Wife Beating: Jordan

Everyone’s been talking about it lately and alot of views have been shared that range from the constructive to the destructive. Outrage has been expressed and so has doubt, so I thought I would take the oppertunity to make my views clear on the reactions because they are just as important (if not more than) the actual numbers. It tends to be people’s reactions that change the world; especially when followed by action (revolution in reverse).

First, I have my personal doubts about these numbers but that’s just me. I will however assume they are correct for the sake of always factoring in the worst case scenerio and forming a policy based on such.

Second, I do not condone abuse on any level based on my personal and religious convictions.

The general sentiment this week has been: “are these women crazy to think like this?!”

We always compare and contrast our society with the western world and somewhere down the line we forget we are different. When abuse occurs a woman does not pack her bags and say “cya later” and has her new boyfriend pick her up outside in a Chevy. Does everyone seriously think that all the women and men of jordan have this whole boyfriend-girlfriend social paradigm going on like in swefieh and abdoun? the majority of our culture does not live in these “aristocratic” neighbourhoods, they live in villages, in towns and cities much more communal and therefore traditional.

So what does a woman do? She knows the culture is that her husband has seen his father hit his mother and so forth. She knows it’s wrong and that its a sickness, but what is worse than a sickness is the bitter solution. Should she divorce? Then what? She stays at home until someone somwhere comes and marries her? A divorcee? The man can find a wife the next day, the woman cannot, hence her only option is to either divorce and most likely never marry again, burdening her already poor parents. Or wait it out. She knows that as time passes the relationship becomes less abusive. By the time she has a few kids it stops all-together in most cases. This is not to imply women are weak or inferior or cannot be independent, but most of them in our society do not have the oppertunity to be independent. By “oppertunities” I’m not talking just about social roles, I’m talking about money and class and other things of this nature that are not available to every man and woman in Jordan.

So she waits it out.

I do not condone hitting, I think it’s wrong, these women know it’s wrong as well…but the options are limited. These women do not all have degrees and can make great money and live indpendent lives, nor do they exist in a society where there is a boyfriend around the corner. Nor do they live in a society where they can rent the studio apartment at the village corner, be interior designers and drink starbucks jaza on their way to work. Their fates are sealed and they simply choose the lesser of two evils.

Please also keep in mind…

As time passes by we are socially improving, it is inevitable. Especially in Jordan. You think THESE stastics are bad? Lord have mercy, they didnt even bother taking records of such thing less than 50 years ago! Do you realise that less than a century ago Jordan and Arabs were mostly farmers and traders with little or no formal education? How many have grandfathers with degrees, or great-grandfathers? Think about it this way, the cultralization that has taken place in Jordan in the past 50 years is probably greater than all the years in the region’s history put together. Essentially, the man today who beats his wife perhaps twice a month had a father who beat his wife twice a week, and a grandfather who beat his wife twice a day and so forth.

In a few decades the number of incidents will eventually drop but the approval of the women may remain and I sadly must support them in that. Note that these women are not saying they have been beaten over burning food or for cheating, but that they support beating in such cases. I’ve never known a woman in Jordan to be beat for cheating on her husband, that personally doesn’t make sense to me give the fact that in our society, cheating is synonomous with divorce.

The stastics mean very little to me. What concerns me are the actions that they are attributed to and those, with the culturalization of our society, will eventually disspear and with them the generation of woman with this thinking pattern.

So if you’re reading this u can probably afford Internet access…so perhaps this is an occassion to thank God for what you have. That mouse underneath your palm is a powerful symbolic instrument, more than you may ever know.

Posted In: Jordan

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