Excellent article in the New York Times about a man that killed a woman – and society blamed the woman for her own death. As you read it, think about how the US media writes about domestic violence (“nice guy” “snaps” and kills wife/children/himself and perhaps that she “nagged” or something) and rape (how she dressed, what she wore, what she drank, her profession…and the “false allegations” articles)…
Yet there has been no outpouring of sympathy for Ms. Tamim, who was killed at the age of 30.
“She made him kill her, and she deserves it,” said Sherine Moustafa, a 39-year-old Egyptian corporate lawyer, an opinion that was echoed by every woman of dozens interviewed. “If he killed her, this means she’s done something outrageous to drive him to it,” reasoned Ms. Moustafa, who has no relation to the convicted businessman. Both her sister and mother, who sat next to her, agreed.
This is the standard argument presented, more even by women than by men, in the Arab world, where strict patriarchal traditions continue to hold female victims responsible for crimes against them by men. If a woman is sexually harassed, then she must have been dressed provocatively. If raped, she somehow must have put herself in a compromising position. If pregnant out of wedlock, her conduct is to blame. And if she is murdered, then she must have committed an even more abhorrent crime.
“This is a common spontaneous response, even among educated social workers,” said Azza Baydoun, a Lebanese researcher in gender and women’s studies who wrote a book analyzing attitudes and circumstances surrounding crimes of violence against women in Lebanon. “It is the old idea of Eve seducing Adam, which originated in our part of the world.”