hour-long segment on violence against women last Thursday, with continued coverage since on the topic. But plenty of damage was already done.

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