Skip to comments.Wife Beating: The Entire Family is Victimized (Arab News)
Posted on 02/19/2003 3:27:54 PM PST by nickcarraway
SAUDI ARABIA'S FIRST ENGLISH DAILY
RIYADH, 19 February 2003 Wife beating is a widespread phenomenon in Saudi society. There has been no proper investigation into the problem and hence no reliable statistics are available.
According to Al-Riyadh daily test studies on the subject have been carried out by the United Nations and cover the Middle East generally.
The problems women face in being beaten by their husbands are best exemplified in two specific cases.
A mother, who now has six children, discovered after the first child was born that her husband had been drinking and taking drugs. He would invite his friends home to indulge with him. When she asked him to stop, he continued, but away from the house.
Eventually he was fired from his job as a result of frequent absence resulting from drinking.
The family supported both the mother and her husband for a long time. Violence started in full swing after she gave birth to her sixth child. The man would beat her with anything that came to hand and often in front of the children. She was often hospitalized, yet she did not report him to the police because her family stepped in for the sake of her children.
As a result of the violence at home the children have psychological and learning difficulties.
Another case involved a wife with four children whose husband was having extramarital relations with a number of women. He looked for excuses to beat her up and she was frequently knocked unconscious. She too was hospitalized. She knew of the mans affairs, yet she felt too diffident to complain to police or family, again for the sake of her children.
These are crimes of physical abuse and men who commit them should be stopped. This mother asks why there are no women police officers whom she could approach and who would take the case to court. Women police officers would have a greater understanding of the trauma caused by the beatings and be far better suited to deal with this sort of cases.
When a case gets to court, often there is long delay and a string of many visits while the court deliberates. The process is slow and in the meantime domestic violence goes on.
Violence frequently results in a whole lot of psychological and relationship problems. Apart from the collapse of family harmony and the depression that the victim suffers, the children often lose respect for their mother and father. Moreover, the pattern of violence is frequently passed down to the next generation and is repeated as the children get married.
Abdullah Al-Hariri, a psychiatrist, says there are no actual statistics about violence against women in Saudi Arabia, but women are suffering psychologically because of frequent beatings. The main problem here is that there is no official government mechanism to handles such cases.
The custom is that families of married couple usually refuse to intervene. The problem escalates and keeps aggravating which makes it more difficult to solve.
It is suggested that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs should get involved and handle such cases of domestic violence. They could have special teams to monitor and solve social issues and to prevent them from happening in the future. If the problem continues, asylum should be established to rehabilitate women victims, especially for those who have no families.
According to Dr. Mustafa Omar Al-Teer, a Libyan researcher, violence against women topped the list of acts of violence in the Arab world. Nearly 54 percent of all acts of violence were against women. Well-educated husbands were responsible for 16 percent and poorly educated men for 84 percent.
The pattern of violence is also influenced by demographic factors. City dwellers tend to be more violent with the rate of 75 percent, while people who live in suburban areas are less so. Ten percent of cases happen in upmarket areas, suggesting a higher income reduces the potential for violence.
Egyptian studies show that 93 percent of violence against wives happen because of problem of relationship between couples.
Eighty-eight percent of violence against women results from differences of opinion, 69 percent because the husband refuses to allow the wife to travel and 82 percent because he wont even let her outside the house.
Dr. Ahmad Al-Ameri, a Shariah expert, said there is a difference between violence in general and wife beating.
Violence does not necessarily mean beatings. It includes verbal abuse and violence to property.
The root causes of violence against women have been well documented. Most people who commit violence are ignorant of Islamic teaching. Islam does not allow it save in extreme cases and then as a symbolic gesture.
Before a husband contemplates any physical action, he should ask himself why he should strike her and if it is the solution to the problem.
It is certainly against Islam to beat a good wife. An erring wife should be warned first and advised. If that does not work, then the husband could give her a light beating, the purpose of that being to embarrass rather than inflict pain.
A wife does have rights. She has the right to ask for divorce from her husband if he is unjust to her. She could ask for a divorce simply because she feels like she cannot live with him, or because she does not love him. Too often, for the sake of the children, or perhaps as a result of family pressure, she fails to exercise this right.
Majed Garoob, a legal adviser, is surprised at husbands who are violent against their wives. Islam has honored women and raised their status. Islam advises people to treat women well because they are the source of love and beauty. Any man who is violent toward his wife is sick and should seek treatment. If he cannot treat himself then the society should; if the society cannot then the court must. Women should not be exposed to violence. Tough laws should be introduced against violent men.
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