When Kuwaiti citizens fall victim to abuse, they can find many ears to hear their plight at the police station, and if not, at least they can find friends and family to help. But when an expat woman is the victim of abuse, she can be totally alone with not a single friend to help or a shoulder to cry on.
Unfortunately, I have seen many expat women suffering from abuse by their husbands. But because they are far away from family and sometimes are mothers of small children, they hesitate to speak out. These victims of spousal abuse are also victims of fear who often choose to keep their abuse private until they die. This is a sad truth for some expat wives here.
Our story today is yet another heartbreaking tale of a woman abused by her husband. The woman called the police asking for help after she was abused both physically and mentally by her husband. She said her husband had been abusive for a while, then one day he tied her up, and with his brother’s help, stole her gold bracelets along with KD 800. They also abducted her son and fled to Egypt, their homeland. This wife and mother is alone now after being mistreated by her husband, who according to their marriage vows, promised to love and cherish her until death do them part!
The police will do their routine job and will file a case against the husband. But I don’t think this will be the end of this family tragedy. The issue of abuse among expats must be opened for discussion, because the police can intervene and detain a person for a while or file a court case against him/her, but this may not bring the matter to an end.
We need to study every abuse case to find what led to such behavior? Is it money? Is it jealousy among couples, especially if one of them earns more than the other? Abuse is most commonly by men against women, and sadly is often ignored, as it happens behind closed doors here in the Arab world. Many women feel ashamed to speak up about their abuse and the suffering they have to put up with for years. They also fear the reactions of their friends and families and the way they will be treated if the truth comes out.
Back to our story. This woman will be in great pain over the loss of her son. The hard part here is that she will likely have to go back to Egypt, to the place her husband is hiding. In some cases, the family tries to fix the problem, but an abuser is always an abuser, even if he tries to pretend otherwise. I recall a neighbor who always had bruises on her arms, legs and face. For many years, she would blame an accident or working in the kitchen as excuses and refused to admit the abuse. The couple finally left Kuwait, but I still pray for her.
It would be great to see support groups to encourage abused people to seek help and speak out. The police show up only when the damage is done, and it could be too late. We also need awareness for people not to put up with any kind of abuse, which may not necessarily be physical. Verbal abuse can be just as damaging, though harder to see. I know violence is a phenomenon in modern societies, but we do not have to accept it against any human or animal.
By Muna Al-Fuzai