DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WILL CONTINUE UNTIL WOMEN STOP IT By Olanrewaju Alhasan Adedokun.
Welcome to the twenty-first century.
Connections are wireless and cars are driverless, but the most Imperial of changes that hit the century -and ruefully so- is that of the attitude with which the problems plaguing the world are approached.
It’s become the Vogue that when problems rear their heads, rather than find a solution, fingers are pointed to the cause of the problem, blames are traded, articles are articulated, and the people are deliciously entertained, and in the end, the problem feeds on their disagreements and gets fatter everyday.
Who then, can blame feminists for not having found a better solution to the burgeoning number of reports of husbands beating their wives up, than: teaching the male child that he has no greater responsibility to protect his sister or wife than he has to his brother or himself, neither should he be more concerned about helping the women in a collapsing building than he would be about the men, and conversely; teaching the girl child to be wary of never arguing with her husband, and accepting his decisions as final, as those would lead to her being oppressed, and to never consider raising her kids a primary responsibility.
However, if the problem of domestic violence is to be pragmatically faced, and an ultrapractical solution is to be proffered, then either of these two has to be forfeited: marriage or ego.
Choosing to eliminate the former will do no better nor worse than a teacher writing an equation on the board and asking a student to solve the problem, and then the student going on to wipe the whole question off the board.
Of course there’d be no more problem literally, but realistically, the problem
would never be solved. Considering the fact that marriage is the underpinning of a functioning society, dissolving it and hacking it alongside outdated, barbaric and patriarchal cultures (since it paves way for more women to become victims of domestic violence) would make no sense, especially when there is a simpler solution; one which only women are smart enough to proffer.
The issue of domestic violence is not one that has to be brought under the microscope before it can be studied given the large ridges and marks it usually leaves, in most cases- on the wife’s face, but considering the morbid curiosity that’s plagued this century from the onset, one cannot rule out the possibility of it being subjected to such scrutiny. And when finally it is brought under the microscopes, no doubt the results will correspond with what we all agree on: that domestic violence is born, borne and bred by lack of mutual respect between a couple and a husband’s lack of a sense of responsibility to protect and guard his wife.
Some will disagree, but it’s fairly outlandish, so not everyone would understand it. No sane (African) man would ever raise a hand against his mother, no matter how much she provokes him. That is respect.
No sane man too, would ever raise a hand against his six months old daughter. That is the feeling of responsibility to protect.
Try to imagine then, these two feelings inculcated in the same man and directed towards a single woman, how easy would it be for him to raise a hand against such woman that he not only respects but also has a feeling of protection towards.
Going the feminist way may serve to cook up one, but not the other of these ‘recipes’ for a domestic-abuse-free-home. And note the usage of the word, ‘may’.
Urging women to get even with the men in taking up jobs and responsibilities might truly bring about a feeling of respect from a man, but never that of responsibility to serve his wife by protecting her from any harm, including his. And worse, the women, will have to- in the cause of nursing their egos and nourishing their self esteem- have lesser time for the children, and that, creates an even worse scenario.
We have therefore gotten to a point where we should look at a way which would ensure that neither the wife’s esteem, right to be being protected and respected, nor her children’s right to her attention will suffer.
Women, especially Muslim women who are divinely enjoined to take their homes as their primary responsibilities, should consider the chance to raise, mould and shape their children a privilege and a rare opportunity to turn the tables, that is, if there is any more food on the other side.
Women who are gravely concerned about the welfare of women-victims of domestic violence and social prejudice (and those who are not concerned too) understand that those men who beat their wives, those men – who fail to respect their wives until the wives work outside of the home, sweat like them, and leave the kids to the mercy of the social predator known as the society to raise – were all raised either categorically by their mothers, or by both parents, or by the society, or maybe, in an extremely unlikely case, the fathers, and in either case, their belief, their feelings about women, the lack of respect, the lack of sympathy, the lack of a sense of responsibility to protect the women was ingrained in them by those who raised them at the early stages of their lives.
One may argue though, that a lot of men who were raised by full housewives still grow up disrespecting their own wives who sit at home, for sitting at home.
Well, it’s either those full housewives (mothers) who raised them were never excited about they were doing, such that they discharged their duties so poorly to the children that the children had no reason to appreciate them, or, they themselves were never proud of what they were doing, so much that they inculcated in their children that the role of a mother who takes her children as a primary responsibility is a trivial and unimportant one in the society, that they never wish for their daughters to take after them.
But, society? What constitutes the society? Is it not the children they raise?
If every woman was to devote time for the upbringing of her children, discharge the duties with glee and enthusiasm, shower them with love, stay by them, and then teach the boys, that the girls are not their servants, but partners, but nevertheless, they have a duty of protecting them. Then teach them, (Even though you wouldn’t need to before they know) that the role you play in the society is just as important than that of the man, if not more important.
Teach them from young ages to be nicer to girls than boys, to feel ashamed of watching a girl being violated and doing noting, of failing to protect their sister. Scold the boy when the sister falls, and ask if it hurts when it’s the brother who falls, and I bet, that such boy will grow up feeling responsible for protecting and caring for his wife, while not disrespecting her role.
For how can he, while he thinks of how much his mother gave and how important she was, in him becoming who he was. How can he disrespect his wife for staying at home, for taking the children’s welfare to be her primary responsibility, while he still remembers how his own mother would sit hours with him until he memorized the Qur’an at age 8, how she taught him at home throughout basic and high school education, how still, she was always there to listen to him.
How would he disrespect her when he wants all these too for his child, and knows, that just as it was for him, his wife is integral to the success of it for his kids. How would he, while he still nurses hurting memories of his mother teaching him Suurah-Alahzaab, telling him that it is God’s commandment that women should sit at home, and not a decision she made out of laziness. How would he ever raise a hand against his wife, while memories flow, of his own mother teaching him that what matters in life is pleasing God, and then teaching him, that God asks us to follow Muhammad if we want to please him, and then teaching him, that Muhammad never raised his hand against a woman nor a slave, and then teaching him, that Muhammad taught, that the worst of men are those who beat their wives.
But, how wouldn’t he, when he is left to the whirl of the society to raise him, his father waking up 4 and going his way and his mother waking up 5 and going the other way, and both returning after he has slept, and arguing over who ought to return earlier to make him dinner.
How wouldn’t he disrespect his wife for staying at home, when the mother he knew -who sat hours watching the TV, and spent hours surfing the internet baselessly- is the only example she knows of a housewife, a useless housewife, who neither raises the children nor contributes to the financial welfare of the family. The type that would be quick to point out that Khadeejah was of the best of women, and she was a full-time mother, as if the Prophet would value her as much as he did, if she busied herself with other than that with which she did.
Olanrewaju Alhasan Adedokun
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