By Douaa, Iraq
Domestic Violence is an important topic to raise awareness about, particularly in the Arab world. It is a phenomenon that exists in our communities, so why should we deny it?
The problem is that unfortunately we do not want to admit it, and that explains the recent epidemic of girls and women fleeing from their houses with no hesitation.
While domestic violence has increased all around the world, and particularly in Arab societies, Iraqi women are, as also, affected by this issue. We are acting like a conservative society, hiding the truth; that the violence exists and it is widely used in daily life against women and girls. This needs to stop immediately!
Our children are watching and learning these social methods as norms and are desensitized to the harmful aspects of today’s culture. Sadly, the news here is filled with stories of abused housewives, girls, daughters, sisters, and mothers. We should be ashamed for doing this or if we are even thinking of it.
Why do victims of domestic violence stay instead of just leaving the house? This is a very important question that we must ask ourselves!
We should also investigate why domestic violence happens? Some of the most common causes are:
1-Lack of education of the family members.
2- Cultural ignorance of the family and the surrounding environment.
3- Honor Crimes.
4- The dominance of masculinity in society.
5- Lack of respect for the other opinions in our culture, especially of women’s. It almost does not exist at all by the other members in the family, parents in particular.
6- Favoritism: Males are encouraged to take advantage of females in Arab culture in general and in Iraqi society in particular.
7- Bad Customs and Traditions.
8- Using religion to suppress freedom and cover our mistakes when in fact, all religions should value and give respect to women.
We have “Wrood from Iraq” as a living example the domestic violence. She is a victim of domestic violence, she left her house and ran away to Germany. She is lucky that people helped her to flee her home and the “Monsters brothers” who accused her of bringing shame to the family because she was going to the university. According to them, all girls who are going to university and colleges are bad and disrespectful. She was exposed to physical and psychological abuse by her family. They beat her and broke her spine, so she couldn’t walk for almost 6 months. This left a huge damage on her, psychologically, physically, and socially.
Most of our societies are male-dominated. Males should not be in control, but unfortunately, they are in the majority of societies. The woman is your wife, your sister, your mother, your friend, and your beloved. And even if she’s not related to you, she is someone! She is not less than you! Therefore, you stop violence against her. Even in our religion, Islam, women are equal to men, so we have to take advantage of that. Although there is a backward view about women especially in our country, we have to prove that we have the capacity to do whatever duties we have, we are able to change, we are able to create, we have this creative spirits in ourselves and we are strong enough to reach our goals. We must support each other, women across the world!
Yes, we can do it! We women can make a change. We can work for our progress, our community’s progress, and even the world in general. So each woman has to play her role, whether at home within her family, within her work and even in the community, and we will have our say.
But first, we should be free. So stop using religion, customs and other bad means as excuses to repress women.