“I can’t imagine how stupid you are. What is it, don’t you have a brain?” ‘Stupid’, ‘lazy’, ‘fat’, ‘careless’, ‘dumb’, ‘ignorant’, are few examples of the insults women often embrace passively.
“Insults don’t stick”, a friend once told me. “I don’t care if my husband insults me as long as he pays my checks,” laughingly she added. The same friend, a decade later, went through an aggressive divorce battle and had to give up all her possessions just to rescue herself and her children from a cheater and a domestic abuser. It’s true that words don’t stick, yet their impact does. The emotional pain of insults remains in our nervous system and our subconscious. And gradually we start to belittle ourselves and to accept what we thought we would never tolerate.
Fatma, the poor vulnerable help in Fabulous Veils, thought she was obeying God by surrendering to her husband. The greatest heaven was the reward she awaited in exchange to her husband’s verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
Gameela, the middle class wife, accepted an unhealthy marriage under the name of love. Baring verbal abuse at first and then physical abuse and infidelity.
Madiha, the high class divorced woman, protecting her reputation, remained silent towards her husband’s financial abuse and her manager’s sexual harassment.
Why do women accept abuse?
Brainwashing. Whether at schools, on traditional media channels or social media, we are subject to subliminal messages all the time. Forming, or better say deforming, our beliefs about ourselves and our capabilities. We get raised in an environment that incubate gender inequality. We don’t object that boys be treated differently than girls. We grow up thinking that men’s main role is to work and provide money and women’s main role is to raise children. We let go of our rights, and many of us so often live and die unaware of their rights.
“Advertising, music, atmospheres, subliminal messages and films can have an impact on our emotional life, and we cannot control it because we are not even conscious of it.” Tariq Ramadan
Who are the worst abusers?
Parents who disempower their daughters, from my perspective, are the first and most violent abusers. And husbands who continue to disempower their wives are the most stupid of all. For how could abused women raise healthy and stable children? When we disempower women we actually corrupt the world.
“If you really want to change a culture… empower women.” Greg Mortenson