Mideast women should be queens, not victims of domestic abuse
The word comes with a heavy history, with many blaming shame and dishonour as the root causes of the crime
This coming Tuesday marks international day against domestic violence, a day much needed for the women of this region, and indeed around the world. The world suffers from a public health epidemic that is given comparatively little attention in international agendas of both governments and civil society bodies. Domestic violence kills more people than civil wars around the world, and the effects of it are exacerbated beyond that of a specific country or region, studies show.
The word comes with a heavy history, with many blaming shame and dishonour as the root causes of the crime. Shame cannot be washed with blood; the root cause of such crimes is an innate inability to communicate bred by ignorance, not tradition.
Aiding the cause must be an international priority
True, domestic violence is an issue engrained in the mentalities of communities, rather than it being a problem with a logical background. After all, there’s no logic in beating someone black and blue into submission. It takes a generation for the epidemic to start slowing down, but we cannot realistically expect domestic violence rates to decrease if we as people do not invest our time and energies into the cause.
Sport is exactly what we need. It breaks barriers and encourages female participation in an industry that is very much male dominatedYara al-Wazir
As a region, we spend hours upon hours every day drawing up foreign conspiracy theories and blaming the international community for not intervening to stop the on-going civil wars in the region. We spend months drawing up lists of regional terrorist organizations, yet if we stop for a second, we might just realize that the biggest threat is not foreign nor civil, it lies within our own communities, hiding behind buzzwords such as “domestic violence” and “honor killings.”
There’s no denying that the issues are interconnected, like all threats to the region are. The threat of a generation that doesn’t condone violence against women breeds a generation that turns women into slaves. The Middle East boasts the more female royal family members than any other region in the world – our women are born to be queens, not slaves.
Fight domestic violence with sports
Governments are trying to combat domestic violence as much as they can. Saudi Arabia has introduced fines against those who participate in the crime, Jordan has considered reversing its rape law. A handful of countries in the region have blatantly outlawed domestic violence in recent years.
Yet the key to moving forward, quickly, could actually be through sports. The region is expanding into the world of international sports. From tennis to football, the region is hosting some of the biggest competitions. This was definitely a sentiment shared in the 2010 Olympics, which saw more female athletes from the region participate.
Sports are exactly what we need. It breaks barriers, encourages female participation in an industry that is very much male dominated. Sports is healthy; it’s a natural stress reliever.
Internationally, showcase sports and domestic violence do not go hand in hand, especially considering that NFL has recently come under scrutiny for essentially providing a culture that allows domestic violence to cultivate. Yet a small setback did not stop 6abebat’s mission to stop domestic violence. The Kuwait based, doctor-run organization went through with organizing a walkathon against domestic violence in Kuwait, to mark international day against domestic violence. It’s certainly refreshing for the masses to gather and walk for a cause that doesn’t divide social classes or political ideologies; a cause that unites a region.
Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir
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