Domestic violence is a Taboo in the Middle East

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“Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive control that one individual intermittently exerts over another by means of spiritual, emotional, sexual, physical or economic abuse. ” (http://www. dvvap. org/1). Domestic violence is an act of violence, which takes place in every socio-economic class and within all cultures. The women and children are considered to be the most likely victims of this exploitation. This violence is ongoing and is being performed around the world, Middle East included. Violence towards women in the Middle East is not a norm, but it occurs on daily basis with strong bias against women.

Statement of the problem Domestic violence in the Middle East is a daily occurrence. The ethnic background of an Arab (Muslim creates a great interest in; understanding, analyzing and criticizing the cultural and traditional structure of the Middle East. ) Areas in the Middle East that experience domestic violence include; United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, India, Pakistan, Iran and Qatar. Domestic violence is influenced by an overall view of the Middle Eastern women’s family and life. The western countries (Europe, UK, and USA) have their views towards domestic violence also.

This research paper, will discuss the domestic violence, how it is concealed by cultural practices and norms and the most effective approach to domestic violence. Women and girls including children are suffering from domestic violence world wide due to historically unequal power relations between men and women Significance of the study Main research question: Why is Domestic Violence considered a taboo in the Middle East? Purpose of the study The purpose of the study is to break the taboo of domestic violence in the Middle East. Domestic violence is a violation tht is concealed by the cultural practices and norms.

Historical unequal power sharing relations between men and women will be looked at as a way of promoting domestic violence. The study will reveal the most effective approach of domestic violence, which is being challenged by many religious and cultural conservatives. Research questions 1. What is domestic violence and what has encouraged its occurrence in the Middle East? 2. How religion does relate to domestic violence issues in the Middle East? 3. What is the most effective approach of domestic violence? 4. What are the western countries views on this taboo? Methodology Study area

The Middle East will be the study area. Domestic violence issues will be investigated. Countries that will be involved will include; the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India, Pakistan, Iran and Qatar Data Collection and Analysis Data will be collected by interviewing the victims of violence in Dubai police station (Bur Dubai branch, family and youth department). The information will be treated with confidentiality and limitation to academic research purposes. The information acquired from the interview will be analyzed to provide the necessary views.

Sources Primary sources Primary source of the research study will be through interviews conducted on the domestic violence victims at Dubai police station. Secondary sources Significant books and articles will be used to provide reliable information on the domestic violence topic. THE RESEARCH PAPER Discussion Domestic violence has drastic effects on the family and especially on women and children. No society can be said not to experience domestic violence, but some groups of women and children were found to be more vulnerable to this abuse.

In the Middle East, women basically suffer from the limitation of freedom and the patriarchal structure. However this does not differ from the situation that is also found in the Western countries. Beaten women experience both physical and mental problems. Physical problems were as a result of injury, harm, disability and death. Physical force would be done by hitting, shoving, kicking or use of weapon. Information from interviews Mental problems make the victims feel unloved, lonely and with low self-esteem. The victims of psychological abuse often suffered from depression.

This in turn put the victims at an increased risk for suicide eating disorder. Depression may result and severe isolation from family and friends. Children watched their father abusing their mothers which revealed a major behavior that bothered the children both mentally and emotionally. According to Brown et al (1987), when a mother is abused, children suffer from guilt since they cannot defend their mother. The children also were said to be likely abused by their family members such as their fathers and uncles In the Middle East, 42% of women are said to condone domestic violence (IRIN, 2008).

Use of weapons was stated as one form of physical violence. Sexual violence and incest were reported at some instances. Psychological abuse was done to humiliate a victim or embarrass them. Economic abuse involved withholding of economic resources from a victim. Some children were denied education through this form of abuse. Women due to the unequal power relations with the men are less likely to be working. The men who are financially stable would sometimes withhold money from the women. This went to the extent of lacking their basic needs.

Due to the gender issues, in some areas girls were denied a chance to education by their parents, while boys were fully supported. This further promoted the unequal power relations between the two genders. This promoted violence, since women lack the knowledge and empowerment to speak out against domestic violence. The cultural practices allowed violence without severe punishment for the offenders. The patriarchal society allows men to dominate completely over women. This denies women a chance to express their views and opinions of certain issues.

A woman who goes against such patriarchal guidelines is punished. A woman lacks the freedom and equality to participate in decision-making in the society. They are denied of their rights as compared to the men. The western countries also experience domestic violence though their ways of solving this problem differ from those in the Middle East. According to the American Medical Association, “nearly one quarter of women in the United States, approximately 12 million will be abused by a current or former partner some time during their lives”,( Valentine M,2004).

According to an NGO in northern Iraq, the domestic violence is deep-rooted This also trigger honour killings . Honour killings is whereby one commits murder in order to protect the family’s honour. Some women or children who are abused are likely to commit such kind of murder. This is a serious problem just as domestic the violence. In the Western countries, domestic violence is viewed differently from the Middle East views . Domestic violence is solved through establishment of agencies that assist the victims of violence. The victims contact the agencies upon being abused.

