Content Warning: Rape and humans behaving horribly badly
This is nearly unbelievably bad at every level. So, I am trying to contextualize it in a way that I can even get the idea into and across my brain without something exploding.
In Pakistan, a “revenge rape” was ordered. Fortunately, it appears that authority has gotten somewhat involved and is trying to sort things out a bit now that it’s all too late, but everything – and I mean everything – about this story is off the chart horrible. [bbc]
Some 20 people from Multan, Pakistan, have been arrested for ordering the rape of a teenage girl, in revenge for a rape her brother allegedly committed.
Police said the families of the two girls are related.
Members of both had joined forces to decide what should be done.
“A jirga [village council] had ordered the rape of a 16-year-old girl as punishment, as her brother had raped a 12-year-old,” police official Allah Baksh told AFP.
He said the village council was approached earlier this month by a man who said his 12-year-old sister had been raped by their cousin.
The council then ordered the complainant to rape the sister of the accused in return – which police say he did.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that the girl was forced to appear before the group and raped in front of them and her parents.
The reason I entitled this posting “Christian Ethics” is because that’s what this is: A wronged B, therefore B wrongs C, and the scales of justice are… what? The words “utterly broken” come to mind. Rather than righting a wrong, this perpetuates it, as Miles Vorkosigan says, “A policy of ‘Death before dishonor’ leads to a world of nothing but the dead and forsworn.”
Retaliation must result in an inevitable knock-on effect, because A wrongs B, B wrongs C, therefore D is now justified in retaliating against B on the perfectly reasonable grounds that C never did anything to deserve being attacked by B. Etc. Pretty quickly, everyone is blind and toothless from a chain-reaction of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” and if anyone escalates, everyone winds up dead. I used to wonder how this worked for Hammurabi’s code, because eventually someone has to put their foot down (assuming it hasn’t been cut off) and say “Stop! Justice is Done!” So now, in Pakistan, what will happen to the members of the jirga, who conspired to rape the 16 year-old girl? Perhaps a firing squad can be drafted from the next village over? Then “who will fire on this firing squad?”
I’ve been meaning to do some postings about the question of retaliation and its role in ethical systems, but this incident has left the taste of blood and ashes in my mouth and I’m not sure I can bear thinking about it for a while.
“Thou shalt not kill” is a famous dictum, often ignored. Who kills the executioner?
I was thinking “what would Moral Philosopher Sam Harris say?” and I realized he’d probably just blame it on their islamic beliefs.