Friday, January 15, 2016

Sexism and violence against women in Germany: role of religion

"Even more recently, other voices have joined the political right to invoke the hard-hand against Muslims in the name of women’s rights. In Germany, feminist icon Alice Schwarzer has been one of the most vocal critics of Islam, claiming that as both a religion and culture it is responsible for the oppression of women; over the years, Schwarzer has been joined by a wide array of political actors, including social democrat Thilo Sarrzin. This idea has become so widespread that according to a survey conducted by the polling agency Allensbach in 2012, 83 percent of Germans associate the word “Islam” with “oppression of women”.
It is incumbent on us to remember, however, that in Germany Muslims have not been the only ones accused of innate misogyny. Throughout the 1980s, well-known Christian feminists such as Gerda Weiler and Christa Mulack blamed Judaism for having introduced patriarchy into the West. During these years, even certain politicians linked to the Greens seemed to intimate that Judaism—as a religion—justifies sexual violence against women as well as pedophilia.
Thus, in recent German history, sexism has been repeatedly framed as a problem plaguing non-Christian religions and cultures. Yet, framing the problem in this way is very dangerous for the cause of gender equality and women’s safety, since it not only distort facts, but it also diverts attention away from the loopholes in the German legal system concerning women’s rights and the everyday reality of sexism and violence....Moreover, statistics show that the large majority of cases of sexual violence and abuse—in Germany as elsewhere—do not involve Muslims or migrants. The 2014 EU-wide survey on violence against women reports that in a sample of 10,000 German women who were interviewed, 37 percent said that they had experienced at least one form of physical attack or threat of violence by a partner or a non-partner. Those interviewed most often implicate men who are known to them: partners, fathers, relatives, friends, or bosses." (thanks Yusuf)