The police department then intervenes by arresting and taking to court the offenders. The psychological abuse victims are offered counseling classes to boost their self-esteem and confidence. Medical professionals empower victims give advice and offer the appropriate medical care. Campaigns & TV shows have been used to create awareness to prevent abuse or violence caused by lack of knowledge. Victims are encouraged to report domestic violence cases to enhance proper measures to be taken against the offenders. The offenders are severely punished or either rehabilitated.

In the Middle East, reputation is considered to be very important in the Muslim Culture. Considering the taboo in most Middle East countries that surround incest or sexual abuse of children and adolescents within the family, the right of the child or woman is often sacrificed in order to protect the family’s name . Very often in many Middle East countries, forced prostitution is also held. This is done by sending a young girl as a domestic worker, in which case she may be physically and sexually exploited by her employers Over the years, women and children abuse has increased in the Middle East.

Currently, cases of domestic violence were recorded to increase in the Middle East. A study carried out in the 1980s by Sulaymaniyah Rewan Women’s Information and Cultural Centre (RWCC), a total of 3,979 cases of women killed as a result of domestic violence were recorded in the north. Domestic violence causes deaths of many women in the Middle East even in the current world. The Islam religion is understood not to include women as religious subjects. Women are not allowed to participate in giving religious views because they are described as irrational and not intellectual.

Islam prohibits violence and discrimination against women, though poor treatment of women is to some extent attributed to the religion. The Islam religion does not propagate violence, but in the Middle East, women are considered irrational . This denies them the right to express themselves which may trigger violence against them a punishment. Both culture and Islam religion encourage acceptance of domestic violence activities even by the victims . For example ,women do not speak out on the issue because they take it as part of their culture .

They are abused over and over again without taking any action against the offenders. In Qatar, a study indicates that as many as 42% of women condone domestic violence. They keep silence about the abuse to protect the family honour and by their conviction that the woman in the society is abused as some kind of a culture . Another 41-97% indicated that their belief on domestic violence must encourage this kind of violence . They believed that they deserved to be physically abused. Islam promises women protection from domestic violence problems, but no one abides by these rules (Zahra K. 2000).

Women are targeted emotionally and verbally by threats to divorce her and devaluating her domestic work by insulting her. Muslim men believe it is a culture to physically abuse a woman. Sexual abuse and rape by an intimate partner is not considered a crime in the Middle East. In Iraq, violence that was sparked off by the US-led invasion in 2003 has played a big role in increasing children violence. The domestic violence against children has increased with each passing day . Parental punishments are even harsher. The children are left without both water and food for over 2 days.

In addition, children have been beaten up by their parents with belts and sticks leading to body broken bones. Effective approach of domestic violence includes the use of a system of services that provide assistance to victims. Women in the Middle East are abused due to the patriarchal class system that dominates the society. The Islam religion condemns any form of violence and discrimination against women. To prevent violence, ways of addressing the patriarchal system loopholes that promote violence need to be addressed.

There is need for people to look at the cultural problem of violence from a micro level instead of a macro level to develop a better understanding of the cause. The are various challenges that face this taboo (domestic violence) in the Middle East. Emergence of organizations that advocate against domestic violence have challenged the domestic violence taboo in the Middle East. For example the Sharia Musabih. There has been many challenges facing this taboo, such as the emergence of Sharla Musabih, which founded the first women’s shelter in Dubai, UAE.

The emergence of this foundation arose many disputes from angry husbands, prominent clerics conservatives. Muslims which resulted in criticizing her work http://www. netwint. org/columns/makingwaves/2006/11/01/sharia-musabah. This organization has helped abused women to overcome their tragic experience. Dubai is developing its system by abiding to several international human laws and norms which is a progress compared to the other Middle Eastern countries. Another challenge is the campaigns against violence, one launched by the Jordanian Queen Rania Alabdullha.

The campaign has worked to help the amnesty International Campaign. This is a good step towards improvement and empowering deprived women. These measures have been used to effectively prevent the domestic violence. Conclusion Domestic violence in Middle East has risen as a result of patriarchal, cultural and religious traditions (Human Rights Watch. 2006). There is a great range in how domestic violence is touched upon by different governments in the Middle East . Islamic values and traditions are very strong and block many attempts that are being made to help women in the Middle East.

The domestic violence should be treated as a political and public problem and as a breach of human rights (Lisa H, 2004). In the Middle East, some governments are now paying attention to the plight of women. The states are not only required not to commit human rights violations, but also to prevent and respond to human rights abuses, (www. unifem. undp. org).

References

  • Brown et al (1987). Browne, Angela. When Battered Women Kill. The Free Press Ewing. Family in the Middle East, 2008,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 35. 2 (2004), Questia, 9Apr. Human Rights Watch. 2006.
  • Regiuonal Overview of Women’s Rights in Middle East. http://www. netwint. org/columns/makingwaves/2006/11/01/sharia-musabah.
  • IRIN Weekly Round Up. 2008.
  • Focus on Increasing Domestic Violence Lisa H. 2004.
  • Middle East Report Online: Torture and the Future Valentine M. Moghadam, “Patriarchy in Transition: Women and the Changing <http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5006002087>. www. unifem. undp. org (http://www. dvvap. org/1 Zahra K. 2000.
  • Gender Islam and female preachers in contemporary Iran. Praeger publishers http://www. Questia. com/pm. qst? a=o&f=272642

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