Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘rape’

A Mullah’s Dishonor, A Parent’s Shame

RAPE-master675 Photo courtesy of:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/world/asia/struggling-to-keep-afghan-girl-safe-after-a-mullah-is-accused-of-rape.html.

Four days ago, the New York Times reported that on May 1, 2014, in a mosque after Quran recitation classes mullah Mohammad Amin raped a ten-year old girl. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/world/asia/struggling-to-keep-afghan-girl-safe-after-a-mullah-is-accused-of-rape.html?_r=0. This was an abhorrent crime, the type of which we have heard about all to often – the religious violating the innocent.  However, this particular crime perpetrated by this particular rapist on this particular child took on horrific proportions, because it was committed in Afghanistan where many believe the child has dishonored her family simply by being raped. The young victim now fears for her life at the hands of her own male family members. An honor killing of this unimaginable sort is so steeped in the fabric of Afghani society and culture that even the young victim’s mother sees the cemetery as her daughter’s safe-haven.

And what of the mullah who confessed to having had sex with the 10-year old? He has none of the fears that now plague the child. In fact, other mullahs have come to his defense. They, together with militia members, the Taliban and government and religious officials have supported the rapist, with some going so far as to threaten those individuals attempting to keep the victim from harm.

But why does the mullah need a defense at all, if his actions are truly  punishable by killing the victim?  Why did he magnanimously offer to marry the 10-year old? Why would he claim that the child looked older than her 10 years, when she was clearly pre-pubescent, weighing 40 pounds? Why would he claim she consented when the rape was so violent that it broke the wall between her vagina and her rectum, causing the child to lose copious amounts of blood?  One answer comes to mind – both the rapist and the society in which he committed the rape know, in their hearts, that rape is wrong and that the rape of a child in a sacred place by someone who should be her protector is not merely criminal, but despicable and dishonorable.

So, what can we say about a society that would blame the powerless for the crimes of the powerful or the father that would rather kill his child than the person who violently harmed her.  One word comes to mind – cowardly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Baugh – It’s Time to Go!

Photo courtesy of Associated Press/Matthew Brown

Photo courtesy of Associated Press/Matthew Brown: – http://huff.to/17ZQuTF

Stacey Dean Rambold, a 54-year-old high school teacher, raped Cherice Moralez, his 14-year-old student.

Montana State District Court Judge, G. Todd Baugh, suspended all but 30 days of the rapist’s sentence.

Outrageous – yes, but it gets worse. In defending the 30-day sentence for the rape by a man who was in a position of trust to the child victim, Judge Baugh blamed the child, saying that:

  • Cherice seemed “older than her chronological age”;
  • Cherice was “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher;
  • the circumstances of the rape made the sentence appropriate; and
  • the rape “wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape,” that “people have in mind”.

No less than 58,000 petition signatories and several hundred protestors gathered outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, Montana are demanding the removal or resignation of Judge Baugh. There appear to be grounds for removal. The Judge’s words and actions violate Montana’s correctional and sentencing policy contained in a book meant to sit on the desk of every Montana judge. That policy required Judge Baugh to “punish each offender commensurate with the nature and degree of harm caused by the offense and to hold an offender accountable.” Montana Judges’ Deskbook, Municipal, Justice, and City Courts, §400.902(a), revised 2003 (MCA 46-18-101). By every standard, the Judge failed his responsibility.

By fixing blame for a heinous crime on the child victim rather than the adult perpetrator, Judge Baugh did more than violate Montana’s court rules and statutes. He abdicated a judge’s seminal responsibility to protect the public, including Cherice, a child in desperate need of protecting. Montana Judges’ Deskbook, §400.902(b), (MCA 46-18-101). No defense or excuse can vindicate Judge Baugh. What he did and said was “victim shaming” at its worst and dangerous to our system of justice, a system that the Judge had sworn to uphold. He made it infinitely harder for children and others to come forward even when egregiously and personally harmed.

The Judge must go, if only to send a clear, unambiguous message that rape is not a crime of impunity. Unfortunately, that message will never afford any justice for Cherice who took her own young life while the case was pending. See, http://nyti.ms/16VypDp, http://slate.me/19qLkgV, http://huff.to/17ZQuTF, and http://bit.ly/1bn9xc2.

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