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VIOL ENCE AGAIN
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD
In Arab and Islamic countries, domestic violence is not yet considered a major concern despite its increasing frequency and serious consequences. Surveys in Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Tunisia show that at least one out of three women is beaten by her husband. The indifference to this type of violence stems from attitudes that domestic violence is a private matter and, usually, a justifiable response to misbehaviour on the part of the wife. Selective excerpts from the Koran are used to prove that men who beat their wives are following God's commandments. These religious justifications, plus the importance of preserving the honour of the family, lead abusers, victims, police and health care professionals to join in a conspiracy of silence rather than disclosing these offences. However, a fair reading of the Koran shows that wife abuse, like genital mutilation and "honour killings" are a result of culture rather than religion.
The basic source of Islam is the Kuran. Kuran teaches people how to behave with another people and adapt to social life as having faith and morality.
The Arabian population had traditions before the Islamic period and they wish to continiou those traditions in Islamic periods. Islam gave to women rights and freedoms but the Arabian population took back that rights and freedoms. So decline was experienced about women rights.
Of course it would be mistake to reject all traditions and customaries but we can not make religion these without question. It would be a bigger mistake than first one. Almighty God did not forget very important principles so we can not put traditions instead of these.
(Mehmet OKUYAN 16.02.2011)
Violence against women is one of these traditions. Before the Islamic period people (men) were tyrannizing to their wifes. They were killing their daughters themselves . All those brutal things were not considered as crimes. And they could not change their habits in Islamic Period. So yes, there are many crimes in Islamic countries but this is not because of Islam; this is because of traditions.
Some people say that Kuran suggest to men that beat their wifes. The reason of this mistake is Arabian language. One word can have so many means in this language. For example:
-ve`dribuhunne: shoot, beat, do, leave, show, get, put…
So actually that word means „leave” in Kuran but some people who want to live with traditions use that word as „beat”. The original text (Kuran) is:
Women (An-Nisáa) This chapter has 176 verses. In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 1. O mankind! fear your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person, created out of it his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- fear Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (be heedful) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you. 2. To orphans restore their property (when they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin. 3. If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. 4. And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it with right good cheer.
5. To those weak of understanding give not your property which Allah has assigned to you to manage, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. 6. Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then ye find sound judgment in them, release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully, nor in haste against their growing up. If the guardian is well-off, let him claim no remuneration, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable. When ye release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence: But all-sufficient is Allah in taking account.
Egypt scored badly in almost all categories. Women played a central role in the country's revolution but activists say the rising influence of Islamists, culminating in the election of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi as president, was a major setback for women's rights. Mursi was toppled in a military takeover in July after mass protests against his rule, but hopes for greater freedoms have been tempered by the daily dangers facing women on the street, experts said. A U.N. report on women in April said 99.3 percent of women and girls are subjected to sexual harassment in Egypt, which some analysts say reflects a general rise in violence in Egyptian society over the past half-decade. Human Rights Watch reported that 91 women were raped or sexually assaulted in public in Tahrir Square in June as anti-Mursi protests heated up. "The social acceptability of everyday sexual harassment affects every woman in Egypt regardless of age, professional or socio-economic background, marriage status, dress or behavior," said Noora Flinkman, communications manager at HarassMap, a Cairo-based rights group that campaigns against harassment."It limits women's participation in public life. It affects their safety and security, their sense of worth, self-confidence and health."Respondents also cited high rates of forced marriage and trafficking. "There are whole villages on the outskirts of Cairo and elsewhere where the bulk of economic activity is based on trafficking in women and forced marriages," said Zahra Radwan, Middle East and North Africa program officer for the Global Fund for Women, a U.S.-based rights group. Female genital mutilation is endemic in Egypt, where 91 percent of women and girls - 27.2 million in all - are subjected to cutting, according to UNICEF. Only Djibouti has a higher rate, with 93 percent of women and girls cut.
