Attempting to Make It Sensible

Recently, in a links post, the difficulty for the Western individualist to make sense of the Afghan legal ruling, which allowed that a young girl who was incarcerated for the crime of being raped might be released if she married her rapist, was noted. There was a query of how this might be understood which was not undertaken by anyone, and the following attempts to discern this and some discussion follows.

Our Western society, unlike most of the historical past world and we are informed by anthropologists some 80% (by population) of the current world centers itself on the individual and locates status primarily with wealth. By contrast the rest of the world centers itself not on the individual but the family (perhaps extended) and status is primarily located via a shame/challenge calculus. This legal ruling doesn’t “compute” from a I/W society but makes some sense from an H/S perspective.

In an H/S society normative social intercourse (how one moves through society and interacts with people) is structured differently. A well defined list of men whom a women is “not allowed” to have sexual intercourse with is defined, fathers, uncles (?), and brothers for example. Social movement of people is structures so that a women might never isolated (in the absence of other women) with a single male with whom sex is taboo. Putting oneself in a situation where that occurs is the primary law which the young woman noted above broke, the evidence that this occured was the rape. In our society a woman is so frequently alone in the presence of a non-taboo restricted male that the realization that societies exist in which to do so is non-accidental is hard to imagine. Armed robbery is an intentional act and never accidental. In part, because one can’t accidentally or thoughtlessly commit armed robbery this can be deemed a felony transgression. In a society in which being alone with another man (for a women) is just as non-accidental as armed robbery is how blaming the rape on the victim is justified.

That however isn’t the site of the difficulty I have with the crime as given and its rectification. Many, if not most crimes, have a instigator and a victim. We in our I/W society see rape as a crime of violence comitted by a man against a women. Is rape, in an H/S society, a crime of violence or something else? Individuals are not seats of motivation like in the west, so who (or what) in this particular case is the instigator and the victim? If the young woman, considered as an individual, is not the instigator (or victim) then what part does this judgement against her lay, on what basis is it calculated? Do answers to those questions make it clear(er) why marriage to the rapist might allay the crime?

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