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Normalization of Domestic Violence in Society

Arya Omary

Violence, in the context of its understanding as a definition and as an identity that is referred to a range of behaviors and actions by individuals in society, cannot be discussed without understanding, studying and providing greater insight into the social, religious, economic identities, as well as into the roles and gender stereotypes in making this issue and activating it socially.

In Syria, and in the areas of the Self-Administration’s control in particular, there are extremely complex and interconnected reasons for creating violent-identity against women in society; as there are objective reasons that have shaped this identity, with long-term historical, intellectual, and cognitive accumulations. Religion is one of the most important and prominent reasons for violence, or that its interpretations in society make it possible as the religious factor plays a fundamental role of violence against women, for two main reasons. The first reason is that religion formed a set of customs, traditions, and social norms that permitted and established the idea of male-domination over women and provided the tools and justifications that form the idea that men are guardians of women and control their mental, intellectual, cognitive and life resources. The second reason is that religion is the main legislative source of customs, traditions and social norms that were existed in this society, especially regarding women issues as most of these social norms are based, in their application and documentation within society, on hadiths and Qur’anic verses through which clerics and mullahs have permitted though their interpretations many issues that exacerbate violence against women, such as polygamy, women's share of inheritance and women’s inclusion in specific fields of work.

Moreover, we cannot ignore the pivotal role that the tribal clan situation in the region plays in increasing the load of violence against women, in terms of establishing social customs and traditions that are essentially formed by the clan itself, giving men control over women, as well as marginalizing the role of women in their social and family existence.

According to the observer of the circumstances and conditions of violence in NES and in Syria generally, perhaps these concepts, causes, and fluctuations that have occurred in communities within the historical sequence are reasonable because they are often visible causes, and they are discussed and dealt with in public. Nevertheless, there are other forms of violence which are not addressed, and in some cases both the violent people and the battered people do not consider them acts of violence. In addition, violence and patriarchal culture are defined as men's extreme intellectual identity; men have formed and established them in society.

Needless to say, this conversation results in discussing the idea of domestic violence and the idea of women's role in crystallizing gender and male identities leading to violence against women, as well as the authority of men in society. Violence, in terms of expression, causes and formation, is not limited to a specific human race, and it is not established and turned into a regular event in society by men only, rather women also play a role in that. As well as they foster a culture of permissible violence and male-domination, which can be expressed through many explanations; women take the responsibility of the social upbringing of the children and educating them more than men and often since birth. Furthermore, the gender culture is enforced in the family, through which the patterns and forms of life for children in society are determined.

Often, women also embrace patriarchal concepts in society, whether for religious or social reasons, and they play at least as fundamental a role as men in raising violence against themselves. Consequently, the patriarchal authority over women, which allows domestic violence is enforced.

In fact, perhaps the domestic violence is one of the most un-reported forms of violence, not only due to the nature of society and its reservations, but also because this form of violence is still not well ununderstood. In addition, the battered women, whether she is a spouse, mother or sister is subjected to violence without realizing it, and this is, certainly, due to the weak civil, media and legal awareness role in presenting presentations that contribute to understanding the contexts, forms, patterns and aspects of violence that may arise within the family and the home.

As for the other context of this form is that this type of violence has been trivialized due to the stereotypes and the collective memory in society based on the idea the violence which is happening is not an act of violence, but rather a family problem that can regularly occur in any family.

In all cases, a specific serotyped definition cannot be drafted for this form of violence because it is more likely to have several structures. Meaning that it is more than a physical violence of assault and beating or verbal abuse, bullying, and hatred because this form of violence may be sexual, or economic, meaning that the working wife cannot spend the husband's revenue as she desires. A case of marital rape has not been reported yet in the areas of the Democratic Self-Administration and in Syria generally. According to the context of understanding the laws, and the collective self-understanding of the Syrian society in general, the marital rape and forced sex marriage can only be classified as act of violence, and often the issue will be addressed ironically.

Moreover, the Syrian women's organizations and associations in NES, organizations and associations affiliated with or close to the authority in particular, sometimes contribute to stereotyping violence, and considering it a cause for extremism and create violence against the other gender. These organizations establish the idea of exchanging authoritarian roles in society and leadership. Thus, they contribute to abolishing the idea of rights and duties and full equality in law between genders.

Within the same context, laws concerning women are not appropriate and are not likely to be implemented, as well as they may contribute to misunderstanding the role of women in society, as laws that are not applied in light of implementing customary social laws broadens the gap toward the rule of law on women's issues. For example, in cases of harassment, verbal violence, or polygamy, the Self-Administration has deterrent laws, however, these laws fail comparing to the social norms that may be tolerated in these cases for reasons of honor, revenge or general social culture.

As a result, violence in its current forms cannot be eliminated properly and easily under the present conditions because all the concerned parties intervene negatively, ineffectively and with fragmented, uncontrolled action and perhaps not based on complete and convincing knowledge. It will be significant if educational curriculums and university lectures to address these concepts and for civic associations and organizations to adopt demand-based methods that contribute to the development of equality between men and women, as well as the role of media and laws that must be activated and interacted with the conditions and circumstances of women.

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