More than 80% of Muslim women surveyed by progressive Muslim women’s advocacy group Sisters in Islam (SIS) said they have been emotionally and physically abused.
The findings shared with The Malaysian Insight did not state what form the emotional or physical abuse took but said that 82% of the 675 women surveyed felt this way.
“As a Muslim woman in this country, you lack freedom. Either as a daughter, wife or mother,” said the report titled ‘Perceptions and Realities: The Public and Personal Rights of Muslim Women in Malaysia’.
The report said the women felt that husbands did not care about their emotions or how they felt.
“Eighty-two per cent of the women we asked concurred that their husbands refuse to acknowledge their emotional state.
“Women on the east coast were the highest proportion of respondents who agreed with this question, at 88%,” the report said.
The women interviewed in June were between 18 and 55, and came from rural and urban parts of Malaysia. The women were interviewed in Bahasa Malaysia and were approached on the street and at home.
Of those who felt abused, 78% said they were the sole breadwinner of the family, and of those respondents who were divorced, 75% said their rights were denied.
Eighty-eight per cent of respondents agreed that Islam regards men and women equally, even though men are perceived to be favoured.
“They do not object that Islam is seen as siding the men more. Much greater efforts are required if Muslim women are to be brought to the same level of equality as Muslim men,” the report said.
One area that the women felt there was inequality was house chores. Eighty-three per cent of the married respondents said they did chores without help from their husbands.
Women on the east coast were the highest proportion of respondents to state this.
“Ninety-three per cent of women (surveyed) on the east coast agreed that they do not get help from men when it comes to house chores. Overall, 83% said their husbands left them alone with house chores.”
SIS conducted the survey in June with funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights of the European Union.
The study aims to discover what Muslim women face in their roles as daughter, wife, mother and career woman.
Women living in the north and south of the peninsula were the largest group in the survey, at 23%, while 22% of respondents came from the east coast, 12% were from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, and 20% were from Sabah and Sarawak.
The study’s findings will be released today at a four-day international women’s rights conference at Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur.
The conference will discuss on the role of women in rising against extremism and has drawn 200 delegates from Muslim-majority countries, as well as minority Muslim countries. – TMI