What the world saw!
Male guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia is still ranked to be the worst violation women’s rights. Over the last couple of weeks we saw a teenager, Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun flee her home country and parents because of the nature of her life in Saudi Arabia.
In most of the world children have guardians because, well, they need them. In Saudi Arabia however, grown women have guardians, male guardians to be clear. Mothers are placed in the guardianship of their sons. Setting aside the implications of having the need for a guardian but that is simply humiliating.
Guardians, the term by nature have a positive connotation to it doesn’t it? It translates to a caretaker with authority. The problem is that the guardians are able to abuse their authority and they are not held accountable. That’s where the real violation of faith is.
As Darby Matt an International Relations points out. “I think there’s a lot to be said about trying to protect women but it is not an efficient method.” I have to agree with her. The world is not easy nor is it safe for women. Personally neither Matt nor I would go out alone but that is still our choice. We have the autonomy to choose what is best for us.
The Unreal Reality
To see women be stripped off of choice in any matter is so surreal. It seems like a plot to a fictional tale, like The Handmaid’s Tale. The book that gave me nightmares. To think that the life portrayed in the novel is not far from reality for some women shows that the world is still failing us.
Women in Saudi Arabia have to abide their controlling and abusive guardians with no reprieve because they do not have the capacity to take any legal actions without the support of their male guardian. Oh the irony!
I’m not saying that all the men treat women less than. There are fathers, brothers and husband that support a woman’s choice to get educated or to work. On the other hand there are some women who are perfectly fine with the regulations.
Changes in the recent years
There has been change, women were recently allowed to drive and have had the right to vote since 2015. Activists and reformers like Mohammed bin Salman have been chipping away at the laws that restrict women. However, until the day women are under the “guardianship” of the men they will never be protected from domestic violence.
In so many cultures we see women being restricted in order to “protect them”. Which implies that the men are the ones who are violent, abusive of women. I’m not saying that men are I am just trying to wrap my head around the justifications we hear.
Why haven’t people considered raising a better generation of men? Or punishing men for their behavior? Why restrict and consequently punish the innocent?