Invisible, Forgotten Victims

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by AlteredEgo, May 4, 2011.

  1. AlteredEgo

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    Lately, so-called honor killings have been making the news in the United States and Canada. Over here, the very concept is not only appalling, but grotesquely surreal. It is not of our cultures here to accept that when a family member disobeys your wishes, you can murder them, and there will be no negative consequences for you.

    This issue crops up very close to home. I remember a case in NJ not too long ago where the judge accepted an absurd defense. Because Islamic custom dictates that a woman always submits to her husband, the judge ruled that when a Moroccan man here on a work-visa repeatedly raped and assaulted his wife, he did so without criminal intent. He dropped all of the wife's charges against him, and dissolved her restraining order. An appellate court reversed this stupidity. Frankly, I'm still surprised the woman isn't dead.

    Because this issue keeps cropping up here, so close to home, it has made me want to pay greater attention to what is happening to my sisteren in other parts of the world. Whatever is happening to them, if left unchecked, may some day be happening to my granddaughters. Remember what happened when the US was slow to help those who suffered during the Haulocaust? The fight landed on our shores, and we had to scramble around to make things right. I don't want the same thing to happen with this. A failure to protect women's rights anywhere is a failure to protect them everywhere. You know. "First they came..." etc.

    Because of a post made by Petite in the private women's forum, The Real Ladies of LPSG, I came across an article of interest. According to the article, there is a female lawyer in Pakistan who runs a women's shelter. It is a place that takes in women in danger of murder under Sharia law. The main point of the article is, "Eight of the women who sought refuge in Hina Jilani's Lahore shelter died later at the hands of their families. In the second part of our investigation, the lawyer explains how authorities covered up"

    As I read on, I was grossed out by the idea that Pakistan has laws in place which are meant to protect its citizens from being murdered. However, in practice, if the family forgives the disgusting murderer, the legal system will no longer pursue the matter. The victims, hated by their families, are abandoned by the legal system, and soon forgotten by the world. They are invisible.

    In fact, one story describes the plight of a particular woman from the shelter. She wanted to divorce her violent cousin, and her father refused to make it happen. She ran away to the shelter, and after a while was told her divorce would be granted. She went to the office of the attorney who runs the shelter to receive her divorce. Instead, her mother showed up with an Uncle who shot her twice. When the journalist who collected this story went to her home town to inquire about visiting her grave to pay his respects, he was told the burial site was unknown. No mourners can ever visit her grave. It is like she is removed from history; she does not exist.

    What do you think about any of this? What do you think are the dangers of our increasingly permissive judicial systems causing these crimes to be tolerated in the Americas? Where are the feminists? Why are they not acting on behalf of these sisters?
     
  2. HiddenLacey

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    Reading this post reminds me of the movie MR recommended when she was still a member, The Stoning of Soraya M. I finally had a chance to watch it 2-3 weeks ago and I'm not ashamed to admit that I started crying wayyyyyyyy before the stoning and continued until the end of the movie.

    I also like finding Forensic Files/ Snapped type reenactments about this type of issue. I watched one based around this story Guarding the Secrets: Palestinian Terrorism and a Father's Murder of His Too-American Daughter :: Reviewed by Daniel Pipes which horrified me. It wasn't just the fact that her Father murdered her, it was that her Mother held her down while he did it.

    I think callous disregard for human life is sickening. I understand culture and values to an extent. I stop understanding when people are treated like disposable objects.

    Unfortunately all types of victims slip through the cracks of our judicial system. A person is a person and we should all be treated equally with the same rights. Honestly, this completely overwhelms me. I wouldn't know where to start other than donations and support to local shelters which is something I do whenever I can. I always recommend people donate their used cell phones, clothes and toys to the shelter. As far as other countries... I just don't know.
     
    #2 HiddenLacey, May 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2011
  3. helgaleena

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    It's often that unwanted spouses have arranged 'cooking accidents' where they are doused in oil and set on fire, or splashed with acid. It's a big problem in the Indian subcontinent among many faiths, not just Muslims. The woman may not have brought in enough dowry, and so the family makes their valued son a widower and starts over. You can google it if you are not depressed enough just knowing about it.

