Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Code of Dishonor and the Culture of Rape

In honor-and-shame cultures like those of India and Pakistan, male honor resides in the sexual probity of women, and the "shaming" of women dishonors all men.
[. . .]

The "culture" of rape that exists in India and Pakistan arises from profound social anomalies, its origins lying in the unchanging harshness of a moral code based on the concepts of honor and shame. Thanks to that code's ruthlessness, raped women will go on hanging themselves in the woods and walking into rivers to drown themselves. It will take generations to change that. Meanwhile, the law must do what it can. [. . .]
Salman Rushdie elaborates on India and Pakistan's Code of Dishonor in the New York Times and recommends that to truly claim to be a modern, secular democracy India must secularize and unify its legal system, and take power over women's lives away, from medievalist institutions.

Going by the track record of our past (and present) governments that'll take some doing.

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