How the teachings of Islam could help us prevent more sexual abuse scandals

Harvey Weinstein. Suggested reading: Reason or Orthodoxy: Which One Should Rule? The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles for women rights especially the Muslim women rights

Source: Independent

By Qasim Rashid, Monday 16 October 2017

Harvey Weinstein is just another case of a powerful man abusing women because we live in a society that lets him get away with it, but we can change that

If the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse revelations shocked you, then you’re dangerously ignorant to reality. According to RAINN, an American is assaulted every 98 seconds, one out of every six women will deal with rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, and 90 per cent of rape victims are women.

I’m a Muslim, and a civil rights lawyer with a special interest in advocating for women’s rights. My advocacy is informed not just by the law, but by strategies detailed in Islamic teachings and Prophet Muhammad’s example to pre-empt sexual abuse. Yes, the cancer of sexual abuse against women that we see in Christian majority America is just as prevalent in Muslim majority Pakistan, but also in Hindu majority India and state atheist China. This proves that men worldwide are failing in our responsibility to end sexual abuse and gender based violence.

Let’s start by understanding two facts. First, a woman’s attire, alcohol intake, marital status, and education level do not contribute to sexual abuse – abusive men do. Second, sexual abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every level of society – social norms, media, and Government – is complicit in promoting the rape culture that perpetuates sexual abuse.

Social norms demonise a woman for speaking out, victim-blaming her by asking what she was wearing, whether she gave signals inviting abuse, or asking why she didn’t speak up sooner.

The media also advances rape culture by disregarding women and their voices. Why didn’t the allegations against Weinstein gain clout when Rose McGowan screamed them from the top of her lungs years ago? Why has society advanced people like Harvey Weinstein, Roger Aisles, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and even our Commander in Chief to the pinnacle of success, despite the decades long testimony of sexual abuse and rape from dozens of women?

How can we rely on government when 97 per cent of rapists never see a day in prison, judges punish rape of an unconscious college woman with a measly three months in jail, award rapists with equal custody of the child born from a woman they raped, and the US Department of Education rolls back rules that protect women in college from sexual assault?

The media also advances rape culture by disregarding women and their voices. Why didn’t the allegations against Weinstein gain clout when Rose McGowan screamed them from the top of her lungs years ago? Why has society advanced people like Harvey Weinstein, Roger Aisles, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and even our Commander in Chief to the pinnacle of success, despite the decades long testimony of sexual abuse and rape from dozens of women?

How can we rely on government when 97 per cent of rapists never see a day in prison, judges punish rape of an unconscious college woman with a measly three months in jail, award rapists with equal custody of the child born from a woman they raped, and the US Department of Education rolls back rules that protect women in college from sexual assault?

On the contrary, on numerous occasions Prophet Muhammad punished an accused rapist on the testimony of the rape survivor alone. In this environment of gender equity, women in Islam rise to the rank of legal scholars, warriors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists while lovingly embracing identities as mothers and housewives.

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