A state-owned Moroccan TV channel aired a segment on Wednesday teaching women how to cover their domestic violence bruises with makeup.
“It’s a painful and sorrowful topic, but on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we will show you the makeup [to cover the signs] of beatings,” the makeup artist says in the segment. “It is a topic we lack the courage to discuss.”
The on-air demonstration drew harsh criticism from domestic violence activists, many saying it normalized domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not considered a crime in Morocco and CNN reports that in a government survey conducted in 2009-2010, two-thirds of Moroccan women had experienced physical, psychological, sexual or economic violence.
In July, a bill criminalizing domestic violence was passed by the first chamber of parliament but because of the country’s general election last month, the bill has yet to be reviewed by the second chamber of parliament.
The group “Concerned Moroccan Citizens” created a petition stating, “As Moroccan women and as feminist activists in Morocco, and in the name of all Moroccan people, we denounce the message of normalization with violence against women. We demand severe sanctions against this show, ‘Sabahiyat,’ and the channel 2M.”
“Do not cover domestic violence with makeup, condemn the aggressor,” the petition also states.
In an effort to apologize for the offensive segment, the channel removed the clip from its website and issued a statement claiming the segment was “inappropriate, an editorial error of judgment and in violation of its policy of 27 years that advocated for women’s rights.”
The channel’s apology did little to stifle the outrage on social media over the segment.
Moroccan politician Saadiya Elbahi took to her Facebook to express her disapproval of the video
“The media attacks the core of all plans to combat violence against women,” she wrote. “It normalizes violence against women, legitimizes it and covers it with makeup.”
As of Tuesday, the petition has just over 2,000 of the 5,000 signatures needed.