I was sitting watching Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless discuss the Ray Rice incident on ESPN’s First Take, and my thoughts kept wondering back to the situation in the Middle East. After all that is the subject first and foremost on my mind these days. Between the threats Israel continues to face from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and the immediate threat ISIS poses to the region and the rest of the world, I couldn’t help but have the thought so many people of us have these days. The world is a really messed up place. All of a sudden the Ray Rice incident and international politics crystallized into one as I realized what is actually one of the main sources of everything that is wrong in the world today. The treatment of women.
This was actually mentioned to me in a discussion I had with a cousin of mine about a month ago. She stated how so much of the bad behavior of Muslim extremists has its root in the mistreatment of women. I agreed with her when she said this, never disputed it, and put the thought somewhere in the back of my mind. But over the past few weeks it kept gnawing at my brain, and little by little has worked its way back to the forefront. Here’s why.
The promise of 72 virgins up in heaven is genuinely used as motivation in terrorist training. Somehow certain elements within Islam that require women on earth to cover up any degree of beauty they have, are promising available and virginal women up in heaven as a reward for men that kill, maim and destroy. They are exploiting perversion to encourage murder. A man’s desire for a woman is not a perversion. A man pursuing 72 virgins is a perversion, especially in a society where women’s natural beauty is suppressed and covered up, and especially when they have the perception of acquiring the virgins through mass murder and suicide. The whole idea of having a woman who is specifically a virgin is more about conquest than it is about desire. Wanting a woman for conquest rather than desire or companionship is in itself inherently degrading to women.
I believe part of what has drawn some to join ISIS or ISIL is the ability to live a lawless life in which they have the power to do whatever they want. The abuse of women is no small part of this. As tragic and despicable as it is, I don’t think anyone was terribly surprised to hear of how Yazidi women captured by ISIS terrorists have been and still are being used brutally as sex slaves. If there were no women to abuse in the “Levant” I wonder if we would see the same unrelenting pursuit by these terrorists to conquer these territories.
Basic respect for women makes a man behave a certain way. It’s not about the basic or natural needs of a man, it’s about seeing a woman as nothing less than an equal human being. It’s about not tolerating abuse of a woman in any form, including a football player punching his fiance in an elevator. I make no claims to be perfect nor do I claim to have treated every woman perfectly, but this is not about perfection. This is about basic decency and not having tolerance for the abuse of women.
Stop and imagine for one second what the world would be like if women weren’t being treated improperly. If you do this openly and honestly you’ll not only see a better world, but a safer one as well.
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