Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Civilized of Them

The government of Afghanistan, under international scrutiny and pressure, has granted a pardon to a woman who has been in prison for adultery because she was raped by her husband's cousin.  Now she will try to stay alive and raise her daughter without either her family or the family of her attacker murdering her.

Read that again:  She was raped, and she went to jail for the crime of being attacked by a man she wasn't married to.  Now that she's being released from prison, she has to worry about someone slitting her throat or burying her alive or whacking her upside the head with a rock because her continued existence brings shame to her society.

Think that's screwed up?  Then consider that the linked article claims that there are hundreds of such cases being handled by just one office in Afghanistan.

So we have two things going on here:

  1. A society where rape is prevalent enough that there are hundreds of women in trouble for getting raped in that one district
  2. A society that blames the victim of rape as much as, if not more, than the rapist.


Ladies and gentlemen, this is where Afghanistan is when it comes to human rights after 10 years of American blood, sweat, and treasure.  Remember the "We're invading Afghanistan because someone has to help their poor oppressed women!"?  Yeah, we've changed a lot, haven't we?

You know, in this country, we consider it abnormal if the family of a rape victim exacts revenge on the attacker.  In a lot of the places in which we're wasting our time it's considered abnormal if you don't kill the rape victim and let the attacker and his family pay your family a bit of money for the trouble.  Of course, sometimes they let the rape victim continue to draw breath if she marries the rapist, so I guess there is a third way.  Nothing better for women than being forced to marry the guy who violated her, now is there?

Oh, and by the way, this isn't just something that happens in third world crapholes.  Do a web search for "honor killing" or "honor crime".  It's happening in North America and Europe too.  From what I can see, it's happening for everything from rape to a daughter who looks at the iron age manner in which her family wants her to live and decides to try actually assimilating into the culture in which she lives.  This isn't about Islam, it's about a culture or series of cultures that believe that the victim should be punished for the crime, while the attacker can either pay his way out of it or it's written off as "he couldn't help himself".

I've asked before, and I will probably ask again, but why are we engaging our 21st century society with a dark ages culture?  We aren't going to be able to modify the culture in Afghanistan or any of the other pits we're fighting in enough that a woman can go to the authorities, be they the police or her family elders, and not worry about waking up with her throat slit for her efforts.  All we're doing is making ourselves a party to these horrors by propping up the governments and cultures that commit them.

1 comment:

RauĆ°bjorn said...

There's only two ways to bring about such a fundamental societal change; massive, pervasive social and political protesting, or violent repression of the society.

Of the two, only violent repression works in a society that denies basic human rights to half it's constituency (and most of the rest of the world). The Idea being that you crush the social framework and then force it into a more palatable mold and keep it there long enough for the breaks to heal (i.e. the reconstruction after the Civil War, or the British Raj in India)

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