Domestic violence accepted and justified in the Maldives, says report

The proposed Domestic Violence Bill will nullify some “God given rights” that no man-made law should be allowed to take away, according to some of the objections raised by MPs when it was debated in the Majlis last week.

“Do not to call upon us to make haraam (forbidden) something that God’s law has permitted us to do. It is when we try to forbid things that God allows us to do that problems begin”, Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa said, according records of the debate.

Several MPs said various parts of the Bill were against the teachings of Islam, and criticised it for “unduly favouring” women while at the same time making life “extremely difficult” for men, who they said, were wronged by women.

A Ministry of Gender and Family study, the first comprehensive nationwide survey of domestic violence in the Maldives, showed that one in every three women between the ages of 15-49 has been a victim of domestic violence.

It also showed there is general acceptance of domestic violence across the country and among both sexes, as ‘normal’ or ‘justified’.

Seventy percent of Maldivian women believe, for example, that there are circumstances under which a man is justified in beating his wife. Infidelity and disobedience, most women accept, are valid reasons for taking a good beating from the husband.

A majority of women also accept that women have a subordinate role to men, according to the report.

One in every three Maldivian men who commit acts of domestic violence against women do so for ‘no reason’. One in four does it to punish the woman for disobedience, and one in five does it because he is jealous.

One in every ten man beats up his partner because she refused him sex, and the rest of them do it for any number of reasons  – lack of food at home, family problems, because they are broke or unemployed, because they are having problems at work, or because the woman is pregnant.

Seven per cent of the men do it when they are drunk or on drugs.

Continuing his objections to the Bill on religious grounds, MP Musthafa said the Bill would allow the legalisation of abortion, and something that would pave the way for ‘Satanist laws’ to replace the law of God, which the Maldives should be following.

“We are being swayed by non-Islamic people and their beliefs”, he said. He also told the Majlis that Maldivians are allowing the contamination of the society by marrying ‘foreigners from all sorts of places across the world,” he said.

“It is”, he said, “destroying our culture, our Islamic way of life, bringing in all sorts of poisons and viruses into society.”

Islam, he said, recognises the importance that women should be given in society, as is evident from the fact that “it forbids men to wear any jewellery at all while encouraging them to adorn their women with gold and silver”.

Other objections to the Bill were raised on similar religious grounds. MPs Ibrahim Muththalib was concerned that it would become an impediment to the Muslim practise of polygamy. “This is a right accorded to every man by Islam,”
MP Muththalib said.

MPs also expressed concern over what they described as the “unduly harsh” punishments proposed in the Bill.

MP Muththalib said that such punishments would mean the criminalisation of a man’s rightful actions against his wife’s infidelity.

Agreeing with Muththalib on the harshness of the penalties proposed in the Bill, Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed said he feared being locked out of his own home for the day due to his objections to Bill.

“The Bill criminalises too much – the way it is, the particular way a man enters his house may be judged a crime. There are some situations where wives take other men as lovers. In such situations they may make false reports about their husbands – these are things that have happened in this society”, he said.

Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Rasheed, who also voiced strong objections to the Bill, said some of the injuries suffered by women were the result of accidents caused by cramped living conditions rather than the result of violence by men.

“A woman walks down a narrow alley. She trips over pots and pans. In reality, it is not that some one deliberately tripped her…The reality is the circumstances – how can a fat person walk on a two feet alleyway without tripping?” MP Rasheed said.

According to the Gender Ministry report, one in every three Maldivian women are subjected to violence – sometimes physical, sometimes sexual or, more often than not, both. Most of the violence is committed by the man they are married to, or are in a relationship with.

Much of the physical violence to which they are subjected is ‘severe’ rather than ‘moderate’ – they are punched, kicked, choked, or burnt. Most of the violence is also long term, some times life-long.  Many are often beaten into consciousness, and most victims never receive medical treatment for their injuries.

Several are brutally beaten up while pregnant, causing miscarriages or still births. Women who suffer domestic violence are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies than those who are not. Their children are also more likely to suffer long term psychological damage due to the violent environment to which they are exposed.

Women who have suffered domestic violence are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than women have not. 14 percent of women who had experienced such violence have attempted to take their own lives. The prohibition of suicide in Islam, the Gender Ministry report says, is one the reasons why the suicide rate among such victims is not higher.

The violence is more common in long term, cohabiting relationships than in short-term or non-cohabiting relationships.  Almost half the women who are abused have never been to school or only have a primary level education.

Women who are divorced or separated are more likely to have suffered at the hands of their partners, suggesting that violence is an important cause of the large number of divorces in the Maldives.

Most women never complain, because there are no mechanisms available for them to do so. Or they feel that complaining would stigmatise them socially. Or they fear retaliation by the husbands if they do so.

Over ninety percent of the women who were abused had never gone to the police and almost fifty percent of the women said no one had ever helped them.

The Gender Ministry study also found that women only find the strength to escape, to leave the house and to leave the abusive relationship they are in when they felt they could not endure any more.

