A few days ago Amnesty International exposed the case of an Indian family, which sparked international fury. Two women were sentenced by unelected male village elders to be gang raped, then paraded through the streets naked, their faces blackened. Their crime? Their BROTHER Ravi, had committed the “crime” of falling in love with a woman outside his caste, and in the face of criticism, had eloped with her, after she had been married off to someone within her caste.
The two sisters, aged 15 and 23 are to be punished by proxy, so that the family is disgraced and the women will never find husbands.
The family has now fled the home ( which has been looted), and Amnesty has an online petition which I urge readers to sign. But this is not an isolated case. In poorer parts of India, this kind of ruling is common, and rape is just an accepted punishment. In the whole of India, one out of every four crimes against women is rape.
On a human level, this case is brutal, unjust and completely cruel. It has much in common with the nihilism, misogyny and disregard for human life manifested in the perverted form of Islam purveyed by ISIS. What is strikingly similar is that the women are not only a commodity, but are actively held responsible for the misdeeds of the men. The message is simple: take the property of another man and your property will be soiled and damaged beyond repair. This unspeakable ruling shows the deep misogyny still prevalent in parts of the world.
But before we get too complacent, let us remember the recent unwise words of our own Chrissie Hynde: ( lead singer of The Pretenders): “Women who dress provocatively encourage rapists.” Really? I would have expected better from her. It would seem that a sexism is alive and well in Britain too, although obviously less extreme.
WHEN will we all unite behind the sentiment that only rapists are responsible for rape, women are neither property nor agents of social control, and NOBODY is ever guilty of anything by proxy?