Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rape and culture

In many parts of Africa, being raped is blamed on the woman. In this news story, a 8-year-old was attacked in West Phoenix by fellow Liberian refugees, and now the parents are shunning her for bringing shame upon the family. If morality is relative to culture, then this is OK. Or maybe it's not OK, because these people have come to America?

18 comments:

Steven Carr said...

1 e4 e5 2 Ba6 is not a bad opening for White, because some people prefer playing 1 e4 and some people prefer playing 1 d4.

As opening preferences are subjective, nobody can say that 1 e4 e5 2 Ba6 is a bad opening.

Steven Carr said...

The question is, did the girl cry out?

Doctor Logic said...

Let me guess... We Americans subjectively find the African culture offensive, therefore cultural relativism is wrong. Brilliant.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Steve: Awful chess example. 2 Ba6 would be objectively bad because it drops a Bishop to bxa6. Just stick with 1 d4 versus 1 e4 and you'll be fine.

I don't know if your comment about crying out is just a really creepy and inappropriate joke, or is an oblique reference to something in African culture about how rape is defined.

Victor's example isn't an argument per se but it is a great practical case for testing one's intuitions.

It is hard to deny that some cultures' moral systems are better than others. I really like how Nussbaum struggles with precisely these issues in her Sex and Social Justice.

If we consider the culture of young girls in Liberia, we may get a different picture of the morality of the situation than if we just consider the perspective of the average poor and uneducated Liberian male. The government and laws of Liberia, for instance (which has a female President) have been working hard to fight against this ridiculous silly rape subculture. So, what does "Liberian culture" say about rape? It's not really that simple.

Anonymous said...

I am confused. Is Mr. Carr's post a continuation of a subliminal, unrealized conversation that I am not privy to, or are his words a response to article posted by Mr. Reppert?

Secondly, to second Blue Devil Knight, I will not jump to any conclusion (out loud), but what does the "girl crying out" have to do with horrific display of barbarism amongst young males in our culture towards young(er) females?

Mike Darus said...

We Americans have very short memories. It has not been long ago that our courts and public opinion factored in how the woman was dressed, etc. on rape charges. "No means No" is relatively new - less than 20 years? I think we have it right, but we come off a bit pompous when others are living in our 1970's and our edited memories make us forget the process of changing that attigude.

Hiero5ant said...

What's surprising is that on a blog devoted to defending the legitimacy of organizing life around the Bible, several people did not catch Carr's reference to Deuteronomy 22:23-24.

This is the beginning, middle, and end of any conversation in which a Christian or a Jew condescends to lecture anyone on ethics.

Steven Carr said...

BDK
Steve: Awful chess example. 2 Ba6 would be objectively bad because it drops a Bishop to bxa6.

CARR
What? Chess openings are objective , not subjective?

If I prefer the Dragon to the French, this is not a subjective choice?

If I am happier living in a country where 8 year old girls are not raped, this is not a subjective choice?

Steven Carr said...

ANON
Secondly, to second Blue Devil Knight, I will not jump to any conclusion (out loud), but what does the "girl crying out" ...

CARR
I don't know.

The authors of the Bible never said why the 'girl crying out' is the acid test of whether or not it was a real rape.

But these are the only objective moral standards Christians have got, which is probably why they make up their own moral standards, in preference to the Biblical ones.

kbrowne said...

I certainly do not want to defend the moral standards of the Bible but surely the reason for the rule about crying out is clear.

If a woman is attacked she will scream for help. If she does not scream for help it can be assumed she is not being attacked but wants to have sex.

There is no punishment (or at least no official punishment) for being raped. Having sex willingly if you are engaged to another man carries the death penalty.

The writers of Deuteronomy seem to be assuming that if someone screams for help people will rush at once to help them. If that was true then it is a point in favour of the ancient Jews, I'd say. It certainly does not always happen now.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Heiro5ant: Thanks for clarifying the 'crying out' as a biblical reference. I thought there would have to be some context as it would have been just too creepy.

Darus makes a great point, though on the other hand the girl's family would likely take her side!

kbrowne said...

Mike Darus,

You have a point where adult women are concerned. But was there ever a time in America when 8 year old girls were held responsible for their own rape?

Mike Darus said...

Please don't paint me into a corner trying to justify the acts of these boys. However, I remember when I was in fourth and fifth grade, accounts of boys and girls playing "doctor" that today would be considered sexual asault. I am troubled that the 14 year old is being tried as an adult. I am also troubled that I find myself on the wrong side of this issue.

kbrowne said...

Mike Darus,

Does being 'on the wrong side of this issue' mean that you do not think a crime was committed? Or that you sympathise with the girl's father who apparently said to the police "Take her, I don't want her"?

I don't think young children playing 'doctor' should be considered sexual assault. Is it so considered in America? Curiosity about human bodies is perfectly normal in children.

But this case is not about children playing 'doctor'. Have you read the article?

'The boys held the girl down while they took turns assaulting her, police said.

"She was brutally sexually assaulted for a period of about 10 to 15 minutes," Hill said.

Officers responding to an emergency call reporting hysterical screams found the girl partially clothed and the boys running from the scene.'

Mike Darus said...

Being on the wrong side is appearing to defend a terrible thing. I don't defend it at all, but I wonder if the legal and public opinion responses are measured correctly.

It's actually getting more complex:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/07/26/20090726father0727-ON.html

My questions are:
1) When do you try a 14-year-old as an adult? This is 4 years away from 18 and 7 years from 21, remember. Possible 10 years in prison?
2) What is the appropriate charge for the 8-year-old boy?
3) When do you remove a child from the parents for what they say (especially when there are communication issues)? Is feeling shame enough? Is shame now illegal? What is the charge against the father if he said, "I don't want her."? He is being more than a jerk, but what if he is only emoting? He is an English Language Learner; what was the intent of his words? Was he releasing his right to custody?

Hiero5ant said...

Never mind the rape, bring on the Neurochannels updates!

Victor Reppert said...

Liberians have come forward to say that their culture does not accept rape, nor does it accept the shunning of rape victims. It is something like saying that racism is part of Southern culture. It's not, but there certainly is racist residue in the South. (And in the North and West too, just a different kind).

Malcolme said...

With all religions set side , setting aside moral relativism ,children raping children , is not a natural behavior . It is learned from a culture , from older males , Liberian males . In Africa , rape is a passage to manhood . This isn't Africa . Ignorance is no defense from the law . Who taught them to rape ?