Thursday, November 15, 2007


So, say you're walking down the road, you're bundled into a car, at which point you are held down and gang-raped fourteen times.

If you're in a country where the hudood or hudad is law, as Pakistan was, you'd be bloody lucky to get a conviction, given that as a woman you require four male adults to testify to witnessing the rape; while a gang rape may have those four male witnesses, they're also probably the perpetrators.

Therefore, that there was a conviction - particularly coming as I do from a country where the rape conviction rates currently stands at 5% - was a good thing. That the rapists were only given five years - pretty disgusting but there you go. It's still a good result, right?

Oh, but what you didn't bargain for, maybe, is that you - the victim who was raped just the FOURTEEN TIMES - will receive lashings and a jail sentence for having been in a car with a man to whom you were not related, either by blood or marriage. Yet that is exactly what happened to this woman in Saudi Arabia. Originally she only had the lashings - she was given the jail sentence (and a doubling of lashings, just for extra spice) as punishment for trying to "manipulate" the judges. Now, I don't know the circumstances of this case; maybe she wasn't grabbed and forced into the car, maybe she got in of her own free will. Yet somehow the judges felt the need to punish her beyond the trauma and misery that came with the rape.

"Gah" seems inadequate. But what isn't in this situation?

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