When it comes to violence, more boys are subjected to violence than girls worldwide. If 2006 survey by Indian Women and Child Ministry found this, then 2016 UN Women survey of masculinity in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine also confirmed the same.
2016 IMAGES – MENA survey revealed that boys in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, and Palestine are subjected more violence of all forms than girls.
No food to eat
At least 30% boys compared to 23% girls in Morocco has said they didn’t have enough to eat. 12% boys (11% girls) in Lebanon and 28% boys in Palestine (24% girls) complained that they didn’t get enough food to eat. With this, feminist claim that girls are discriminated against by patriarchy falls flat. They can, however, show the data from Egypt where 27% boys compared to 32% girls said they didn’t get enough food in their childhood.
This is particularly significant to note that these countries, specifically Lebanon and Palestine where resources are extremely scarce, and boys are often needed to fight it out with enemy or others; patriarchy does not discriminate girls but discriminate against boys.
Spanking at Home (parents’ method of discipline before 18 years of age)
When it comes to disciplining, boys in all four countries receive more spanking and physical torture at home. In Egypt, 64% boys compared to 62% girls are either spanked or slapped. 32% Egyptian boys were beaten by objects and 12% got bruises or marks due to beating. In Palestine, 60% boys complained of getting beaten up (45% girls) and 37% were beaten by hard objects (19% girls). 18% Palestine boys got injury marks on their body compared to 11% girls.
In Lebanon, too boys complain more about getting physical punishment at home. 52% Lebanese boys got spanked or slapped by parents and 45% got beaten by hard objects (for girls, these numbers are 30% and 29% respectively).
In Morocco, too the situation is same. There 77% boys (73% girls) were spanked or slapped, 61% were beaten by hard objects (51% girls) and 38% (30% girls) were left with bruises.
Mothers more violent towards the child (previous month)
It is also coming out from the IMAGES survey that when it comes to physical torture of a child, the mother is the one who is more violent towards the child.
In Morocco, 43% mothers (15% fathers) has hit their children in a previous month. 72% mothers (29% fathers) have spanked or slapped their children. In Egypt too, 44% mothers compared to 11% have hit their children. In Lebanon, 26% (22% fathers) and in Palestine 37% mothers (25% fathers) have hit their children. The same trend is seen in spanking or slapping a child.
This does not come as a surprise to us but the feminists who claim ‘all violence is male generated’ will now try to blame the males for this behavior of mothers as well. UN researchers observed that mothers in these countries are more violent towards the children because “they need to take up the responsibility of child-rearing than the fathers”.
Boys are subjected to more forced sex in Morocco
IMAGES – MENA survey 2016 also reveals that Moroccan boys are subjected to more sexual violence than girls. This questions exclusively asked for participants in Morocco revealed that 5% boys compared to 2% girls suffered sexual violence under threat, below the age of 18.
Even teachers are harsh towards boys
The IMAGES – MENA survey also shows that even teachers are more cruel to boys and give boys harsher punishment. In Palestine, 57% boys (30% girls) were physically punished in schools. In Lebanon, 29% (14% girls), Morocco 80% (47% girls) and in Egypt 83% boys (69%) were physically beaten by teachers.
The fathers’ behavior in these countries busts a feminist lie that says ‘men are more violent at homes’. Feminists claim that men are naturally violent and perpetrate more violence at home. However, from the data of violence against children in IMAGES – MENA survey, it is evident that it is the mothers who perpetrate more violence.
Will equality help?
Feminists, however, claim that since the mother has to take the responsibility of childcare, they need to take up the responsibility of disciplining the child as well. Since these fathers are away from their homes most of the times, they don’t get to ‘discipline the child’ that often. This feminist claim, however, raises an important question – since mothers are more abusive towards children if these mothers worked outside the home, would they be better mothers?
To understand this, we need to understand present situation of males (fathers) in these countries. These being traditional ‘patriarchal’ societies, the provider roles are still taken up by the fathers. Since resources are scarce and men do not get jobs, they are more frustrated and feel more suicidal or get more violent. If women (mothers) had to play these roles, then there is no denying that they could be more violent and abusive out of frustration. So, it is unlikely that gender equality in these countries could bring any better situation for boys.
For a better tomorrow
The situation of domestic violence gets complicated in these countries with one-sided domestic violence laws and the perception that men are more violent as promoted by UN Women. This study shows the need to consider domestic violence as gender neutral in all countries and give some relief to men and boys from these cruel females.