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A woman is raped….she should have been able to stop it, especially if she is of lower economic status…to resolve the crime it would be good for her to marry the rapist.

Sometimes, I just shake my head in disbelief.  The piece, To Wed Your Rapist, or Not:  Indian Women on Trial, highlights the plight of many women around the world.

The article captures a pervasive belief that when a woman is raped it is really not the man’s fault; therefore it must be the woman’s.   Let me share some of the thoughts that were espoused by some men from India.

  • If stronger laws are put in place to protect women then it is more than likely that many women will try to ensnare a man by falsely accusing him.
  • If a woman is raped she loses value and then it is hard for her to find someone that wants to marry her.
  • If a woman is friendly to a male counterpart then obviously it means that she is sexually available.
  • If a woman is a part of the labor class then she will be stronger physically and she should be able to fight off the rapist(s).   If she is middle-class or higher then it is more than likely she might faint or be powerless from fright.
  • According to a retired Supreme Court judge it would be appropriate for a woman who was raped to marry her rapist, though she should not be coerced.  It is a marriage of compromise; protecting the man from going to jail and keeping the woman and her family from being stigmatized.
  • Two judges that presided over a trial of a woman who was gang raped by 30 men and then was held as a sex slave concluded the men were not guilty.  One of the determining factors was that she already had a deviant background because she had once lied to her parents about giving some money to a friend.  In addition, she had been planning on taking a trip with a male friend without plans of marriage (obviously in their minds these two actions indicated that she was asking to be raped by 30 men).  The other judge pronounced that since she had been held as a sex slave that this was not rape but child prostitution and child prostitution is not rape, but it is immoral.

A LONG PAUSE……

Excuse me while I was gone, I was “beating my head against the wall.”

Many women must feel like there is little hope when even the judiciary buys into such outrageous beliefs or excuses.

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 IN OUR OWN BACKYARD

It appears that the same thing is happening in our backyard as the Pentagon again investigates sexual abuse of women in the U.S. military.  Some of the findings:

  • Women on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan are reporting that they restrict their fluids in the evening so that they do not have to get up in the middle of the night to use the latrine because of fear of sexual assault.
  • Many female soldiers believe that the U.S. military is a culture where men feel that they are entitled to sex with female troops.
  • Female soldiers report that often their rapist outranks them, so each day the victim has to salute and report to her rapist.
  • Pentagon data suggest that “hundreds of thousands of current and former members of the military have been raped, sexually assaulted, or subjected to ‘unwanted’ sexual contact.”
  • Often the military handles cases of rape and sexual assault as “distractions from ‘good order and discipline’.”  Instead of putting the offender on trial, he is transferred or demoted and the woman often receives a diagnosis of a personality disorder.   This in turn can lead to the woman being discharged from the service with “a personality disorder for not being able to adequately adjust to being raped.”  While the rapist go on to have a military career with full retirement benefits.
  • Jennifer Norris, who was a victim of rape in the Air Force, and who is now a volunteer at the Military Rape Crisis Center reports a common theme: “Military men and women who are attacked by sexual predators and who report it are met with disbelief and skepticism, blamed for the crime, and disposed of one way or another…others just keep quiet because they’re ‘afraid of retaliation by the predators in the ranks.… It’s a problem in every branch of service.’”

 A LONG PAUSE……

This time I am just taking a deep breath, because “beating my head against the wall” obviously does no good.

I know that many men would find this treatment of women equally disgusting.  I also know that around the world many women would just turn their heads and/or believe their female counterparts were deserving of such treatment.

What can we do?  Let us start by talking to our sons and other men and let them know that this type of behavior is totally unacceptable.  Let us counsel our daughters and tell them that no female deserves this type of treatment and should speak out if it happens to hear because she has done nothing wrong.  Let us demand that the man be tried for rape when such a crime occurs.  And, let us hang the stigma of such violent action around the rapist’s neck and not the woman’s.

(I encourage you to read the National Journal article The Enemy Within)

Photo credit: European Parliament / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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Siem Reap 028_2What is a Think Through?  it is an idiom that conveys the meaning of carefully considering possibilities and outcomes of a situation.

Today’s Think Through:  Sometimes I don’t even know what question to ask.  So no question this time but feel free to post thoughts you may have.

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