This morning I read a horrific story about an eight-year-old girl. She was brutally raped, by four boys in Arizona, for ten to fifteen minutes! The boys, ages 9, 10, 13 and 14, lured the girl to a vacant shed by offering her chewing gum. And the rest, as mature readers, I am sure you can infer.
But the girl’s parents, West African immigrants, accused her of bringing shame to their family. They alluded that the eight-year-old was responsible for the reprehensible act. And now the girl’s family doesn’t want anything to do with this child. Yes, child. She is a child for god sakes! It’s her age to play with Barbie and nurse-doctor and read fun books; not sit shunned in some governmental facility because of being ostracized by her own people! Because her culture believes that rape is the victim’s fault! I wonder if this baby will ever heal fully.
According to statistics, disgustingly, India isn’t lagging behind—just behind America and South Africa! The National Crime Records Bureau shows that almost 2.37 rapes happen every hour in India! And even in South Asian culture, rape is considered the sufferer’s liability. ‘She dresses like that,’ or ‘She is a fast girl,’ or ‘Why did she hang out with boys?’ Forget supporting, victims are treated as damaged goods and often asked to end their lives or leave their families and fend for themselves. Why? Because we are a pretentious and shame-conscious culture. It also seems like the perpetrator’s manhood is celebrated when he commits the unforgiveable act. But shouldn’t the doer be ashamed of their gruesome thoughts and acts? Made to feel responsible? Why should the injured party apologize? Does a victim of theft or robbery act contrite after being robbed? As Freda Atler said, “Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.”
It bothers me when people quote culture to suit their convenience. I mean, how can any culture hold the victim responsible but not the rapist? And women mutely accept inhumane verdict from their so-called dear ones because they don’t know any different. They haven’t been empowered.
In the third world, at least, the one emotion women are taught to constantly feel is guilt. If you are of marriageable age but can’t find an alliance, you are made to feel culpable; if you can’t bear sons, you are held responsible even thought the Y chromosome comes from the man; if you don’t want to get tied down to being a wife and a mother, you are made to feel negligent; if you are assaulted, you are accused of bringing it upon yourself.
Often, rape cases aren’t reported in developing and under-developed countries because women fear the repercussions. The attitudes need to change, and it has to come from families. If parents focused on humanizing their sons instead of blaming their daughters and holding them to ridiculous standards, the world would be a lot saner!
More until next time.
Copyright © 07.24.2009
"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself." Harvey S. Firestone