Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marriage as rape protection

This anti-rape logic seems totally nonsensical from the Western perspective:
Caste councils, known as Khap Panchayats, called for children to be allowed to marry lawfully as soon as they reach puberty and said they believe it would halt the increase in rape cases which has caused alarm throughout Northern India.  Their call came following an outcry over the gang-rape and subsequent suicide of a 16 year old girl, Sharmila, in Sacchakhera village, Haryana, close to the capital New Delhi.
The fact that we Westerners can't figure out how this could possibly make sense only goes to show how far removed from the historical human reality our society is.  Marriage was historically a form of protection for women.  By becoming the property of a man, a woman was protected by her husband, who could be expected to use lethal force against anyone who would offend him by bothering her.

Secular faith in the law gradually replaced this concept of the husband-as-protector, to such an extent that husbands are now considered intrinsically dangerous by many women.  But under the thin veil of society, the old human reality remains; a man in Florida recently cut the throat of a Chicago man who made the mistake of approaching and talking to the Florida man's wife, while Richard Gere was kicked out of a restaurant by a diner after he attempted to chat up the man's wife during dinner.

But the deterrent effect of the law requires an amount of long-term thinking that is noticeably lacking in the cultures that are making up an increasing percentage of the populations of the West.  I suspect that the decrease of the deterrent effect, combined with the decreasing ability of the legal authorities to maintain civil order, will likely serve to bring about a partial return to the very thinking that we currently find nonsensical, and which many men and women probably find offensive.

24 comments:

Professor Hale said...

It is not just the husband who defends a woman from rape. That duty first belongs to the girl's father. Those uncivilized areas are merely substituting one type of rape for another. And institutionalizing it as well. Sure, there will be less rape but only because a 40 year old man having sex with his 12 year old wife is not considered rape in those countries.

But I fail to see any real benefit to the girl from this arrangement other than getting to have a big party before her first rape.

Shimshon said...

Vox, historically, you are correct, but even for a very beautiful woman, even marriage sometimes didn't offer enough protection. Look at the incidents experienced by Abraham and Isaac in Genesis, where each one in turn was concerned that they would be killed and their wife abducted. However, due to the even more twisted logic of the day, if the man was a brother instead, his (often coerced) approval to his sister's hand in marriage was sought. It seems that if you were an exceptionally beautiful woman, a husband was a mere hindrance, but a brother would be feted.

Professor Hale said...

Further, in patriarchal societies, not all patriarcs are equal. So the daughters of the chief are safe, but those of the lower status men are at risk. The same is true for wives, but to a lessor degree.

Shimshon said...

It should also be noted that while Abraham's wealth was hugely augmented by Sarah's abductions, he was quite capable of defending himself and those under his protection (witness his efforts to free Lot). That he still preferred the ruse of being a "brother," (twice!) with its own risks, says much about civilization in those days (along with the beauty of Sarah).

RTP said...

But I fail to see any real benefit to the girl from this arrangement other than getting to have a big party before her first rape.


Very Western.

. said...

"I fail to see any real benefit to the girl from this arrangement other than getting to have a big party before her first rape."

Being reserved for the use of one man rather than available for the use of many men is a clear benefit.

Jimmy said...

Isn't it the father's duty to protect their children? (agreeing with Hale) I don't know if women think men are intrinsically dangerous to women based on the effect of the law, but the independence of women means women can decide their own safety measures whether they are married or not. And also, parents can always step in at the last resort as that is their moral duty. It would seem women are still treated as children with the law on their side, and a dash of parental guidance.

Professor Hale said...

"very Western"

AKA, Very civilized.

"Reserved for one man" is not the issue. The conditions and details of the rape are not given in the story so we have no reason to believe that the men becoming husbands are not indeed the same men who would otherwise be doing the rape. They are taking by force early what they expect to get later and thereby staking their claim to them. This is common in "non-Western" societies.

But then, that is just another thing that doesn't happen in the "West", so what do I know?

This story is not about changing the number of rapes. It is only about changing the definition of rape so that fewer instances qualify as "rape". Typical "Eastern" POV.

rycamor said...

Yes, it has always been the father's duty to protect his children, but think about basic risk factors. If a man has 6 daughters, all considered attractive by the men in the community, he is at a fairly high risk in trying to protect them all, especially if he is past middle age. He only has to be killed once in order for all 6 daughters to lose his protection. How better to protect them than to spread the risk by enlisting a few dominant males via marriage?

Of course, it is also the duty of the girls' brothers to protect them, which is a mitigating risk factor. Thus the man with more daughters than sons would be more interested in marrying the daughters off as soon as possible. A man with several sons and one daughter can afford to take some time and be very choosy as to her prospective husband.

swiftfoxmark2 said...

