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Friday, April 21

Could It Be True?

A woman has the right to be born, to live as free and equall as a man, to be well educated, to be successful, to love, to be loved, to be a mother, a sister and a friend.

“ A new study showed that Syrian women are still suffering from domestic violence as one forth married women are physically or verbally abused either by their husbands, their fathers or their bothers.” Click here on both 1 / 2 .

This bit of news has dropped my jaws, I’ve been living in Syria for almost all my life and I never witness such a thing, not in my family, my relatives, my friends, nor in my neighborhood, isn’t that enough for me on personal level to question this study!

Women are becoming nowadays more free and liberated than any other time in Syria;

- Adult female literacy rose from 33 percent in 1980 to 60.4 percent by 1998.
- Women comprise 57 percent of the nation’s teachers.
- Females hold 39 percent of seats in the national university system.
- Women comprised 27 percent of the labour force in 2000.
- 12 percent seat in parliament is held by women which is considered second highest rate compared with other Arabic countries.
- On 23 March 2006 President Bashar Al-Assad appointed Najah Al-Attar as a second vice-president that makes her the first Arab female to hold the position of vice president.

I cannot believe this study, it is totally absurd to me, but again it might be true, so dear Syrian reader, what do you think of it? Are we having a big problem here? Is that really the women’s condition in my country and I am totally ignorant about it? Please enlighten me !


  • It can be true….the study is about both physical and verbal abuse, so, yes I would believe it. Although I would appreciate it if you mention the source of that study.

    When we talk about women abuse, it does not necessary mean a woman with a blue spot around her left eye, a bleeding nose or a swollen lip. The verbal abuse forms a significant part of the rates mentioned in that study, I would guess.

    The portion of society that you live in does not reflect or represent the Syrian society.

    Abuse, however, is not only spread among poor and uneducated people, as major part of what causes a man to abuse a woman is psychological!

    There is a lot to talk about in this post, I will come back later…as I’m packing my stuff! Grrr….

    By Blogger Ihsan, at 22/4/06 12:38 AM  

  • My personal experience leads me to question the study as well. But then again we're probably focusing on a certain class of people. Perhaps things in the rural areas are a lot more different than in the cities, something Ihsan eluded to.

    One thing I learned about scientific studies, is that you really have to know who did them, how they were done, and in this case, how many poeple were involved in the study.

    Either way, I think women rights have improved drastically over the past 40 years or so, and hopefully they will improve even more

    By Blogger Omar, at 22/4/06 1:01 AM  

  • Hi Cocktail...I also think there's a strong possibility it can be true, and I think the reason you have never heard about it is because, unfortunately in the Middle East, subjects as taboo as this are never fully out in the open and never sort of 'discussed' in society, whether it's abuse towards women, abuse towards children, honour killings, incest, even correct crime rates. I'm recently discovering this about Jordan too, and it's shocking.

    Plus, I'm part Syrian, I'm in Damascus a lot, and I hear the CRAZIEST stories when some of my grandma's friends get together! I say believe it...unfortunately :(

    By Blogger Rambling Hal, at 22/4/06 2:34 AM  

  • It is not enough to appoint Mrs Attar as V.P. to make us modern. The education system, our system of values should be re-examined. I am not saying it is all bad news, but there is a lot that could be changed.

    I am happy they are removing the taboos and allowing such studies to be published. Good sign.

    By Blogger Alex, at 22/4/06 7:29 AM  

  • "I never witness such a thing, not in my family, my relatives, my friends, nor in my neighborhood, isn’t that enough for me on personal level to question this study!"

    No, it is not enough to question the study. There is alot that goes on out there that we do not hear about. Our society defenitely does not represent all of syria, it does not even come close to it.

    I think there is a very strong possibility that it is true.

    By Blogger Hattori Hanzo, at 22/4/06 8:29 AM  

  • I do not know about the accuracy of thier findings, but there are deferent areas of syria where women are still considered to be furniture!!??.

    as for literacy i think it is increasing due to the increasing number of poor people added to the high birthrate in the many parts of the country.

