What’s a girl or woman worth? Not much, even in these “enlightened” times. In Pakistan, a 16-year-old girl was burned alive for the crime of choosing her own husband, the third “honor killing” of this sort in the past few months. And here in these United States, a white, privileged rapist was handed a three-month sentence for destroying a woman’s life, and there are folks (including his parents) who think that’s too great a punishment. Reading what the survivor of this attack had to go through to effect this small punishment is like reading something out of Kafka. The presumption of innocence is a wonderful thing, but in what other crime is it the defense’s entire strategy to imply that the victim wanted the crime to happen? Imagine, if you will:
Defense attorney: So you claim you were mugged.
Victim: Yes. He took my wallet at gunpoint.
Defense: Yet not three minutes earlier, you were seen removing your wallet from your pocket.
Victim: Yes, I was paying for a purchase. I bought dog food.
Defense: So you took out your nice, fat wallet and just waved it around?
Victim: I took it out of my pocket so I could pay for the dog food.
Defense: You showed your wallet, knowing that any normal, red-blooded man would see it and want your money, isn’t that right?
Victim: No, I —
Defense: You indicated loud and clear that you wanted someone to take your wallet. You were wearing an expensive suit! You wanted someone to mug you. You enjoyed it! You smiled when my client asked politely for your money.
Victim: I didn’t want him to kill me! I was placating him!
Defense: You smiled. You gave him the wallet. And you cried “mug” once before, in 2006 —
Victim: Because I was mugged!
Defense: Yet your so-called attacker was never found. You have a history of wantonly waving your wallet around, so what did you expect? Especially since you knew my client was high at the time. Your honor, I move that we drop all charges. This scumbag clearly asked for it.
Judge: I agree.
Am I alone in seeing the absurdity of this? In what world is this okay?
I’m sure some of you are wondering what this rant is doing on a blog devoted to God and spirituality. If how you treat other people isn’t a key component — possibly the key component — of your spiritual life, then I am unsure how to apprehend your vision of God. Jesus clearly tells us that “love your neighbor as yourself” is not enough: We must love our neighbor as God loves him. Or her. We have to do better than mere human love. We are called to higher things than that.
If your faith or conscience or morality tells you that women are somehow less than men, that they are not made “in the image and likeness of God” because God is clearly a dude, it is up to you to challenge this. “Male and female, God made them.” Until all people under God’s blue sky are treated as equals, we are standing in defiance of our maker. God help us.