    So far there haven't been many cases in the USA, but like infibulation and clitoridectomy, there is pressure among immigrant groups to have it happen. Let us hope that when it gets more media attention it will cease to happen.
     
  4. B_Jordan85

    B_Jordan85 New Member

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    "I stop understanding when people are treated like disposable objects"

    funny you said that.
     
  5. AlteredEgo

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    Poor people have "cooking accidents", typically. In wealthier places, like the US and Canada, unwanted women get shot most of the time.

    Is it? What is so funny about that?
     
  6. B_Jordan85

    B_Jordan85 New Member

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    none of your bees wax :)-
     
  7. itsallyours

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    i mean...stories like this are so obviously horrible that it defies any logic. the world is moving forward through globalization, and what seems to be successful in a globalized world is a free and open society. accounts like the one you mentioned are of a backwards world of a long time ago and its regretful some people still believe this is the way to live. as the world becomes more and more one society, people such as the mother and uncle will be weeded out. it does not led to successful procreation for group to behave like this in a society, where the successful parts of the world would absolutely condemn this behavior. i believe a major factor is that most of the peoples' individual world in pakistan in a much smaller one for the average american. the society is not nearly as open and limited to much small sizes (tribes, small villages). to be honest i believe societies like this will lose their place in the world just cause the world seems to be moving as such a fast pace, and the developed world just doesn't have time for this sort of delusional behavior. i mean its awful that these sort of things happen and i want something to be done about it, and it seems some people are working towards that (the shelter you mentioned maybe). i guess it just a fact of not living in a perfect world. but that doesnt me we should stop trying to help. lets think of some good unique ideas that hypothetically could be put into effect that would have a serious impact on combating this exact issue.
     
  8. sexualnapalm

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    AE,

    I read your post when it first went up and I couldn't respond because I was so affected by it, it made me physically ill. I don't like to hear or see any one kind of people singled out for abuse of ANY KIND. It upsets me.

    I remember a time in high school while my history teacher was showing us footage of the holocaust and the death camps in Poland and outlying areas, he asked me to stay after class to make sure I was okay. He said it looked like I was going to be either physically sick or burst into tears any second. I guess I've always been very sensitive to the wrong doing of others.

    I think we, as a nation, get involved in other countries for the wrong reasons. We go in for money, or politics, or strategy, or the guise of doing right, but never for the actual help of the people. That takes balls, the kind that Oprah has. LOL. And I swear before all of you guys, that when I make it, I am going to do my best to give back and make a difference in the Oprah like way educating and lending a hand to help make women's suffrage a world wide movement!

    SN
     
  9. AlteredEgo

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    This is not an issue only of a backwards third world. Pakistan has many impoverished people, but the woman whose account I retold was from a wealthy, politically active, powerful family. Pakistan has cosmopolitan cities, and is not totally under-developed. As a child, my pediatrician was from India, my dentist and pharmacists were women from Pakistan. It's not a completely backwards region. They, in many cases, have more wealth, and more worldly experience than you. The problem is a very extremist interpretation of religion permits the justification of horrible injustices, and a clear division of "Us" and "them". Think of the Hassidim of the 1970's and '80s, the Crusades, and the Inquisition as examples.
     
  10. joyboytoy79

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    As helgaleena pointed out, this is a problem with disproportionate occurrence on the Indian subcontinent. Although it is often portrayed as a "muslim" problem, it isn't a practice that's actually supported by the muslim faith. Rather, it's cultural. For whatever reason, the subcontinent has a history of misogyny that's almost as old as civilization itself. If you ever have time, read the Ramayana. Sita, the heroine, is abandoned by her husband because he suspects she was raped by her kidnaper. This is after she goes through humiliating trial after humiliating trial. Rama (the husband) comes out a hero, and Sita is treated with contempt. This is, mind you, one of the central stories of Hinduism.

