Shifting Focus from Gender-Based Violence

This is the aftermath of the story of Nisreen Rouhana who was murdered by her husband on the 25th of November 2014. Tragically, that is the day that commemorates the international day for the elimination of violence against women and starts the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

Nisreen is the ninth victim to domestic violence this year and the fourth after the implementation of the law that protects women from domestic violence. A news cover by OTV asks, “Isn’t the law a sufficient deterrent?”.

I think it is not. The law is never a deterrent. It organizes what goes around in society. It also decides who gets punished; and punishment never deters. We are told that it does by various parties like the established prison industrial complex in various western countries (local too maybe?). But it does not. Punishment is reactionary. It acts on the body and the soul (not the biblical one) of the sole-perso and though it desires to propagate it’s teaching to the population, it can never do that.

Men do not beat and kill women because they think that they can get away with it. Men beat and kill women because they have been taught that they can. Because they know that they will eventually be exonerated; they will be called mad or angry beyond sanity during the act (article 251 reduces the offense if it was done in anger).

Men beat and kill women because we have a system that does not challenge the power of men over women but perpetuate the concept of women-hood as possible objects of possession. It tells men that it is your right to extend your authority and presence over women.

Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Msallem contemplates getting a new costume for a career as a vigilante against “evil”.

Evil does not kill women like Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Msallem thinks. Nor is it due to seeing too much violence on TV as Lebanon debate declares.

Violence against women should be understood through realities. It should be understood though an inequality of power and privilege between women and men.

Violence against women should be understood through perspectives and tools that defy the making of patriarchy. We can not use the same tools given by this system to defy it. We need to acknowledge and defy the power of men over women and work against this imbalance whenever possible.