Ive been to more than 15 countries around the world, and thus far, the general treatment of women in US society takes first place for lacking in respect and consideration.
Women in the Arab world are regarded as the pride and honor of the family/household, and so they have a certain role to play in our societies, thats a part of our culture. That being said, the men of the family take extra care in looking after their sisters and mother. Because this is the norm in our societies, men from other families are extra careful when talking to or interacting with women in our society, because its common knowledge that if women are ill treated or disrespected, it is an affront to the family name and its pride. So its not common for men to disrespect women in public society, unless he does not worry about his wellbeing. This is a lot different in the states...moving here from the Middle East, it became more and more clear that there is no exceptional consideration for women in public amongst strangers. It takes as little as some woman accidentally stepping on some guys toe by accident to hurl a derogatory slur at her...without second thought...This is unacceptable in our society and if overheard by other men bystanders, it will not slide without objection, even if they don't know the woman. Chivalry is alive and well in the Arab world, whereas it diminishes more and more with time here. So on a wider public scale, women in the Muslim/Arab world are treated in an exceptionally higher degree of respect and consideration than they are here.
Now about wife-beating under Islam...it is there. It basically says that if your wife is acting out and she refuses to comply with the husband in whatever disagreement they may have, that there are forms of 'punishment' or ways to which the husband can respond appropriately. 'Beating' is obviously final resort and is ONLY considered appropriate if the wifes actions may HURT the family and its well being if not altered. That narrows down the applicable scenario's to a mere few...also, 'beating' has parameters which render the 'beating' symbolic rather than physically harmful. In fact, it mentions more specifically that if it were ever to happen, one must not strike the face, one must not leave a mark if/when stuck, and one must not use anything larger than the size of our modern day toothbrush, only under those parameters and damaging risk to the well being of the family is this allowed. Now play that image in your head....its ineffective, useless and quite silly. To sum it up, physical confrontation must be avoided at all cost, only after the silent treatment and sleeping on the couch for a while and involving respected family elders to solve the issue is beating even a valid thought.
Now to my personal take...any man that lays a finger on any woman, refers to her in any derogatory fashion is no man at all. Women are the backbone to all men, and are at the roots of every healthy household, thats how I see it. That said, men beat their wives in THIS country as well as every other, with little or no consequences, for any reason they find worthy. It just so happens that Islam puts limits on even those twisted men that are to insecure and incapable of finding a decent solution to issues. The only thing significant about the mistreatment of women is that it shows just how lacking that man is of all decency and 'manliness'.
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