Couple Violence against Men and Women in Saudi Arabia
Introduction and Problem Statement
Couple violence in Saudi Arabia can be described as an extremely sensitive issue. Apart from misinterpretation of religious text such as the Qu’ran, other cultural and conventional factors may affect the discernment of violence in the family Alhabdan (2015). Based on the research by Alhabdan (2015), women in Saudi Arabia normally experience discordant forms of abuse such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse. The study further states that women also experience economic abuse when they are deprived of opportunities to work, acquire sufficient education and get inheritance. The combination of these forms of abuse has led to the deprivation of vital prerogatives for women in Saudi Arabia. It is imperative to note that men in Saudi Arabia are also victims of couple violence. Nonetheless, there is scarce research about these forms of abuse experienced by men in Saudi Arabia due to the meager cases reported by victims. Based on this understanding, there is a need to explore and decipher the different forms of couple violence that both men and women face in Saudi Arabia, as well as, the factors that influence these discordant forms of couple violence.
Objectives and Research Questions-couple Violence against Men and Women in Saudi Arabia
The essential objectives or goals of this research will be to create awareness regarding couple violence in terms of violence from husband to wife and violence from wife to husband. First, the research paper will seek to provide a vivid definition of couple violence and the types of abuse that men and women experience in Saudi Arabia. It will also demonstrate that Islam introduces certain prerogatives that are specific to married women in marriage relationships, as well as, offer a stance against couple violence and abuse in family relationships.
The second objective of this research is to highlight different articles in the Protection from Abuse Act in terms of their positive and negative impacts on the goal of the act, which is to protect men and women from couple violence in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, this research will suggest various ways of improving the Protection from Abuse Act. The third objective or goal of this research is to unearth and outline the problems that male and female victims face when seeking help due to couple violence. Still on this goal, the research will also explain how prevailing family law has deprived men and women of most of their prerogatives. In this regard, this research will argue re-evaluation and codification of family law so as to curb couple violence affecting both men and women in relationships and marriages in Saudi Arabia.
The research questions include:
Main Research Question
- What is couple violence and what are the types of abuse that men and women in relationships and marriages experience in Saudi Arabia?
Secondary Research Questions-couple Violence against Men and Women in Saudi Arabia
- What are the prerogatives that are specific to married men and women in marriage relationships from the perspective of Islam?
- What are the factors that influence couple violence in Saudi Arabia?
- What are the prerogatives that are specific to married men and women in marriage relationships from the perspective of the Protection from Abuse Act?
- What are the problems that both men and women in Saudi Arabia face when seeking help due to couple violence?
- How can family law be codified to curb couple violence affecting both men and women in relationships and marriages in Saudi Arabia?
- What are the reasons that make women stay in abusive relationships and marriages?
According to Alhabdan (2015), couple violence has been identified as an extremely serious problem in Saudi Arabia that affects men and women and in all levels of society, regardless of their financial status, level of education and religion. This couple violence may cause sexual, physical and emotional or psychological harm to the victim, and contribute to other harms in the society and family. Based on the research by Alhabdan (2015), socialists define couple violence as any conduct or demeanor undertaken intentionally or unintentionally that results in physical and mental injury or harm. Middle Eastern and Western perspectives on couple violence vary immensely. For instance, in the United States, the definition and legislation regarding couple violence or domestic violence are not only broad but also protect non-familial relationships fron a vast array of demeanor (Alhabdan, 2015). On the other hand, Arab nations possess more narrowly tailored statutes regarding couple violence.
