Scheherazade, the glamorous beauty and the heroine of the ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ became famous as the woman who captured Shahrayar’s imagination by her seductive nature and captivating tales. This psychotic dude, who at best would have been admitted in a mental asylum, married a new virgin everyday and sent yesterday’s wife to be beheaded to avenge his first wife’s betrayal. In this process of soul searching while recuperating from an injured pride, three thousand women were sacrificed by the time he was introduced to our fame fatal, Scheherazade.
It took Shahrayar one thousand and one nights of bedtime’s stories to fall in love with the mysterious, seductive and exotic lady, who meanwhile also gave birth, nursed, and changed the diapers of their three sons while going through postpartum depression. At the end of these one thousand and one nights, Shahrayar spared her life and made her a Queen. And they lived happily ever after. So, why am I not happy?
Scheherazade who had been in the limelight for over a thousand years as the woman who enchanted Shehrayar became the image of a new art of seduction. As a woman I despise this analysis, and discredit the rationality of this story, even though we are talking here about a fairytale.
It is pathetic that facts were distorted to glorify the abuse she had gone through. Her story was a classical case of submission. She didn’t create the art of seduction, but rather the art of manipulation. Nobody could blame her for that as she was kept hostage and tyrannized by a blood-thirsty pervert king. How could she have refused his marriage proposal with a sword pointing at her neck? In today’s world of psychology she would have been diagnosed with Stockholm syndrome as she fell in love with her captor.
This brutal story came to my mind while I was browsing the UN website: UNITE To Stop Violence Against Women. The international organization is engaging forces to adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls; which its secretary general refers to as a pandemic that has to be eradicated.
Violence against women is indeed a pandemic and a global curse where no country and no creed are spared. However, geographic locations can sometimes dictate the fate of the abuser. In the West there are strict punishments against men who abuse women physically. In other countries, where violence against women is sometimes licensed by religious scholars, women’s abusers walk freely in the streets, often hailed for their testosteronal bursts of manhood by their fellows, who share the belief that violence against women is part of their creed. The blame goes to the culture and tradition of these societies as well as to the clerics who promote the abuse of women.
The net result is that as violence against women is culturally accepted and traditionally embedded in some societies, the UN’s journey to eradicate such brutal acts against women is going to be a long and challenging one. But none the less, it is time to set such a global movement in motion before the day of reckoning comes where we shall be haunted by the ghosts of Sharhayar’s three thousand beheaded wives.