    By Blogger Sam..., at 22/4/06 12:51 PM  

  • I think the findings of this study are highly plausible.. As others have commented, abuse is not just physical, and you should not be fooled by the comfortable environment you have been fortunate enough to grow up in.. If I were to rely on my own personal experiences, all (well, most of) the Syrian women I know are highly educated, respected and well-appreciated by their respective families.. However, I know fully well that this rosy view is, sadly, totally distorted..
    It is also worth noting that this abuse is not confined to lower socio-economic classes, but is also seen in middle-class 'professional' families, and often takes the form of psychological or financial abuse..
    What's more, that abuse is seen in all societies, and is just as rife in Western 'civilized' societies.. That, clearly, is not an excuse to continue turning a blind eye.. Such practices should be erradicated through education and empowerment of of ALL members of society...
    Like Ihsan, I, too, have to go packing!!.. but, in the immortal (though idiotic) words of Big Arny: 'I'll be back!'...

    By Blogger The Syrian Brit, at 23/4/06 12:27 AM  

  • p.s. I also meant to say these abuses are equally seen even amongst the very rich and well-off sections of society.. It is not just a 'poor families' phenomenon

    By Blogger The Syrian Brit, at 23/4/06 12:32 AM  

  • A woman has the right to be born, to live as free and equall as a man, to be well educated, to be successful, to love, to be loved, to be a mother, a sister and a friend.

    this reminds with an old discussion we once had. in my mind the above could be the best definition of a free woman.

    may all the woman of syria be free (accrding to ghalia's (el-hajjeh) definition of course.

    By Blogger Amr T, at 23/4/06 2:23 AM  

  • Ghalia,

    What a shot! You are talented.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23/4/06 11:43 AM  

  • I think it might be not at all so far from the truth..There are different kinds of families and pepole, you have not experienced any thing like that, few I know have..But it's nothing women talk so much about, you know...Not here, and not in the west either ( when western women are abused..I mean, or in the rest of the world)

    By Blogger Catherine, at 23/4/06 6:29 PM  

  • "There are three kinds of lies - lies, damned lies and statistics. "

    -Mark Twain

    hehhe.. that explains it!

    By Anonymous Mona - RebelliousArabGirl, at 24/4/06 1:15 AM  

  • dear
    a study this summer showed that Violence against women is increasing in " France " . and this is Syria not France we're talkin' about here.
    lots of things happen here but people don't talk about it .
    + do you know what goes around in areas like "Khan el sheh" or "babila" , or " al tadamon " ? or you consider that these are non-syrian areas ?
    i know women are more educated and now they go to college and become vice-presidents , but still they are getting abused all the time .
    you may have not seen any , but believe me if you seek you'll find alot.

    By Anonymous Zaher, at 24/4/06 3:22 AM  

  • Your understanding of the study might be helped if you got the definition of
    "physical and verbal abuse" used. It might might also make sense if you
    asked the authors where they got their data from.

    In the West all sorts of studies come out claiming all sorts of things.

    Don't believe any of them unless you know what they were studying and how,
    and if they have a hidden, or overt, agenda.

    By Anonymous Fester, at 25/4/06 4:08 PM  

  • Ghalia:

    Unfortunately, it is true. However this problem is not unique to Syria--in fact, the numbers of abuse of women are almost identical in the US.

    Here is the information from this website (http://www.endabuse.org/resources/facts/):

    * Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime

    * Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives, according to a 1998 Commonwealth Fund survey

    * Nearly 25 percent of American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey, conducted from November 1995 to May 1996.

    * Thirty percent of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.

    By Blogger yaman, at 25/4/06 10:04 PM  

  • Of course it's true, and not uique to Syria either.

    naged pointed out it is similar in the US, and I can confirm similar statistics here in Spain - though the biggest rise in domestic violence last year was against men by their partners.

    What these figures do show is that domestic violence cannot be labelled at part of the 'culture' of any particular country or ethnic group.