The Protection from Abuse Act was introduced in Saudi Arabia in 2013. According to Alhabdan (2015), it is a law that covers all forms of assault and abuse against children and women. In as much it does not specifically address the issue of couple violence in Saudi Arabia, it is treated as the most salient legislation for couple violence cases. As such, the Protection from Abuse Act defines abuse as the threat or practice of sexual assault, neglect, physical violence or emotional abuse committed against an individual by person who has the power to either of them, be it responsibility, family relationship, authority, maintenance relationship or guardianship (Alhabdan, 2015). These definitions of couple violence or domestic violence evince differences in legislation and understanding of couple violence between nations. Nonetheless, this discordancy in understanding does not take away from the various types of abuses that both women and men experience in relationships and marriages in Saudi Arabia.Couple Violence against Men and Women in Saudi Arabia
According to Alhabdan (2015), the most common and hazardous type of abuse is physical abuse whereby a women in Saudi Arabia may suffer different forms of physical injury for refusing to comply with her husband’s demands. Apart from sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse, women in Saudi Arabia are also subject to other forms of abuse, for instance, economic-social abuse. Another form of abuse is sexual abuse, which includes sexual touching, admissible sexual comments, rape and sexual harassment. Apart from sexual abuse, health violence also affects women in Saudi Arabia. Alhabdan (2015) defines health violence as neglecting or preventing necessary medical treatment for any family member. Economic-social abuse is related to work, education, marriage and inheritance. These include depriving women from her prerogatives to work, property, education, work salary and refusal to accord permission for women to get married.
There are various risk factors that impact physical violence against women in Saudi Arabia. As Eldoseri and Sharps (2017) state, there are three vital findings that influence physical violence against women in Saudi Arabia such as the limited access of participating women to financial resources, the under-reporting of couple violence and the role played by men in relationships and marriages. In as much as women in Saudi Arabia experience various abuses in relationships and marriages. Men also experience violence in their relationships and marriages. There are social determinants of domestic violence among married men and women in Saudi Arabia. For instance, younger men and women without social support report the highest prevalence of couple violence. Physical and mental health problems also impact the rate of couple violence in men. For instance, men who have mental disorders and physical disabilities experience abuse in their relationships and marriages (Alquaiz, Almuneef, Kazi and Almeneessier, 2017).
According to report by Arab News (2015), there were forty-four male victims of couple violence in Saudi Arabia in 2014 alone as revealed by the National Society for Human Rights (NHSR). More specifically, the National Society for Human Rights handled thirteen cases of male victims of couple violence in Jazan, fourteen in Riyadh, five in Madinah, eight in Dammam, one each in Jeddah and Asir and two in Makkah. It is vital to note that in as much as Saudi Arabia does not have accurate statistics regarding the prevalence of couple violence against men, these cases only make up a meager portion of cases with most cases involving women and children. The inaccurate statistics regarding couple violence against men in Saudi Arabia are attributed to a large extent to the reluctance of male victims to report that family members have abused them. It is because of this reason that the Human Rights Commission in Makkah failed to receive any reports of couple violence against men. Male victims only view the Human Rights Commission as a last resort when they are unable to get help from other organizations (Arab New, 2015). Nonetheless, the Human Rights Commission is always ready to provide the required assistance to male victims coming to cavil.Couple Violence against Men and Women in Saudi Arabia
Despite the fact that men and women experience couple violence in the form of sexual, physical, emotional and economic abuse, they still stay in these abusive relationships and marriages as Norah and Alazab (2015) denote. Most women compared to men tend to cope with the couple violence rather than leave or seek assistance due to various reasons. Norah and Alazab (2015) explore discordant variables that influence women’s decision to cope with or remain in their abusive relationships and marriages in Saudi Arabia. Some of the variables include the occupational status of the abused women, their total number of children, their educational level, the duration of abused woman’s marriage, the frequency of the violent incidents and the abused woman’s natal family status.
Women in Saudi Arabia experience more couple violence in relationships and marriages than their male counterparts.
Men and women who experience couple violence in Saudi Arabia still end up staying in the abusive relationships and marriages.
Couple Violence against Men and Women in Saudi Arabia
Alhabdan, S. (2015). Domestic Violence in Saudi Arabia. Theses And Dissertations. Paper 27.
Almosaed, N., & Alazab, S. (2015). Why Stay? Saudi Womenâ€™s Adaptionâ€™s to Violence. International Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, 5(10), 146-162. Retrieved from http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_5_No_10_1_October_2015/17.pdf
Alquaiz, A., Almuneef, M., Kazi, A., & Almeneessier, A. (2017). Social Determinants of Domestic Violence Among Saudi Married Women in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 1-25. doi: 10.1177/0886260517746128
Arab News. (2015). Domestic violence against men ‘widespread.’ Retrieved from http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/734236
Eldoseri, H., & Sharps, P. (2017). Risk Factors for Spousal Physical Violence Against Women in Saudi Arabia. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 1-25. doi: 10.1177/0886260517696861