In India, when a girl is raped, because the stigma is so enormous, nobody is allowed to disclose her name. So all the various newspapers and media outlets, in their excitement, kept giving her different names. So someone called her Damini and somebody called her Nirbhaya, which means the fearless one, though I don’t know how they assumed that she was fearless. What a strange thing to do to a young girl who was murdered in that way.
But John Kerry recently wanted to honor her on Women’s Day or something in the United States because he seemed so moved by this story. And that I found so grotesque, because in the last few years the Americans have in terms of what they’ve done to the women of Iraq, what they’ve done to the women of Libya, driven whole countries, millions of women back into purdah, back into the most inequitable lives—women who were poets and writers and doctors and scientists being pushed back against their volition. It’s not that they were women who chose to be like that, but the situation that was created by these wars has pushed them back. And then you pick up a young girl who was raped and honor her, when you’re pushing millions of women backwards and putting the hands of the clock back for millions of women. You come and pick up this one case, which is completely unpolitical. What happened to her was a criminal act. What happens to the women of Libya and the women of Iraq and the women of Afghanistan is political. You’re not committing a criminal act on one person but a criminal act on countries of women.
Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.”
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, indoctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
Pop culture and art are just the cherry on the top of the icing on a huge cake. The United States is among the most religious of all countries in the industrialized world. So, while some people wring their hands over hip hop, I’m more worried about how men like Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli explain to their daughters why they can’t be priests. I know that there is hip hop that exceeds the bounds of taste and is sodden with misogyny. But, people seem to think that those manifestations of hatred are outside of the mainstream when, in reality, it’s just more of the same set to great beats. Hip hop has nothing on religious misogyny and its political expression.
Pretty sure I’m in love with Soraya Chemaly after reading everything she’s written
“I’m more worried about how men like Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli explain to their daughters why they can’t be priests.”
The most hilarious thing? Most religions’ explanations for why women can’t be priests is that women are just inherently more responsible and just don’t “need” the priesthood to guide them. Our culture has this beyond fucked up dichotomy where women are both supposed to be poised and responsible (even for being sexual assaulted) while simultaneously creating laws to restrict their every move. It’s insanity and women just can’t win here.
Like, you don’t actually love them and you know you don’t, but you know you could. You realise that you could easily fall in love with them. It’s almost like the bud of a flower, ready to blossom but it’s just not quite there yet. And you like them a lot, you really do. You think about them often, but you don’t love them. You could, though. You know you could.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said:
“Our Lord Descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: `Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?” [ Bukhari and Muslim.]
“This melted my heart:
When the Prophet (pbuh) talked about Khadija (RA) after she passed away, he would say: “Ruziktu hubaha” (I was given the provision of her love).”—Yasmine Mogahed (via september-sunshine)