History is full of societies that foolishly regarded women as worthless and have applied various forms of violence against them. Violence against women is this century’s major social problem as well. Every year, international organizations investigate the psychological and cultural reasons for this problem, its effect on society and the traumas it causes to women. International bodies seek to prevent the problem by redrawing the legal sanctions about violence against women yet none of these have to date represented a solution to violence against women.
According to U.N. data, women represent 49.7% of the world population. Yet in most countries women are thought of in terms of the violence and oppression they suffer. Women are known to be exposed to either overt or covert discrimination in just about all communities in different spheres such as work, politics and education. Currently, only 5.2% of the CEOs of the world’s 500 largest companies are women. The position is no different in politics. Female representation in national parliaments barely exceeds 30% in 23 countries. On the other hand, women represent 70% of the 3.5 billion poorest people in the world.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) conducted a wide-ranging study of 4,000 women aged 18-72 from 28 European countries. According to the report, the country with the highest level of violence is Denmark, at 52%, followed by Holland at 45% and France at 44%. The average level of all 28 countries is 33%.
According to the figures in the report, one out of every 10 women is subjected to sexual abuse from the age of 15, and one in every 20 is raped. In addition, one in every five women has been subjected to violence by her present or former partner. Despite these figures, only 14% of women complained to the judicial authorities having been victims of violence by spouses and 13% being victims of violence from strangers.
According to research by the U.S. government in 2011, one in every four women has suffered violence. Twenty-nine million women suffer physical violence at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends. In interviews, women say that their husbands have tried to strangle them, or have beaten them, stabbed them or shot them.
An interesting and highly thought-provoking finding emerges when one looks at the countries in which research has been performed: Denmark, Holland, France and the USA are all countries with high levels of prosperity. This shows that the problem will evidently not disappear with economic well-being or education systems that load people up with information without addressing their consciences.
The problem is also of very serious dimensions when one looks at Muslim countries. The reason for this sad state of affairs is that women are regarded as second-class citizens in most Muslim countries, and false, made-up hadiths in various Islamic sources are cited as supporting evidence for this. This fanatical way of thinking that espouses violence against women in the name of religion claims that those who advocate freedoms for women are opposing religious values.
In point of fact, the underlying cause of the violence in society is the materialism that has been imposed for many years, and the lack of faith that results from it. People who are self-absorbed, arrogant and think only of their own interests start to feel an intense dissatisfaction; that gives rise to intense feelings of envy, jealousy, lovelessness and hatred. Lack of affection, compassion and understanding give way to conflict and aggression. The belief that it is the strong who survives – not the virtuous – then turns the world into a veritable hell of lovelessness.
No self-centered, unhealthy person ready to explode like a bomb at any moment can abandon the inherent culture of violence in his soul, no matter how wealthy he is or even if he has graduated from the best schools. Egoism and lovelessness encourage people not to value others. Men and women who come together out of self-interest will gradually come to loathe one another, the result being that women, who are physically less robust, become exposed to violence. Under such circumstances, even the finest of homes can become prisons for woman, and the most beautiful of environments a nightmare.
The abuse of women is a tragedy involved with several perverse ideologies. However, if that tragedy can be prevented in Islamic countries in particular, this can lead to a solution throughout the world as a whole. The dissemination of a mentality based on the superiority and protection of women, as described in the Qur’an, will prevent women from being subjected to such horrors as murder, abuse, torture and rape. Societies that value women will be role models for other societies, thus leading to the disappearance of maltreatment of women across the world.
A woman is one of the loveliest manifestations of God in the world, and a very special being. Since someone who loves and fears God will know that God has created the woman in front of him, he will feel the greatest love and respect for her. No man who truly fears God would ever speak offensively to a woman, but will protect her with all the means at his disposal. He will not ignore her, but rather draw strength from her feelings of love for him, and hold her in the highest regard as his equal.
That is why international organizations need to focus on education and love of God in particular. People need to know that offending women is something displeasing to God, the Creator of the universe, and must therefore fear losing their closeness to God, the Most Beloved. Symposia and seminars could be held on the subject in schools, colleges and universities: It is very important for young people to be told of the existence of God, and that God has deemed violence and egoism unlawful. Through the global spread of love, affection and compassion, violence against women will disappear entirely and, by the leave of God, love of women will prevail across the world.
Societies that value women as they deserve are always happy, free and developing. It is impossible for societies that truly value women to collapse. They invariably progress and become ever more democratic. The protection and valuing of women is therefore something sincerely needed by the entire world.
Adnan Oktar's piece on National Yemen: