Beating up spouse Saudi style
Saudi women beating up their husbands is becoming a common feature increasingly talked about. Al Arabiya satellite channel blasted with an unbelievable headline that stated 557,000 cases of men in Saudi Arabia claim they are frequently assaulted by their wives as given by the director of the Waaiy Social Consultation Center in (http://www.waaiy.org.sa) Riyadh last October.
It was then picked up by the Sabq news website (http://sabq.org/ifQo5d) which made an Arabic feature on it, interviewing at length both women and men on the issue of violence. Waaiy director Adel Al Motaweh said the center, which provides free consultation services that include family and domestic violence received over the recent years that amount of cases of men complaining about being beaten by their wives.
Al Motaweh, an Islamic scholar who also works in the center in addition to 37 male and female doctors and consultants in different specialized areas including psychologists, say the reason why men haven't been speaking up was to do with the "embarrassing situation" they found themselves.
Sabq's feature "Women beat their husbands…men face frustration and family violence" (http://sabq.org/ifQo5d) went over the top. Their Jeddah reporter Reem Sulieman interviewed ordinary people, housewives, teachers as well as social and psychological experts on the issue of wives turning violent against their husbands.
Some said its uncouth behavior on the part of women to resort to such violent action and they should set a good example to their children. Some housewives tried to justify the violence especially if the husband commits adultery as said by Abeer Okal. Another said the woman turns violent because she is afraid for the household and wants to protect its integrity.
The views of men who clearly were shocked by such behavior. One, a teacher named Mohammad Al Sayed, said in reaction to the statistics, it would be difficult for a husband to live with a woman who beats him and will not be "able to hold his head up". Emad Khouly spoke of his friend's wife who had a strong and domineering personality and imposed on her husband that he gets home early in support of the view of women to be violent as he implies.
Despite the fact that the figure quoted above Dr Eid Al Enizi tried to play it down. He said although cases of this kind do occur, they are not a phenomenon and he could well understand it, describing it as a "reaction meted out by the violence of the husbands against them," he said in the same article.
Dr Al Enizi added women sometimes become abusive because of the weak personality of the husband in the household in addition to psychological problems they may have," as reported in Arab News http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/652366).
The news item and the feature created much reaction among men and women who started tweeting in Arabic through their twitter accounts. A report posted on the (http://www.eremnews.com/?id=75821) website talked of the almost frenzy situation that took place on twitter together with hash-tags with thousands of men and women tweeting about whether they believed the statistic by the report was true of false.
Many female tweets argued the figure was not realistic while males defended themselves and criticized those women who beat their husbands. One tweet quoted in Arabic stands out as translated.
"The woman is like a cat, if you are concerned about her and pamper her she will love you and become close but if you bypass your boundaries and hurt her she will turn on you and scratch," tweeted Zarah bint Mshabeb.
The usual thing is to hear about mean beating their wives, and which is given wide coverage in the media. However, this topic as relayed by the different media forms could be an indicator of changing trends in Saudi society.
Are we witnessing a new battle of the sexes that is taking place and reversing Saudi male violence against women which had been extensively documented as in the 2013 report by Dr Latifa Abdul Latif from King Saud University who concluded half of the Saudi women she interviewed were regularly beaten by their husbands, fathers and other family relatives. (http://www.emirates247.com/crime/region/nearly-half-saudi-women-are-beaten-at-home-2013-02-26-1.496510). Could the tables be turning around slowly and Saudi women are fighting back for the first time in years. Surely these social trends must continue to be monitored to see if things are changing in the long-term.