A Malaysian government minister has been accused of normalizing domestic violence after encouraging husbands to beat their “stubborn” wives if their behavior continues to disappoint them.
In a video posted on her Instagram, Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, the Islamic country’s deputy minister for women, family and community development, provided what she called “tips” for husbands dealing with “unruly” partners.
Siti Zailah suggested a three-step approach for husbands in handling difficult wives, the first of which consisted of speaking to them and informing them of their need for greater discipline. Should this not prove successful, the female government minister advised husbands to sleep apart from their wives for three nights, to show their dissatisfaction with their partner’s behavior.
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“However, if the wife still refuses to take the advice, or change her behavior, or does things against Allah’s commands after the sleeping separation, then the husbands can try the physical touch approach, by striking her gently, to show his strictness and how much he wants her to change,” Siti Zailah claimed in the video.
The deputy minister for women and family also offered some words of wisdom for wives of men in the strict, Islamic nation, suggesting they only speak to their husbands when “they are calm, finished eating, have prayed and are relaxed.
“When we want to speak, ask for permission first,” Siti Zailah added.
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Her remarks have been roundly condemned by women’s rights groups in the country, including the coalition of many organizations, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, which demanded the resignation of the Siti Zailah from the Malaysian government.
“The deputy minister must step down for normalizing domestic violence, which is a crime in Malaysia, as well as for perpetuating ideas and behaviors that are opposed to gender equality,” a joint statement read.
“There is often a stigma and fear attached to reporting domestic violence and this is made worse by statements such as those of Siti Zailah,” the group added.