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Battered wives turn to 'witches' for help

Manama, May 18, 2014

By Sandeep Singh Grewal

Battered wives are spending thousands of dinars on "witch doctors" who practise black magic to discipline their abusive husbands, according to a leading Bahraini expert.

Psychiatrist and behavioural science specialist Dr Sharifa Swar said an increasing number of domestic violence victims were turning to scam artists, who claim to have supernatural powers, to force their husbands to love them or stop them from physically assaulting them.

She told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, that the victims were often educated women who were desperate to end their ordeal.

"Victims of domestic violence are using all sorts of weird ways to stop the abuse such as turning to witchcraft or black magic," she said.

"One popular trick doing the rounds is the magic coffee by which a 'witch' can tell you what the future holds for you. The person has to drink Turkish coffee prepared by the 'witch' following which the cup is taken and placed upside down and using witchcraft they will see the remnants of the cup to know your future," explained Dr Swar.

Dr Swar went undercover as an abuse victim to investigate the issue and said she found that at least seven witch doctors, who often use verses from the Quran, were running a "successful" scam.

"I have personally visited these places and witnessed how these frauds misguide or do fake rituals to convince highly educated women," she said.

"I understand the victims are frustrated because of the long court process, trouble between the families and other issues, but that does not mean they lose their senses.

"They actually think their husbands can stop beating them by visiting these fraudsters."

She said some of the women she treated had spent more than BD4,000 ($10,607) on witchcraft.

"It is a good business for these people who charge anything between BD5 to BD2,000 and promise these women they will end their troubles," she added.

"They create weird tables and write random things inside them and tell the victim their problems will soon end or their husbands will stay in the house without abusing them.

"I know a woman who in two years spent over BD4,000 as fees for black magicians located outside Bahrain."

Dr Swar spoke of a case in which a woman was told that her aunt was doing black magic that affected her marital life. "This lady did not speak to her aunt for over 20 years until she realised it was a big lie," she said.

She said witchcraft was becoming increasingly popular with some people openly advertising on social media networks to attract more customers.

"We need the victims, families and the society to understand that such fake healers will not stop violent husbands," she stressed.

The GDN reported earlier this month the Dar Al Aman, a government shelter for abused woman, helped 31 Bahraini women last year and accommodated 165 battered foreign women.

The Shura Council in February discussed a draft law on protecting families from domestic violence that was later referred to the parliament.

Anyone who breaks the law will face a jail-term ranging from one month to five years and a fine ranging from BD100 to BD500 or both, according to the 21-article bill.

Under the law, acts that result in mental injuries will carry a jail sentence of no more than six months or a maximum fine of BD100, or both.

Sexual abuse and violence that results in physical injuries could result in the accused facing a jail term of up to five years or a fine of no more than BD500, or both.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | abuse | husband |

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