In Iraq, women's freedoms have regressed since the U.S.-led 2003 invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the poll showed. A decade of instability and conflict has affected women disproportionately. Domestic abuse and prostitution have increased, illiteracy has soared and up to 10 percent of women - or 1.6 million - have been left widowed and vulnerable, according to Refugees International. Hundreds of thousands of women displaced internally and across
borders are vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping and rape, the U.N. refugee agency says. In Saudi Arabia, ranked third worst, experts noted some advances. The kingdom remains the only country that bans female drivers but cautious reforms pushed by King Abdullah have given women more employment opportunities and a greater public violence. Since January, 30 women have been appointed to the 150-member Shoura Council, the nearest thing Saudi Arabia has to a parliament - but the council has no legislative or budgetary powers. Saudi Arabia's guardianship system forbids women from working, travelling abroad, opening a bank account or enrolling in higher education without permission from a male relative. "Saudi society is a patriarchal society and all its laws pertain to the rights of men," said a Saudi legal advisor who defends victims of domestic abuse. "The woman is considered second class." Syria's civil war has had a devastating impact on women at home and in refugee camps across borders, where they are vulnerable to trafficking, forced and child marriage and sexual violence, experts said. Rights groups say forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have targeted women with rape and torture, while hardline Islamists have stripped them of rights in rebel-held territory. "The Syrian woman is a weapon of war, subjected to abductions and rape by the regime and other groups," a Syrian women's rights campaigner said. The poll highlighted a mixed picture for women's rights in other Arab Spring countries.
In Yemen, ranked fifth worst, women protested side-by-side with men during the 2011 revolution and there is a 30 percent quota for women in a national dialogue conference convened to discuss constitutional reforms. But they face an uphill struggle for rights in a largely conservative country where child marriage is common - there is no minimum marriage age - and the U.S. State Department says 98.9 percent of women have faced harassment on the streets. In Libya, ranked 14th for women's rights, experts voiced concern over the spread of armed militias and a rise in kidnapping, extortion, random arrests and physical abuse of women. They said the uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi two years ago had failed to enshrine women's rights in law. Women in 12th-ranked Bahrain are more active in political life than in many Gulf states, but experts said sectarianism was a barrier to rights following the Sunni regime's crushing of a pro-democracy uprising by majority Shi'ites in 2011. In Tunisia, ranked best among Arab Spring nations, women hold 27 percent of seats in national parliament and contraception is legal, but polygamy is spreading and inheritance laws are biased towards males. Comoros is the best country in the Arab world for women followed by Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of gender experts released on Tuesday. The survey examined perceptions of gender violence, reproductive rights, the treatment of women within the family, their
integration into society and attitudes towards a woman's role in politics and the economy in 22 Arab states. Comoros, a spice and perfume-producing Indian Ocean archipelago lying between Mozambique and Madagascar, scored overall best in the poll based on experts' views. It came top for reproductive rights, women in the economy and women in the family. So how did a tiny state of 720,000 people - more famous for its history of assassinations, mercenary invasions and 20 or so coups and attempted rebellions since independence from France in 1975 - become the best Arab country for women? Here are 10 reasons why, as highlighted by the poll and through speaking with experts on the ground. 1) Comoros' constitution, which states that citizens will draw governing principles and rules from Islamic tenets, also refers to citizens' equal rights and duties regardless of sex. However, it is clear that men are at an advantage when it comes to family law, which allows them the right to polygamy and to unilaterally divorce their wives among other privileges. Comoros' legal system is a mix of Islamic religious law, the 1975 French civil code and customary law. The different jurisdictions particularly concerning family life do not always help women, said Saminya Bounou, editor-in-chief of the Al-Watwan daily. 2) Comoros has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, sometimes called the world’s “bill of rights” for women. It is one of only three Arab League states to do so without any reservations. It has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. 3) Lands and homes are usually awarded to women in case of divorce or separation in Comoros, according to the U.S. State Department. 4) Family law states that women may marry and stay in the homes built for them by their parents, over which the husband may not have any right. The furniture remains attached to this home, even if purchased by the husband. 5) Half the inmates in Moroni's prisons are being held for sex crimes, a proportion that suggests Comoros has enforced laws against sexual violence. "We have had several complaints made by women whose children are the victims of violence and of rape," a senior official working for a service helping child victims of violence told Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Unfortunately in many cases justice has not been served ... and so, the trauma suffered by the children remains and the women are frustrated by the behaviour of the men."
