Sentenced to village-rape

And then there’s the quaint old custom of gang-raping women to punish them.

A young woman in West Bengal was gang-raped this week on the order of a village council, to punish her for planning to marry a man from outside the village, according to the Indian police.

The episode began on Monday when Khaliq Sheikh, the man from outside the village, asked the young woman to marry him, and she accepted his proposal, the police said. When Balai Mardi, the chief of the village, heard about it, he quickly sought to block the marriage.

According to local news media accounts, villagers went to the young woman’s house and detained Mr. Sheikh, and the next day, he and the young woman were taken to the village square, tied to separate trees and accused of breaking community rules.

It’s a question of Village Values, you see. Like Family Values in the US, but slightly more brutal.

Mr. Mardi ordered the couple to pay fines totaling 27,000 rupees, or about $442, Mr. Yadav said in a telephone interview. Mr. Sheikh paid his portion and was allowed to leave, but when the young woman’s family refused to pay, Mr. Mardi ordered villagers “to enjoy her,” said a police officer who spoke on condition that he not be named.

She was then raped repeatedly in Mr. Mardi’s mud-and-thatch hut, according to local news reports.

Then Mr Mardi threatened her and her family, saying he’d burn down their house if they told the police, but they told the police anyway. They must not have the right Village Values.




  1. AsqJames says

    Village values ‘Justice’ – A side-bar on the BBC story:

    – July 2012: Asara village in Uttar Pradesh state bans love marriages and bars women under 40 from shopping alone, using mobile phones outside, and orders them to cover their heads when outdoors
    – May 2011: Eight people arrested in Uttar Pradesh for stoning to death a young couple who had a love affair
    – September 2010: A Dalit (formerly “untouchable”) woman in Madhya Pradesh is ordered to pay 15,000 rupees ($330) compensation to the high-caste owners of a dog for feeding their pet. The owners say the dog became “untouchable”
    – August 2010: Village elders in West Bengal order a woman to walk naked in front of large crowds for having “an illicit love affair with a man from a different community”
    – June 2009: A Muslim woman and her Hindu husband kill themselves after the local village council orders them to annul their marriage or face death

  2. Al Dente says

    Sunil Soren, a leader from a nearby village, insisted in a telephone interview that people in the area “respect our women a lot.” But he said that Mr. Sheikh and the young woman were “in an objectionable situation,” and that such incidents “pollute the minds of youngsters.”

    “In the excitement, some wrong things happened,” Mr. Soren said.

    It’s all about power and control.

  3. Gordon Willis says

    Any excuse for a party. Oh good, she’s done something wrong. We can punish her. Rape rape rape! What fun! Who’ll go first? Even wanting to marry someone can be wrong, it seems. Let’s all watch the stone-throwing contest: bets on hitting her in the eye, or the left breast, or the mouth. Who’ll draw first blood? Ah, there’s nothing like home-grown entertainment.

  4. johnthedrunkard says

    In some of these, the women are so dehumanized that the rape is seen as punishment for the FAMILY. She exists only as a token for Honor.

  5. Gordon Willis says

    What the hell is “honour”? Isn’t it merely the contrast between what I am supposed to want and what I am seen to get instead? Isn’t it merely an idea of public opinion? Isn’t it a matter of my ego and my power — my being seen to be in control? And what is the basis of this so precious public opinion? Am I afraid of seeming weak, because others will call me weak because I’m not sufficiently enslaving my womenfolk and have to do as I’m told — me, a supposedly powerful male who can just get what I want because that’s what a male is supposed to do? Isn’t it about absolute power, isn’t it about the conditions within which one can exercise absolute power and the circumstances within which one must yield to a more powerful male (never a woman)? Isn’t it only male apes jockeying for position in the troop? Identity — public opinion — communal masturbation — the penile imperative — primate behaviour.

    Anyway, I do think that opportunity for a bit of rape and pillage is a motive (the penile imperative, don’t you know). It’s fun to have sex and exercise power over a helpless person, so my village (= me and the other men) is motivated to find opportunities for me and the other men to do that. I want to have sex with that woman, so if she can be put in the wrong I can have sex with her. I can see no other reason for such a punishment to be decided upon. Imprisonment, fine, community service, weaving an odyssey, knitting socks for 200 lepers, saying 5000 ave marias or equivalent? No, it’s gang rape, oh goody, and (incidentally) it’s also power — of the petty bullying sort that gets sex whenever it wants it.

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