It is when they feel that they are in mortal danger that they manage to start the long drawn out process of finding a life outside of the home in which they had suffered for so long.

In the Majlis debate over the Bill, many MPs objected to what they perceived as a bias against men in the Bill.

“We accept that some husbands do beat their wives. But there are women who commit more extraordinary, bigger acts of violence against men. Violence is not always a physical fight. One woman wants to marry a younger man after she has had 10 or 12 children”, Vilufushi MP Rasheed said. “This is also violence”.

Despite the objections, MPs actively promoting the Bill, introduced by Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Rozaina Adam, told Minivan last week they were optimistic it will be passed after it is sent to a special committee to refine the particulars.

The Parliament is currently deadlocked after the Supreme Court granted the government a temporary injunction on Monday, blocking the endorsing of cabinet ministers until a ruling on the process can be issued.


33 thoughts on “Domestic violence accepted and justified in the Maldives, says report”

  1. Listening to these bumbling idiots gives me a headache.

    People of the "calibre" of Muttalib wouldn't recognize misogyny if it came up to the man and slapped him.

    Why are they so afraid of women? God has given Musthafa and Riyaz the right to beat their wives, and damn right they will use it. How dare civilization and/or sensibility come in the way!

  2. yea. these MPs who are supposed to be the role models and to lead the country are worst than thugs ...

  3. Dear Minivan News

    When you say many MPs objected, you were only able to mention 4 out the 77. From what I heard, DRP, MDP and Independent alike nearly all MPs were supportive of the bill and its purpose. The MPs showed they are united in cleansing social ills so please don't twist and turn stories to promote your agenda. Seena, David and editor JJ you all have done enough. We need our unity back. Shut the religious bullshit. Maldives Volunteer Corp my A**. Thats to you Seena & David.

    Maakananvan 😉

  4. I am always afraid to tell people that Islam sanctions beating of wife. It's very clear from the Koran and Hadhith that women are looked upon as inferior to men. So problems will be there when attempts are made to over rule what's in these books. Many educated Maldivian women think Islam makes men and women equal. This is a mistake.

  5. Are these the arguments they make for their cases? What an embarrassment!

    To see such blatant racism, misogyny, and stupidity pervading our parliament makes me ashamed to be associated with this country. I QUIT!

  6. Some horrifying facts on domestic violence
    - Domestic violence can cause miscarriages thus killing babies and injuring mothers permanently
    - victims need health care thus costing the country to spend on treating women whose injury is caused by the violence of men
    - victims cannot go to work thus
    a. disrupting some employers' efforts to deliver a service to the community
    b. decreasing the income of the woman and dependents
    - there is poor performance in the workplace when women suffer
    - victims suffer long and sometimes do not heal thus leading to inability to raise families in a responsible manner
    - violated women can be out casted and shamed thus driving a potential contributor out of the society
    - it destroys families and cripples the society

    This has to be one bill that will need to be backed by the two strongest opposition parties and without compromises.

    What will definitely happen is there will be an increased cost for investigations, legal proceedings etc and we will all have to bear the cost of the fight against domestic violence. But it goes without question and we must be prepared to fight the sick mentality of the advocates of violence and the perpetrators.

  7. Islam thrives by keeping society in dark. It was created by men to favor men, under the pretense of divine guidance.

    No one can every prove irrefutably the guidance of divinity in this. But day to day happenings prove there are no favoritism or preference to any sects or beliefs over another.

    So, like before, idiotic men, seeking 'god-given right to have justified sex' will follow these vile religions, quite frankly blindly.

    But in the past few decades, dawn has come to Maldives, and the next generations will know the utter stupidity of the religions, but the transition will be difficult because of many senile, viagra-using, geriatrics.

  8. its really sad to see that women who help build a society are treated like turd in this country!.
    unfortunately these old burly , filthy minded politicians themselves are into a lot of domestic violence and extramarital affairs themselves and feel very violated that their RIGHTS are being willfully taken away from them!.
    it is the responsibility of every maldivian man to truly stand up for the rights of his second half and help her receive the dignity she rightfully deserves.
    remember that, progress, broadmindedness and wisdom are attributes you need to look for in your politicians, or else, lets be ready for a morally, culturally polluted maldives!!!

  9. These horny MPs and horny salafists are afraid that they might loose their women if they dont beat them. cause they probably have been controlling women and kids by beating the crap of of them. and these people(horny MPs and horny salafists) think thats how women should respect should them. "its all written in the Quran too".

  10. those speeches by the MP's demonstrate the lack of respect they have for women.
    sadly, a lot of women in this society will agree with them.
    lets think outside the box just once, leaving religion and tradition aside.
    human beings were blessed with brains and logic not to follow blindly, but to think about actions and their circumstances.
    we know the physical and mental shortcomings of both genders.
    i am certain that the modern educated women of society would object to being physically or sexually abused.
    we have to eradicate the belief that subjecting women to violence, purely because we are physically delicate, is a norm. it is wrong and those who do such things should be subjected to harsh punishment.
    women too need to be educated and taught that physical violence should not be tolerated!

