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| by Jasmine Kamal

Fustany Talks: Men Aren't the Only Ones Abusing Women

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The first thing that comes to mind whenever you hear the words 'abuse against women' is everything bad that men might do to a woman. But wait, what if I told you that I'm going to talk today about all the times women were the ones abusing other women?! Yes, we as women are guilty of abusing each other sometimes on a daily bases; and in some cases even more than once a day!

The conversations about elimination of violence and abuse against women has been going on for so many years, and every November many campaigns are launched to increase awareness about the different types of abuse that women face from their husbands, sons, brothers, etc. However, we have never talked about the abuse women face from other women, which is in my opinion, one of the worst and most dangerous types.

You might be wondering how women might abuse each other, and I'll tell you some of the scenes that I've experienced, seen or heard of myself:

1st Scene

It's a weekday, I finish work and wait for my colleague to finish up so we can leave work together. We start making our way to the subway station, talking about anything from life to music and movies. We take the subway home and until then everything is perfectly normal. At one point I notice 2 girls who have been staring at me since I got on the train. At first, I didn't think too much of it, maybe it wasn't intentional, but pretty soon I realized that wasn't the case. They kept looking at me from head to toe, as if they wanted me to notice what they were doing, and then they started whispering.

It was very irritating how obvious it was that they were whispering and gossiping about me in my face even when it was clear that I was uncomfortable and bothered by it. Their actions got me questioning myself if there was something wrong with me. Is it what I'm wearing?, is it how I look? Did I do something wrong for them to look at me like that? Until I figured out it was because of my Pixie hair! Yes, that was the reason for their stares and whispers. Seeing a girl with very short hair is something so unusual to them that it gave them the right to emotionally abuse me. This type of abuse doesn't require much effort at all, uncomfortable stares or a few words of criticism are enough to leave a negative effect on someone.

2nd Scene

Before going to sleep, I scroll through my Facebook feed to check out the new or maybe find a funny video to end the day on a happy note. Then I stumble upon a post from a father asking for advice on how to convince his 12 year old daughter to wear a hijab. My first reaction is to check the comments, and this is when I'm really shocked! Most of the comments were from women and surprisingly their words were much harsher and abusive than the comments left by men.

A woman suggested that the father should cut his young daughter's hair off so she feels embarrassed of how she looks and wear the hijab. Another said he should punish her or beat her up until she agrees. A third woman suggested he lock her up at home and forbid her from going to school and see her friends.

Instead of these women standing up for that little girl, they were encouraging the father to abuse his child.

3rd Scene

A chance reunion between me and an old friend whom I haven't seen for a very long time got us talking about our life and this is what she's been through.

She separated from her husband after 2 years of marriage and a daughter between them. After the separation she went back to live in her family's home with her mother looking for a little bit of stability in her life. At first things were normal, until her mother asked her to leave her job and stay at home to take care of her baby. My friend thought things through and agreed with the idea thinking that her mother would only want what's best for her, only to realize that it's the start of a new phase of abuse similar to what she's been through when she was married. Only this time it's from another woman, her own mother!

She started being very controlling, forbidding her from going out to see her friends since she's a 'divorced women' and not giving her enough money to take care of her child. Not to mention the constant verbal abuse because her marriage didn't last long and failed.

Even though what was happening is clear to anyone that it is abuse, since the mother was violating a lot of her daughter's human rights, the victim didn't know. My friend didn't even understand that what she was going through was abuse. She thought it was her mother's way of protecting her and her daughter from life. Which is even worse!

All these previous scenes are types of abuse by women targeting other women. There are even worse stories of how women abuse each other! What I wanted to highlight through these stories, is that abuse against women is not limited to how men treat us, but women as well!

I'll leave you with saying that it's very important to understand what is the meaning and types of abuse against women in all its forms so that we stop hurting each other, with something as small as a look.

Main Image Credits: The Cut

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Tags: Fustany talks  Women empowerment  Women rights  Violence against women  Domestic violence