Où sont les neiges »« Amartya Sen on identity

The crime of Moska

So that’s how it’s possible to treat rape victims as perps.

Just 21, Gulnaz had been released that week from prison, where she had given birth to her daughter Moska. Gulnaz seemed younger than her years, but she held my gaze almost defiantly as she told her story.

She had been imprisoned in a Kabul women’s jail after her cousin’s husband raped her.

The crime came to light when the unmarried Gulnaz became pregnant.

The police came and arrested both Gulnaz and her attacker. Under Afghan law she too was found guilty of a crime known as “adultery by force”, with her sentence increased on appeal to 12 years.

Oh, I see! Afghan law doesn’t have a crime of rape, apparently, it has “adultery by force” and both parties are the perps as opposed to one party being the perp and the other being the victim.

That’s interesting. Usually we* think of serious crime as being a crime because there are victims; that’s why laws against actions that can be considered “victimless” are contested.

Imagine everything rearranged in a way comparable to “adultery by force.” You would get…”Suicide by force.” “Redistribution of wealth by force.” “Cosmetic surgery by force.” “Home visits by force.” “Account transfer by force.”

In what we would call murder, it’s not one person doing a bad thing to another person, it’s two people teaming up to do a bad thing to…….to whom? The owner of one of them? The owner of both of them, “god”? “The community”?

Never mind. I’m just playing silly buggers. I know that’s not how it works with other crimes. It’s just rape that works that way, because rape involves a woman (except when it doesn’t – there are those dancing boys in Afghanistan), and women always belong to men, so whatever is done to a woman is actually done not to the woman but to the man she belongs to. It’s not an assault on the woman, it’s adultery which is a bad thing done to the woman’s husband (certainly not to the rapist’s wife – don’t go getting that idea).

I suppose Gulnaz’s daughter – the one conceived as a result of the “adultery by force” – is guilty of “birth by force” and will be sentenced to 12 years in prison as soon as she’s old enough to use the potty by herself.

*By “we” I mean people who try to think about things, not “we in the West” or the like.

Comments

  1. Brian says

    Well, really, it’s the man who owns her, but God is probably taken to be the ultimate victim, with the man whose property has been soiled as the proxy.
    I feel a bit sick having written that….

  2. says

    Speaking of guns…

    Is this what we have been fighting for in Afghanistan for the last decade? FFS, you’d think for a half-trillion dollars we could have LITERALLY bought all the women from their families and plane tickets to their country of choice… with money left over to set them up pretty comfortably. I mean, if we’re going to spend that kind of cash to install puppet governments, you’d think we could actually pull on the strings and get SOMETHING out of it, or else you’d think we could figure out better ways to spend the money.

    And, of course, this is how the government behaves while we’re half-occupying their country. I’m sure they’ll skip the show trials once we’re gone.

  3. says

    Religious morality is pure deonotology, hence it has no built in reality check of, for instance, thinking about the harms and benefits of an action or rule and consequentially (pun intended) opposing punishment of certain victimless crimes.

    The only alternative to a skyhook for justifying the thou shalts and thou shalt nots is some variety of consequentialism.

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