Posted by: Winslie Gomez | 11/12/2007

Gang Rape! Men Released? WHY?

A TEN Year old girl consents to physical penetrative sex. WHAT! You must be kidding.

Court transcripts have been released involving a controversial Cape York child rape case.

The documents show prosecutors described the assault as “generally consensual” sex.

 

Earlier this year, six boys and three men pleaded guilty to the 2005 gang-rape of the then 10-year-old girl in the Indigenous community of Aurukun.

Are you a bit astounded by the decision of this court, or has the little girl’s life have no meaning in that little community.

 

At all times, we need to be mindful of the relative context. This was after all the indegenous community of Aurkun.

The customs and cultures of the local community should be respected, as well as, the laws of the land. But there rises in us a desire to be critical, as much as we would love to criticize, any fool can and most fools do.
We need to be considerate to the local customs and practices. Yet strive as we might, to remain objective and calm, there comes a point when you just have to raise your voice and condemn this inhumane treatment of a child.

Yes a 10yr old is a child, with all the innocence of a child.

To claim that the act was consensual, beggars belief.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government says it has learnt from the system failures that led to Child Safety officers returning the girl to Aurukun.

Premier Anna Bligh says the officers made the wrong decision in removing the child from foster care, and sending her back to Aurukun.

But she says action was taken.

“Disciplining the officers involved moving the child and changing and improving our response in Aboriginal communities,” she said.

The Opposition’s Mark McArdle says the case is the latest in a long line of child safety failures.

“These issues continue to occur,” he said.

Queensland’s Attorney-General Kerry Shine is appealing the sentences given to the nine offenders, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare, is reviewing about 75 similar cases.

Good to know they are coming to terms with their own attitudes and failings.

These officers need training and they need it fast!

“I think in a country where they’re asking the Aboriginal people to trust the system, trust that the right thing will be done to do away with customary law and to focus on protecting children – they didn’t protect this child in this particular, and they took away the face of the Aboriginal community to trust the system.”

The case has had a ripple effect through other Aboriginal communities in the north of the state.

 

 

Astounded by that case in Australia? Are you, how about this one? The Qatif Rape Case.



The woman was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes –
she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack.
When she appealed, judges doubled her sentence, saying she had been trying
to use the media to influence them.

Her lawyer has been suspended from the case and faces a disciplinary session.

Abdel Rahman al-Lahem told the BBC Arabic Service that the sentence was in violation of Islamic law:
“My client is the victim of this abhorrent crime. I believe her sentence contravenes the Islamic Sharia law
and violates the pertinent international conventions,” he said.
“The judicial bodies should have dealt with this girl as the victim rather than the culprit.”

The lawyer also said that his client would appeal against the decision to increase her punishment.

Segregation laws
According to the Arab News newspaper, the 19-year-old woman was gang-raped
14 times in an attack in Qatif in the eastern province a year-and-a-half ago.

Seven men were found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms
ranging from just under a year to five years.

The victim and attackers are from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority.

This particular incident has been covered by others and one such is  Hanie
from lifeisonebigstage,  

when she commented on Urbansemiotic 

 

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Responses

  1. intersting. While I am not familair with the aboriginal australian culture, I am familiar with many aspects of islam.

    According toislamic law, the woman WAS commiting a crime, and by attempting to use the press to avoid her punishment, was commiting another crime.

    You claim that we should respect different cultures mores and ethics, but it really sounds like what you mean is “as long as they are the same or not to different from ours”.

    In many cultures, sex and sex roles are very different from the western standards. There are many cultures where sexual activity at all ages (including children) is considered acceptable, and anormal part of growing up. There are also many cultures where the exact opposite is the case – where any sexuality or male-female relationships or contact outside of marriage is considered unnacceptable.

    I nmost of those cultures (at either extreme), the roles are normal and accepted. The cultures have evolved in a way that allows for these behaviors, punished deviation, and mainatins their social order.

    Where these systems fails is when an outside culture (such as westerners) attempt to force thier own mores and ethics onto a culture where they do not fit – culture clash.

    Western culture has along history of attempting (almost always unsuccesfully) to force their ethics on other cultures. This was the excuse used for the slave trade, for the colonizations and destruction of the indiginous cultures of Africa, Australia, the Americas, and a slew of other smaller cultures.

    If you are going to claim that you respect other cultures, you must do so by accepting the other culture – even when it flies in the face of your personal ethics. If you are going to attempt to measure another culture by seeing how well it meshes with your culture and ethics, you are simply continuing the centuries old trend of “saving the natives from themselves”.

  2. Sphyrnatude
    Thank you for being forthright with your comment. I appreciate “saving the natives from themselves” and defineltely do not want to/even accidently fall into that trap.

    I guess I have given offence by my article. May I assure you that is not the desire!

    You claim that we should respect different cultures mores and ethics, but it really sounds like what you mean is “as long as they are the same or not to different from ours”.
    I do have to accept the immense difficulty in getting my head around the HOW of her crime.

    I should however point to the fact that we (most people in the west) do have a desire to undesrtand if at all on a simplistic level the Islamic view of the crime.

    Please do elaborate. I assume there will be a text you can make reference to, that will throw light.

    Or is this a geographical cultural perspective?

  3. I was not meaning to specifically refer to the islamic issue – it is just one that happens to be current right now because of the war in the mideast. The same things ahve been happening for centuries in islamic countries, but they were ignored because the western world was more focused on other areas (and because we had no political motive to demonize Islamists).

    The real point of my post was that we SHOULD respect other cultures and mores, even if we personally, or as a society, find them repugnant.

    In many societies, the way Western cultures treat their seniors would be considered absolutely abhorent, as would the concept of “day care” or “preSchool” or other comercialized babysitting services. Actually, both of those institutions would have been considered pretty abhorent in western culture not that long ago….

