DOHA: According to Gulf News, The Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development, an academic institute in Qatar that “conducts research on the legal, sociological, and scientific bases of the family as the natural and fundamental group unit of society,” will be having a series of conferences in May that will highlight the role of media in the Arab family.
As we have discussed on this divorce blog, divorce is rising in the Arab regions just as it is everywhere else (except maybe Canada – the Canadians say their divorce rate is falling). In addition, there are serious issues involving the rights of children in the Arab world. Countries such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia in particular seem to have some serious problems when it comes to the treatment of children – young girls in particular. Also, domestic violence where women are the overwhelming majority of the victims is also on the rise. Hopefully, all of these issues will be discussed at the conference, and solutions to these problems will begin to emerge.
It is an interesting topic of discussion. I wonder what impact the media does have on the Arab family and marriage. Are Arabs for example, being negatively influenced by media images? Is that why there is increased violence in the homes? Is that why the rate of divorce is rising?
Or is the conference more about the negative perception the media broadcasts to the rest of the world about Arab families and marriages? I, for one, tremble when I think of being a woman and being married in the Arab world. It seems like the worse form of oppression. It seems dangerous too, especially for a Western woman to marry and Arab – some countries are more notorious than others -and then to get a divorce from him if there are children involved. It seems that in close to 100% of the time, the woman can pretty much forget about getting custody of her children. In fact, most of the stories I’ve read in the media were of women who had to leave the country without their children, and a patriarchal society that has very little respect for the rights of women and children, post-divorce. But maybe this is inaccurate? Could it be that the media has painted a negative image of the Arab family on purpose?
It will be interesting to see and hear what this conference is about, and what role the media is believed to play in the dynamic of the Arab family and to get to the bottom of the truth.