Seeing as the reality is that our future will begin to (likely) reveal more women like Hayat Boumeddiene who become “accomplices” of terrorism, one thing is very pressing on my mind. How are we going to handle these situations? Are we going to treat them just as we do the men? Or will there be some understanding that they are perhaps coerced into these acts by the men they think love them?

This story is unfolding before my eyes as I struggle to reconcile a lot of confusion inside myself. Just earlier today as I sat in my therapist’s office, I told her how my own family says that I am “at fault” for many things that happened to me because I “went along with it.”….Initially I was taken as a 15 year old girl, and now I’m starting to realize that (I think) I have stockholm syndrome. So with all of that being said, I will admit up front that perhaps my view of what’s going on is bias, skewed, distorted, confused, contorted, or even just plain wrong. But on the other hand I’ve lived within the world of domestic violence long enough to know that women do really really stupid things for the men they love. I’ve also witnessed as a Correction’s Officer, women get locked up due to acts that were initially instigated by their boyfriends/husbands. Not to say the woman wasn’t at fault – she was. But to say that perhaps her guilt is lessened because of the fact that she is a victim too, whether she knows it or not…

I have not been involved in anything to this large scale, but I will admit that I have broken the law to do what a man told me, because I loved him. I don’t know if they would be considered things that are a “big deal.” I’ve never hurt anyone. I would do things like sneak into bars with him when I was underage (still a minor.) He coached me on how to act older so we got away with it. I snuck in small little things when he was in prison. Things that could be handed off easily during visitation by the vending machines. Nothing harmful…but it would have still gotten me in BIG trouble if I had gotten caught. So I totally….TOTALLY understand how women can get sucked in to doing things they wouldn’t normally do simply because the man they love (or shall I say the man they THINK they love) is telling them to do so.

So my position is that with the possibility of female terrorist becoming part of the future, I advocate that they be treated differently. I advocate that they be treated as victims of domestic violence.  Again….I may be totally wrong in suggesting that, but somehow I cannot help but shake off the feeling that she was simply doing what her “man” told her to do. She needs protection, and help. Professional help.

What do you think we should do about female terrorists? Do they deserve to be treated as victims of abuse? After all, women in the Muslim world don’t have a say or a vote in a lot of things anyway. I think they need to be protected. What do you think?

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On that matter, what about children walking into a building with a bomb stapped to them?

I think it is important that every captured terrorist, regardless of gender or age, should be shielded from influences from whomever set them up for it. After that, I believe it is possible to determine their main motive and act accordingly on a case by case basis.

During the terrorist act, however, I am a proponent of 'all means necessary' to stop them; if they can be stopped without harming them, great. If not, I am not against killing them to prevent people around them from being killed.

Do you think we should try to help those who are coerced into actions they would normally otherwise not have taken?

Especially...ESPECIALLY with children.....they're kids! I understand what you're saying Freek. What I'm saying is that I think we need to start advocating for those who are most vulnerable.

In the United States there is a "Violence against women act.." aka VAWA. It allows for women who are immigrants AND victims of domestic violence to receive help, and protection. Unfortunately it does not do the same thing if you are the woman and the sponsor....something I found out the hard way....but even so, it says that if you're being abused, regardless of your immigration status or what immigration laws you've broken, you have the right to certain protections.

Why shouldn't we start to consider the same for Muslim women and children who are forced into acts of terrorism against their will?

I know that we do not know anything for sure yet. All I'm saying is the potential is there for this to happen. We need to start having the conversation.

How do you envision helping them? As you mentioned, organisations like VAWA already exist, but even those largely depend on the fact that women (and children) come to them seeking help. I assume that Muslim women would receive the same help if they went to VAWA.

However, it seems that you have a more pro-active stance in mind. And although I would also be in favor of that, how can it be implemented reliably?
@Freek: VAWA only applies to women in the United States. I propose that we provide women asylum, (the ability to obtain permanent residency in a foreign country) status with her children, and financial means to get on her feet, and counseling, and assistance to integrate into the community if she becomes an informant to PREVENT terrorist attacks. If a woman knew that something was being planned, if she knew she actually HAD a choice, she might step forward, and save lives. If more and more women realize they have protection offered to them, they might take it. Particularly if they are being abused. Do you honestly think these terrorist men go home to dinner and are amazing husband's and father's who love their wives and treat them with dignity and respect? I don't think so.
@Belle, I agree that a worldwide version of VAWA can be helpful. However, in many Islamic countries, domestic abuse is much more of a family affair than it is in most western countries, meaning that it is much harder to break women out of an abusive relation; it will often mean they lose everything, everyone they know, have a good chance to never see their children again, and run a great risk of a family member still coming for her to 'restore the family honor'.
VAWA was just an example. I am totally aware of the challenges Muslim women face in leaving their abusers. I have addressed that topic extensively in other threads. For this discussion I am proposing the idea of a different approach to prevent future terrorist attacks, and suggesting that women should become part of the solution, not kept in the dark. I am concerned that women could become more visible in the plans of executing further violence, (worldwide) and I am hoping to help begin dialogue to anticipate, and therefore prevent it.

So, this is what so much feminism seems to come down to. Treat women differently. They aren't as strong as men. They don't have the strength to think for themselves or resist men because unlike men, women are prisoners of love.

How is your position different from that?

I don't find much empowerment in the idea that we can't treat women like men but must, as if they were children, pity them and treat them as not worthy of being held to a male level of responsibility.

"So, this is what so much feminism seems to come down to. Treat women differently."

I differ in that view. I always thought feminism was more concerned with empowerment. Women don't want to be treated differently, just equally.

Women don't want to be treated differently, just equally.

THEY SAY. And yet it's common to see women's advocates making excuses for women rather than treating them equally with men. In fact, that is the theme of the original post, isn't it? 

Let me remind you of something Belle Rose wrote: "So my position is that with the possibility of female terrorist becoming part of the future, I advocate that they be treated differently."

That says it about as plainly as it can be said, doesn't it?

I didn't say that I agreed with the OP. I am talking about the goals of feminism, not whether an accomplice in a terrorist act is also guilty.

RE: Let me remind you of something Belle Rose wrote: "So my position is that with the possibility of female terrorist becoming part of the future, I advocate that they be treated differently."

That says it about as plainly as it can be said, doesn't it?

Yes Unseen and until there is some effort made to protect women from becoming an accomplice in a terrorist attack I stand behind my words.

I've got to go with Unseen here. Forgive me if I'm being insensitive @Belle but I think a lot of the ways you talk describe women in terms of "doing what their men tell them to do" may be due to your own experiences. You've talked a lot on here about your past and it seems to seep through on posts like this. My first experience of females was my mother and sister when I was a child and neither of them took any shit from any man. 

I'm not saying there aren't women who are afraid of their men and need help, but that is only some women. As Unseen points out, true feminism comes from treating women the same as men because we are all just people. Individuals sometimes need to be helped. It is impossible to define what a whole gender, race, etc need.


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