These won't leave visible bruises, so technically they are allowed..... But why do religious figures keep repeating that men need to hit women?? Why not look at religion a little differently? Even if beating is in religion, and religious figures translate it into very mild hitting with a toothpick, "sewak," why encourage it?? It was never a religious order. If a man does not hit his wife, he will not go to hell. Why not say that its purpose is just to let the wife know you are angry and you cannot take it anymore... so dont hit your wife or abuse her, just communicate your unhappiness, no need to be violent.
They all see how society currently thinks... so maybe it isnt a good idea now to tell men, go hit your wives... because the result is injury, humiliation, abuse, and breaking a relationship which can never be fixed. Maybe in this day and age, religious authorities need to come out and say no to violence all together... dont allow just a little violence... ban it completely. Is it okay to hit a colleague who disagrees with you at work?? If it isnt, then can you communicate your displeasure without using physical force?? If you can do it at work, I guarantee you can do it at home!! Now we all know that God is fair, and he would in no way mandate abusing human beings, so it would be reasonable if religious figures, seeing the kind of abuse happening today, actually forbid men from using force with women they share a life with.
The problem with physical abuse is that it not only encompasses beating women, but it also involves other forms of abuse, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) , otherwise called female circumcision.
As you can see , the incidence of FGM in Egypt is one of the highest in the world. Female circumcision is in no way related to religion. It is an ancient African tradition, designed to subdue women and deprive them of sexual pleasure, so women will not be tempted to cheat. In short it is the easy way out for males who do not care how much they damage a woman physically and emotionally, as long as their pride in front of other men is intact, to be comfortable knowing they can rest easy at night, and abuse their wives, without worrying that their wives will look for other men to provide them with the love and compassion they are lacking in their lives.. This kind of primitive culture involves a life threatening procedure by which parents cause damage to their own daughters' self esteem. so be it!.. infections septicemia, urinary tract infections and ultimate death are a mear smidgen in comparison to their super inflated ego. Add to all of that the psychological trauma and humiliation the poor girls suffer in full view of their families and friends... They are even taught that this is the norm, and that when they are older they need to enforce the same form of savagry onto younger girls without batting an eye lash since this is the way things are, and no one can ever change them.
It amazes me how this ideology exists in Egypt to this very day. The fact that it was adapted at one point of time is incomprehensible, since Egypt had a well known civilization that should not have been influenced by lesser civilizations. The fact that it still exists does not make any sense.. and the most astounding fact is that they actually attribute this abuse to God, stating it is mandated by him. It is just unacceptable how every time there is a way to oppress women that men would like to use, they just blame it on God and state that it is God's order, thus preventing women from fighting back. The statistics for FGM are frightening. 97% of Egyptian women have undergone the procedure. Mainly in Rural areas, but the practice is a little less common in larger cities. Demographic and health surveys have been conducted by USAID , and their results showed that there is no doctrinal basis for this practice in either Islam or Christianity. Although high officials in both the Muslim and Christian religious establishments have voiced opposition to the practice, it is still supported by some local religious authorities. Moreover, many Egyptians believe that this is an important part of maintaining female chastity, which is part of the religious tradition.
The historical roots of the practice date back thousands of years. According to the 1995 DHS findings, the most commonly given reason (58 percent) for supporting the practice was the belief that this was a "good tradition." Almost three-quarters of Egyptian women felt that husbands would prefer their wives to undergo the procedure. More than one-third cited cleanliness as a reason, while a smaller number saw it as a way to prevent promiscuity before marriage and unfaithfulness within the marriage.
The 2000 DHS also found that the majority of women think this practice should continue, though there was some decline in support for the practice (75 percent of women surveyed in 2000 versus 82 percent in 1995). There is spreading recognition of the many potential adverse health consequences of the practice, which has resulted in increasing resort to doctors rather than traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to perform the procedure.
One of the main factors behind the persistence of the practice is its social significance for females. In communities where it is practiced, a woman achieves recognition mainly through marriage and child bearing and many families refuse to accept as a marriage partner, a woman who has not undergone the procedure.
So you can see that women who promote this practice do so because they believe it will please men, and they are more likely to get married, which to them holds more significance than any trauma a young girl may suffer. On the positive side, In 2007 after many many deaths of young innocent girls, the Egyptian government finally stepped up and banned FGM for good....banning it unless it was medically necessary was the most absurd law in the world... it is like saying we ban cutting a girls arm, unless the doctor feels that it is medically necessary, then parents would get their girls to see the doctor, so we can decide if we should cut off all of her arm or half of it... but with the new law, I finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. There is even a very nice ad campaign to go along with it.
On a lighter note, fighting violence against women is a world wide phenomenon. A show called "The Vagina Monologues" celebrated it's 10th anniversary this February 14th.... V-Day!! It promotes women identifying with themselves and their bodies, and being comfortable with who they are, the way God made them. It promotes healthy sexuality, and women not fearing men, and not mutilating their bodies to please men. This show has been translated into many languages, including arabic.An arabic version played for some time in Lebanon, of course with some modifications to suit Arabic culture. I especially like the following segment, because it opposes everything patriarchal cultures resemble... In our culture they try to shame women about their periods... they tell them they are not clean, they cannot perform certain jobs, they accuse them of being crazy or irrational, so unable to function in life... in short they make women feel bad for something that is natural and healthy and in no way shameful. This segment is the complete opposite!! Enjoy!