January 1, 2006

Domestic Violence Month

Posted in Joy's Story at 4:42 am by iBlog

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month in the USA, devoted to connecting battered women’s advocates across the nation to work together to end violence against women and children.

The issue, however, is not country specific. Domestic violence is a menace that is found all over the world. It is a disease prevailing in all strata of society, present in the lives of the educated and uneducated, the rich and the poor. Bangladeshi women experience some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world.

In this report we will see how Bangladeshi bloggers have started making waves in the fight against domestic violence to bring justice to its victims, proving the power of cyberactivism once again.

Via Samiha Esha we take a look at the story of (*name withheld on the request of the victim as she was blackmailed and forced to request omitting the name), a lecturer of Brac University who was brutally assaulted by her husband, (*name withheld on the request of the victim ), in New York, where he is a student at Columbia University.

*Victim on her wedding day  brutally assaulted
*Victim (L) on her wedding day; and (R) after being brutally assaulted by her husband

Pictures tell a thousand words. but *Victim’s note says more:

I am lucky to be alive, and there must be a reason why the month-long abuse I sustained did not culminate in my death. I had said my ‘innah lillah..’s and was prepared to die, but that didn’t happen. Instead, he raped me with my head draped with a scarf so that he wouldn’t have to look at my disfigured face.

She was rescued by police and the *victim is now in the custody of the NY police. Dr. Kathryn Ward at Nari Jibon’s Bangladesh from our view has more updates:

Her abusive husband’s elite family is threatening her family with false cases. More recently many prominent Bangladeshi women’s organizations and leaders have protested the continued harassment of *victim and her family and called for justice in Bangladesh and USA.

Some have organized on Facebook a group to provide Justice for the *victim! while others are speaking up and writing to challenge the victim-blaming anti-victim activities of the abuser’s, family, and friends who have posted misinformation on these websites!

Adhunika Blog has some shocking statistics:

Studies show that up to 3 million women are physically abused annually by intimate partners in the United States. However, the numbers seem worse for the South Asian community in the U.S, where approximately 41% of women are physically and/or sexually abused in some way by their current male partners in their lifetime. Unfortunately, the real percentage may be higher as many South Asian women are less likely to categorize various interactions as domestic violence, or are afraid or prevented from reporting such incidents.

The Blog lists some helpful links to different domestic violence groups in USA that provide information about domestic violence and different services to victims.

Now let’s go to Bangladesh to learn about more violence against women.

rahela
Rahela

On October 22, 2007 Manobi posted about Rahela, a working class teenage girl who was gang raped lead by a former colleague who also slit her throat was slit and mutilated her body with acid three years ago. Before her painful death she could name the devils who did this to her mother. A case is on trial in court and the first hearing will be on October 29, 2007. A leading human rights organization “Ain O Salish Kendra” is fighting for justice for Rahela and is leading the court battle. The accused are hiding from the law and may be acquited due to insufficient evidence. Her husband remarried after six months and is happy that she could save him and his family from becoming a suspect by naming the culprits. This negligence is another form of violence!

In her post [bn] Manobi urged the bloggers to amplify the news everywhere they could, especially in the local media, so that Rahela can get justice. The post received an enormous response–222 comments to date. Jiner Badshah posted another appeal titled “justice must prevail” [bn] to the Bangladeshi blogger community to create petitions, spread the news among the local media and create awareness in social networking sites.

And it worked like a wonder, as articles have started to appear in the local media. This has prompted local journalists like Foisal Noi [bn] to go to Rahela’s village and dig up more information on the case. A significant TV broadcast about Rahela’s case is planned for October 29. Whether Rahela will get justice, only time will tell. But that single post by Manobi led to a level of activity in the society that was certainly unprecedented.

Manobi says in an email:

Now it feels like, Rahela is not abandoned, she is not forgotten. This ovewhelming response once again proves Humanity is the religion what we all follow.

