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The Qur'an says it is OK for a husband to beat his wife (Surah 4:34) but it's an awkward topic given that in most of the world beating your wife is a criminal offence that could land you in jail. So the Pakistani Islamic Council has issued a 75-page document explaining that it's not really that bad...
Russell Adam Webb has written an interesting blog on it and added some videos showing how people react to wife beating in public. It's worth a look.
But Russell is at pains to say he is criticising the Pakistani council and not any particular religion. Piffle, the Pakistani council permits wife beating because it is permitted in the Qur'an (that makes it religious Russell).
It's true that the Bible and the Qur'an share the ancient view that wives should obey their husbands but only the Qur'an explicitly permits wife beating. And don't think I am defending the Bible--far from it. Both books give men dominance over women and treat women as property.
Both books are about 2,000 years past their sell-by date.
It appears the unruly women of Pakistan have pushed their men a step too far in recent times as the government has been forced to draft a bill which allows for light beating of a wife if she steps out of line.
In the proposal, The leader of a Pakistani Islamic council states that a light beating is acceptable, should the need arise to dish out some discipline. The criteria for behavior that warrants a light beating has also been defined in the 75 page dossier. Apparently it’s ok because the idea is to instill fear and not to actually hurt the woman, and yes, you can use a small stick. Reported by CNN
“A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.”
This isn’t a religious rant; everyone has the choice to follow whatever religion they want, be that Christianity, Judaism, Islam or the Church of Spongebob Squarepants – seriously, it’s a real thing. Domestic abuse occurs in all religions and all walks of life, even the Spongebob church, but to legalize this behavior is simply madness in my eyes. Who the hell do these people think they are? How the hell can they dictate what a man is allowed to do to a woman?
So I was thinking? What constitutes as a light beating? Where do you draw the line between light beating and kicking the shit out of her? How can you give her a light beating but not a heavy beating? Then I read into the issue a bit more and the guy (obviously an extremely insecure man) who drafted the bill explained everything:
The council has drawn widespread criticism for the proposal and it won’t go through unless it gets signed by legislators. Following the criticism, the council’s chairman, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, defended the bill and said that:
“A light beating should be used only as a last resort after other ways of persuading a woman to comply with a man’s wishes fail. Light beating does not mean violence; it can mean hitting one’s wife with a handkerchief or hat in a way that leaves no bruises or scratches the issue has been blown totally out of proportion. Everyone condemns violence. People need to be educated to stay away from violence.”
I was thinking how this would go down in my own home:
“you’ve been a bad girl, I am going to lightly beat you.”
“Fuck off Russell, I’m not in the mood for your kinky shit today.”
I do understand that people from different cultures have different views and different morals, but to me, there is something extremely wrong about the nature of a man beating a girl. There is only one possible excuse for raising your hand to a woman and that is if she is attacking you with the intent of causing harm or worse. Other than that; LEAVE HER ALONE.
The purpose of this article is to draw attention to domestic violence and condemn the actions of the Pakistani council who wrote the proposal, not any religion.
If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, you can find help here.
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