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Public Discussion on Domestic Violence in Saudi Arabia

by Sabrin

At a recent seminar on domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, a judge decreed that husbands are allowed to slap their wives if they spend lavishly.

Before we react to this atrocity, it’s important to look at the bright side: that Saudi Arabia is actually holding seminars and public discussions on domestic violence.

In fact, according to CNN, “Domestic violence, which used to be a taboo subject in the conservative kingdom, has become a hot topic in recent years. Groups like the National Family Safety Program have campaigned to educate the public about the problem and help prevent domestic abuse.”

In a country where domestic violence is a regular occurrence and not seen as a serious issue, it is definitely refreshing and hopeful to see that the issue is finally facing light and being pushed every day.

There still remains a lot of work to do. Women’s rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider’s reaction to the ruling was “I’m not surprised to see a judge or a religious man saying that – they’ve been raised in the same culture – a culture that tells them it’s ok to raise your hand to a woman that this works.” – CNN. COM

Changing cultural perceptions is one of the most crucial steps in combating domestic violence and also one of the hardest. However, open discussion and awareness of the topic are the first step in ending domestic violence. Although we will still be faced with ignorance as portrayed by the Saudi judge, we are still one step closer in ending gender abuse in our community.

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