If Western Governments Wish To Address Global Violence Against Women, They Must First Recognise The Fallout Of Their Colonial Foreign Policy And Capitalist Liberal Values
London, UK, November 29th 2010 – On Thursday 25th November, International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, Harriet Harman, the UK Labour party deputy leader and former Minister for Women and Equality called for greater government efforts to tackle global violence against women. She urged the government to appoint a minister for international violence against women and to have more female representatives at the Foreign Office and Department for International Development. On the same day, the UK government announced that Lynne Featherstone, Home Office Minister for Equality would ‘champion’ international efforts to reduce violence against women.
According to the UN, 1 in 3 women across the world face abuse while 1 in 5 have been raped or experience attempted rape. However, while Western politicians and governments aim to ‘champion’ the rights of women globally, they are grappling with their own shocking statistics of abuse against women domestically. In the UK, 1 in 20 women have been raped, 1 in 4 women face domestic violence, 2 women die each week at the hands of their partner, and one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute (which is considered only ¼ of the true figure suffering such abuse). A Ipsos Mori survey in March last year revealed that 1 in 7 people in the UK think that it is acceptable for a man to hit his partner if she nags or moans. In the US, a woman is sexually assaulted every 2½ minutes, battered every 15 seconds by her partner, and 3 women die each day from domestic violence.
Furthermore, in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, women are tasting at first hand the fall out of Western foreign policy ‘championed’ behind the rhetoric of women’s rights. Reduced security, continuation of oppressive tribal customs, incompetent leaderships supported by Western governments, and increased impunity for perpetrators has caused millions of women to face increasing violence across both countries. Between 2007 and 2008, the UN reported an almost doubling in reports of physical violence against women in Afghanistan. It has also described rape as an everyday occurrence in all parts of the country, a problem of profound proportions.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, Women’s Media Representative for Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain commented, “While global violence against women is a serious problem that requires serious efforts to address, Western politicians and governments must first and foremost acknowledge the role that their own capitalist liberal values and foreign policy have in exacerbating these crimes, both domestically and internationally.”
“In the West, the sexual exploitation of women, licensed by freedom of ownership and driven by the insatiable appetite of capitalism for profit, has devalued the woman within society. This alongside liberal values that have sanctified and primed individualistic whims and desires to dominate over a mindset of responsibility and respect for others, has shaped detrimental
attitudes and behaviour towards women. Women’s welfare and safety have become the unfortunate victims. While such a lethal cocktail of capitalist and liberal values and views remains unrecognised, government initiatives, no matter how numerous, varied, and heavily funded will continue to act as nothing more than plasters on a tumour, failing to effectively prevent and treat this problem.”
“In the Muslim world, Western colonial wars and policies have generated an environment of insecurity for women where they have they been the primary victims of bombs, bullets and lawlessness resulting from occupation. Furthermore, Western governments in the pursuit of financial and strategic gain have buttressed incompetent regimes across the region that have for decades either ignored violence against women or been woefully inadequate in addressing abuses. Some Muslim governments have even provided a cover of immunity for the perpetrators of such crimes. How can capitalist states and politicians ever claim to champion the cause of women when it is clear that under this toxic ideology, women’s rights will always be negotiable and up for sale if the price is right?”
“The first step to female empowerment in the Muslim world is to remove dictatorial rulers and systems that have disempowered their people. In addition, sincerely addressing global violence against women requires challenging Western colonial foreign policy and the capitalist ideology that bankrolls the continuation of neglect over abuses against women by its propping up of inept autocratic regimes.”
“The establishment of the Khilafah state will provide a real alternative to current Muslim governments in challenging violence against women in the region and will stand as a model by which to solve this issue globally. Its Islamic laws will prohibit the exploitation of women, will seek to eradicate oppressive traditions that devalue and mistreat the woman, and will investigate rigorously and punish harshly any abuses against women, with an attitude of zero tolerance towards such crimes. In addition, its education system, media, and political parties will nurture the Islamic values of respect, care, and responsibility towards women, away from mentalities based upon selfish whims and individualistic desires that can lead men to treat women as they wish. All this will seek to elevate the woman to the station in life that Islam has afforded her – more precious than any mountain of gold – and ensure that women can be educated, travel, work, be politically active, and live in their own homes, free from the fear of violence.”