I urge all the cyber activists of the world to raise your voices against the domestic violences of your communities and create more awareness on this subject. Sometimes all it takes is the power of one to bring about change.

(*name withheld on the request of the victim as she was blackmailed and forced to request us to omit the name)

Posted by Rezwan

Victimization of Egyptian Women and Children

Posted in Victimization of Egyptian Women at 3:37 am by iBlog

Fantasia is a girl who dreams of a better future for Egyptian women. Writing about herself, she says:

“I am proud to be a girl and I want to spread the word among all females. I believe in female superiority as opposed to all the false claims that have been laid through history to prove the opposite. I want girls, especially in my country, to start believing in themselves and to be valuable citizens who actively join the work force and push their society to positive change.”

Fantasia’s World raises crucial issues that hold back the Egyptian society all together; namely women’s rights, violence against women and children, and the general misconceptions of male-female relationships in the Egyptian society and in the Arab world. In a recent post, she tackles the issue of how Egyptian women and children are being victimized by traditions, law, and the Muslim Brothers.

In her post, Fantasia touches base on the laws dealing with children’s rights which were amended in the aftermath of a whirlwind of debates in Egypt. The articles are being revised due to the fierce resistance of the Muslim Brotherhood, who occupy 88 seats in the Egyptian Parliament. They “disfigure anything they object to, and represent it in the most horrible attire to the masses who have come to consider them as their trusted source of information and ready made judgements” wrote Fantasia.

With a lot of insight, Fantasia portrays how the life of a typical Egyptian mother is a living hell; she has no say in how many children she could have because for as long as her husband wants children, it is her duty as an obedient wife to grant him the kids his heart desires.

“then, she becomes responsible for nourishing those kids, upbringing them alone (just like a single mom) looking after their health, taking them to school, helping with their homework (if she is educated), besides her regular chores of course, and satisfying her husband in every possible way. Which means, that basically this woman never gets a chance to have any time for herself,” adds Fantasia.

In a not-so-rare scenario in Egypt, the man has the right to beat his wife and children as much and as severely as he wishes and no criminal charges can be filed against him – unless one of them dies as a result of this beating. Why?

“Because some crazy sadistic men have claimed that this is an authorized tool for disciplining a man’s wife and children in Islam! Which is absolutely not true” explains the infuriated Fantasia.

In 2008, and for the first time, new laws are being endorsed to protect children in Egypt. According to Fantasia, those laws include:

1- Prohibiting the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and considering it a criminal act which deserves to be punished by law.

2- Considering severe beating of a child by his/her parents to be a violation against child rights, and therefore authorities will have the right to press charges against the parent in case of severe injuries and causing disabilities.

3- Raising the age of marriage for females to 18 and any female under this age can not have a legal marriage certificate.

4- Giving a mother the right to register her children under her name in the case of conceiving and giving birth to a child outside of wedlock.

The Muslim Brotherhood objected saying [Ar]:

1- FGM should be left as a matter of choice. If parents wish to preserve the “chastity” of their daughters through this procedure, then it is their way of protecting her and deciding what is good for her!

2- The Muslim Brotherhood considers the banning of corporal punishment to be imported to Western societies saying that it is an authorized method of disciplining children according to Islam.

3- MBs like the idea of kids getting married in the name of preserving their chastity and forming a young family.

4- Children who are the fruit of an sinful relationship should be condemned for having an adulterous mother. If this law is accepted, the society and family ties will suffer and men and women will have nothing to stop them from fornification.

“Yeah.. yeah. Great macho men! So, this is religion, huh? We are supposed to buy this, aren’t we? So, Islam for you is a religion that rewards sadists, psychos and brutal men, while it punishes women and children, the scum of earth, right? Now, let me see this clearly. According to you, we are worshiping a sick man in the sky.. for this being you are claiming to talk on behalf of can never be a deity of any kind.. he can not raise to the level of the human even! What a bunch of psychos you are! I bet that the devil himself has got more ethics than you do,” concludes Fantasia.