A massive awareness campaign has been set up to fight domestic violence throughout the world.
But in this global campaign, only women are victims, while men are always the violent abusers.
Of course, it is natural and easier for people to have sympathy for women’s suffering, whereas men’s suffering doesn’t mobilize people as much. This bias in favor of women is biological, as men are hardwired to protect women and children.
This bias in favor of women is reflected in domestic violence legislation and media campaigns. The idea of women being abused generates shock and outrage. But no one is shocked when it is the other way around. The idea of a husband beaten by his wife even makes some people laugh.
The Shocking Reality
Consider this interesting social experiment conducted by an American news channel about a woman abusing a man in public and how almost no bystanders intervene or call police. But when it is the woman who is being abused, many men and women intervene.
Is this double standard justified?
Some feminists claim that abuse of men is not really a serious problem. But reports show that at least 40% of domestic violence is done by violent women. And this 40% only factors physical violence. If verbal and emotional abuse were included, the number would surely be much higher.
In another 2013 report on domestic violence, Martin S. Fiebert cited an academic bibliography of more than 341 scholarly investigations showing that men and women are equally likely to use violence. Here is the report [PDF].
Erin Pizzey, the first woman to open a domestic violence shelter in Britain, also attests that men are equally victims. She adds that while she wanted her center to accommodate both genders, she was unable to do so because of the opposition she received.
The problem of the beaten husband is real, yet there is a denial of the problem.
Recently, famous actor Johnny Depp filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, for defamation. Depp claims that his ex-wife falsely smeared him as a domestic abuser, when, according to him, she was the main perpetrator of violence in their home.
The case has garnered media coverage worldwide.
As new information was revealed on the internet, people have sided with Johnny Depp.
This international attention on male victimhood is positive, but will it change things?
Depp brought a $50 million defamation suit against Heard in March 2019 after she published an op-ed in the Washington Post the previous December. In the article, Heard discussed the treatment of women in sexual assault cases and referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” but did not mention Depp by name. Depp, who said he was dropped from his role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise just days after the article was published, claims the article caused damage to his career. Depp’s career was already on the rocks following the couple’s publicized breakup and the allegations of abuse that rocketed between them.
The long-postponed trial comes after Depp lost a similar suit accusing News Group Newspapers, the U.K publisher of the tabloid, The Sun of libel in 2020.
I am not fond of media trials.
When people’s emotions get involved in judicial matters, we lose the objectivity necessary to resolve cases fairly.
I would therefore refrain from pointing the finger of blame.
That being said, sure, testimonies and specific recordings have seriously embarrassed Amber Heard and her publicity and legal team. She was clearly not the innocent victim, as she and the initial media reports claimed.
I was, therefore, amazed to see how the French media has covered this case. Some media outlets have knowingly omitted the evidence which puts a favorable light on Johnny Depp and have only reported things that portray him as an abuser.
Consider this short video posted by BFMTV in which we find:
- A video provided by Amber Heard in which Johnny Depp drinks wine and slams doors.
- Photos showing marijuana belonging to Johnny Depp.
- A picture of Johnny Depp slumped on his couch and holding an ice cream cone in his hand.
- Messages showing Johnny Depp insulting Amber Heard.
- A recording in which Johnny Depp allegedly confessed to headbutting Amber; he defends himself by saying that he was only repeating the words she had used.
- A video suggesting that Amber Heard would have had extramarital relations with Elon Musk.
- The testimony of Amber’s lawyer, who diagnosed her with psychological problems.
- A photo of Johnny Depp in the hospital with his finger cut following a domestic dispute.
But where is all the troubling evidence Depp had provided clearly showing wrongdoing and violence on his ex-wife’s side?
For the media and politicians, violence against women is a business. People are sensitive to women’s issues, so this becomes a way to exploit and socially engineer the masses, e.g., in attacking traditional marriage, the family structure, motherhood, etc.
These powers don’t want to spoil the image of women as poor victims with cases like this one, as it gives them less leverage to push feminism and attack patriarchy. Attacking patriarchy, i.e., the authority of men, is the primary way to dismantle the strong, healthy family unit as well as traditional religion. This is why one of the main targets of liberal secularism is patriarchy.
The Depp-Heard affair has indeed made some people aware that there is a real problem with abusive women. But it seems things are not about to change.
A Note on Quran 4:34
In the Quran, we read:
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allāh has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allāh would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you, seek no means against them. Indeed, Allāh is ever Exalted and Grand.
Islam specifies circumstances in which a husband is allowed to physically reprimand his wife, as long as he does not leave any after-effects and does not strike her face.
However, a woman is never allowed to hit her husband.
Historically, the idea of physical reprimand from the husband in the case of a recalcitrant wife was the norm. Traditional cultures have always recognized that husbands, as heads of the household, have this responsibility and authority.
In Islam and in the natural world, more generally, the wife is under the guardianship of her husband. He is responsible for her. He also must answer for her if she commits a crime.
The Qur’an in Surat al-Tahrim, ayah 6 commands the man:
O believers! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, overseen by formidable and severe angels, who never disobey whatever Allah orders-always doing as commanded.
Many scholars derived from this verse that a man must teach his wife and command her in matters of religion, and if he doesn’t, he would be accountable to Allah for this.
When one understands that the man will be accountable for his family at the highest level, i.e., on the Day of Judgment, it is comprehensible, in theory, that he must impose his authority by force if the situation requires it. Of course, this is illegal in increasingly many countries and husbands can be put in prison for exercising any authority. This is one of the ways that liberal secularism has dissolved marriage and family.
When we look at the rise of female domestic abusers like Amber Heard and the skyrocketing divorce rates throughout the world, we realize the profound wisdom of this provision in Islam.