The Other I

June 20, 2011

No, No, NO!

Filed under: Cultural Differences — theotheri @ 2:42 pm

There was a hair-raising story on the news today about a 50-year-old mother in Pakistan.  Some days ago, a group of men from her village broke into her home, dragged her out into the public square, and stripped her naked.  For an hour they taunted and beat her in front of the other villagers, including the children.  They did what they did as a punishment because her son had had an illicit affair.

It is apparently not unusual for women in Pakistan to be punished for the transgressions of their male relatives.

Following the incident, a Western journalist was able to interview the abused woman.  The journalist interviewed her with great sympathy, and the woman seemed to be to be amazingly self-possessed under the circumstances.

But what I find most appalling is that the woman says that she has been so dishonoured that she will never be able to return to the village.  She says before they were poor but they were respectable.  Now she cannot look even her own sister in the face.

That is what I find the worst – that the woman believes that it is she who lost her honour.

How I wish she would walk down the middle of the street in her village with her head up, and defiance in her eye.

It is not she who is dishonoured.  It is the men who stripped her who are dishonourable.  It is the villagers who will not talk to the police.  It is those who cannot meet the eyes of the woman, who think that she should be feeling shame, not anger.

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