Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies, New College, University of Edinburgh

Domestic violence is thriving, and some cultural and Islamic teachings are used to justify this. Let’s hope the new normal is different.

5 thoughts on “Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies, New College, University of Edinburgh

    1. And she was prepared to say up front that one of the causes of domestic abuse is the misplaced honour code of Islam. I cannot imagine any of the Christian contributors to TftD acknowledging so clearly that their own brand of delusion is responsible for anything bad at all.

      Like

  1. When I was still able, I used to do a couple of days a week for the Witness Service at our local court. A very large proportion of cases, probably about a quarter, were domestic violence cases. It’s predominantly women who are the victims, although there are a small proportion of male victims too. It is far more prevalent than I think most people realise.

    It’s also incredibly difficult to deal with. Very often, victims will refuse to give evidence. In theory they can be compelled to, but this is largely pointless. There were several occasions where a DV victim one week would refuse to testify and ended up a murder victim shortly afterwards.

    The victim has often endured years of gradual, ever increasing domination, control and social isolation. They have lost all support outside of their home, have no control over their finances, and are literally terrified of walking out their own front door, and of remaining behind it.

    The perpetrator often displays a persona outside their domestic setting that people find difficult to reconcile with a violent control freak. People will often just not believe the victim if they try to tell them, adding a further dent to their self confidence.

    The most dangerous time of all is if the victim decides to leave. They have to plan in secret. Find someone who will shelter them without their enquiries being discovered. The thing that will enrage a controlling person the most is losing that control. Then they must abandon everything, their home, maybe their children, many of their mutual friends and family, and start building a new life from scratch.

    In situations where a culture demands obedience to a man, the sense of hopelessness must be overwhelming.

    Like

  2. Then they must abandon everything, their home, maybe their children, many of their mutual friends and family, and start building a new life from scratch.

    The solution to this is extraordinarily difficult, but extraordinarily necessary. We have to change those corners of our culture that see things that way to start seeing things the other way, that is, towards shame for the perpetrator. The shunned one should be the abuser, not the abused. This at least might give the victim more confidence to break away, and more support if they are able to do that.

    To this end, the answers have to come from within the cultures that contain dangerous elements. Aspects of Islam is definitely one, but there are sadly many. The heroes in this fight are the people who reject that aspect of their own culture, who refuse to see a cultural identity as a take-it-or-leave-it block.

    It’s not hopeless – we have done it before. We turned drink-driving into a socially unacceptable thing, for example, despite huge resistance.

    Thanks for the work you did, Peter. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to watch someone trying to make an impossible choice between two terrible circumstances.

    Like

  3. Thanks, Mona. A sensible, thoughtful, humane discussion of a difficult-but-important subject where she’s not afraid to criticise her own ‘team’.
    I’m surprised it passed the Beeb’s rigorous editorial process which seems to prefer bland, partisan distraction. They’ll be ready for her next time – if there is a next time.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s