Before getting to the editorial below, I want to present my point of view and my biases.
What this author presents — a Koranic justification for the physical abuse of women and children — is outrageous. But I want to remind you that while it is forbidden de jure in our culture, it is nonetheless far too frequently a de facto reality. No one is quite sure how many women in the US die each year at the hands of their husbands or partners. This site suggests somewhere between 1,000 to 1,600 — and they admit that their numbers don’t take into account the number of suicides that occur in order to get out of an intolerable situation.
The problem of domestic violence is complex. Unfortunately, the feminists who have the leash on this movement are largely from the left. Thus, they don’t think guns are a good solution for anyone, including women who are being abused and whose abuse cannot be effectively stopped by the police or legal system. They are also given to calling all such women “victims.” As I used to point out (before I left the field), wives are not victims; they are partners. Only children can be victims. In our country, we choose those with whom we mate.
Wendy McElroy notes a Supreme Court decision, Castle Rock v. Gonzales, a case which ruled that people cannot demand protection from the police. You can read the story at the link cited, but notice that three children died because “protection” is a private matter:
The post-mortem discussion on Gonzales has been fiery but it has missed an obvious point. If the government won’t protect you, then you have to take responsibility for your own self-defense and that of your family. The court’s ruling is a sad decision, but one that every victim and/or potential victim of violence must note: calling the police is not enough. You must also be ready to defend yourself…
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Given my own experience as a battered woman, and after having counseled more than 3,000 abused people in eight years of work with them, I think the Supreme Court was correct in this decision. The government’s job does not include protecting us from those we choose as our partners… or, for that matter, protecting us from the line of work we choose to pursue.
[In a related instance, that is why I did not think our government had any business paying for the protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali while she was here. She chose her path as an outspoken critic of Islam in a country full of fundamentalist, trigger-happy Islamists. The outcome was a given but she chose it. I admire her courage, but I don’t think my tax money ought to pay for her guards. If we are going to protect her, why are we not paying for protecting our neighbors? Whether you know it or not, there are men (and women) in your town doing malicious damage to the bodies and hearts of those they proclaim to love. Yes, women can be abusive, but their husbands/partners are not in the same jeopardy as the wives/partners are. For men, the shame is often overwhelming and much harder to bear. For both, they are in the most danger when they leave the situation. And for pregnant women, physical abuse is the most common cause for death.]
That’s why McElroy (a former battered woman who lost the sight of one eye) is right: “you must be ready to defend yourself.”
In fact, I first heard those words come out of the mouth of a police officer talking to a battered woman. I was in the car with him and the woman as they were being driven to the Emergency Room to be treated for the injuries they sustained in court at the hands of her abuser, whose case was being heard. The guy went after the judge, too. I sat and watched it unfold, knowing what was going to happen. I’d warned the police ahead of time that he was an untreated schizophrenic and that he should be in some kind of restraints in court. They promised me that would be the case but when court time came and he walked out to stand before the judge, there were no handcuffs, no leg irons, and the man was visibly angry. It was like watching a nightmare in slow motion. I could see he was going to blow; meanwhile the judge and Commonwealth’s Attorney were talking, oblivious to the powder keg standing next to them.
When he exploded, he was lightning fast. He turned toward the court benches, spotted Mary immediately and reached over to the heavy microphone nearby, which he heaved quite accurately, hitting her in the head. Then he began to run toward the bench where we were sitting, but by then Mary was in motion. She had been trembling since he’d first come into the courtroom. As soon as he turned, she stood up, and was nailed by the microphone. It cut her head but I don’t think she even knew it; she was up and running. He reached her and began to tear off her dress, raining blows on her head. She tried to climb the curtains of the window nearby. The only people who tried to stop him were the above-mentioned Commonwealth’s Attorney and the policeman who was injured in the attempt. All the other men sat there watching. The abuser was only seriously stopped when he turned from his wife and started for the judge. Then the Sheriff’s deputies came to life. The man was brought down quickly as he began to climb the stairs of the judge’s dais. He was returned to the holding cell.
We ended up in the judge’s chambers where His Honor was bellowing for a warrant for attempted murder. Mary, the wife, was holding her dress together, and wiping blood off her face from the microphone blow. I reminded the deputies of my previous warning and added that since he was now out of control, they ought to put him in leg irons for the short walk to the van and the return to jail.
Did they listen? What do you think? It took them five hours and many men to track him down and bring him in. They had put him in handcuffs before leaving the cell, but that was merely a perfect example of fighting the previous war. Handcuffs don’t keep you from running.
And it was on the trip to the Emergency Room that the policeman was advising Mary to get some protection so she “could defend herself.”
My point is that while this editorial below is egregiously wrong-headed, western culture still condones far more family violence than you would think. In our world, men (and women) who resort to physical violence to settle differences are often either ignored or tolerated until it is too late.
