Violence Against Women

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 16-01-2017

Violence Against Women



From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

The connection between these two occasions is that we can`t preserve human rights if we fail to preserve women`s rights and protect them against oppression and violence. This is because women constitute half of society and are most exposed to violation, where 70% of them have been subjected to violence during their life, according to a survey by the United Nations.

Those who may think that the afore survey is overstated and that holding a sixteen-day campaign to prevent and end violence against women is an act of luxury, are very much mistaken because this is a global phenomenon that has different forms, but people may have become so accustomed to that they don`t see as violation of women`s rights and an act of violence against them. I will briefly review some these forms:

First: Physical Violence

Many women are physically abused by men, be they husbands, fathers or brothers.

Studies conducted by Harvard University showed that 20-60% of the women in developing countries are beaten by their own family members, or husbands. This percentage shouldn`t be taken lightly since it is a serious indicator of the physical abuse women are experiencing at the hands of the aforementioned persons.

This phenomenon also applies to developed countries, where the study showed that 30% of the American women and 95% of the French women were physically abused by their husbands. This is very shameful, the very persons who are supposed to protect women are the ones abusing them. 

Undoubtedly, physical abuse creates pains and emotional problems because it humiliates the victim and denies him/her the sense of dignity, which Allah has created them with. Moreover, it could cause permanent disability and even death.

The question that arises here is that: is it acceptable that the man uses his strength and authority to degrade the woman? This is definitely turning norms upside down and manipulating power improperly, and the outcome is: a weak-degraded woman raising generations or functioning as a school?

Second: Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse includes swearing, degrading and describing women with words that undermine human dignity. A questionnaire conducted in one of the neighboring countries showed that 52% of the women there were verbally abused. Moreover, a study in one of the Afro-Arab countries showed that 34% of the women there, from a sample of 2850 households, were verbally abused. This indicates that this kind of abuse poses a serious problem that should be solved.


Verbal abuse reflects disrespect to the abused and so it undermines his/her character and self-confidence. It also makes them in a constant state of fear and insecurity, and consequently they suffer from depression.


Some people may not be aware of the fact that verbal abuse could be more severer than physical abuse. Yakoob Al-Hamdooni, a poet, said: 

 "wounds inflicted by a lance like a head might heal easily, but words inflicted by tonge have no remedy.

Third: Emotional/Psychological Violence

Emotional violence crystallizes as a repercussion for the acts of oppression practiced against the woman, such as: preventing her from education, marriage, assuming high offices although she is qualified, or favoring males over her with respect to food, clothes and treatment. As a result, she suffers from a severe emotional damage that drives her into a state of depression. 


Moreover, her emotional state could deteriorate to a level where she starts hating herself and her femininity, and wishes that she wasn`t born as such; therefore, she loses self-confidence, and fails to perform her role. In addition, her community is at loss as well because it will miss the contributions of an active member. 


Fourth: Economic Violence

This type has many forms: deprivation from inheritance or giving her a small portion of it, or taking possession of her salary, or denying her maintenance or alimony. Definitely, these forms constitute a flagrant discrimination against women because they are simply women, but laws and sound minds reject this.


Since Islamic Law (Sharia) has given the woman the right to inherit and to be financially independent from her husband to enjoy her possessions, why do some deny her that right, equating her with a slave who can neither be free nor has any possessions? Undoubtedly, she will suffer from persecution and inferiority complexes as a repercussion for this unjustified violence. As a result, she becomes poor emotionally and economically at an era described as the era of economic enablement for women. This will also deprive her from participating in the growth of economy and increasing local production.


After this brief revision of the forms of violence against women, it is imperative that we ponder upon the following:


First: From the view point of Sharia, violence is condemned and unjustified; therefore, pinning it on religion is mere fabrication, and totally rejected. There are countless texts from the Quran and the Sunna encouraging people to protect women and be kind to them, be they mothers, sisters, daughters or wives.


Second: A woman must be dealt with as a competent person, not as inferior, not as slave or property because doing so undermines her dignity as a human being although Allah has created her with that dignity. Moreover, nothing is worse for a person than being humiliated and degraded.


Third: We should trust a woman`s potentials since she is a human being that has mind and emotions, and can be creative just like men. Accordingly, we should give her a window of opportunity to demonstrate her creativity, serve her community and help advance it.


Fourth: Showing respect to a woman and considering her feelings help improve her psychological condition; consequently, this helps her accomplish the difficult task that she has been entrusted with, namely bringing up future generations and leaders. Indeed, a strong and balanced mother will produce a strong and sound generation; whereas, a weak and unbalanced mother will produce an unstable and incompetent generation.


The aforementioned aren`t a gift that a man bestows upon a woman; rather, they are her natural right, and it is our duty, as humans, to help her claim them because she is our mother, sister, daughter, wife, and, most importantly, half of community.