    Anyway, my point was that “our way is best” is simply not true. Our way may be (MAY be) best for us, but certainly not for everyone. It is very difficult to step out of our preconcieved ideas of what is “right” or “wrong”, but that is what we have to do if we are going to accept other cultures. By all measures of our society, the cases you cite are “wrong”, and the courts actions are unjustifiable. However, when viewed in the society where they occured, they are NOT wrong, and are actually upholding the standards and ethics of that society.

    Think about “the scarlet letter”. It may not be as extreme as the cases you cite, but it demonstrates that not all that long ago, we were a lot more puritanical than we are now. Similarly, in our not to distant past, people were killed for thier “incorrect” religions, enslaved because of their ethnic background (and not just blacks), and imprisoned for “incorrect” political views (think McCarthyism). In today’s world, the USA has become one of the worst offendors of the Geneva convention, has openly sanctioned torture, politicaql kidnapping, and imprisonment without trial, legal representation, or knowledge of reason for imprisonment.

    right and wrong are difficult enough to sort out in our own society, let alone in another very different society.

  4. Winslie, thank you for ping-ing me back to my last post on the Qatif rape case. As you know, I have postings on this in more ways than one and I will do this again.

    sphyrnatude: I have no idea why some of us (I assumed that you are a Muslim), Muslims Brothers and Sisters get so sensitive when other “so called westerners” wrote something about the religion in way to provoke healthy debates and understanding of the religion. Quoting another post of mine – “The Quran talks direct to us without asking us to abandon our logical thinking and it relies heavily on our use of the faculty of reasoning as Allah urges us”.

    You said, “According to Islamic law, the woman WAS commiting a crime, and by attempting to use the press to avoid her punishment, was commiting another crime. ”

    What the main debate here is: why the increase in the lashings? Surely this was an un-Islamic decision but artfully blended in political and tribal laws?

    I suggest you read my opinion on this here:
    http://lifeisonebigstage.wordpress.com/2007/11/24/oppression-of-women/
    and also here:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/12/04/200-lashes-for-the-teddy-bear/

    This is also what I think: most westerners will question decisions like this and start labelling the religion as intolerant and archaic because of our own sensitivity in overlooking at the main issue raised.

  5. Winslie, I am not well versed with Indigenous community of Aurukun’s tribal law, but this is my thinking as a mother: it is unacceptable. A ten year old girl, is a girl is a girl and nowhere in her brain may compute the extend of what the act would do to her and shape her life thereafter. Does this mean a toddler who is raped should also be viewed as giving consent to that act? (See here http://www.speakout.org.za/about/child/child_unthinkable.htm)

    This is clearly a case of violence against children.

    And I am sick to my stomache!

  6. Sphyrnatude
    Could you please explain the meaning of the word mores in”we SHOULD respect other cultures and mores”

    Sorry have not come across that expression!

    If I am not mistaken, are you suggesting it is acceptable that a 10yr old girl was raped! or for a victim of rape to be punished?

  7. Hanie
    Thank you for your comments, appreciate it greatly!

    The world needs to take a fresh look at the issues that affect a vast majority of women and children and we should not rest till we have adequate answers to the problem.

  8. “mores”:American Heritage Dictionary – Cite This Source – Share This mo·res (môr’āz’, -ēz, mōr’-) Pronunciation Key pl.n. The accepted traditional customs and usages of a particular social group. Moral attitudes. Manners; ways. [Latin mōrēs, pl. of mōs, custom; see mē-1 in Indo-European roots.]

    My real point is that you are taling the western concept of what “rape” is, and applying to a totally different culture. In many cultures, the concept of “rape” only includes forced, unwilling particiaption – and in some cultures the concept does not even exist. Many tribal cultures (from all over the world) consider sexual exploration to be perfectly normal, and in many cultures it can include realtions between adults and children (both male and female adults and male and female children).

    By assuming that a 10 year old could never consent to having sex, you are taking the western concepts of what “proper” sexual behavior is, and applying to a culture that may have completely different standards. There are many cultures where a 10 year old that had not explored sexuality and sex play would be considered very abnormal.

    With regard to the islamic case, from my understanding, the issue was that a woman was out with a forbidden man, and was raped. She was sentenced, according to the local laws, and went to the press. The courts viewed this as an attempt to avoid her punishment and defame the courts (illegal acts), and imposed a punishment for those crimes. Once again, the courts are acting within the laws and mores of thier culture. They are different from western laws and culture, but are no more “evil” or “bad” – just different.

    I am not Muslim, I simply feel that it is important to view other cultures in the framework of that culture instead of trying to force western ideals on the whole world. I have seen nothing that would indicate that the morals and ethics of the western world are any better or worse than other cultures. Every culture has its good and bad points (including western culture).

  9. Winslie, Ive looked high and low, peeked here and there but cant see where your email is? Could you send me a quick note to mine (you can see mine at my site) if its ok. 😉

  10. To rape is evil. To use rape as a punishment is very evil. To use rape for a non-violent, innocous “offense” is extremely evil. These are universal truths. Culture has nothing to do it. That which is evil cannot be justified on the grounds of “culture”. Culture is not fixed; all cultures change and evolve, hopefully for the better. Certain rights are universal and inalienable. The right not to be sexually assaulted under any circumstances in one of them. Period. No exceptions.

  11. Also, sex with a 10 year old child is exploitative and evil and should not be tolerated anywhere.

  12. Very interesting discussion. In Taoism, we believe that all peoples inherently know right from wrong. Everyone knows what is reasonable and what isn’t – regardless of cultural differences.
    The problem is that while we KNOW what is right and what is wrong, each person has to choose whether to DO right or wrong.


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