Domestic violence and abuse in Arab societies

“After a year of torture and tournament, finally I got my dignity back, now I can peacefully sleep” Tamara Haressi said when she learned that her husband, her abuser, has received a 9-month in custody.

Tamara Harressi, a 23-year-old Lebanese young woman, who has filled a case against her Husband who had beaten her to death and attempted to storm her.

She recounted to Al-Arabia that her husband was attempting to kill her and he actually had no real reasons for that! She began to hide behind her 2-year-old daughter to hold him away from him but to no avail; he was ready to do harm to both.

In March 2014, Lebanon has passed a new law protecting women and other family members from domestic abuse, and based upon it Tamara has resorted to judiciary to save herself.

Gender issues and domestic violence are widely prevalent in Arab societies because of the lack of proper education and lack of women’s rights.

In most Arab societies, Women are traditionally perceived as inferior to men and they are happened only to marry and to raise kids, many of women have endured through abusive relationships just to be with their children’s side.

BBC has interviewed another Lebanese woman, whose husband foisted upon her to sleep with his friends, otherwise she would get tortured and beaten up.

Another Iraqi woman interviewed saying that she always feels insecure in her home; she even began to develop fears over dealing with her family males even her father and siblings.

In Egypt specifically, 47 percent of women ever married reported that they have been victims of physical violence in their household, according to a 2005 study by the Egypt Demographic and Health Survey. Nearly 45 percent of them used to be victims to domestic violence by a male other than their husband. The fathers in the households reported twice as often as brothers to be the perpetrators, the study found.

According to a 2007 study by El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, 79 percent of Egyptian women (across all social classes and education levels) said they had personally experienced violence in the home.

Personally, I have attended some domestic violence cases; one of my relatives has almost been beaten to death and was robbed of her money, she now physically and financially suffers and she cannot speak up, fearing she would put her children’s “reputation” to the social damage.

In Algeria, police figures showed that 58 percent of cases involving violence against women resulted from domestic incidents. 100 and 200 women die each year from domestic violence, according to statistics published by local media.

A new law also has passed in March 2015 that criminalizes domestic violence against women and safeguards their financial interests.

More than a third of women in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia report have been subjected to physical or sexual abuse from a partner at some point in their life, a 2013 study by the World Health Organization found. In the U.S., 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. One in every four women in this country will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime.

The rate of domestic violence against women was at its highest in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where 37 percent of women experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner at some point in their lifetime, according to WHO.

Women subjected to the violence by their intimate partners always suffer even when they manage to escape the abuse, she will be exposed to much more harsher abuse, which carried out by what so called “Eastern Conservative Societies”. Wives would be blamed for ruining her marriage, and could even deemed as “immoral”.

To publicly speak up about such family issues used to be a common taboo. Some used to claim that their daughters died after they fell in order to avoid what could be seen as “shameful.” with lack of proper education in the teachings of the religion.

. Men are traditionally grown up in an authoritarian, impoverished system that treated women like objects — a system that still exists today under the rule of a military-backed government and a relentless patriarchal regime. Although the rise in educated them has been highly observed, the system in which he was raised left an odious imprint on his character.

This system continues to leave the same impression on Egyptian younger generations. In a recent video, young Egyptian boys have been asked why they think women are harassed so much in Egypt. Their answers were shocking: Each said women actually ask for that because of the way they often dress, and they know right that she is happy with that.

Men who cling to archaic Middle Eastern values, continue to patronize women of their culture. Many of these men are self-proclaimed moderates, yet when it comes to women, they have constructed different rules for themselves, restricting women to the specific roles of mothers, daughters, or wives — roles that are defined only by serving the men in their lives. They tell us how to dress so we are not raped. They tell us not to raise our voices so as not to tempt men. They tell us not to be ambitious so we don’t bother the men who will pursue us for marriage.

In Egypt, Sexual violence and abuse against women has hit new lows. Nearly 100 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in their daily lives, according to the 2013 UN study. Some men and women will tell you that a woman deserves harassment if she is not conservatively and properly dressed up (I don’t have a specific definition of the “conservative dress code “so far) or if she’s out late. In March 2015,a young woman has got sexually assaulted by a mob of men at Cairo University, she got insolently criticized by the university president and many of famous media figures over the way she dressed . Tamer Amin, a prominent Egyptian TV show host, said the girl was wearing like “A belly dancer” and that she was “seducing” and “provoking” the boys. That’s the way things work in Egypt, women are somehow shown as a public property in Egypt.

The Middle East, particularly Egypt, has a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights. In patriarchal societies like these, women and children are perceived as the weaker creatures that exist only to serve the needs of the men in society, even though among married women, about 62 percent contribute to their families’ income, according to the World Bank.

Among the Eastern single mothers, 7 percent are the sole breadwinners and 27 percent provide half or more of their families’ income, the study shows.

Domestic violence against women does not only do short-term damage to a victim’s health. It is also associated with diseases, traumas and illnesses that can last a lifetime.

Women who have fallen victim to domestic violence are 80 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 70 percent more likely to become heavy drinkers, and 60 percent more likely to become asthmatic than women who have not, according to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The abuse suffered pregnant would highly prone to miscarriage and to have several health ailments, moreover the child that has been exposed to violent consuming homes are likely to become insecure, fearful and anxious and emotionally abandoned and that can even lead them to fall into depression or even to commit suicide.

Most experts believe that children who are brought up in abusive homes, can deeply believe that violence is a highly effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. They may replicate the violence they witnessed as children in their teen and adult relationships and parenting experiences. Boys who witness their mothers’ abuse are more likely to batter their female partners as adults than boys raised in non-violent homes. For girls, adolescence may result in the belief that threats and violence are the norm in relationships, which, later on, poses the root cause of Sexual harassment.

Women suffered home violence are mainly lacking job skills required to get suitable job opportunity to earn living, which would finically burden her to keep herself and her kids away from begging and provide them a decent life.

Domestic violence is not a family issue or a social stigma stamped upon the victim, it is a crime.

Women themselves must start stand ending that by speaking up and not letting the futile social taboos to deny them their fundamental rights, they have to pay education the greater attention and not only be confined to be the role of the home makers. That is the only way we could ensure better generations without suffering domestic violence consequences.