Calling your wife ugly to humiliate her may soon be considered an offence under proposed amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1994. [The Star]
I wonder if there is any provision in that Act to protect men when their wives call them ugly to humiliate them.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that husbands get physically abused too. Many years ago when I just got married, I got my share of "physical abuse" from Mia. For reasons which I can't really remember now, the earlier years were quite rough for us. And whenever Mia got angry she had the lousy habit of hitting me. I don't know if that had anything to do with the few years of Tae Kwon Do before she married me. To be very honest, when she punched me on my upper arm repeatedly, it wasn't that painful at all, especially since I did quite a lot of weights at the gym back then. So I'd let her continue doing her thing.
But after a while, when it happened too frequently, I began to dislike that lousy habit of hers. As she kept doing it, I became increasingly sick of it. At times, I was just at the verge of striking back.
Then one day, after one of those "physical abuse" sessions from Mia, I let her cool down and then we had a serious talk together. I told her to please do something about her lousy habit. It's not so much that I couldn't take the physical pain; rather, I couldn't say how much longer I could have the patience with her. I told her that one of these days, I might just lose it all—that I might strike back. And if that should happen, she'd most probably end up in the hospital. After that, Mia has been able to control herself up to now—there's never been another episode of the "physical abuse" thing from her. I didn't think that I had it in me to actually hit her back, but y'know, anger can make you do things you wouldn't dream of ever doing.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that we always have laws meant to protect women from physical abuse. And now it's gonna be extended to "emotional violence" too. It is easily forgotten that some women are also violent in nature. Laws should be enacted for the benefits of both genders; not only women.
Mia has never called me ugly so far, and if ever she did, I'd probably laugh out loud. But I can imagine some men may be more sensitive to the word "ugly", and the proposed law should also protect them.
But frankly, I foresee an uphill task to enforce the proposed law. What if a husband tells his wife that she's ugly not because he means to humiliate her, but merely because he's telling her the truth? But she feels humiliated anyway? Is that grounds for a legal action?
And who dares to enforce the law on people with power; say the Prime Minister of Malaysia? Imagine that the Prime Minister suddenly decides to have an honest conversation with his wife:
'Yang, you are still as beautiful as at the time when I married you all those years ago. But is it entirely necessary that your hair is that huge?
Or something like that. It's a very honest comment, and with no intention to humiliate. Yet what if the wife interprets that as a humiliation? Police report will be lodged (lodging police reports is a favourite pastime in Malaysia) and then no one will dare to do anything about it.
I think it's a good idea to enact a statute to protect people from physical and emotional abuses, but the benefits of that law should be for both genders; and there is only meaning to that statute if it is enforceable.