The sad case of the murder of Marketing Executive Sarah Everard has shocked society. Many are struggling to comprehend how she could be targeted by a serving police officer. Even more shocking is the fact that the police officer in question was accused of indecent exposure only three days earlier.
The case has led many women to come out with their own stories of feeling intimidated whilst walking the streets alone, especially at night. Stories of women being indecently assaulted on public transport; whilst out jogging, and just everyday disrespect have been widely reported. This has included sitting MP’s and women across the broad spectrum of society.
The debate surfacing after these horrible incidents is around how to prevent this happening ever again. The Met police are now under investigation as to their dealing with the incident of indecent exposure, the thinking being that if that had been dealt with correctly then Sarah Everard would still be alive. There may be some truth in this but it is looking for answers in the wrong place. Some on social media have used the hashtag #CurfewForMen to suggest that men should be banned from being outdoors after 6 or 7pm at night, a solution akin to the dark ages.
In the same week as International Women’s Day, and the Swiss banning of the Niqab, the problems facing women across the world highlight the difference between the propaganda that liberal societies project about other cultures, and the reality in their own backyard. Back in 2001 when the Western allies started their war on Afghanistan, one selling point for the war was the idea that a Western invasion would emancipate Muslim women. The sad irony was that Western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq were systimatically raping Muslim women, whilst their own women at home were still too afraid to walk the streets of their own neighbourhood alone.
Whilst this gruesome crime will make the news, the day to day misery that women are put through in society will continue. Just as with racism, the media and politicians are quite happy to ignore systematic misogyny until something hits the news. This is no way to solve problems and it is no way to build civilised societies. Racism will not be solved by blaming the press and similarly misogyny will never end by curfews or by just blaming men.
The only way society changes is when it is taught to uphold values which mould behaviour into a coherent and civilised society, where women are respected for their worth in society and they don’t feel the need to live up to anyone’s standards.
Islam came to a society in Mecca where the Quraish would bury new born girls alive, simply for being girls. Muhammad (saw) brought these backward people guidance through the Quran:
Allah (swt) says:
وَإِذَا ٱلْمَوْءُۥدَةُ سُئِلَتْ
“and when the girl-child that was buried alive will be asked, for what sin she was killed” [At-Takwir 81:8]
Just as the Quraish needed guidance to come out from the darkness, societies across the world which see Women as commodities need the guidance of islam to become truly civilised.