Sunday, November 18, 2007

Punishing the Victim

This is a sick, twisted world that clearly needs to change:

The 19-year-old victim was sentenced last year to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male, a former friend from whom she was retrieving photographs. The seven rapists, who abducted the pair and raped both, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison.

The victim's attorney, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, contested the rapists' sentence, contending there is a fatwa, or edict under Islamic law, that considers such crimes Hiraba (sinful violent crime) and the punishment should be death.

"After a year, the preliminary court changed the punishment and made it two to nine years for the defendants," al-Lahim said of the new decision handed down Wednesday. "However, we were shocked that they also changed the victim's sentence to be six months in prison and 200 lashes."

The judges more than doubled the punishment for the victim because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media," according to a source quoted by Arab News, an English-language Middle Eastern daily newspaper.

Judge Saad al-Muhanna from the Qatif General Court also barred al-Lahim from defending his client and revoked his law license, al-Lahim said. The attorney has been ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Justice next month.

So many things are wrong with this situation that one doesn't know where to begin fuming, or whether to end.

On the other hand, consider the implications of punishing victims with infinite torture in Hell. Think about it: the basic tenets of Christianity are infinitely worse than the barbaric actions described in the article.

This also needs to change.


  1. Old Testament law wasn't much better. If a woman got raped, her violator could avoid punishment by buying his victim from her father for 50 shekels. Seems wrong to treat women as chattel in such a callous, unfeeling, and inhuman way. But then we atheists have no basis to distinguish right from wrong, they keep telling me. So as the above example is declared by God to be the proper way to deal with rape, it must be "right". Right?

  2. The sad thing Martin is that Muslim fundamentalists will draw the wrong lesson from this sad story. They will argue that it is further evidence in support of the need to segregate the sexes, when in fact the real problem is the patriarchal attitude of Saudi males who are indoctrinated to believe that a woman in public without a male relative or husband is "fair game".

    The solution is to grant women full equality and to put the onus for rape 100% where it belongs, on the rapist.


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