Violence against women in Latin America has recently been classified as an epidemic in the area, sexual abuse is one of the main forms of violence, and the situation of women in the rest of the planet is not very different. According to a report from the World Health Organization and statistics from the UN Women,”recent figures of the global prevalence indicate that one in three girls in the world (35 percent ) has suffered physical and/or sexual abuse of a few or sexual abuse by third parties at some point in their lives”.
In the wake of the growing wave of violence against women, protests are arranged in different areas of the world, in an unsuccessful effort to stop it, particularly after cases are heard that shake the people due to their cruelty and sadism. And in those protests, you may read countless posters with phrases of repudiation of violence and support for girls. Among those phrases that caught my attention and that I’ve seen repeatedly is:”We live in a world where they teach women to take care to not be raped, instead of teaching men NOT TO VIOLATE”… I was called to attention for two reasons:
Initially, because I saw a harsh truth in that phrase, because I was born and raised in a macho society where it’s taken as normal for men to harass women in the street, to inform them obscenities or to touch them impudently; in which it’s common for men to beat their women because they have”rights” to them in some areas of the country, women consider their husbands have the right to hit them, because they are their husbands, and they get angry if someone tries to defend them!!! It appears a joke, but it’s not-, and I believe that to a large extent that the high rate of sexual violence against girls in my country and in the rest of the world is machismo.
The second, because I’d have liked to explain to the man who wrote that phrase that Islam does teach men to”not violate”. Moreover, before referring to the issue of women’s behavior and dress, the Koran calls men’s attention to their behaviour and gives them a strong warning: This God is telling men that they shouldn’t even look at girls undulyup to that level men have to respect women, in spite of their eyes! And they’re warned that God knows what they are doing, even if nobody else knows, God knows. In the first place, God addresses men and orders them to behave well and respect women; then he addresses women and requests them to behave well and dress modestly, because Islam is fair, and teaches us that both women and men must meet our share of responsibility to make this a better world and live in harmony. So Islam teaches men not to rape because if they are even forbidden to examine girls unduly, they are much more forbidden to touch them unduly.
Islam has approached the dilemma of good treatment of women in a detailed and in depth fashion, emphasizing the special respect it deserves in each of the various stages it goes through during its life – when it’s a daughter, when she is a wife and when she is a mother-, as we shall see below.
Respect for girls
Before Islam was revealed, one of the Arabs was considered a hardship the arrival of a woman. While men were the origin of the pride of their parents and relatives, women were cause for despair and disappointment; and because of this, they had the dreadful habit of burying alive the newly born girls. God categorically condemned this attitude and these crimes, saying: When one of these is declared [the birth of] a woman, the affliction and distress is reflected in her face because of what’s been announced to her, she hides from the people ashamed and doubt whether he’ll let her live regardless of his disgrace or bury her alive. What a dreadful thing they are doing! [Quran 16: 58-59]; and warns that one day will come, the Day of Judgment,When women are requested to be buried alive for what sin they were murdered [Quran 81: 8-9]. In this manner God forbade this crazy practice considering it a very serious sin. Then a man in the audience asked:”What if he has just two daughters?” The Prophet replied:”Even if he has two brothers.”
This is how Islam establishes the worth of girls from birth and provides them a place of honour by making them a source of blessing for their parents in this life and at the other.
Respect towards the mother
Islam commands respect and decent treatment towards our parents but elevates the status of the mother over the father. It is related that a man appeared before the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and asked him: “O Messenger of Allah! Who’s the man who deserves my business?” He responded:”Your mom.” The guy asked:”Then who?” The Prophet replied:”Your mother.” The Prophet said:”Your mother.” And the man asked again:”And then who?” And the Prophet said: “Then your father” (Bukhari and Muslim).
The Prophet spoke of the respect we should have towards our aunts. He asked:”Does your mom live?” He replied no, then the Prophet asked him:”Do you have any maternal aunt alive?” The man said yes, then the Prophet said to him:”Be good and considerate for her” (Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim, Ibn Hibban); and he also said:”The mother’s sister has a status like that of their mother” (Bukhari).
Respect to the wife
Said the Prophet Muhammad:”The best one among men is the one who best treats his wife.”
The Koran commands: … kindly treat girls in coexistence. And if something of them should displease you [be tolerant], it might be that you dislike something in which God has set a great for you [Koran 4:19].
Throughout the last sermon given by the Prophet Muhammad before his death, he said:”… Treat your women well and be kind to them, because they are the companions.”