I think the people who disagree with this law assume that all people mature at an equal rate. The truth is, everyone has their own path of maturity. I don't know what it is in Northern India, but I do know that girls here in the United States should probably be married off in their late teens, in general.

Josh said...

It is not just the husband who defends a woman from rape. That duty first belongs to the girl's father. Those uncivilized areas are merely substituting one type of rape for another. And institutionalizing it as well. Sure, there will be less rape but only because a 40 year old man having sex with his 12 year old wife is not considered rape in those countries. 

Marital rape is a legal impossibility. You're an idiot.

Professor Hale said...

Come on Josh, you can do better than that. I am sure you are just as capable of understanding the difference bewtween statutory rape and the concept of being forced into sex. This article is all about changing the statute, not about changing the behaviors that are repugnant. It is nothing more than a shell game trading fewer statutory rapes for an increase in forced child sex within marriage at a one-for-one exchange rate.

In civilized places, we make repugnant behaviors unlawful, not give them legal sanction of the sommunity. At least we used to.

Stacy said...

Professor Hale is as delusional as the feminists. Please do the following:

1 - Don't expand rape to include everything under the sun. It makes a laughing stock out of rape (e.g. real rape doesn't get the attention and care that it needs).

2 - It's impossible to eliminate rape completely. There is always going to be someone who will get abducted. Or who will get hurt. All that one can do is minimize the risks and then if someone does get raped, then punishment will follow and we will deal with the fallout.

3 - There is no such thing as "marital rape". Or "date rape". Or anything else that has been created by feminists over the last 3 waves of feminism.

Josh said...

This article is all about changing the statute, not about changing the behaviors that are repugnant. It is nothing more than a shell game trading fewer statutory rapes for an increase in forced child sex within marriage at a one-for-one exchange rate.

If they wanted to condone gang rape, they would probably have legalized polygyny instead. Also, "forced child sex" does not apply to girls who are of age, like the girl that was raped.

Try again.

Jeigh Di said...

There was a case several years ago where a woman had her husband arrested for rape. If I recall correctly he was found guilty.
Before reading the column I thought that was what this was about.
In any case, it's just another example of why a man should think twice or three times before marrying.

JCclimber said...

Hey Professor, I invite you to start looking at facts on the ground rather than your western view of things.

In the past, women reached menarche as late as 16-18 years old ( a few decades ago in Japan, it was on average 16). Per this law, that is when they hit puberty. Of course with their changed diet, their average is fast approaching America's number.

The fact that the American diet is pushing menarche down to 9-11 years old shouldn't be accepted as applicable to northern India.

The hispanic celebration of a woman entering womanhood takes place at age 15, although once again most of them on the fat American diet are probably hitting it much earlier. But historically it was 15 or later.

A 15 year old is much more mature than a 12 year old, emotionally and physically.

Anonymous said...

This story is not about changing the number of rapes. It is only about changing the definition of rape so that fewer instances qualify as "rape". Typical "Eastern" POV.

As opposed to the feminist narrative of changing the definition of rape so that more instances qualify as "rape". Typical "Western" POV.

Anonymous said...

I got to talk to a Yemenite Jew who told me one of the reasons they used to marry multiple wives and marry girls off young. Gangs of Muslims would come around and look for girls to rape, but they would not rape a married girl (that was punished by the authorities). So the Yemenite Jews would marry off daughters ASAP to get that protection.

. said...

@JCClimber,

Nothing you said at 5:51 pm alters the fact that it is immoral to force adolescent girls to have sex against their will, even with the legitimizing stamp of marriage on it.

Orion said...

"In civilized places, we make repugnant behaviors unlawful, not give them legal sanction of the sommunity. At least we used to."

Yet in "civilized places" the rate of teen pregnancy, abortion, STDs and statutory rape continue to rise as women exercise their full empowerment. Doesn't appear to be much of an improvement when you start breaking it down does it? Even if you don't bother to throw in terms like illegitimacy (which as much as some might argue is an anachronism, the real life impact proves otherwise).

Anonymous said...

There is always freedom, even in arranged marriage. The girl is free to run off and work as a prostitute or beggar if she really doesn't consent. Maybe her relatives will hunt her down in some cultures to save face, but in the West we have put the legitimizing stamp on child murder by calling it "abortion" so it is very unclear whether it is possible to recognize children's human rights in practice.

Ingemar said...

>>Marriage was historically a form of protection for women.

Which is why the Bible makes such a point of protecting widows, since there was very little between a widow and starving to death.

Anonymous said...

"I fail to see any real benefit to the girl from this arrangement other than getting to have a big party before her first rape."

With no doubt, the more stupid idea I have seen in a long time. Western civilization started his decline when people stopped seeing reality and starting believing delusions like that. If you don't get how stupid this is, no argument will convince you.

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