Interestingly, the first psychology paper put out on domestic violence (in the late fifties or early sixties) focused on the neuroses of the person on the receiving end. It was called “The Wife Beater’s Wife” (see pg 117ff). I read the original paper while I was still being threatened. Needless to say, it had a profound impact on my view of things. This link brings you to Judith Herman’s book, “Trauma and Recovery”, where she remarks on the original research findings. Interestingly, these early researchers focused on the wives of abusers because they couldn’t get any cooperation from their husbands. Needless to say, the women they studied were indeed clinically depressed, but no one thought of this as situational — it was obviously her problem.
Things have changed a lot since that first paper. Courts are more cognizant of the inherent dangers of simply leaving (as I said, the time when women are most at risk is after they leave. They’re much safer if they stay.). And I don’t blame the police who hate to do “home visits”; these interventions are dangerous and frustrating for the officers who have to respond to the call. But police departments in the US have learned to separate the couple, even if it means putting the victim in jail should she refuse to press charges. That’s a reality check and believe me, battered women don’t live anywhere near Reality.
And so we come to this editorial in The Yemen Times. Believe it or not, an abused woman in Yemen could read this piece and agree with it completely. Such is the nature of trauma: as an object of violence in the end she turns on herself.
If you want to respond personally to the author, by all means do so. Here is his email address: Majed Thabet. Please be civil — not for his sake but for your own moral sensibilities.
“There Must Be Violence Against Women”
By: Maged Thabet Al-Kholidy
This title may sound strange, but it’s actually not just a way to attract readers to the topic because I really do mean what it indicates. Violence is a broad term, especially when used regarding women. In this piece, I want to shed light on those instances where violence against women is a must.
First, we should know the meaning of the word violence. Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English defines violence as “behavior that is intended to hurt other people physically.” However, the term violence mustn’t be confused with other concepts and terms such as gender inequality or absence of women rights.
Occasionally — if not daily — we hear about events occurring in Islamic and Arab societies. Some human rights organizations recently have attacked violent acts against women, standing against any type of violence — even that between a father and daughter — and citing the cases of some women as examples.
Consequently, they offer solutions such as complaining to the police, taking revenge or leaving them men, who are either their husbands, fathers or brothers — with no exceptions.
One such case involved a woman whose husband allegedly had beaten her. Without revealing the husband’s reasons for doing so, such human rights organizations immediately urged the wife to complain to the police and the courts, while at the same time generalizing the instance and other similar solutions to any type of violence.
If a man and woman are husband and wife, the Qur’an provides solutions, firstly reaffirming any logical and acceptable reasons for such punishment. These solutions are in gradual phases and not just for women, but for men also.
For men, it begins with abandoning the marital bed, by opting to sleep elsewhere in the house. After this, they may discuss the matter with any respected person for the husband’s or the wife’s family, who could be in a position to advise the wife. If this also does not work, then the husband yields to beating the wife slightly. They do this because of a misunderstanding in the Quran, as the word says Darban, which is commonly understood today as beating. However, in Classic Arabic it means to set examples or to announce and proclaim. The more accurate meaning of this last one is that the husband finally has to set forth, to make a clear statement or proclamation, and if these measures fail, then divorce is preferable.
Similarly, wives may take actions such as abandoning the marital bed, following by leaving the husband’s home for that of their parents, brothers or any other relatives. They may do this more than once, but if such action fails, they may not continue to live with their husband and via their relatives, they may request a divorce.
Despite such instructions, beating is considered a type of violence, according to human rights organizations, which urge women to complain to the police. I just wonder what kind of families our societies would have if Muslim women started doing this regarding their husbands.
Relationships between fathers and daughters or sisters and brothers also provoke argument from human rights organizations, which propose the suggested solutions for all relationships. Personally, I don’t think fathers or brothers would undertake such behavior unless there was a reason for it.
Fathers are responsible for their daughters’ behavior, but human rights organizations deny this too. Brothers also should take action regarding their sisters’ behavior, especially if their parents are too old or dead. If a daughter or sister makes a mistake — especially a moral one — that negatively affects the entire family and its reputation, what’s the solution by such organizations?
According to them, women should complain to the courts about any type of violence against them. Likewise, should fathers and brothers complain to police if their daughters or sisters violate moral, Islamic or social norms?
Fathers should handle their daughters via any means that suits their mistake; thus, is it better to use violence to a certain limit or complain to the police? Shall such women then complain to the police against their fathers or brothers? It’s really amazing to hear this.
In some cases, violence is necessary, but there must be limits. Those “good human rights organizations” don’t make any exceptions in their solutions because their aim is to serve society. Will it be a better society once we see wives, mothers, sisters and daughters going from one police station and one court to another, complaining against their husbands, fathers, brothers and even sons?
As the proverb goes, “If the speaker is mad, the listener should be mindful.” This proverb is good advice for every man and woman not only to keep their ears open, but also to avoid the misleading propaganda of such organizations, whose surface aims hide other destructive ones to destroy society’s religious, social and moral norms. This matter requires consideration.
Dear readers — especially women — don’t think that I hate or am against women; rather, I simply mean to preserve the morals and principles with which Islam has honored us.
I hope my message is clear, since it’s really quite relevant to the future of our societies, which must be protected from any kind of cultural invasion.
Hat tip: Western Detonator