Sanctuary lost

abuse

Religion is a pretty tenuous thing at best to seek sanctuary in, but most people seem to find comfort there, and as much as I speak out against this aberration, I realise that it is going to take a long long time to totally rid the world of its hold, if ever. So imagine how despondent it must feel to those seeking sanctuary in its bosom, to be discriminated against on the basis of their gender.

Far be it for me to claim to know how women feel about being discriminated against, but at least I can relate, having endured victimization under apartheid in South Africa. So I do know that it must feel rotten.

Just about every religion I’ve come across, has discriminated against women, some more so than others. All on the basis of interpretation of obscure and archaic religious texts, written in a time when men had not much more knowledge than garden snails. And let’s be clear about it; it’s men (99.99% of the time) who are the perpetrators of this discrimination.

It’s shocking and disheartening to learn on a daily basis how religiously inspired men around the world, treat women with contempt, even going so far as to maim, mutilate and kill them, because of some insignificant act committed, which is deemed to be in violation of a religious doctrine.

Just the other day, I read with utter dismay how the number of women imprisoned in Afghanistan in the last 18 months has risen by 50%, to 600. Their offenses which range from running away from abusive husbands, family and forced marriages, to being the victims of sexual abuse, are regarded as “moral crimes.” What kind of mindset can turn the victim of sexual assault into a moral criminal?

Afghanistan is a shit hole, but this kind of thing happens in many other countries which are considered advanced, even civilized by modern standards. A proposed Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law in Afghanistan is being blocked by religiously inspired lawmakers who argue that some sections are un-Islamic. That is incomprehensible and utterly devoid of sane or rational thinking.

In the Middle and Far East, women are subject to other forms of discrimination such as limitations on basic freedoms like free movement, enforcement of dress codes, and being prevented from driving vehicles. We are told by self-appointed moralists that these basic rights infringe on certain religious tenets. It’s however by no means any different in the highly advanced West where lesbians face the threat of violence, and discrimination against termination of pregnancy, or Africa where female genital mutilation is still enforced.

No amount of cuss words can describe how utterly deprived these beliefs are.The common denominator is religion, and patriarchal men who hide behind it, spreading their hatred… and fear of women.

If this is the treatment meted out to god-fearing women, I can only shudder in disgust at what non-believing women have to go through.

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