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Domestic Violence in the West

At a time when the hostile media is incessant in its attempts to defame and ridicule Islam and the muslim woman, to portray her as oppressed and abused, the following facts should be enough to prove that the disbelieving nations are more worthy of the accusations they throw at others.

“They Don’t Treat Their Women Very Well”

An American Woman married to a Muslim man (visit her website) writes: I can’t tell you how many times I heard that phrase, over and again, from well-meaning friends, when they found out I was going marry a *gasp!* Muslim! I was also warned that he was just marrying me for a green card. To add insult injury, when I was planning a trip to Pakistan with my baby and to meet my husband’s family, I heard all the “Not Without My Daughter” horror stories. “Aren’t you afraid they’ll try to take your baby?” I would ask, who do you mean by “they?” The Government of Pakistan? The general populace? My husband’s family? Are you telling me that my husband’s family exists to totally screw me over and take my son? People have always been afraid of what they don’t understand. To make things worse, the perception of Muslims and Islam in western society has been totally skewed by movies and the media.

“Glass Houses”. We all know the adage, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” When you hear someone say something to the effect that “muslims don’t treat their women well,” then it’s time to say, “Oh, and Americans do?” Here are some statistics on spousal (or significant other) abuse, murder, and rape that men commit against their women partners, here in America, in the twenty-first century.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES

MURDER . Every day four women die in this country as a result of domestic violence, the euphemism for murders and assaults by husbands and boyfriends. That’s approximately 1,400 women a year, according to the FBI. The number of women who have been murdered by their intimate partners is greater than the number of soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.

BATTERING . Although only 572,000 reports of assault by intimates are officially reported to federal officials each year, the most conservative estimates indicate two to four million women of all races and classes are battered each year. At least 170,000 of those violent incidents are serious enough to require hospitalization, emergency room care or a doctor’s attention.

SEXUAL ASSAULT . Every year approximately 132,000 women report that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and more than half of them knew their attackers. It’s estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it. Every year 1.2 million women are forcibly raped by their current or former male partners, some more than once.

THE TARGETS . Women are 10 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate. Young women, women who are separated, divorced or single, low- income women and African-American women are disproportionately victims of assault and rape. Domestic violence rates are five times higher among families below poverty levels, and severe spouse abuse is twice as likely to be committed by unemployed men as by those working full time. Violent attacks on lesbians and gay men have become two to three times more common than they were prior to 1988.

IMPACT ON CHILDREN . Violent juvenile offenders are four times more likely to have grown up in homes where they saw violence. Children who have witnessed violence at home are also five times more likely to commit or suffer violence when they become adults.

IMPACT ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES . Women who are battered have more than twice the health care needs and costs than those who are never battered. Approximately 17 percent of pregnant women report having been battered, and the results include miscarriages, stillbirths and a two to four times greater likelihood of bearing a low birth weight baby. Abused women are disproportionately represented among the homeless and suicide victims. Victims of domestic violence are being denied insurance in some states because they are considered to have a “pre-existing condition.”

SOURCES:
“Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report”, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., January 1994.

“The National Women’s Study,” Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, 1992.

“Five Issues In American Health,” American Medical Association, Chicago, 1991.

Bullock, Linda F. and Judith McFarlane, “The Birth Weight/Battering Connection,” Journal of American Nursing, September 1989.

McFarlane, Judith, et. al., “Assessing for Abuse During Pregnancy,” Journal of the American Medical Association, June 17, 1992.

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, 1992.

Sheehan, Myra A. “An Interstate Compact on Domestic Violence: What are the Advantages?” Juvenile and Family Justice Today, 1993.

Sherman, Lawrence W. et al. Domestic Violence: Experiments and Dilemmas, 1990.



