The initiative by “Save Our Sisters” to stop domestic violence through the depiction of Hindu Goddess is beautiful. A couple weeks ago my wife and I were researching the topic of domestic violence and rape in South Asia. We came across a journalist who explained that a reason men might be treating women violently is due to the way women are viewed in culture and religion.
In India a predominantly Hindu nation, women roles are considered to be tight. Women are revered as holy, put on a pedestal by their Goddess roles. Yet, culture also implies that these women adhere to standards. Women are to be marriage material, meaning they are to be passive and equipped with skills to be a housewives. Today India has changed a lot, the once dependent women is now the independent women, with education and careers. The shift in gender roles could be a factor in mens behavior towards women. The old cultural beliefs are being challenged by the changing structures of society.
Bangladesh is a country similar to India culturally, but the nations population is majority Muslim. In Islam, the paradox exist as well with women’s role is society. There are historic women of Islam, like the prophet’s first wife Kadhija for example, that was an independent business women. She was one of the first to accept Islam and an integral figure in the religions emergence. Yet, today women in Bangladesh and other Islamic societies face gender inequality and are victims of violence.
In both India and Bangladesh, what is consistent is gender equality is not yet equal for women. Whether it is Hinduism or Islam, women in both these nations face astounding numbers of domestic violence and rape.
I joked about the idea of portraying women figures of Islam the same way that this campaign “Abused Goddesses” has portrayed their female Goddesses. I think that this was a beautiful project that will definitely catch the attention of Hindu men and hopefully make them reconsider their behavior. I know if there was a campaign done where Khadija, Mary, Fatimah or Ayesha, were portrayed this way. Instead of facing the truth, that men would not treat these prolific women in a violent manner, the reaction of Muslim men would be more violence and the creators would face a fatwa.
Please check out the link piece on “Abused Goddesses” and share it. In order for societies to truly civilized themselves, we must show compassion to our mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, and our wives.