The facts just keep coming out of Ohio. It is hard to comprehend what they went through, those young women. What they felt while trapped by a monster through those lost years of their early adulthood is almost impossible to fathom. How did they cope? How did they get through each day?
A close friend of mine was sexually abused as a teenaged girl. It was a man she knew. It lasted for years. She never told anyone — not her mom, not her friends. She didn’t tell because, like so many women who are abused, she blamed herself. She didn’t tell because she was ashamed. Because she was afraid. Because she just wanted to move on. For all kinds of other reasons she will never know, and no longer cares to know, she never told anyone. Until she told me.
Why did it last so long? Why didn’t she just call the police? Unlike those Ohio girls, she wasn’t chained or locked up. But he had chained her mind. Besides abusing her body, he had burrowed into her mind and abused her trust. He provided alcohol and a pathway to adulthood, but he stole her childhood. And her heart.
Her monster — and too many women in this world have a monster in their lives — told her he was doing it for her own good. He told her she was different from the other girls. He told her she was sexy. And he told her she was bad, too. He told her all kinds of things, all of them manipulations to serve his own evil purposes. She believed him.
Stockholm syndrome prevailed as the survival mechanism for my friend, and quite probably for those young women in Ohio. Thank God, they are free today. They will have those horrible memories for a long time. But maybe, just maybe, those beautiful young women in Ohio will be able to trust a man again. It took my friend 15 years to do it.
I know. I married her.
Last week, my wife rushed into my office and showed me an article in the Wall Street Journal. It was about the rise of TV preachers, known as sheiks, in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, and one popular TV sheik in particular, Khaled Abdullah.
His brand of Islam is a retrograde brand, a form of Islamism that spews hate toward women. Christians, Jews, gays, and Americans are not far behind. Two paragraphs had caught my wife’s eye. This was the first:
“The Salafi TV preachers advocate restrictive views on women, railing against female protesters and even advising audiences of what they see as the Islamically correct way for a husband to beat his wife.”
That’s right. To some Muslims — to too many — there is a correct way to beat your wife. And this show gets big ratings. And no protests from enraged mobs.
Then came the second paragraph:
“Even so, many viewers of TV preachers are women. In the most conservative Egyptian households, women rarely leave their homes and account for nearly two-thirds of television viewers.”
The women rarely leave their homes? How could that be? It took my wife to connect things I was incapable of connecting.
“Don’t you see,” she explained. “These women are prisoners. And on those rare times they are permitted to leave the house, they wear burqas. And a burqa is just a prison made out of clothing.”
But why do so many Muslim women watch these sheiks on TV? And wear the burqas?
“It makes sense,” my wife told me. “These Islamist men convince women that this way of living is for their own good. It is for their protection. And the women believe it, because they don’t know what else to do. Or are afraid to do it.”
And they say there is a war on women in America?
All over the world, it’s that Ohio house for millions of Muslim women every day. And yet we hear too little about this horrifying state of affairs from feminists in America. Or from the media.
No one has written more eloquently about women and Islam than Ayaan Hirsi Ali. As a young woman, Ali escaped an arranged marriage in her native Somalia by emigrating to the Netherlands. She went on to write the screenplay for Theo van Gogh’s movie Submission. They both received death threats; van Gogh ended up being brutally murdered.