First of all, Islam is abundantly clear to treat all humans with dignity, and was very particular about treating their wives, in his last sermon, the prophet emphasized it.
Men and women are each others garments, each others respect, each others source of joy, blessing and happiness, they are each others security (Prophet was shaken upon his first wahi, and went to Khadija for security) and men and women are a catalyst for each others well being.
How can the idiotic idea even enter one's mind that the wife is less than the man? The woman was to retain her freedom in the matters of faith, she did not have to listen to her husband, such is the pureness of freedom encouraged in Islam, and absolutely there is no compulsion in faith. That is why a man or woman can marry the woman or man of other religions and divorce, because faith is personal and not to be dictated, and if it came to that, the woman was freed from social pressure to go for divorce. That freedom must have been a heaven to women for the first time in human history.
Most of the non-sense and mistreatment of women stems from insecurity among men who are not confident of themselves and their worth in the life, and they falsely believe their worth comes from controlling others, particularly women or the ones at a disadvantage.
It is not Islamic, Hindu, Christian or Jewish, it is damned men culture. The insecure men whether they are Arab, Indian, American, Chinese... Muslim, Christians, Jewish or any one is, it is the insecurity in men. They cannot dialogue and resort to violence, the AH's should go prove their manhood by fighting with some one stronger than them and quit abusing the dependent and taking advantage of them.
The Western Media takes advantage of this, because Muslims do not vociferously condemn this abuse, if we do it, they will have no room to take advantage of it. I am glad they do, it is a wake up call for Muslims, particularly men to take a stand, a strong stand against abuse and oppression.