Friday, August 28, 2015

This is a horrifying story, but....

... it is also a fascinating example of what it means to live in an "honor/shame" society.

//An unelected all-male village council in India also ordered that 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister are paraded naked with blackened faces.

The horrific order was revealed by Amnesty International which said the sisters and their family have fled their village in the Baghpat district, just outside of Delhi.

According to news site Zee Media, the sisters' brother Ravi fell in love with a girl from the Jat caste, a higher social caste than Ravi and his family, who are Dalit, once known as the 'untouchables', who are at the bottom of India's caste system.

The Jat woman's family married her off to someone else in February but she later escaped and eloped with Ravi in March.

As punishment, on July 31 a village council decided Ravi's sisters should be raped to avenge his actions.

Since the family fled their village their home has been ransacked.

Sumit Kumar, another brother of Meenakshi, told Amnesty that members of the Jat caste were powerful members of the village council, saying: "The Jat decision is final."//

In an honor/shame society, there is only so much honor to go around.  The Jat society feels it has been dishonored by marriage of one of its women to a lower caste man.  Since it has been dishonored as a community, the answer to this communal dishonor - to regain honor - is to dishonor the Dalit community by raping the Dalit women.

I just finished listening to an audiobook that discusses how the Bible reflects the understanding of an "honor/shame" society, rather than a guilt/innocence culture like our own. In that society, Jesus had to die because he had been dishonoring the pharisaic leadership.

Of course, individuals are the casualty in this culture, but in traditional societies, individuals are simply a subordinate part of the community.

1 comment:

Lauran said...

Strange that the act of rape, itself, isn't considered dishonorable or shameful.

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