I earlier wrote an article, Please Identify Yourself in which I talked about the need to keep promoting our culture, in terms of dressing, the food we eat, our ability to speak our native language properly. I also posited that your culture defines you and if your culture is lost, you lose your identify forever.
A recent report from an Indian village in which some village elders in council ordered two sisters to be raped and paraded naked with their faces blackened as punishment for their brother’s actions prompted me to write this rejoinder.
Although your culture defines you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing away with bad practices that are detrimental to wellbeing, fairness, health, and so on. The report was prescribing that two sisters be raped as punishment for the sins of their brother is similar to what we sometimes watch in Nollywood movies.
A holy book has God saying, “I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, even on to the third and the fourth generations.” Well only God should be able to make that kind of statement, and get away with it. These Judges are not God, so, why would they be visiting the sin of a brother against innocent sisters?.
India has often been in the news regarding sexual violence against women, somewhat perceived as the rape capital of the world, with women generally seen as sub human second class citizens. This latest news emanating from there does do much to dispel that perception It appears to be a cultural thing, which would naturally take long and sustained effort to change.
Despite a world that has almost grown numb and immune to news of rampant cases of female dehumanization and gang-rapes that hardly ever get punished, this particular report was still shocking, surprising and absurd. And the international outrage is of course deafening, with Amnesty international already notified of this gross violation of Woman Rights.
By the way, why weren’t the brothers of the fleeing accused sentenced to flogging or something else, instead? Isn’t it written that the soul that sins shall die? Why would you visit the sins of the brother on the sisters (and not the brothers)? Secondly, since when did rape become a correctional / punitive tool? We often hear of rape being used as a tool of punishment / domination in war situations in places like Dafur or Congo, but I have never been able to wrap my head around the thinking / rationale behind this. Besides, this is not a war situation.
Those people that pronounced the “judgement,” are those the randy men that would gang-rape the innocent girls, or they have paid virile men with monstrous “tools” to do the “flogging”, and inflict maximum “punishment ” on the innocent girls (**tongue**)?
Obviously, the sentence to rape would have its roots in the masculine view of sex as a tool of domination / oppression of the female folks in that village, The practice of dehumanization on account of sex, race, religious creeds, etc is something that needs to stop. If a culture is nonsensical, archaic, barbaric, feel free to disregard and fight it by all means.
Culture can be defined as “a set of people acting in a particular way”. There is nothing sacrosanct or immutable in that. Humanity being dynamic, and improving with better access to worldwide information, the more obnoxious cultures and archaic lifelong habits should be jettisoned. While a change in culture won’t happen overnight (like a change of a corrupt government would take diligent and consistent effort), people speaking up loudly and agitating persistently against nonsensical cultural practices will eventually gradually rid the world of the more repugnant ones.
Time was, when twins were being killed in Nigeria before Mary Slessor, religion and modernity put paid to that Culture. It is hoped that we will keep seeing similar jettisoning of bad culture, but it won’t happen on its own.
It would take our collective efforts.