If one was to look up the word “abuse” in a dictionary, it says “treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.
Domestic abuse or “home violence” is an issue effecting thousands of women in Pakistan and yet whenever a victim or an activist decides to raise voice against it, they are faced with ridiculously idiotic statements from people, even their own families. For example: “mard hai, ghussa a jata hai. Haath utha diya tou kia hua, ainda tum dheyan rakhna”, “aise kon karsakta hai ke bewaja galiyan de, haath uthaye, kuch na kuch tou kiya hoga tumne jis se is inteha tak baat pohanchi”, and “mard ka ghussa tez hota hai, ghar bachana aurat ka kaam hai is liye bilkul chup raho.” These are only some of the many statements most “ghar wale” throw around to justify this odious habit of the beasts they have raised in their homes.
According to a study conducted by Human Rights Watch in 2009, between 70-90 percent of women in Pakistan have suffered from some form of domestic abuse. An estimated 5000 women die every year, or dare I say, are killed by these abusers, with thousands of others maimed or disabled.
It is high time that we stop treating these men, these creatures, as some sort of heroes, without whom the poor, frail women will not be able to live another day. They provide you with shelter and food? They provide you with money for your children? Let me tell you one thing:
ALLAH is the one who provides. No man has the power to give or take anything from you unless He wills.
And Allah never asked you to forcefully stay at the mercy of a human being who continues to physically, mentally or emotionally harm you. He asked you to refrain from revenge, yes. But leaving and letting go was never prohibited. Your hesitation is understandable because we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that in our culture, a divorced woman or a girl who left home to escape from domestic violence, are considered filthy and unworthy. You might not have the financial or moral support you were hoping for, from any of your relatives. But again, I remind you, Allah is the one who will support you. And you do not need anyone else. He will take care of you, I promise you that.
Now let us address the common man or woman of Pakistan, the mass population.
How in the world could you even think that it is righteous to keep your daughters, daughter-in-laws, sisters and nieces inside the houses where they are treated worse than animals? You say it is not a big deal that he verbally or physically abused her because of course, ghar bachana aurat ka kaam hai aur mardon ka ghussa tou hota hi taiz hai. humain chup rehna chahye. Islam ne mard ko hukmaran jo banaya hai.
Undoubtedly, Islam has made a man, the care taker of the women and children at his house, but this does not mean that he has full right to beat or verbally mistreat any of them, whenever he wills. If that was the case, at least one of the millions of great names in Islam must have done it. One prophet, one sahabi, one scholar must have mercilessly shouted at and tortured the ones who were physically weaker than him. For certain, their women also at times made mistakes that irritated them? Surely, they too, didn’t find any other solution except beating and swearing on every little thing?
This is not Islam. Islam is never unjust like this. It is you and your sick cultural tabboos. It is what you hide behind, the coward that you are, so as to escape from the harsh reality that someone you love is in need of psychiatric attention, because of his addiction to the feeling of being more powerful than the woman in front of him. You keep telling the victim that he will stop once this or that happens, as if the mess inside his mind can be fixed by doing nothing at all. As if the addition or removal of a certain circumstance in his life will magically change him. It is not going to happen. He will never change by himself. If he gets a job, he will work silently and come home to take out all his frustration by torture. If you get him married, he will start beating his wife too. If he has kids, he will treat them the same. There is no amount of love or attention that will be enough to change him. He needs medical attention. And it is your responsibility to get it to him. But if you still choose to be ignorant and indifferent to what is happening around you, I am sorry but you are equally involved in the sin as the one by whose hand the sin is committed.
To anyone who is reading this, it is my deepest request to you:
Domestic abuse is more common than you think. Acknowledge it. Raise your voice against it. Our nation might be full of people who try to bring down anyone weak, wanting to become strong, but it has been neglected for long enough. Who knows who the next victim will be. It can be, God forbid, a girl or child that you know and love. You have to stand up now to protect the children and women of the present and future who might at any time, find themselves threatened by a seemingly normal man who does horrible things to them when the curtain’s closed; while they scream, “please stop! It hurts!”
May Allah keep us all safe. Ameen.