By Sabo Ibrahim Hassan
Did I just say Religious Domestic Violence? Of course, you heard me very right. It may though initially sound quite odd and obfuscated, but when you allow it to sink and give the brain some time to analyze the phrase critically, it will indeed become your today’s take-home. While countless homes unknowingly suffer from this type of domestic abuse, notably in religious geographies, the need to unveil and tackle this type of intimate partner violence becomes an inevitable obligation.
According to the United Nations (UN), Domestic Violence, also called “domestic abuse” or “intimate partner violence”, can be defined as a pattern of behaviour in any relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats that influence another person. This includes behaviour that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, injures, or wounds someone.
In line with the definition above, we can say that religious-domestic violence refers to the use of half-baked understanding or rather misconception of religious command, painted with sentiment, to inflict a sense of insecurity, and manipulate or frighten the psychology of partner, to ultimately have their total control.
The ill-conceived interpretation and manipulation of some scriptural verses is the primary cause of this religious-domestic violence. However, the issue remains controversial because many deem it the only way to sustain their power and maltreatment against their intimate partners. Besides, our inability to question any irrational interpretation of any scripture, simply because the compass of our thought has been disoriented, hence forced to think in lower rather than higher resolution, has chiefly contributed to the escalation of this menace. Meanwhile, we are not challenging the scripture rather the unfair interpretation of it. Additionally, the fear that you can be easily given your certificate to hell by some so-called custodians of religion has made this type of domestic violence seemingly undefeatable.
The effect of this pseudo-domestic violence is such apparent that it has stolen the joy and peace of many homes, leaving most women helpless with severe psychological trauma. Moreover, the effect is not restricted to the primary victim. It also affects the closest people to the victim, like children, affecting their psychology and perspective. Hence, the fear, insecurity, and misconception of the sacred meaning are passed through different generations, leaving potential victims banged up in fright and uncertainty.
Religious domestic violence often cuts across mental, economic, and psychological boundaries. For example, in a situation where one, due to his badly thought-out interpretation, renders one’s wife inferior, with no regard in decision making, it becomes psychological. Similarly, when one marries or bears children more than one’s capability, that certainly involves both the mental and economic nature of domestic violence. The superiority of men over women lies in their ability to protect them with all their might, provide for them, support them with all they have, and be a shoulder for them to lean on, anywhere, any time.
Rational and fair explanations of some sacred commands, notably those related to marriage, should be the priority of any society that wants to see the end of this menace. That reminds me of a viral video of a woman perceived to be a scholar, preaching to some Muslim women that, should their husbands slap them, they should be patient and respectful enough to, perhaps, kneel and ask for forgiveness while pretending like nothing though happened. I still can’t see any rationale behind her counsel, let alone relevance. Authorities should inexcusably halt such fake scholars. Fair counter-explanation and how to morally react under situations of such nature should be explicitly taught and encouraged.
Until a reasonable explanation of the scripture becomes paramount, and an irrational interpretation painted with sentiment is scrapped, many homes will continue to live in agony. Many men will continue to hide under the masquerade of religious interpretation to maltreat their partners. Therefore, creating a paradigm shift in geographies affected by this unfair perspective becomes necessary. Sensitization is vital, and the responsibility to do that is collective.
Know your religion and what it says, seek rational interpretation of the scriptures, and do not hesitate to question anything irrational.
Sabo Ibrahim Hassan sent this article via email@example.com.