DOMESTIC violence is on the rise and annihilating the family structure. Many women keep their plight to themselves as involving anyone could spell more trouble and humiliation for them. But this is by no means unique to Muslim families: it is a universal phenomenon where the one suffering has to bear everything alone.
In some cultures, it is not just the husband who abuses as in-laws can be involved in ruining the relationship between spouses too. In Muslim families, more often than not, the ‘polygamy card’ is played, blurring the line between the ‘permission’ to have up to four wives, and the ‘right’ to have four wives.
Often lips are sealed and nothing is ever said regarding the agonising situation a woman is in. She remains silent for the sake of her children and what will happen to them if she speaks up. Fear of the unknown plays its part. Years of abuse and torture, physical and mental, take their toll. As time goes by, she loses confidence in herself and her capabilities.
Even though the number of divorces is increasing every day by leaps and bounds, it is still considered a taboo in most societies.
Some courageous women who do get divorced are those who are financially independent and have strong support of their parents and families. Many of these find themselves at a dead-end and never remarry.
It is not just women but also children living in a hostile environment who suffer at the hands of abusive parents. There are many government and non-government organisations in the US for protecting battered and abused women and children. The
US government takes these matters seriously. Doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers are recruited to identify the signs of domestic violence, which is ever on the rise.
The police respond to any calls to protect the innocent and hapless. But cases where the police are involved often result in broken families, so many just suffer in silence.
Islam plays an important role in Muslim culture: lives revolve around faith and belief in justice. Clerics and media can and should play an important role in reminding individuals to treat others in a fair and just manner.
Highlight the duties and rights in Friday sermons. Mass family counseling is needed. If these efforts can reform some individuals and save a few families, it would be worthwhile.