Violence Among Women on the Increase [Archives:2001/16/Culture]

April 16 2001

Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi
Yemen Times
A recent social study on the situation of women in prisons has pointed out the rise of crime among women. It said that the crime statistics soared up dramatically to 2877 cases in 1999. The study confirms that there is a number of social and economic factors embedded in the traditional fabric of the society which are behind incidence of violence among Women in Yemen during the last few years. Poverty and impoverishment of people comes at the top. The number of people below the poverty line has increased dramatically. It has soared up now to 35% in comparison with 19% in 1999. The European Commission report pointed out that there were 3 million people in 1996 without food security. This number is bound to accelerate to 8 million in 2010. Unemployment growth rate is put at 35% of the total labor force, while women constitute 18% of them.
The population growth rate, the fastest in the world, stands at 3.7%. The role of women in the economic drive of Yemen is conspicuously absent.
There are, of course, other reasons behind the rise of violence among women. The study shows that the rise of new values, alien to Yemen’s conservative social structure, contribute to aggravation of the problem. These new values spread like a fire due to considerable economic, social, political, and cultural changes Yemeni society has been going through during recent years.
This new trend has shocked the existing edifice of values, strongly permeating the social fabric.
The media, spread of weapons in the society, internal immigration from the countryside to the cities, accompanied with a cultural shock to conservative families, and the expansion of influence of their cultures – all have escalated the crime in the society, particularly among women.
The study targeted 6 governorates in which there are women prisoners and 14 other in which there are not. The results of the study displayed the categories of crimes like adultery, harassment, fraud, drinking, manufacturing wine, murder attempts and others.
The study touched upon the agony of women prisoners. It said that some of these prisoners were victims of their families and their fossilized traditions. They are also deprived of their legal rights and don’t enjoy the protection of relevant laws.
They are put in prisons without trial. If sometimes the trial takes place, women are forced to stay in prison despite the completion of their term in prison. This is because these women are thought of as bringing shame to their families.
Such women are even put into prison by their own relatives and they have no option but to spend their lifetime there.
The study concluded that the government must take care of this section of the society and give them a good education, as well as provide a place to live so they can be brought back into the mainstream of the society. This will allow them to be active and contributing members of society.