Let’s all take a deep breath before we go into this.
I feel like at this point, it’s not even anger anymore. We’ve been through so many of these so-called “advice in the name of greater good” talks but are they good advice? Rarely so. It’s come to a point that it gets a little tiring when one of the Ministers opens their mouths.
It’s classical conditioning now to just see their mouths moving but expecting gibberish and nonsense to come out of it. So is this really a surprise, I ask you? I also ask, do they think they can just say whatever they think is right and we just nod our heads to it and accept it?
This is a new era for Malaysians, man. If you think we’re just going to sit around and let you spout dangerous “advice” to the public and not expect to be called out, you’ve got another thing coming.
Softly Yet Firmly Still Isn’t Okay
If you’re confused, let me break it down for you. Over the weekend, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff had caused quite a stir with her comment advising husbands to reprimand their wives by “gently touching” them in a “soft but firm” way.
First of all — what?!
Second of all, I don’t know about you, but that sounds kind of sketchy. But oh no, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing — if it’s done with love. She went on to explain herself saying that the act of hitting your wife (let’s not sugarcoat anything, shall we? “Gently touching”? What is that?) is only just to educate her.
“It is full of love, which is not painful but shows firmness that the behaviour should be changed,” she had said in a short two-minute video on her Facebook.
Now, Women’s Rights groups are calling for her resignation over the advice she gave.
Rightfully so, in my opinion.
Look, there are a lot of ways for you to help your spouse out when it comes to… err… misbehaviour. And hitting them is really not it. Also, why are we treating women like they’re misbehaving children here? Are you not adults? Can we not just have civil conversations about it without the thought of hitting anyone?
It’s just dangerous because it gives some people an opening for them to justify their actions. Realistically speaking, if you have some inquiring thoughts in your head already, all you need to do to justify the thought is to have a “valid” source.
And you know there are definitely people out there who are just waiting for someone to make statements like this so they can quote it.
The severity of the situation is a lot scarier though. Because she’s a Minister — a.k.a a person in a position of power — saying that it’s okay to discipline your wives by “gently” hitting them opens up doorways for men to justify their abuse.
Don’t tell me I’m overreacting or taking it out of context because in what universe does saying “… dan kalau masih lagi tak ikut disiplin, maka disitu boleh menggunakan cara sentuhan fizikal yang lembut, yang mendidik dengan penuh kasih sayang yang tidak menyakitkan tetapi yang menunjukkan ketegasan kita…” not make people think that “yeah, so I can hit my wife for not listening to me when I try to educate her.”
You best bet there are people going “Oh it’s because my wife tak tutup aurat. Berapa kali dah I cakap dengan dia but she still refuses, so I had no choice.” Berapa kali tu berapa kali sebenarnya? Statements like these are so vague and subjective and if you just take it at surface level, you can probably get away with murder at this point.
So okay, your wife tak dengar cakap you, even after saying it many times. Why don’t you just try again? If you gave up on changing her mind about a topic, it means you gave up on “educating” her. It still, however, doesn’t justify you hitting her. I don’t know about you but fear isn’t the correct motivator to practice religion.
Before you say anything, no, we’re not going to have a lesson in religion here. I’m not your Islamic Studies teacher and if I’m being honest, I’m not a pro at this religion thing either, though I am trying very hard every day. I might say things that are purely my opinion and let me be clear, it doesn’t reflect on my religion at all.
I do have to say though, with statements like these, you’re telling me that a religion that’s so full of love and peace would stand still while you hit your partner in the name of reprimanding her? I think not.
No matter what the context is, violence is never the answer. Prophet Muhammad PBUH had never raised a hand to any of his wives. So what makes you think it’s okay to hit them in any way at all just because they didn’t listen to you?
The Prophet had said the right way for you to treat your wives is as such, ” Feed her when you take your food, give her clothes to wear when you wear clothes, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.”
Don’t Take Teachings Out of Context
When teaching your wives about religion or anything at all really, you go in with a soft voice and an even kinder hand. Persistence is key and slowly but surely, someday their views will change.
But what’s most important is for you to be patient with your partner. I don’t think religion ever taught people to act first after failed communication a bunch of times. It’s always talking it out and figuring out what you should do together.
And another thing, if I may add, if you’re agreeing with what Deputy Minister Siti Zailah was saying, maybe you’re not mature enough or ready yet for marriage or any kind of relationship. The Prophet tells us that a husband’s treatment of his wife reflects a Muslim’s good character, which in turn is a reflection of the man’s faith.
So how can you represent your religion by saying things that can clearly be taken out of context so openly like that? How can you claim that it’s okay to “softly strike” a wife because she misbehaves when your own religion says otherwise? Under no circumstance, even when he is angry or somehow feels justified, is a husband allowed to malign her by using hurtful words or cause her any injury.
So really, I don’t know where the idea of hitting your wife to teach her a lesson came from because it sure as heck didn’t come from being a Muslim.
There’s No Need For Violence
I’m not going to think hard about what she could have possibly meant when she said all that because I honestly don’t care. I only care that her words reach an audience that might use that as a weapon to justify their actions.
Let it be clear: what she said could have been worded better if her intentions were to purely advise. So, take it this way, in the way she said it, her opinions are only her own.
No woman would want to hear from another woman that it’s okay to expect a beating if you don’t listen to your husband.
When you get married, God and your wife’s parents have granted you the responsibility of taking care of their creation. If you mistreat her in any way, it means you are unworthy of carrying the responsibility given to you simply because you lack the patience to educate her.
You’re all adults in a marriage. If you’re a husband and there is something you think that your wife is lacking or not doing right, talk to her about it instead of raising a hand to her.
There’s no need for violence at all. Just good old-fashioned communication. In Muslim relationships, it was always stressed that if there are disagreements or misunderstandings or likewise, you should always be prepared to talk it out.
Understanding and accepting each other are the most important factors in a marriage. I feel like this also applies to any and all religion worldwide. So please, if you have an issue with you spouse, Talk. It. Out.
Besides, aren’t there enough things for women to worry about? Giving another in for a possible domestic violence excuse is the last thing women need.
Survey: More Than Half of Malaysians Think Domestic Violence is ‘Normal’ Reaction to Stress