    Don't get me wrong. I think the Hindu faith on a whole is beautiful. The historic (and in many instances, modern) treatment of women with that faith is tragic. But all religions have an issue with the treatment of women. The bible recommends stoning women to death for even *thinking* about cheating on their husbands. Prostitutes are regarded with less esteem than dogs. Talk about barbaric symbolism. But these passages from the bible hardly constitute the central themes of Christianity, just as the barbaric passages from the Qur'an hardly constitute the central themes of Islam. The problem is cultural. Religion is simply used as an excuse.
     
  11. AlteredEgo

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    I agree with this. I would go one step further and say that patriotism is the religion of nations. I too leads to a similar "Us" vs. "them" mentality, and used an excuse for perpetrating acts of barbarism against other people.

    Misogyny is not a tenet of Islam as the Koran presents it, but in many theocratic nations, literacy is reserved for the chosen few, and so when the religious leaders say "It is so" there is no one to refute that. The Koran presents women as enticing and precious beings who need to be protected from the side-effects of their desirability. It describes them as unintentionally dangerous to men, at least that is my interpretation. It seems, to me, to describe men and women as equal, but different, with different needs and expectations. This is not necesarily reflected in their treatment in Muslim-theocratic nations. I have read of "honor killings" in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and India, and other similar atrocities in African nations, and the middle east. I have read of these things spanning nations, and socio-economic backgrounds, but in modern times, only one faith comes to mind.
     
  12. helgaleena

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    Let's not leave out China and Africa either please. You can find inhumanity and woman subjugating all over in history, One big impact of the Chinese overthrow of the emperors by Ho and Mao was that females were not kept with bound feet by the rich as sex toys, but made to work like peasant women only, as beasts of burden. Then as the merchant class rebuilds, indentured sex workers still abound but they can walk. I guess this counts as a baby step in the right direction, but oh how long it takes.
     
  13. Intrigue

    Intrigue New Member

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    This discussion is something that hits on an angry spot for me. I literally feel hatred for the people that allow these things to occur and those that actually perform the acts. But my hatred I think is misplaced or at the very least not productive in the slightest. I think to myself, "how can they be so blind? So barbaric?" I don't know the answer to that. Perhaps from their perspective WE are barbaric. The fact is this type of thing goes on too often. So what are we, as conscientious HUMANS, supposed to do? Holding these discussions is definitely one of the things to do, but how can we affect a change? I ask this of myself all the time. I affect change in others by my actions. But how can we affect a change on a grander scale? To let people know and possibly understand that ALL HUMANS deserve the right to live and live free of torture such as this. I'm stuck at that. I can't fathom how. And I desperately want it , want women and men to finally be able to live in harmony with each other. Ugh..... I think sometimes that i have little to no faith in humanity.
     
  14. B_crackoff

    B_crackoff New Member

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    I'd like to point out that this is why some kind of commitment to some form of assimilation is essential in any legal immigration - whichever way one goes.

    This isn't just a female problem. I've had plenty of male Pakistani friends go on holiday, or to see a sick Gran in Pakistan, who've lost their jobs, & their lives whilst being forced to marry a cousin. They go for a week, & end up being forced to stay until they submit to being married. One guy said, see you in a week - & he came back 9 months later with a bride who didn't speak a word of English. He's still unhappy now.

    Similarly, there've been cases of "ignorant" men being brought back, treated appallingly by the wives family - locked in, derided, beaten & on the odd occasion killed.

    All of the "slavery" cases in the British courts relate to immigrants from developing countries - & almost all of the abusers are actually well respected professionals.

    Kids should be educated that that kind of treatment is perverse & undesirable in our culture, & the parents should legally commit to allowing their children the same freedom of opportunity that they sought when they migrated.

    Maybe everyone should be forced to sign such a commitment.
     
  15. MickeyLee

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    sometimes i think Akasha had the right idea. :mad:

    once i can read this thread without feeling the need to militant dyke on an entire subcontinent i'll be back.
     
  16. AlteredEgo

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    Wow, crackoff. I never heard of this happening to men before.
     
