I am so proud of Dr. Bu Zaboon for coming and giving this lecture. I'm really proud of the dept. w/in our office that arranged this lecture... but what surprised me is the lack of involvement by people in the office. We had about 40 people show up out of hundreds and hundreds of employees. This was somewhat surprising but not really. So many people don't want to hear this stuff and close their eyes to abuse... it's a shame really. Especially seeing that it happens a lot here but because of the stigma attached to sharing, opening up, complaining, reporting it... the shame associated w/ it that comes to your family or your spouse's family... many cases go unreported or nothing is ever done to stop it.
Even tho the lecture was in Arabic, I got the pamphlets that were handed out which were in English and Arabic, and was able to get commentary on a lot of the gory details by my trusted friend. There WAS one guy who got into an argument w/ the Dr. saying that he didn't believe what she was saying and that he's worked in the mosques and what she said just wasn't happening because he had never seen it.
This is some of what she was saying to the audience:
The Dr. talked about abuse in families. How women who are being abused go to their mosques for help but the Imams/Sheikhs refuse to help them. She talked about how the women **know** when they walk in to speak w/ the Imam if they're going to get help based on whether or not he has a smile on his face or a frown. These women have been told to go back to their husbands even when they're being abused - severely. The Sheikhs want to see their arms or the places where they've been hit or they want to see a drs. letter stating that they were abused... and even still, they refuse to help these women. Many times the woman is made to go home, build a wall, and stay w/ the husband because, more often than not, the husband refuses to give a divorce. She told story after story about women being beaten by their husbands and how the Sheikhs refuse to sign the divorce papers.
The Sheikhs usually side w/ the male and refuse compensation to the woman if they do get a divorce, many times drs. refuse to write anything about the abuse because the woman is from a well-known family and they don't want to get involved, the police refuse to help because they want the woman to prove that she's been beaten. Even when children come forward and side w/ the woman, they refuse to believe it and send them home to stay w/ the husband.
She talked about how families refuse to get involved and make it almost impossible for the woman to leave. They feel as though it is her place to stay in the marriage.
She talked about women who abuse their husbands, and how there's a woman who is using her daughter against her husband because he wants a divorce. She refused to allow him to see the daughter for three years because he divorced her. She told stories that he was abusing the daughter and that the daughter was afraid of the father, but when they brought the father in w/ the child, the little girl ran to the father, held him and it was obvious that no abuse was happening. This same woman even wanted the Dr. to write a letter stating that the daughter was being abused... all in an attempt to get the husband to come back to her.
She also told a story about a drug user who is severly beating his wife. He refuses to leave and give her a divorce. They went to the mosque, asking for help, and were told to build a wall in the house - the woman on one side, the man on the other - and to live like this. So, she did it. Now, the husband climbs over the wall and abuses her. He put poison on top of the wall and on her side trying to kill her.... but still the Sheikhs/Imams refuse to give them a divorce.
The Dr. told a story about this man who makes BD.2,000.000 a month. His wife wanted money monthly from her husband. Since the man was friends w/ this particular Imam, the Imam refused to give the woman what she was asking for in cash and gave her a drastically reduced amount. When the woman took the bank papers to the Imam and showed him that the man had BD.70,000.000 in his acct., the Imam dismissed it and said that it wasn't real, it was only paper.
Time and time again the Sheikhs aren't helping. They refuse to help these women and they wind up going back to the relationship where they continue to be abused.
It is a sad and vicious cycle. Abuse is something we can not hide from any longer. I'm so glad that the Dr. came today and spoke about this. I only wish it was mandatory for all to listen and go to this lecture, and mandatory to get involved - one way or another. It's only when people start talking about it, admitting that there is a problem, will the problem start to get better.
So... there are many different types of abuse, as we all should know. There's emotional, physical, sexual and even verbal abuse. It's not always a man that's doing it... women are also guilty of it.
Stand up everyone... stand up and be heard. Stop the violence. It's everyone's right to be free and to feel secure.