* Domestic Violence accounts for a quarter of all reported violent crime. [Working Party Report, Victim Support, 1992]

* Each year 100,000 women seek treatment in London for violent injuries caused in their homes.
[Punching Judy, BBC TV Documentary, 1989]

* Domestic Violence is not limited to physical assault. It includes sexual abuse and mental cruelty which undermine a woman’s self-esteem. [McGibbon and Kelly, “Abuse of Women in the Home”, 1989]

* Research conducted by Police found that 2/3 of all men believed that they would respond violently to their partners in certain situations. [Islington Council, 1994]

* Almost half of all murders of women are killings by current or former partners. [National Working Party Report on Domestic Violence, Victim Support, 1992]



From OASIS – “Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter”. You can visit their website. Adapted from the American Bar Association.

Every day 4 women are **murdered** by their husbands, boyfriends, or ex-boyfriends after reported abuse.

An estimated 2 to 6 million women are battered annually in the USA.

Battering is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15-44.

One out of four pregnant women are battered. The battering may start or excalate during pregnancy.

Medical expenses from Domestic Violence total at least $3 billion annually and businesses lose another $100 million in sick leave, absenteeism and productivity.

One out of 7 girls is abused by her boyfriend, and many will be abused by their husbands.

Every Day four women are murdered by their husbands, boyfriends, or ex-boyfriends after reported abuse.

Courtship violence is wide-spread and underreported by both men and women. 30% of High School students have experienced physical or sexual violence in dating relationships. 37% of Men and 35% of Women have inflicted some form of physical aggression on their dating partners.

Women sustained more injuries than men, and they were two to three times more likely to experience unwanted sexual intercourse.

95% of violent crime on Campus is alcohol or drug related.

37% of the assailants and 55% of victims of rape had used alcohol or other drugs.

Husbands and boyfriends commit 13,000 acts of violence against women in the workplace every year (United States Department of Justice, 1994).

Over 1.7 million women were physically abused in 1995 by their male partners, one every 12 seconds (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

There were approximently 4.5 million violent crimes against women in 1992 and 1993. (The Justice Department recognizes that this is an under-estimation of domestic violence and violence against women). (Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey).

50% of all women will be involved in some type of abusive relationship in their life time. We could be talking about your daughters, your mothers, your wives, your girlfriends.

In 95% of VIOLENT CRIMES on campuses, ALCOHOL OR DRUGS WERE A FACTOR.

30% of High School students have experienced physical or sexual violence in dating relationships.

37% of men and 35% of women have inflicted some form of physical aggression with their dating partners.

For every 1 rape that IS reported, 10 are NOT reported.

By the most conservative estimate, each year 1 million women suffer nonfatal violence by an intimate. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey (NCJ-154348), August 1995, p. 3.)

Other estimates suggest that 4 million American women experience a serious assault by an intimate partner during an average 12-month period. (American Psychl. Ass’n. Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 10.)

Nearly 1 in 3 adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. (American Psychl. Ass’n. Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 10.)

In 1993, approximately 575,000 men were arrested for committing violence against women, approximately 49,000 women were arrested for committing violence against men. (American Psychl. Ass’n. Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 10.)

Domestic violence is statistically consistent across racial and ethnic boundaries. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey (NCJ-154348), August 1995, p. 3.)

90-95% of domestic violence victims are women. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Findings: Violence Between Intimates (NCJ-149259), November 1994.)

Much of female violence is committed in self-defense, and inflicts less injury than male violence. (Chalk & King, eds., Violence in Families: Assessing Prevention & Treatment Programs, National Resource Council and Institute of Medicine, p. 42 (1996).)

47% of men who beat their wives do so at least 3 times per year. (AMA Diagnostic & Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence, SEC: 94-677: 3M: 9/94 (1994).)

In homes where partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused. (Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Family Violence: Interventions for the Justice System, 1993.)

26% of pregnant teens reported being physically abused by their boyfriends, about half of them said the battering began or intensified after he learned of her pregnancy. (Brustin, S., Legal Response to Teen Dating Violence, Family Law Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 2, 333-334 (Summer 1995) (citing Worcester, A More Hidden Crime: Adolescent Battered Women, The Network News, July/Aug., National Women’s Health Network 1993).)

