Fragile Walls

A study of domestic violence against women during the war in Yemen (2014 – 2021)

Publish Date
August 30, 2022
Pages Count
Fragile Walls
Press Release

Gender-based violence (GBV) remains an international phenomenon that is widespread across the world. It affects millions of women and girls as one of the most common violations of human rights. In an international survey published in 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that nearly one in three women aged 15 years or older had experienced physical and/or sexual violence, or both, at least once in their lives.[1] Other forms of violence also prevail in Arab countries, including “honor” killings; early, forced and temporary marriages; sexual harassment in public spaces; and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and the denial of rights and access to education and basic services for women and girls.[2]

In Yemen, there is insufficient data on the phenomenon of violence faced by women and girls in society, the public sphere, and in the private sphere (what is known as domestic violence). Domestic violence is generally dealt with as a family affair. It takes place within the confines of homes and others may not interfere because the violence is practiced by family members, such as the father, husband or brother, who possess authority granted to them by Yemen’s patriarchal society. The latter is governed by patriarchal customs and traditions. In Yemen, there is no law on domestic violence. Instead, incidents of domestic violence are governed by general provisions of national law, which include many discriminatory provisions that allow for, and condone, violence against women.

The spread of domestic violence indicates an imbalance in the social structure of the family as the first, solid protection for family members. It also constitutes a defect in societal values ​​and norms, and a failing in the structure of the state, and its various laws and institutions, including the police and judicial institutions. Moreover, violent behavior within the family affects children and women, since they lack a sense of security and stability, which negatively affects their development and their physical and mental health.

The present study examines the phenomenon of domestic violence against women during the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen, particularly from 2014 to 2021. The goal of this qualitative study is to determine and shed light on the prevalent patterns, conditions, and causes of violent behavior towards women within the family, with a specific focus on physical forms of domestic violence. Additionally, the research aims to uncover the ways though which survivors, society, the police, and judicial institutions have dealt with cases of domestic violence. This study also seeks to identify common characteristics present among female survivors and victims of domestic violence, as well as among the perpetrators of such violence. The research makes a critical contribution due to the limited studies and data collection focused on domestic violence against women in Yemen. Nonetheless, the study has certain limitations due to the difficulties faced by the study team in researching this sensitive and novel topic. Ultimately, the study and its recommendations seek to contribute to the promotion and protection of women’s rights and freedoms in the case of violence.


[1] WHO, Regional and International Trends of GBV (2013) [in Arabic]:

[2] UN Women, Ending Violence against Women and Girls [in Arabic]: