Domestic Violence has social roots we're not destined to suffer it
  • Domestic Violence has social roots we're not destined to suffer it

In 2006 I was subjected to physical and psychological torture for several hours by my boyfriend at the time, which included be kicked in the ground and receive a "shower" of bleach on my skin. The episode, triggered by my boyfriend personal insecurities, was reported to the police. On that occasion, my boyfriend said he "did not know what he was doing." However, a review of his life history showed he knew perfectly what he was doing, because he has learned it at home: His father showed the same kind of "consideration" to this wife and my boyfriend, being a child, had been taught that to terrorize women were the fast track to "educate" them, "gain respect" and prevent cheating.

Number shows that at least the 70% of women in the world are victim of some kind of gender violence during their lives. Home is still the most dangerous place for a woman to be, because the high ocurrence of domestic violence and the cover of silence on this problem that encourages its reproduction. As a woman, muslim and feminist I want to take a stand in my behalf and in the other women who have been victim of gender violence against shameful speeches that pretends to invisibilize this epidemia by reinforcing the idea that is a normal element in relationships and, at the same time, counteract the struggle of Muslim women and all women around the world for their rights; what is exactly the article of Qasim rashid "The Islamic Solution to Stop Domestic Violence" published in the Huffington Post

There are some points about the article of Qasim Rashid that make me worry a lot.

The author says “men are far more prone to violence and far less capable of self-restraint than women”. This statement suggests there is a biological predisposition in men to violence. To support this, the author cites the opinion of a scholar. Only one; Mr. Rashid doesn’t mention in his article what kind of study was this, where and how was held, which are the characteristic of the people under the study and he doesn’t mention other related studies in the same field. I can mention one too that maybe Mr. Rashid doesn't know: In 1986, a group of eminent behavioral scientists met in Seville, Spain, to discuss the roots of human aggression and they concluded that there is no scientific basis for the belief that humans are naturally aggressive.

But this is not the point. The point is that even if tons of studies tell us that violence against women is inherent to the male DNA, that does not justify it or make it acceptable. Even if this behavior is universal and we are living in a global culture of violence and subjugation against women, we cannot automatically conclude this is part of our biological nature. All known cultures may produce pottery, but that doesn’t mean there is a gene for pottery making. So any attempt to justify it is frankly a disgrace and an insult to our intelligence.

If men have a biological predisposition to beat women .. women should have biological predispocisión to bear domestic violence? Qasim Rashid's analysis on the controversial verse 4:34 of the Qur'an is a dismissing of the agency of women on our life and integrity and an rude apology of inequality. He starts stressing inequality between men and women, of course favoring the privileges of his gender; then he fills his mouth with endless considerations on how women can avoid be beaten for men, considering we women - never men- are always the ones to blame for having "initially and deliberately undermined or attempted to destroy the family".

I think Mr. Qasim Rashid forgot that the Q'uran explicitly states the equality and dignity between men and women making them partners under the concepts of Shura ( advice) and Wilayat (partnership) stating that the only difference between people is their level of piety. (See verses 49:13; 3:193; 97:16; 124:4; 42:38 and the work of Dr. Ziba Mir Hosseini in

I am worried about the fact Mr. Rashid is alleging to defend the interests of battered women while he is labeling a behavior over which people have control and decision, as a biological fact that can't be avoided. It’s dangerous, risky and unfair both for men and women:

In one hand, he reproduces an anwful and fake stereotype about men that says all men are beasts, dominated by wild forces, unable to control their instincts and because of that, women are constantly in danger to be near them.

On the other hand, he suggests that women are the one to blame if we're victims of domestic violence. Check the logic: If men are biologically predisposed to beat women and can't control this impulse, then it is our responsibility not to provoke their instincts to keep our life safe. This is the same kind of logic that in our societies put the blame of sexual harrassement and rape on women: What kind of misogynistic, contempting and patronizing of women is Qasim Rashid's statement?

Let's face the truth Mr. Rashid: Violence against women is a learned behavior, a choice rooted in cultural beliefs of subordination of women to men, allowed for a system where men have privileges of property, use and abuse of women. Privileges you use to make us believe that we should accept violence as natural. Domestic violence is not a biological predetermination. Is Patriarchy and not DNA what encourage it. and Patriarchy is a set of human beliefs. They can be changed

Find excuses behind science and religion to keep women trapped in the silence and pain of domestic violence will never be helpful to end it; I believe we have been made to live in peace and recognize each other as able to join efforts to banish the barriers that prevent us from the recognition of human beings as equals and encourage our participation in society with full rights. We, humankind have a very serious problem regarding Gender Violence that we need to face straight on and work to eradicate it; this demands an honest attitude toward violence starting for accepting the only ones to blame are those who choose to exercise it.

Comment on this Post


Love this article. I appreciate how you've confronted excuses head-on and shined a light on the truth! It's worrisome that people are still quick to make some men's violent choices "natural" for all men. You make clear recommendations for us in your closing paragraph-- it's time to face these things head on and do our work to stop the madness. It may not be easy, but it is ESSENTIAL.

Thanks for sharing your voice!

Scott Beck

It means a lot that a man can appreciate my vision on a article that excuses masculine gender for the attempt of violence against women. I think in this case opinion just represent the person because when I tried to debate with Qasim rashid about this issue he just patronized me suggesting because I am a woman and not equal to him I am basically wrong in my perceptions and less unable to understand what he meant. Oh yeah. The good new is we're many muslim women around the world feeling the same and worried about how these kind of discourses are taking over our communities and willing to counteract this with our own discourses and speak for ourselves and take domestic violence out of home and gender violence out of "feminine sphere" and make it a common problem to face for women and men . Thank you

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

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This is SO well written! I was saying in my head "this sentence is so right" at almost every line of your article. You're totally right in saying htat many people who are labelled as defending victims and survivors of domestic violence are actually justifying this very violence by biological considerations on masculinity and femininity. Thanks again for your article! Looking forward to go reading your others now :) Warm regards, A.

Thank you very much for your comment. I believe that together we make the change we need. And to be the change we want to see we have to start by giving legitimacy to our voice on issues that affect us.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

I have read your piece over and over thinking about the appropriate way to respond. First, my heart bleeds when I read about the attack on you. I thank you for sharing your story as it is painful to open the wounds within us.

I also thank you for taking a stand to draw attention to the heinous crimes perpetrated upon Muslim women and all women around the world. There is a risk when talking about one group of making a cultural judgment as Rashid seems to be doing. This detracts the focus from the crime itself and instead of focusing on the victim or the steps that need to be taken to prevent such a crime from happening again, the crime becomes upheld as a reflection of a particular culture. Affiliating a manifestation of abuse with one culture or community doesn't solve any problems and as you say, it doesn't help the women who remain the victims of this abuse.

Together, men and women alike, we must denounce the abuse and violence against ALL women for so long as women suffer abuses, they cannot achieve their full potential as free and equal members of society.

Thanks. The good thing about this kind of impasse with people who defends their privileges is the oportunity to show that Muslim women aren't voiceless, just consistently ignored.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

While testosterone may be a call to physical action, how it is channeled is learned behavior and a choice once one is an adult.