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Lifestyles 1
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Lifestyles and Comment

James Skinner

It’s true! No kidding. There’s a sort of Ayatollah living in Fuengirola, Spain called Mohamed Kamal Mostafá who has just been charged and sentenced to jail for writing a book that has a chapter in it that incites husbands to beat their wives. The book is some sort of a guide for Muslim women and their role in the Islamic world. In this particular chapter he describes several methods that should be used by husbands when beating their wives so that no serious bruises remain.

Would you believe it! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. No, not because of the seriousness of the issue, but because I could not conceive how someone could be so stupid as to write on such a delicate subject that is hot stuff in Europe today. I refer to the rising problem of domestic violence, or whatever other names it comes under in present day European legislation.

I remember when I first came to Galicia as a young bachelor; a local friend said to me, ‘if you see a man in the street hitting his wife with his umbrella, never go to her rescue.’ ‘Why’, I asked. ‘Because they will both stop fighting and turn on you!’ It might sound strange in today’s environment but a few decades ago, smacking your spouse now and then was part of the bliss of being married. But then, one thing is a smack on the kisser if the women deserved it, and another is darn outright brutal violence. Not that I am a violent man myself. On the contrary I abhor it very strongly. Yet I do recognise that tempers, on both sides might I add, tend to rise on certain occasions during matrimonial bliss and the odd punch up take place within the walls of the ´den of love´. Most of them ended in ‘kiss and make up’, till the next round.

However, statistics abound that show that violent crimes are being committed throughout Europe, particular by male partners against women who either live or are married to the aggressor. In the majority of cases the actual violent act is carried out under the influence of drugs or alcohol and although, as I pointed out earlier the odd punch up was fairly common in the past, today’s numbers are not only on the increase but are far more brutal. Many result in darn outright first-degree murder! Apart from the blood and gore, some are even bizarre.

A few months back, in the south of Spain, an old foggy in his late seventies, murdered his wife and gave himself up to the police, after fifty years of marriage because he could not bare to see her suffer. She was bedridden and suffering very severely from Alzheimer’s disease. It is certainly a sad and possible heartbreaking human tragedy that has probably occurred elsewhere in the world. The difference in this case is that ‘Grandad’ had trouble in trying to chop up his wife into little pieces and put her into supermarket plastic bags!

Some cases are those involving what appear to be fairly normal couples that have been married for several years and may have one or two children. The husband comes back one evening from wherever and his wife tells him, out of the blue, that she wants a divorce. She’s found someone else. The husband picks up the nearest object he can find and smashes her head in. Or you may have the perpetual drunk that arrives late after watching the local soccer match, boozed to his eyeballs and demands his dinner. It’s two in the morning and his wife is in bed sleeping. All hell breaks lose.

The saddest ones however are your genuine family argument that turns really nasty. Probably during days gone by they would end up with a short and sharp punch-up. Chances are that today, the husband would find a large kitchen knife and stab his partner to death and then regret it. Next step is he’d jump off the balcony of the family apartment and commit suicide. Little two-year-old Johnny sleeping in the bedroom would never know what had happened!

And so we could go on with case after case of brutality by man against woman. The vast majority are perpetual beaters and if the woman has had the guts to report the offender, chances are the bastard will be tagged like a Rotweiller and told to keep a few kilometres away or else. Trouble is that most women put up with it and therefore what appears in the statistics, read also local press, is most probably a very small percentage of this tragic domestic violence.

But why has it turned violent anyway? Why has man suddenly turned into the prehistoric beast of thousands of years ago? Funnily enough analysing our predecessors could be the answer.
Some psychologists argue that modern day consumerism is partly to blame. Others point fingers at women’s lib and their perpetual fight for equal rights with men, specially in the workplace. There are a few that even go as far as suggesting that because of today’s violent atmosphere most men cannot control their instincts and release their energy on the weakest and closest beings. This latter hypothesis could also account for child bashing which is a related crime and is also on the increase. I have my own theory and it is probably a combination of all the above put into a pot and stirred like a witches cauldron. Except that I’ve added a few peppers to hot up the brew!

The ape-man of years gone by would go out and hunt whilst his ‘mate’ would stay in the cave mucking about and looking after the offspring. When ‘daddy’ arrived back he would throw the ‘catch-of-the-day’ at mum and say ‘Ugh’, which meant cook or do something with it. Later on, after fasting he would chase his partner and rape her. And so procreation fostered and life progressed. But one important foundation had been laid and that was, like it or not, the family unit. Up until a few decades ago, nothing had really changed. That is, until contraception was invented. Stopping sperm from doing its naughty act of producing babies followed by worldwide abortion laws allowing the female to ‘rid itself’ of the unnecessary burden, the concept of a family has virtually disappeared.

I therefore add another vital ingredient which is the actual lifestyle of today’s generations. Let’s face it, they enjoy life to their hearts content. They booze at all hours of the day or night and finally fornicate with the first opposite number they can find. How can you expect them to sink the pillars for the foundations of a stable relationship ‘till death do us part’ if they’ve had it too good before their thirty? Hence, if they do join up, and little Johnny appears on the scene, it wont take long before mummy gets tired of nappies and dummies and wants to get back to the office, leaving daddy to long wailing sleepless nights that drive him mad. End result is separation, but not always peaceful. Sure, not all couples end up this way, but I bet you a bottom dollar that today’s savour faire lifestyle is greatly to blame for ending up in brutal domestic violence. Take a look and judge for yourselves dear readers. All you have to do is take a walk around swinging Spain, but don’t beat your wife if she’s out there having a good time!’
© James Skinner. 2003 December 2003

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