Female victims of violence are 2.5 times more likely to be injured when the violence is committed by an intimate than when committed by a stranger. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey (NCJ-154348), August 1995, p. 4.)

Domestic violence is an ongoing cycle producing increasingly severe injuries over time, battered women are likely to see physicians frequently. (Children’s Safety Network, Domestic Violence: A Directory of Protocols for Health Care Providers (1992) p. (1).)

65% of intimate homicide victims had separated from the perpetrator prior to their death. (Florida Governor’s Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Morality Review Project, 1997, p. 47, table 17.)

88% of victims domestic violence fatalities had a documented history of physical abuse. (Florida Governor’s Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Morality Review Project, 1997, pp. 46-48, tables 14-21.)

44% of victims of intimate homicides had prior threats by the killer to kill victim or self. 30% had prior police calls to the residence. 17% had a protection order. (Florida Governor’s Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Morality Review Project, 1997, pp. 46-48, tables 14-21.)

Ally Mcbeal: Between Success and Despair

by M. A. Muqtedar Khan Ally McBeal has captured the fascination of millions of Americans. The recent Emmy has not only confirmed the success of the show but has added to its appeal. The success of the show and the “connection” that Ally is able to make with American audiences is both enigmatic as well as revealing. Ally McBeal

On a show, which is a cross between a soap opera and a sitcom, she presents a complex picture of the modern, liberated, Western woman. What is not clear to me is if Ally is a critique or a model of the emerging notions of “womanhood” in the era of feminism.

Ally is a feminist’s dream come true. She walks tall in a Man’s world. She goes to an elite law school (dumps her childhood boyfriend for a higher ranked and prestigious college), works for an exciting yet controversial and high profile law firm packed with successful and beautiful young people. Everything is hunky dory except for the fact, that there is no man in Ally’s life. The show takes her success for granted and focusses more on the despair that constantly prevents Ally from enjoying her success.

While understandably the situations conjured in the show are designed to generate mirth, they end up highlighting the extent of Ally’s alienation and frustration at her numerous failures to find a man who would love her for who she is. Ally is often so desperate that she will stop at nothing to find or get a man. Curiously Ally often approaches her problem as a man would (I mean in the days when there was difference between what a man was and what a woman was). The rumor that a nude model at an art school is extraordinarily endowed prompts her to join the class to ogle and eventually sleep with him. She even hires escorts to help in an elaborate schema to snare a doctor.

The show has spawned many articles and T.V. shows which have analyzed the reasons behind its success. The general consensus seems to be that Ally’s existential dilemmas and social plight has resonated very strongly with a large constituency of American women whose life she mirrors. I find it terrifying that there are millions of Ally’s out there. The jokes apart, Ally is unpredictable. She is a powerful, intelligent, successful but highly alienated and frustrated being prone to quixotic peccadilloes very time she is overcome by despair. Indeed the singular theme of her life is the triumph of despair over success.

Why is Ally McBeal so miserable? She has everything any person would want. A prestigious degree, a great job and a sexy roommate! Is her life a critique of the direction in which contemporary feminists are shaping womanhood? Is her story an empirical proof that there is indeed such a thing as “womanhood”? The show raises more questions than it answers. Wonder if it will ask the big one. Will Ally give up her successful career for a happy life with the man of her dreams? Perhaps her career and her politics have no room for a man who might make such a demand, even if her heart dares to fall for such a man.

Call me old fashioned if you like, but I think the feminist project to bridge the gap between Man and Woman is actually resulting more in women aping men than transforming the relationship between them. Increasingly success for women is becoming more like a man or having what men have. While they are successful in emulating successful men, it does not lead to happiness. The current notions of “success” are also defined by men as was the pre-feminism conception of womanhood. If women are going to advance an alternate conception of what it means to be a woman, shouldn’t it also include a definition of what it means to be a successful woman? I think Ally’s life is a good pointer to the fact that success inextricably entwined with despair may not be a great lifestyle. Is Ally’s life, so full of promise and so full of opportunities, so sadly drowned in despair, a victim of this lacuna in the feminist agenda? 

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