6) More than a third of adult women are in the labour force, U.N. data shows. "We have rights and I feel equal to my husband. He's in teaching and I work in administration," said Halima Said, 25, who works in the accounting unit of the interior ministry. "We both bring home salaries, but in reality, it's me who's in charge, who settles the bills, buys food and pays school fees for our children. I know what our spending priorities are. If it was up to him, he would fritter it
away with his friends."Masséande Chami-Allawi, literature professor and director of International Relations at the University of Comoros, said women in Comoros had a strong presence in society and the economy, compared to women in other Muslim countries. "The role of women in Comoran society outside politics is well-known. Strong matrilineal traditions coexist with a patrilineal system inherited from Islam," she said. 7) In the last government, women were installed as minister of telecommunications and labour minister. This represented 20 percent of Comoros' total ministerial positions, a higher proportion than in any of the other 21 polled Arab states. 8) Women are beginning to make their entrance in high, decision-making positions. The state prosecution, the Great Mutal Funds of Comoros, the Postal Bank and the General Planning Commission are all headed by women. 9) Women are under no pressure to have boys over girls in Comoros, according to our gender experts. "In Comoros, the birth of a child is a happy event for the family, whether it is a boy or a girl," one respondent said. 10) Comoros' previous president was Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, a moderate Islamist. While in power he was quoted by press as saying he was not ready to make Comoros an Islamic state and that women would not be forced to wear the veil. He supported his deputy, Ikililou Dhoinine, in the last presidential elections, which Dhoinine won in 2010.
Along with Syria, all Arab League member states except Somalia and Sudan have signed or ratified CEDAW. In the absence of full statehood recognition for the Palestinian territories, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas symbolically endorsed the convention on behalf of both the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. But protection offered by CEDAW is superficial, experts said. Signatories may raise reservations against any article that contradicts sharia (Islamic law), a country's family code, personal status laws or any piece of national legislation. Comoros, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is leading the way on women's rights in the Arab world, the poll found. Women are not under pressure to give birth to boys over girls. Contraception is widely accepted and supported by state-run education campaigns, while property is usually awarded to women after divorce or separation, experts said. But our 2011 survey only covered threats to life and limb. It didn’t take into account attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics, the economy and the family. It didn’t look at inheritance laws or access to contraception. In fact, Lebanon ranked worse than Somalia in four out of our latest poll’s six categories: women in politics, women in the economy, women in the family and reproductive rights. Somalia scored worse on violence against women and women in society. In Lebanon, women hold 3 percent of seats in national parliament. In Somalia, they hold 14 percent. (In Egypt, the figure is 2 percent.)
In Lebanon, women make up 23 percent of the workforce. In Somalia, the proportion is 38 percent. And in Lebanon, the penal code allows a rapist to avoid prison if he marries his victim.
The poll revealed other surprises too: widespread polygamy in Tunisia; a spike in honour crimes in Syria (300 a year, according to women’s organisations); sky- high rates of female genital mutilation in Djibouti (93 percent); generous statutory maternity leave with pay in Mauritania (100 days) and the aggressive enforcement of laws against sexual violence in Comoros (half of inmates in Moroni’s prisons are being held for sex crimes).
Fast Facts: Statistics On Violence Against Women And Girls
Between 15 and 76 percent of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the available country data. Most of this violence takes place within intimate relationships, with many women (ranging from 9 to 70 percent) reporting their husbands or partners as the perpetrator. Across the 28 States of the European Union, a little over one in five women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014).
Femicide • In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day. • In India, 8,093 cases of dowry-related death were reported in 2007; an
unknown number of murders of women and young girls were falsely labeled ‘suicides’ or ‘accidents’.
• In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners.
• In the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, 66 percent of murders of women were committed by husbands, boyfriends or other family members.
Violence and Young Women
• Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.
• An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.
• The first sexual experience of some 30 percent of women was forced. The percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time of their sexual initiation, with up to 45 percent reporting that the experience was forced.
• Approximately 130 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.
• Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.3 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million). Violence and abuse characterize married life for many of these girls. Women who marry early are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife.
• Women and girls are 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across national borders annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation. Within countries, many more women and girls are trafficked, often for purposes of sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.
• One study in Europe found that 60 percent of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.
• Between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
• Across Asia, studies in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea show that 30 to 40 percent of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.
• In Nairobi, 20 percent of women have been sexually harassed at work or school.
• In the United States, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.
Rape in the context of Conflict
• Conservative estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
• Between 50,000 and 64,000 women in camps for internally displaced people in Sierra Leone were sexually assaulted by combatants between 1991 and 2001.
• In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996: the actual numbers are believed to be far higher.
(The Facts: Violence Against Women & Millennium Development Goals (compiled by UNIFEM, 2010). Available in English, French and Spanish)