Saudi TV host Nadine Al-Budair talked about the contradictions in Arab society regarding attitudes toward women, saying that men prevent women from stepping out of their homes out of fear for their wellbeing, but "violently rape, burn, and kill their women at home." Al-Budair, speaking on her Khalijiyya TV show on May 7, blamed the curricula and the religious establishment and culture for double standards toward women and said that "the situation of Arab women is in terrifying decline."
Nadine Al-Budair:"I dedicate this show to all the people who swear hundreds of times that women in our society live as protected diamonds and hidden pearls.
"Women are not diamonds, pearls, or precious stones of any kind. Some people treat women as stones - stones of the cheapest kind. Our society is full of contradictions, and people talk about their fear for the wellbeing of women. They oppose women going to work, being around men, or taking part in the (country's) progress - all of this under the pretext of fear for the wellbeing of women. These people oppose women showing their faces, and they declare war against freedom, and against any manifestation of women's liberation. They claim that Saudi women live in their homes among soft feathers, and that it is their husband's duty to serve them and accommodate their demands.
"Nobody can understand these contradictions. Some people are very extreme in their position on women's issues, and they prevent women from stepping out of their homes, because they fear for them of who they call 'the wolves out there,' the men who might rape them, attack them, or act violently toward them. At the same time, they themselves violently rape, burn, and kill their women at home. So this is more likely about hatred (of women) than about fear for their wellbeing.
"The cause might be our school curricula. The Arab curricula - not just in Saudi Arabia - heavily discriminate against women. These curricula might be the reason women are looked down upon. In these curricula, women are portrayed entirely differently than men. The woman cooks, wears only the kind of clothes you wear at home, always at home, cooking, sweeping the floor, and cleaning... The woman is portrayed as a servant at home.
"The man, in contrast, is a brave soldier, defending and saving his country, a builder, a plumber, a carpenter, an engineer, a doctor - a person of value. Perhaps the curricula instill in boys a sense of superiority, which grows with them, because the curricula teach them that girls are creatures whose goal is to serve them.
"I can also trace it back to the religious culture upon which we were raised in our society. When Sheikh So-and-So - any random sheikh - tells you that women are the reason that you will go to Hell, it is only natural for you to hate them. You may like women's bodies, but you hate them inside. Sheikhs offer mitigating explanations for all your sins and crimes against women - all the way to the sin of rape - and the woman is blamed for being the cause for sexual harassment and assault, and the cause for any crime against her honor and her reputation...
"And then the criminal emerges from his crime - even if it is a crime of physical assault - as if nothing ever happened. On the contrary, society and the religious establishment pity the poor criminal, because the victim is viewed as the real criminal. She is the one who needs to be punished. The victim is viewed as the cause for the crime, and there have been many cases in which a raped woman was punished. Women who were sexually harassed and assaulted were later punished.
"Take a look at the Arab world map. In Iraq, women are raped, killed, and bought and sold in slave markets. In Yemen, you have early marriages. In Egypt, 27 million women undergo circumcision. In Saudi Arabia, women are oppressed. In Jordan, there are honor killings. The situation of Arab women is in terrifying decline. Even though the Arab revolutions toppled some regimes, they failed to find freedom. Instead, they have found terrorism, and once again, women and children are required to pay the price.
"The woman is where the man turns to vent his anger. They are murdered and their bodies are burned and dragged on the ground, in the name of false honor."