  17. helgaleena

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    I had a Pakistani man friend when I was in Sweden who had struggled for years to get citizenship there. Then his family began to pressure him to marry the bride they chose him. He did it, went back and got her, and they were unhappy in a foreign country until he quit trying in grad school, dropped out and went home to be miserable in the family business, gave up all his dreams of better living through science. She did learn Swedish though. We spoke Swedish together, and her hubby spoke to me in English. Kinda weird. But yes, family pressure is on both sexes to conform.

    BTW the first thing she learned to say in English was, 'He beats me'. He sort of quit spending time with us after that and got more depressed. I told her to say this to her Swedish teacher, not me.
     
  18. itsallyours

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    I do not know of any developed nations that maintain this perverse way of thinking today on the same level as in some areas of the Middle Eastern society. I know Pakistan has cosmopolitan cities. And I would like to think a wealthy, politically active, and powerful family would have had been educated to the point were one knows that committing this sort of act is heinous and unacceptable. Obviously not. And for the most part it still is a backwards region on the whole. Recent protests in the Middle East show that people are longing for a new order. A free society, where all are granted basic human rights. And for you phrasing of 'worldly experience' I believe might be incorrect. Worldly experience means basically being globalized. In America, and for the rest of the developed World we are all mostly globalized. I think I do understand what you are trying to say though. That perhaps they have fallen on tougher times and have learned more from the hard aches of life. But I think its unfair for you to say this cause you don't know me. You are making an assumed judgment of my 'worldly experiences'. To be honest I don't try to stack up my 'worldly experiences' with anyone else. This seems it would be a waste of time, and sort of more of an ego thing to try to judge who has better knowledge, so their opinion is more creditable. I more try to aim for being able to recognize doing the right in each situation. Obviously I am Human so this is impossible, and to be honest I do make many mistakes; however, almost all now tend to be mistakes that hurt myself, not others. I feel like you might have said this to sort of put me down or lower me. In sort of a way trying to debunk my opinions of the subject.

    These example I believe show how it is the actions of a backwards society. They are still using rules of society that are from times of the past, when society was not as evolved as we are today. Using religious reasons to perpetrate horrible acts is a backwards way of thinking. We in the more developed societies believe in freedom of religion for all (happens to be in the US Bill of Rights, our founding rights). The society I have grown up in is that of the late 20th century America, at about the beginning of the information age. The society I grew up in has consistently told said to me to treat others the way I would want to be treated. To respect differences between different peoples and cultures. To try to have understanding of what is truly the right thing to do.

    Also one more little thing. Most of us in the developed World are educated enough to basically understand that the Universe was created though something called the big bang. It has been around for trillions of years, and we are just a freak accident of particles coming together of this huge expanse of time. These particles have come together to form every known element in the Universe. We are made of these elements, as is everything else in the Universe. It was not divine creation by a God. So when people who commit these acts try to justify saying what their are doing is in the name of their God is just so utterly irrational thinking. Especially for a powerful and wealthy family. You would think that they would have been educated enough to understand this. Most of the developed World has, as we believe in our sciences and pursuit of knowing the truth of the Universe.
     
  19. B_crackoff

    B_crackoff New Member

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    ,

    Here's one link.

    The Human Trafficking Project: Men Forced to Marry

    I walked past an infant class clearly on a field trip today. 30 kids, one white, a boy, the rest all Asian, & all the girls in burkhas with white hijabs.

    The lead teacher was head to toe in the full black burkha, hijab, & Niqab (veil).

    I don't think that those kids will be productive to a free society - the boys are being indoctrinated to see uncovered women as immodest & sluts, & the girls are gonna be to scared to make a stand. Then almost all of them will be forced to marry a cousin in Pakistan/Bangladesh, though there are plenty to pick from in the UK already!

    That's multi-culturalism in action - this is where it doesn't work at all. What choice do young kids have, if this is all they see? I felt worse for the white kid - he'll never be allowed to go out, or get close to any of the girls.
     
    #19 B_crackoff, May 5, 2011
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
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