DECEMBER 1, 2010: No Religion Agrees to Wife Battering

No Religion Agrees to Wife Battering

SOURCE: The Observer

By Irene Kiiza

It is that time of the year when the purple ribbon reigns supreme.

And it was this year's regional theme that caught my eye: "mutual respect and non-violence: it's part of every religion." For those not in the know, the purple ribbon symbolizes 16 days of activism to curb violence against women.

Some will say the campaign against violence on women is such an old, tired and over-flogged subject, but we can never have enough of these crusades. Why? Women continue to die, while some get maimed in relationships.

According to the Ugandan Health Demographic Survey (UHDS 2006), 68 percent of women in Uganda experience domestic violence.

Therefore, asking activists to shut up would be an act of irresponsibility. It is truly sad that people actually use their faith to abuse women, especially their wives and daughters.

For instance, because Christian marriage vows include the phrase, "till death do us part", many subject their wives to torture because they know they could corner them with the vows.

And yet, these very men choose to forget their part of the vows when they take on a second wife or spend nights in bars.

Indeed some Christian men rape their wives and remind them of what the Bible says; married people should not deny each other when it comes to sex. And the abuse continues.

But like Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga is quoted by the Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP), "the existence of domestic violence distorts the image of God that exists in the human person...the Church cannot keep quiet when the family is being ravaged by evil of domestic violence. If this happens, we shall be accused of the sin of omission."

The archbishop's statements cannot be over emphasized; because the church is the believers. Much as church leaders do well to preach against violence, the onus is on every believer to respect the call for peace, especially in the home. After all, doesn't charity begin at home?

Every God loving believer must know that it does not help anyone and neither is it holy for a man to batter his wife, and then her relatives and friends beg her to keep it a secret, saying things will get better.

Christ himself said some of these things do not go away, except by praying and fasting (Mathew 17:21).

Violence cannot be endured; if a good Christian wants to help, they should speak to the abuser and fervently pray that the abuse stops.

No wonder in Malachi 2:13-17, the God of Israel shows how much He is weary of men who deal treacherously and cite that as the reason for not answering their cries for help.

Not only Christians are guilty of the sin though. In many religions, women are forced to take up their husband's beliefs no matter what they wish; some are beaten for failing to fulfil certain religious rituals, like mandatory prayer times and many have to go through the humiliation of being paraded before congregations as women belonging to one man.

Whatever the religion allows, obviously some practices need to be checked on an individual basis. If three of the wives are okay with such a show, the other two may not be; but who cares?

Much as we like justifying abusive actions hiding behind religion, it goes without saying that no clean faith allows for obnoxious behaviour.

Like Sheikh Idris Habib rightly notes, "Let us feel that we are people; nobody is better than others."

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