Why Women Accept Abuse

Why a woman could accept abuse as a part of her life could be beyond some people. It’s understandable that anyone who enjoys the independence and free will to pose that question wouldn’t be able to wrap their mind around this, because probably most if not all of us reading this hadn’t been there, yet I’m sure each and everyone of us has a bizarre story to tell about some abuse victim(s).

You see, unless a hard core masochist, nobody likes to be beaten to a pulp and called all sorts of demeaning names. So why would a woman -whose very basic instinct is to crave love- be willing to put up with unthinkable kinds of abuse? Like it or not, sometimes a woman might find herself in a situation where she thinks she has to learn to live with abuse, and you can’t understand that unless you try to put yourself in their shoes, if you don’t already know someone who’s actually suffering this.

The list could include reasons we can’t even begin to imagine, but these are some of the ones I could think of:

Children: Mothers are selfless creatures, and a mother who has 8 children, all the more so. She has no one to go to, no means to provide for all of her children, so she think that she could stomach it for the sake of her children. Of course reporting her husband to the police is out of the question, and maybe she thinks the abuse isn’t severe enough to warrant legal action. So for a girl in her mid-twenties who has never had an encounter with abuse to come and say the woman should leave her husband is a bit unrealistic. Yet, there’s still something to be done. The woman can go to someone in her family to try and talk sense into her husband and even force him to treat his wife right if needed. Also remember that the Family Protection Services aren’t there to break up families, they are there to find what’s wrong and fix it, to make families a healthy environment for children to grow in. So, don’t be afraid to report abuse to the Family Support Line by dialing 110, and you don’t even have to give them your personal information.

Social issues: “We are girls from decent families, we don’t get divorced or break up engagements” Believe it or not, the previous quote was told by a young educated girl, advising her friend who was having problems with her fiancé.

By some twisted reasoning, a woman might sometime find it better to take abuse than to be labeled as a divorcee. It could be pride that prevents her from speaking up, it could be family issues, whatever it is it’s is NOT AN EXCUSE.

Because they think it’s the normal thing. You see, her father used to beat the crap out of her mother and she did nothing. It’s par for the course, the circle of life. That’s why the mother and the father should consider that one day their daughter could be taking the same kind of abuse silently, because she thinks it’s only natural. This reminds me of a scene in a movie where a girl who’s been abused both by her mother and father says that she doesn’t want love in her life because love only caused bad things to happen to her. She thought the maltreatment and abuse she got from her parents were “love”.

Because she loves him, and he loves her. the lamest excuse of all. If someone beats you he either has serious psychological problems or he just does not love you, at least not the way you think he does. Either way, you should not stay with him. And keep in mind that physical abuse could be a threat to your life, I don’t think I need to mention any of the many stories we all heard of about women who were killed  or seriously injured by abusive husbands.

The V word. well, let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes, but for a girl to lose her virginity before marriage in the Arab society, that could be a deadly one. Not only because it could lead to an honor crime, many people wouldn’t go there, but because the girl might find herself in a situation where she has to take the abuse of a boyfriend or any other person in order to spare herself the scandal, and she might be forced to continue making that mistake no matter how much she regrets it. The thing is, you don’t correct a mistake by another mistake, there’s always a way to make things right. The problem is the mentality, no surprise here. Case in point, a “doctor” who once mentioned to a friend of mine that “If a girl loses her virginity she’d better commit suicide instead of waiting for her family to kill her”. Mind you, that’s coming from someone whose job is supposed to be saving lives. Of course it’s better safe than sorry, so don’t be stupid and condemn yourself to a life of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. If it wasn’t the boyfriend who will be the abuser, it could be a third party or even a future husband.

Well, those are the reasons I could think of for now, but I’m sure the list goes on, perhaps farther and more ridiculously than we could think. But the point is: whatever the reason, abuse is not okay and there’s always a solution, and those women need to know that.

I agree that empowerment of women is key, but let’s be realistic, no matter how much you empower women, there still will be women who are helpless and over-powered by circumstances, or at least think so. That’s why I think it’s equally important to raise awareness among men themselves. Not only impose punishments on abusers but also take preventive measures to prevent abuse in the first place.

Another thing we can’t deny is the way people raise their boys who grow up to be men and then abuse their wives, daughters and sisters. A boy must learn since childhood that he’s no better than his sister or his female peers, he must be taught to respect women and that when he grows up he will have a responsibility to protect the women in his life, not to make them need protection from himself. And of course another curse is the double standards in our society. They would go crazy if they caught their daughter talking on the phone to a guy and at the same time they brag about the 50 girlfriends their sons have. Teach your children that women aren’t their only for their amusement, and that it’s not okay to manipulate girls just because they make themselves vulnerable.

If anything, abuse is a habit and a life-style. Change the way the people think, fuel th public opinion against it, instill in people’s mind, both young and old, that a man who abuses his wife or treats her badly defies hi natural role and therefore can’t be considered a man. Teach women their real value, make them understand what they truly deserve, and most importantly make them realize that abuse is not, never was, and will never be okay.


18 responses

  1. Lots of things are messed up, but it’s not merely an Arab World phenomena, it’s more global. Women accept abuse because they don’t know better, or because of society’s pressure on them to accept it.

    It’s acceptable simply because it was acceptable for their parents. What’s really needed is a shift in the way we think. The problem will never be solved in a generation or two, unfortunetly it’s grounded into our “3adat” no matter what apologists say.

    But it’s effect can be lessened by empowering women, starting from schools, and educating boys, and employing a no-tolerance policy for domestic violence cases on a social and a legal level. And for God’s sake, get rid of that stupid Jara2em Sharaf law.

  2. Had that “doctor” known the meaning of Al Tawbah, he would never say that, I think Islam has an answer for everything, and like you said, fixing a mistake with another mistake (a crime rather) will only lead to a domino effect, series of endless mistakes. I wrote about abuse once, but I talked about emotional abuse, the main reason I think girls live with it is because we have this image of what we want our lives to be, and we keep convincing ourselves that this guy is the one, he’s just going through a phase that will be over soon. Only soon is never here.

  3. I just remembered few years back when there was a poll that showed that 78% of women had no problem with being beaten by their husbands. Now I don’t know how accurate was that but it sure says something! We can’t solve a problem as a society unless we collectively believe that is it actually a problem

  4. I agree with the fact that boys need to be taught that women aren’t just for their enjoyment. I think that is a lesson a lot of arab men don’t learn. I also think we should teach the girls that being flirty and showing off shouldn’t be the way to get a boys attention.

    I think the future is now and we need to start teaching, talking and changing these attitudes now!

    Great post!

  5. I’m usually a positive thinker but in some cases i loose hope and in this case your discussing i won’t say it’s impossible but nothing much will change. Women in the arab world will keep abiding the rules the society has and will keep accepting abuse.

    I would never raise my hands on a women. Not because I’m weak. But because i was raised this way. I was raised to respect women. And i believe deeply that whoever even thinks of hitting a women is a weak and complicated man who needs a mental hospital to correct his ideas.

    very well written ola. Enjoyed the read 🙂

  6. Unfortuantly abuse is a two way streak. There is much research to show that 40% of domestic voilence victims are men…

    I don’t think abuse is a gender issue, but is more so a issue of broken humanity.

  7. hi,
    jus allow me to add families one more reason, that many families don’t support their daughters and don’t accept their daughter’s children after divorce, and force their daughters to give the children to the father claiming that “the children are not ours let their father take care of them” so the mother basically accepts abuse just fearing this separation, I saw this frequently around me.

  8. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this information for my mission.

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