19 March, 2008

Yemen: Abuse and Violence against Women

Last year, I read several articles and reports on how women are mistreated here; some of the articles go as far as stating that most women (as many as 70%), in Yemen, are abused. Some of the articles too, state that most women here are illiterate or are not allowed to get education.

The articles simply generalized Yemen. They bunched all of Yemen, together. I wanted to write an article in reply to those reports, then. Because, as I see it and as I observe all around me, the condition of women is not as those reports and articles state. First - let me give a brief definition of 'abuse':
mistreat: treat badly; "This boss abuses his workers"; "She is always stepping on others to get ahead"
maltreatment: cruel or inhumane treatment
Abuse is a general term for the use or treatment of something (person, thing, idea, etc.) that causes some kind of harm (to the abused person or thing, to the abusers themselves, or to someone else) or is unlawful or wrongful. Its close synonyms are mistreatment and maltreatment. ...
In Yemen, like in all developing countries, women's condition in the rural areas is bad. They have much work to do and most do not attend school for long. But most girls in urban areas do attend school and most are literate. I know, that: here In Al Mukalla, most women can read and write; most girls are in school and are aiming to attain the highest education, possible; in fact - girls, generally, now, are doing much better in schools, than boys. I am writing this, with specifically - Hadhramout - in mind.

Of all the countries and places I have been in, it's most rare for women to be abused here. As I pointed out in one of my earliest posts over two years ago:..... it is the girls and women who play the most central role and are actually the moving forces behind most families. It is the women who are the main and central foundation of families. Whatever men do, it is always the girls and women of the family - who are uppermost in their considerations and minds. The well being and dignity of the women is always considered first and foremost, before most big decisions would be made or undertaken. In all my years here, I have never seen or noticed a man shouting at a woman or in any way hurting a woman in public; all differences or arguments with women, are done as privately and as quietly as possible. And that's how it still is.

Whenever too, I visit relatives and friends in other parts of Yemen - I do not see or notice the kind of general abuse that those articles reported. To the contrary, what I see and have often observed is that - it's the women who run homes and are the ones indirectly swaying and ruling families; men included. In some homes, I know of women and mothers who rule completely. I wonder, which parts of Yemen those articles were reporting on?