Domestic violence in the Arab World Essay

The most important someone in a man’s life is his mother; he idealizes her and learns from her. Therefore a man must cherish every woman and respect her because in fact, if it wasn’t for a woman, none of us would have been here. Another hugely important woman in a man’s life is his wife. Mothers and wives coexist in a man’s “favorite woman” title. However, unfortunately in Arab societies women are constantly violated by man.

Instead of admiring omen for all they have given him, men in Arab societies abuse women for individual and societal factors. Studies show that 1 in every 3 women has experienced violence at the hands of man at least once in her life. Due to the lack of strict laws and sanctions against abusers, domestic violence against women is increasing and spreading to a point where it has reached epidemic proportions in most societies. A study conducted by the WHO shows that violence against women contributes to 5-20% of healthy years lost in women’s lives (Flood, 2009).

Reports in developed countries show that violence against omen decreases heavily between such countries and undeveloped countries mainly because of several laws that protect a woman and punish abusers. On the other side of the world, women are frequently being violated due to the absence of these laws. This offers a highly noticeable dilemma in Arab societies, where women have no law to support them, show these women report the assault? Knowing that they are risking their life because the police are unable to take action.

Depending on the how frequent the assaults are, the woman can refrain from reporting them but if the matter ets out a hand she has no choice but to seek help from the authorities. Humanly speaking, violence against any other is not tolerated or accepted no matter what. However, men who abuse their women blame it on factors that have loaded them with bad thoughts waiting to be fired at their women. Surprisingly, there are more than just individual factors that the man himself has experienced, sometimes societal and community factors come into play.

To start with, the simplest and more obvious factor, the individual factor i. e. experiencing or even witnessing violence as a child. “Children who are subject o violence come to engage in violence in their later marital relationships because they acquire certain attitudes which facilitate violence” (Markowitz, 2001, p. 21 5). Hence if a child witnesses his father violating his mother he will grow to learn that this is how women should be treated and if that is how my father treated my mother then its the right way.

This shows that women abuse is somehow “genetic” or “contagious” and that violence will lead to more violence into man’s unconsciousness in a way that it becomes a habit. Studies illustrate that this factor has a greater effect on men than women, his shows how big of a factor this is against women. Along with individual factors, depending on man’s social life and the community he lives in might help shape man’s violence against women. Men’s peer and social relations can have a vital influence on how they treat their wives. Being in male peer groups may lead to men relying more and more on violence.

Studies confirm that due to these peers and the fact that these men have close emotional ties between each other, informational support for sexual assault will prevail and thus leading to a higher reliance on violence (Hamdan, 2005). Other ommunity factors that impact men’s attitudes towards violence are religion or more specifically how religions is misused to justify their own assaults for instance, Christian evangelism’s emphases on hierarchical gender relations can force pastors to counsel women to stay with their husbands despite abuse.

To add, in some Arab societies, certain parts from the Koran can be manipulated to say men who beat their wives are following God’s commandments. However on the societal aspect, many believe that criminal justice policies have minor impact on societal attitudes towards domestic violence. In practice, this is not the case, since criminal justice policies are not being properly enforced, societys point of view on violence changed drastically. One might say, if the law is not willing to protect them, how can I prevent domestic violence on a nation-wide scale?

Differences in attitudes towards violence vary between nations due to differences in beliefs about gender roles. For example, male dominance and gender inequity (Nayak, 2003). Studies have proven that countries like Kuwait and other Arab nations suffering from domestic violence is due to the lack of gender equality laws nd sometimes lack of reinforcement of these laws. All of these factors affect governmental attitudes towards domestic violence; therefore women become helpless against it because she is the weaker party against her husband and the law.

In Arab countries, according to S. Douki, even though the public is fully aware and “against” domestic violence; it is considered by many, including the law, the police, and the victims as private and somehow reasonable. According to these societies domestic abuse is a family problem and not something social control agents can intervene in. A study conducted by Haj Yahia showed that 0%of men indicated that wife-abuse “doesn’t justify reporting the husband to the legal authorities” (AIHabib, 2009).

This shows how Arab law books and religious books stress on family privacy. To them, the wife has no right to express her misery because it might damage the familys reputation therefore damaging its social, political, and economical status. Moreover, Arab societies emphasize mutual support i. e. both members must sacrifice their own needs to ensure that family unity remains unharmed. Surprisingly, research shows that 41 % of those studied in Palestine agree that “there is no excuse for a an to beat his wife” (Haj Yahia, 1998).

Furthermore, another study revealed that 50% of the women and 60% of the men strongly agreed that “a violent husband is not solely responsible for his behavior (Douki, p. 1 69). In Arab societies the husband’s role is authoritarian, where he takes responsibility of the familys well-being by whatever means necessary. Consequently, wife misbehavior and conditions of the husband’s daily life will strongly affect how often the husband abuses his wife. “A battered woman is solely responsible for being beaten because she obviously provoked her husband to make him ad” (Pease, 2009).

This is how Arab culture views the husband’s reasoning to abuse. For example, they believe if the woman didn’t live up to her traditional role they have the right to beat her up. Furthermore, an Arab woman will get violated if she refuses to have sex with her husband, if she undermines his authority or most importantly if she interferes with his social life. (E. g. she questions why he came home late) On the other hand, a woman may get beaten even if she doesn’t do anything it all depends on the husband’s mood. If he has had a bad day, who will he release his anger on? His helpless wife.

Especially in Arab countries where poverty is widely spread men will have a lot of work pressure and debt therefore it has become a routine that he comes home frustrated and abuses his wife because he feels that she doesn’t understand nor support him. The perception that violence against women is family-based rather than a violation to the law that requires sanctioning, heavily impacts the decision of the wife about whether to keep it personal and silent or to inform the authorities. This can also be attributed to the ongoing belief that her children’s safety and her familys reputation are much more important than er own well-being.

All of this falls under what is known as the conspiracy of silence. This is the true dilemma that Arab women fall into, whether to protect her own safety or the familys as a whole. Surprisingly, several religious books state a man must cherish his woman and more specifically when the couple divorces. In the Koran for example it is stated ‘When you divorce a woman retain her in kindness” (Koran 2:231). In addition, according to the Prophet, “the best of you are those who are best to their wives. ” (Koran 9:288). unfortunately, most Arab men misinterpret such sayings and twist them to heir own sense of reasoning.

In these countries, women are not treated according to their God-given rights. They are not free, they are not protected, they are not respected, etc. something must be done soon even though trying to change a man’s perspective on women takes ages, what must be done in the meantime is that the authorities should implement laws that sanction any man who doesnt follow them. These laws must be made vey clear and straight to the point, NO man may ever, under any circumstance, beat his wife. If he has anger management problems, there are many specialized eople that will help him relieve his stress.

His wife is not a boxing bag; she is there to support him and there are many ways a couple can get through stress that doesn’t involve any form of abuse. All in all, gender equality is not something we can forget and take for granted that it’s there and we can’t do anything about it. Men and women were created equally so they should be treated equally.