Thursday, June 16, 2005


Lest you think the following type of "solution" is confined to the Subcontinent; I recently read a similar first person story by a female police officer in one of those "true stories" American women's magazines. Her solution to the rape of a young virgin was to keep it hushed up and (you guessed it) have her marry the rapist. After all, he'd robbed* her of her honor -- so what use would she be to anyone else? I'm sure he lived happily ever after.

Indian forced to 'marry' her father-in-law rapist
New Delhi, June 16, 2005
Hindustan Times

An Indian rape victim is being forced by village elders to "marry" her rapist -- her father-in-law, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Community leaders in Charthawal village, backed by local Muslim clerics, believe that by being raped, 28-year-old Imrana's 10-year marriage has been nullified under Islamic law, The Asian Age newspaper said.

Holding a special council on Sunday, village leaders ordered the mother of five to leave her husband, Noor Mohammed, and live with her parental family for seven months and 10 days and make herself "pure" again, The Age said. It did not say how she becomes pure.

After that, she must "marry" her father-in-law and live with him, along with his legal wife.

"She... will then be like a mother to Noor Mohammed," the paper quoted local cleric Shamim Ahmad saying.

Her four brothers have agreed to the edict. She has not but in India, victims of crime often have nowhere to turn and with even her own family supporting the edict she may have little choice.

Police are now investigating and say they plan to arrest the father-in-law. They refuse to comment on the village elders' ruling, saying it is a sensitive religious issue.

The village is in Uttar Pradesh**, one of India's poorest and most backward states and its most populous, with more than 165 million people, more than Russia's 145 million.


*One Spanish word for rape is "robar"
En espanol "rape," (ra-PAY) on the other hand, means "a quick shave" or "a scolding."

**The state of Uttar Pradesh ("Upper Country") is where Phoolan Devi became the Bandit Queen in the late 70's and early 80's (The headstrong and outspoken Devi was a Dacoit -- or the caste formerly known as untouchable. She was married off early in an attempt to silence her, and after refusing his advances she was raped by her husband at age 11. Later village Thakurs or land-owners also tried it ; she fought them off, ran away, and was later arrested for her trouble. While in jail the police officers and guards beat (and you guessed it) her. Devi was apparently sold to a lecherous local bandit who was assasinated by a lieutenant, Vikram. They fell in love and started a new gang but he was killed and she was again violated by a Thakur gang before forming her own posse and meting out justice to the deserving many (including the pedophile husband, his second wife, and 22 upper caste Thakurs). She eventually surrendered to authorities and did time in prision -- and even ran for office and became an MP before being assassinated in 2001. There was also some talk about her winning a Nobel Peace Prize. The film about her has been dismissed by Arundhati Roy and others as a sensationalist bit of fiction).

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