Apr 29, 2013

No More Abuse!

A while back I wrote a quick post on abuse, and the idea of it came after the following was stated by a judge:

"If a person gives SR1,200 to his wife and she spends SR900 to purchase an abaya (the black gown) from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment,” said Judge Hamad Al-Razine.

You can find the full post here: Go on... Slap Her! . Anyway, this topic was an important one to be tackled, as abuse is very real within Saudi society much like anywhere else in the world. The difference being that the very person who abuses you, is also the same person that is appointed your guardian. A Guardian is the one that will renew your passport, the one that will grant you permission to work, the one that will grant you permission to travel,  he is essentially your link to any governmental services needed. So quite often a woman may keep quiet and accept the abuse for fear of becoming a prisoner in her home. The abuse may be tolerated because ruffling the feathers so to say of the person who is essentially your guardian may not be the smartest move.

Abuse comes in many different forms: A women can be financially, physically, verbally, or emotionally abused. And since the social dynamics here presses for a wife to respect her husband and not bring shame to her family, many families will ignore all signs of abuse, and allow it to continue. In many cases the women is to blame for what happens to her. She should keep quiet. She should spend less. She should be supportive of her husband whether he abuses her or not. Once she leaves her fathers home she essentially becomes a doormat for her 'loving' husband. In certain cases a woman is sent back to the home of her abusive husband if she has tried to leave. Often a woman may not be granted a divorce from her husband, so although they are technically separated and not living together, she will need HIS permission to travel- even if her father is accompanying her. In other cases a women is forced to buy her divorce from her husband. I remember one time, I wanted to give a woman I know advice, but when I really sat down and thought about it, I knew it would never be possible. This girl was being physically and sexually abused by male family members. She was losing all hope for a normal life, and I wanted to tell her to try and leave the country, and start somewhere afresh where she could put the abuse behind her, and hopefully start a normal life. Before I opened my mouth, i realized that in order for this girl to leave Saudi, she would need her abusers permission to travel. She would need her abusers permission to get a passport. She would need her abuser to take her out of the jail HE forced her into. This was impossible. There would be no way to leave the country thorough normal means, so I kept my advise to myself, and just offered her a shoulder. She could go to the police, but the police would need proof. She could leave the home and stay within the country, but then as is the fate of many runaway girls (they are actually woman, but in this society an unmarried female is addressed as a girl- something I have caught myself doing often), she may have ended up in a psychiatric ward of a hospital. It seemed nothing could be done.

In the last few weeks, a new campaign began by the King Khalid Charitable Organization- No More Abuse, this is an amazing step. It gives hope to many who have felt they have been forgotten, and allowed to perish in the hands of their abusers. The face of the campaign is of a women wearing a full veiled and wearing a niqab, but one of her eyes is bruised and you can see she has been abused. This is the reality, I have seen people who have been angered about the campaign, making their arguments that the picture itself is anti-Islamic, forgetting that this is a reality for women here in the Kingdom. Anyway let me not get into that rant right now. I do sincerely hope this campaign helps the women who are in grave need, and in many cases hanging on to their last thread. I applaud this step, and honestly believe that campaigns such as this benefit the society as a whole. It is standing up and telling the world, that we do not accept abuse, we are against it, and we will stop it. Bravo! The site I linked above, has contact information for those who need it. It is currently all in Arabic, so I do hope that an English translation is done so that a women who may not be able to read Arabic can get the information needed as well.

One last piece before I sign off on this post, another important issue for Saudi women is inheritance. I will not go into it here, as Eman over at Saudiwoman's Weblog has gone into detail on that cause on her blog. So check it out! Saudi Women and Inheritance Seminar. I would urge people to try to make it out to the seminar. Education is key!

I will admit I am very excited with all this, it is showing that there is hope, and that women do have a voice. And again, EDUCATION is very very very important.

Disclaimer: Please note that I never stated that all women in Saudi are Abused. Thank you.