The Moroccan lifestyle show Sabahiyat broadcast a tutorial on how to use makeup to “camouflage traces of violence.” The show aired as part of the campaign to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was November 25.
“Use foundation with yellow in it, if you use the white one, your red punch marks will always show,” makeup artist Lilia Mouline, who was conducting the demonstration, told the audience on the channel 2M.
“We hope that these beauty tips help you continue your normal life,” she continued. “Make sure to use loose powder to fix the makeup so if you have to work throughout the day, the bruises don’t show.”
When the show aired it sparked outrage, with a petition launched to call on the High Authority of Audiovisual Communication to take disciplinary action.
After the petition garnered hundreds of signatures, channel 2M issued a public apology, calling the segment an “error in judgement in view of the sensitivity and the gravity of the subject of violence against women.” They added that the channel would “take the necessary steps towards the people responsible for this error and to strengthen the tools of control and supervision on this subject.”
Morocco has no law criminalizing domestic violence. “Moroccan police, prosecutors, judges, and other authorities often fail to prevent domestic abuse, punish the abusers, or assist survivors,” stated an open letter to the Moroccan government from Human Rights Watch in February 2016.
HRW said a law against domestic violence has been drafted, but no progress has been made in passing it for the last three years.
“While the draft has good elements, it lacks a strong definition of domestic violence and does not criminalise marital rape,” the international human rights organization said in March.
It is a sad and damning indictment of the severity of the problem of domestic violence in Morocco that a local TV channel thought it would be useful to women to make and air a tutorial on how to cover up bruises and cuts with makeup.