Aida Zabidi
The Public Service Announcement by All Women's Action Society and DAP assemblywoman of marital rape has sparked a whole debate which I had been following for awhile and I had generally found the responses mostly interesting.

However, I have to admit reading an article by Sairana Mohd Saad with a growing perturbedness. 

I feel her article ‘Sex on the Back of A Camel, Why Not?’ missed the whole point of the previous article she referenced from Syafiqah Othman. Her whole article not just failed to be constructive, but belittled any woman who has valid concerns about the issue of marital rape. 

One does not have to be married to make a decision about what is right or wrong about a marriage, and one does not have to associate concerns about how religion is interpreted with belittling religion! 

In my line of work, I have met women who have encountered domestic abuse, inclusive of marital rape. Domestic abuse is not uncommon in our society, and it is the disparaging attitude of individuals like Sairana that make it so difficult for victims like these women to come forward and seek help. 

It is sheer blindness to say that rape only happens with men who are in the right state of mind, ie drugged or drunk. Many abusive relationships are a continued power struggle by themselves without any additional intoxicants, and it is this increased need to educate women about their rights of their own bodies that will help curb these social ills. 

Islam is perfect, but do not forget that the world we live in is not, and the interpretation of laws of the Quran without taking into consideration at the overall picture of a fulfilling marriage between a man and a woman is damaging. 

The responses to the issue of marital rape is disturbing, from the defense of the issues from both males and females to the justification and denial of marital rape actually happening in our country. The issue emerging now is not new, and it is not uncommon.

There is a reason why it is important to discuss the issue of marital rape, as uncomfortable as it may be, but it is essential. There is a fine mental line for a Muslim women to cross when making a distinction to reporting abuse – in so many of the women I’ve spoken to, there is a genuine struggle in wondering if they have betrayed their husband by confiding these personal horrific details, and many times it is going against an ingrained ideal that they have deserved the abuse that was inflicted on themselves. 

Debate is essential, and is not being critical of Islam, but rather, understanding that the Quran is holistic and all encompassing, and not quoted one phrase at a time without a clear context. I would rather take Dr Maza’s interpretation of “Live with them (wives) in kindness” (Surah Al-Nisa: 19) and build on from there, rather than the now infamous hadith about sex on the back of a camel. 

At the end of the day, we debate all we can, but don’t forget that the words we speak will influence the minds of others, and it is the victims of these cases who suffer in the silence in the wake of those who choose not to see.
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