  11. the real problem with this bill is that if passed the MPs might have legal obstacles to engaging in BDSM.

  12. Please enlighten me.

    Just how am I to believe that Islam is THE direction from the most gracious God?

    Oh what the heck! I would not bother. THis is good for me too. I will
    a) marry 4 women. Use and abuse them to hell.
    b) have numerous concubines and women servants...
    c) sex with multiple women at the same time.

    AND claim

    its my god given right.


    Please please please this Islam is true and men deserve all this... please please...YES!!!

  13. “Do not to call upon us to make haraam (forbidden) something that God’s law has permitted us to do. It is when we try to forbid things that God allows us to do that problems begin”, Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa said,

    He's talking about beating up women as if it was a right entitled to him. I say he deserves to have some problems. Losing his job as an MP would be a good start. A mob of enraged women slapping him down would be good too.

    Seriously, I'm amazed - is this what all so-called islamic countries can spout?. Misogyny?. Injustice?.

    @dark knight: YOURE RIGHT. Didn't Afraasheem say something about people being submissive because the constitution said so?.

  14. By the way...

    The part about beating women comes in a bracket in the quran. Does this means the dishonorable MP Mohamed Mustafa is accepting the words of a man as the word of god?. Isn't that considered 'shirk'?

    Why did this come to my mind just now?!

    News at eleven!.

  15. Peopel like Mutholib and Musthafa bring shame to their constituents. They need to be thrown out of majlis immediately.

  16. I fully support anything that supports harsh punishment against anyone who beats their wife, sisters, or kids. Since current Parliament has not been able to pass Islamic punishment properly, other types of punishment is better than no punishment. Ofcourse all punishment should come after transparent convictions by a fair court.

    I would ofcourse be against any legalization of abortion which I doubt would ever happen in reality in Maldives even if Parliament passed it at their level. Either the person who try to open something like that would be driven out by local people or it would bring such a shame into their family that their own family would throw them out 😉 If anyone wants to give it a try.. pls do proof me wrong. Abortion is haraam and it will stay Haraam.

    Lastly I agree with (Maakananvan), Minivan news seem to have made a big story out of something small in order to target Islam, thinking that they can give a negative image to Islam in order to bring more young ones away from it. Sadly that would not work and those that are religious are not worried about secular propaganda, be it small or large. 🙂

  17. Oh well, at least Islam is the biggest reason why these abused women don't off themselves... gotta give credit where its due.

  18. What more can be said? The retarded MP's were elected by Maldivians, not anybody else. However, I still have to thank all the MP's who stood up for this bill.

  19. Last regime did not want to talk about it because they wanted to keep the image of Paradise to sell Maldives

    Beautiful peaceful Maldives - political slogan

    Talking about domestic violence is a propaganda against Islam and abhorrent. Cover it up so it does not tar the practices in a Muslim Country

    A devout Muslim Society upholding the highest values - the religious slogan

  20. Welcome to sunny side of LIFE, where a man can marry 4 women and neglect the 3 senior wives and beat all of them!

  21. It certainly makes the situation worse to justify violence with religion.

    Does not matter how stressed you are, don't resort to violence against a woman, it is cowardly and inwardly weak... Deal with pain in constructive ways. Look, as a man, I am not going to pretend that women are always innocent to appear all liberal, that is dishonest bull dust and will not ultimately help the kids in a relationship, because it will feed the anger of an oppressed woman and she will take that out on the kids! I had seen this millions of times. but if a man gets to the point he has to use violence, I don't know, go to the Mosque, do something, go fishing, go to work.
    If a woman is so angry that she pushes man to violence, well, if the man knows genuinely he is doing his best, honestly, then she has to lose out on her mans company. Neglectful of a man? Perhaps, but it is better than becoming violent.

    I am going to get crucified by your liberals for saying this but sometimes, dealing with domestic violence takes the responsibilty of both partners.

    For the sake of the kids, don't feed society the bull dust that it is all a one way thing. If we are serious about protecting kids, both parties husband and wife have to be held accountable for their behaviour for violence to stop.

    Anyway, I have to pull my nose out of Maldivian affairs now and work on myself and my own family. I heard a song, a guy was so concerned about the politics and the issues that he neglected his own family. Yeah, the Maldivians living under my roof, all four of them, need me now, so take care...

    So, thanks minivan for letting me have a little say... I will write again next year when things are good, in the meantime, I will keep you at minivan and the Maldives in my prayers.

    You are the best


  22. we voted these ppl in to the majlis knowing who these ppl are..
    then we expect them to behave like godsends and role models..

    its us that need to change, its our vote that counts! vote wrongly and we get wronged. we reap what we sow!

  23. Men and woman are not same but equal in front of it's creator. And what goes to women goes to men too. some psychos above has reached a level that they are self created immortal beings, well there is the problem. If you start believing there are no divine guidance and if you go out of the way, you're in Hell already! haha its normal you don't believe in Hell if you're a self created immortal being...hehehe



Comments are closed.