Friday, August 05, 2011

Nasty News About How Some Religious and Cultural Values Hurt Women

Trigger warning for violence against women.

In Pakistan, a father shot six of his daughters. His son had told him that two of them were dating boys, so they had to be killed for reasons of "honor". The other four? They seem to have been shot for somewhat different reasons:
Arif Mubashir, 40, shot the teen-aged girls after his son told him that they were dating boys who attend a nearby college in Faisalabad.
Mushabir unregrettably admitted to police that he had killed his daughters because they were both “without honour.”
The father said he shot the other daughters, because they “sided with each other.”
Mr. Mubashir stated that he would do it again if he had to. Not sure if he has any daughters left for target practice.

In the United States, the trial of the polygamist Warren Jeffs reveals that he believes access to many underage girls is his religious right and obligation:
A panting "sex tape" of polygamist Warren Jeffs allegedly raping his 12-year-old "spiritual bride" while uttering her name was played for a Utah jury yesterday before prosecutors rested their bigamy and sex assault case against the cult leader.


The tape followed two earlier ones in which Jeffs, 55, advises his young "sister wives" that they must work together to please him sexually. After the tape was played, the polygamy cult leader entered the entire Book of Mormon into evidence. Jeffs is claiming he has a religious right to multiple, underage wives, which will bring him "exultation" in heaven.
I chose to write about these two stories not because they would somehow be representative of the way women are generally treated in either place (they are not), but because they are both examples of bad treatment of women which is seen as sanctioned by either religion or social norms. These twist and turn the bad treatment into something good.

This is also why religious or cultural rights can be in direct (and violent) conflict with women's rights.