*This post deals with harsh subjects involving violence against women such as rape. I apologize to anyone who cannot read or finish reading this. My goal with this post is not to shock, or make offensive statements about anyone who may come across this. I’m not that blogger. I only seek to inform.*
“Why is it always the girl’s fault?” This is what Miss Moneypenny asked me once when we were having a conversation about how women are treated when they were either single and pregnant or in some cultures (Ours included.) victims of rape. In many cases the onus of both rape and single motherhood rests squarely with the woman. We were both bothered by this train of thought. There are those who believe that many sexual activities that occur to women’s bodies happen in a single-occupancy vacuum.
Even in the black church I’ve seen single mothers having to stand in front of the church to ask “forgiveness” or such because they became pregnant out of wedlock. I’ve always wondered where the father of the child she was carrying was. Why wasn’t he with the mother of his child in front of the pews filled with onlookers? Putting a young lady in that position always came off as judgmental to me. Sure many in the pews may actually have empathy for the young woman while others probably didn’t. The entire process just seemed devoid of modern human kindness. Deep down I often wished that the young lady would have just said like “F*ck off!” “Go to hell!” Or something else flippant and timely to those that she stood in front of. Those, to whom she was to ask forgiveness from –her peers, and family.
When a woman is raped in this country and others, her sexual past is put out via the court system by the defense and sometimes the media as a measuring stick of some kind of worthiness. It’s a worthiness that indicates she is to be believed (Or not believed.) and treated as a victim and not just irresponsible, immoral, and loose. Like the young lady standing in front of the church I often wished that the victim, after receiving adjudication in her favor at the hands of the state would do the same, only this time directing it at the defense attorney(s) who called her statements, life, and struggle into question.[i] Causing flash bulbs to roar to life and causing the stenographer to smile as she pounded on the keys recording the entire thing making it available in the public record for all time.
Many of y’all may be wondering why Keith Young has become a feminist all of a sudden or why am I even writing about this in the first place. Well this morning I read a story on The Atlantic’s website by Habiba Nosheen & Hilke Schellmann about a young Pakistani woman named Kainat Soomro who was kidnapped and raped four years ago in Karachi at the age of 13. Kainat’s father tried to get his daughter’s assailants arrested but the police just didn’t seem to care. She was a just a girl who was raped. Surely, even at the age of 13 she did something wrong.
Communities in Pakistan are just like those anywhere else in the world. Each has a street committee that has the uncanny ability to spread the “news”, truthful or not, of all events no matter how secret they may seem. After the news reached the tribal elders, Kainat was supposed to stand and be judged. This statement about the elder’s declaration from the article stood out to me for various reasons.
“According to the Kainat family’s account, the tribal elders declared her Kari, (which literally means black female), for losing her virginity outside marriage.”[ii]
This is where the story takes another turn. In the Middle-East acts of illicit sex are often punishable by death. These deaths are referred to as “Honor killings”. Often carried out at the hands of family members, honor killings, and are supposed to cleanse the family name by killing the perpetrators of said dishonorable act. According to Robert Fisk or the UK’s Independent, over 20,000 honor killings occur yearly. Kainat’s father and the rest of her family refused to have their loved one judged by their hand or anyone else’s, defying the cruel tradition that is honor killings. Instead the Soomro family is seeking justice for the crime committed against Kainat.
Now pariah’s, the Soomro family is in the gripe of poverty because they did the right thing. By refusing to murder his little girl Kainat’s father and the rest of his family essentially told their detractors, who are equipped with medieval notions as to what is right and wrong to “F*ck off!”[iii]
Good for them.
Vaya con Dios.
[i] As you can tell I revel in opportunities to tell people to “F*ck off!” Only to those who deserve it, naturally.
[ii] I have so many issues with the use of the phrase “Kari” as you can see means black female. I know the color “black” has always been used as a designation for all that’s bad but using a word that means “black female” to equate to losing one’s virginity pre-marriage just seems overly harsh. If ever there was an overhanded slight toward black womanhood. Even when sisters aren’t around they still catch hell.
[iii] Am I judging another culture? Damn right I’m judging!