“She WAS ASKING for it.”
“She MADE ME do it.”
“She WAS DRESSED for it.”
“She WANTED it.”
My heart screams every time I hear and read these phrases. Let me be very clear, ‘a woman never asks for it and nor does she want it’. A woman’s dress, marital status and lifestyle do not inspire aggression, forcefulness and assault. Violence against women is an epidemic in nearly every state of Indi and Kashmir is not too far behind.
In fact, Kashmir is racing to catch up with its counterparts. Though being a Muslim majority region , Kashmir lags in upholding women’s rights. Women are being deemed as the weaker sex. Their ideas, opinions and decisions are ridiculed. Women are being hassled on the streets by the armed forces and in their homes at the hands of their ‘husbands’. They are made to keep ‘mum’ about the abuse and violence.
Islam does not preach violence against women. Islam has granted women rights and forbidden forcing anything on women. The Quran says, “consort with women in kindness, and if you dislike them, it may be you dislike a thing in which God has placed much good.” Unfortunately, this is not brought about practically. Islamic scholars preach about heaven and hell, parda and chastity but not about protecting women. They do not admonish men for being violent toward women. In fact, they counsel the victims to ‘stay’ and ‘obey’ the ‘one who has violated’ them!
Islam undoubtedly rejects domestic violence as an abomination. Furthermore, violence of any kind directly violates sharia law. There are cases where women have been beaten up so brutally by their husbands that they cannot walk. They are sent to their parental homes and the parents send them back to their husbands to avoid the so-called societal stigma. There are cases where practicing Muslim husbands, inhumanely, beat up their wives with cricket bats, sticks and furniture, causing so much bodily harm and psychological and emotional damage. And the wives, being obedient and submissive (fools more like it) continue to live with them for the sake of their children and because they will not be able to tolerate the brunt of the societal stigma or being ‘divorced’. And men as they are, their masculinity lets them walk freely with heads held up high. This is appalling. The question is, ‘How can a Muslim community allow this to happen?’ and ‘How can they overlook such a huge crime?’ And the biggest question of all is, “Why are the Islamic scholars quiet?”
The position that should be made very clear is that there is never any justification for any form of violence against women, and in marriage. Women should be encouraged to talk. The problems should be identified and appropriate actions should be taken to keep her safe. The men should change their attitude and way of thinking. They should be man enough not to strike a woman. They should understand and acknowledge the rights of their wives. The scholars should also play their part. Let’s end this cycle of violence.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org