A new Algerian law has come into effect this week punishing violence against women and sexual harassment, in a victory for feminist groups that had fought for years for the legislation.

The law took effect Monday after being blocked by the Senate for eight months amid resistance from conservative Muslims who view it as interference in family affairs.

It's the fruit of a long struggle by feminist organizations that have been fighting against a spike in attacks against women. The law will hand down heavy penalties for acts of violence and for harassment of women in the streets.

Officials say the 7,500 cases of violence reported in 2015 represent only 20 percent of the real number, since women prefer to stay silent rather than bring shame to their family.