    This is an old problem, dating back to the earliest societies and exists in every society in the world (whether or not officially confirmed).

    What we need is a modern solution - any ideas?

    By Blogger El Casareño Ingles, at 26/4/06 12:33 PM  

  • What Naged said about the US is true. I do believe that there are many more cases that haven't been heard about yet here. I agree with El Casareño Ingles that it is a problem that dates back to the earliest societies and no matter if your rich or poor, it affects all. I have no idea what can be done about it. I hope someone has an idea for a solution to this serious problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26/4/06 8:03 PM  

  • أعتقد أنها فعلا مشكلة في سوريا والدول العربية ككل
    لكن هذا ليس بدون مشاركة من النساء ولو كانت غير مباشرة فبناء شخصية الفتاة ضرورة نجدها غائبة لدى الأمهات اللواتي يزرعن في بناتهن الشعور بالضعف والخنوع
    كما وان عدم الاهتمام بتعليم الفتيات وغرس فكرة أنك وإن كنت فتاة فأنت قادرة كالرجل على بناء حياتك الخاصة وإعالة نفسك
    التفاهم بين الرجل والمرأة وفرض شخصية المرأة أثناء الحوار مع الرجل يلعب دروا أيضا في بناء قوتها لتكون العلاقة صحيحة
    ثنائية رجل مرأة لاتحتاج إلى العنف
    لايوجد شيء يحل بالعنف
    طبعا لاألوم المرأة ولا أضع كل الحق عليها إنما أيضا بناء فكر الشاب من طفولته بالعلاقة الصحيحة مع المرأة سواء أكانت أم أو أخت أو زوجة أو صديقة أو إلخ أيضا أمر مهم جدا
    إضافة إلى دور القانون الذي يجب تفعيله ليحمي الجميع ضد العنف

    By Blogger ayhm jzzan, at 26/4/06 10:45 PM  

  • To All the women activists I do wish you success in your efforts. The only way to protect women in Syria from the old male chauvinists and old habits is to push for a change in the law where protection is assured. And women who resist and stand up for them selves do not end up losing their children and made to sign away their belongings and property

    By Blogger ayhm jzzan, at 27/4/06 1:54 AM  

  • hi
    very nice blog
    check "Numbers" on my blog
    check how women are doing in egypt worse then ever

    By Blogger Mirzade, at 28/4/06 1:48 AM  

  • cThank you everyone who shared his opinion with me, really thank you.

    By Blogger Ghalia, at 3/5/06 5:23 PM  

  • i would bet 10 leirat its wrong and that's all the money I have. If its 50% its like veryone of us known a woman suffering from domestic violence, that's not true.

    By Blogger Steliano Ponticos, at 3/5/06 7:30 PM  

  • Sure was enlightning to read all the comments.
    I keep my mouth shut because I have not visited Syria, nor lived there.
    The only thing I can evaluate or judge, are the actual laws that permiate Syrian society.

    By Blogger Zee, at 22/5/06 5:02 AM  

  • Basics tell us to ask for the source just as "Ihsan" said " I would appreciate it if you mention the source of that study." . Logic led us to drive out a lot of conclusions based on the very reasonble and real "Zee " words: " laws that permiate Syrian society ".

    in between, i read a lot of escaping statements like - "the others too , and its not only syria"....this kills me .

    true enough that i felt for a moment like this seems to be a " 7izb el b3th " treatment for the valuable data u provided here.by claiming we have a lot of " Counter" data and ino always available to reflect to " REALITIES" .

    I am a socio-cultural communication consultant and i know very well what i am talkin about here. YES, women in syria are still being treated as " things" this is partialy due to the long inherited " isalmisim readings" to religion " islam" and due to the abssence of the " law " and the civil society intermidiaries. soe clues about the 45 percent of illiteracy in raqa ! and more than 25 % of divorce rates in damascus might bring some insights . and remember these cant be " lies " as " monareabiliousarbgirl " opt to read " mark twin" . these are facts.

    By Anonymous Bilal Zaiter, at 20/6/06 10:29 AM  

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