Suggestion for Women to Wear Chastity Belts Reeks of Misogyny

Suggestion for Women to Wear Chastity Belts Reeks of Misogyny

Sisters in Islam is shocked at recent comments by high-profile religious leaders this week blaming women for the allegedly uncontrollable sexual desires of men.

Datuk Abu Hassan Din Al-Hafiz is recommending the use of chastity belts to prevent rape. What we are amazed with is that even Datuk Abu Hassan acknowledges not all men are potential rapists and that the majority of men out there are actually civilized and good. Thus, would it not make more sense to raise awareness among men and educate them on how to prevent violence against women rather than blame and control all women for the behaviour of certain men?

We do not doubt his sincerity when he says he does not mean to insult women, but we hope he realizes that he is definitely insulting all men by suggesting that women have to be restrained because all men are incapable of controlling their lust!

Just a few days ago, a similar sentiment was conveyed by Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin who said that men can only watch women athletes in action if the latter are fully covered up in order not to arouse male desire.

Not all Muslim religious leaders excuse the behaviour of men by putting it down to ‘uncontrollable lust’. For example, in a debate concerning polygamy in 2004, a parliamentarian in Morocco argued that “There are men who, for physical reasons, cannot satisfy themselves with only one wife.” Rather than excuse this argument that men are not able to control themselves, the Minister for Religious Affairs, Ahmed Toufiq, replied, “In that case they should seek treatment.”

Piety does not thus necessitate contempt and condescension towards women.

In a nation that has built the world’s tallest twin towers, a multimedia super-corridor, and is now planning to send a man into outer space, we find it flabbergasting that, at the same time, there are calls to send women back to the Dark Ages by strapping chastity belts on them.

As we approach 50 years of Merdeka, we definitely should be proud of the high standards we have set for ourselves, but not when they come with high double standards against half the Malaysian population.

Sisters in Islam
16 February 2007

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