Monday 10 December 2007

The crime of being raped by justice

Justice should be compassionate

In 21st Century one would expect that when one seeks justice through legal channels for crimes that seriously violate the person the letter of the law would be uncompromising and the meting out of justice would be sympathetic, humane, fair and just.

Rape and murder are two crimes that we must do all diligence to first prove that the suspect is the offender and then visit a punishment that considers the plight of the victim and satisfies the needs of community and society - local and global.

The girl from Qatif

For weeks our hearts have bled and we have been sickened by the case of the girl from Qatif, Saudi Arabia who was gang-raped by seven men after she met up with her ex-boyfriend to retrieve her picture, since she was now betrothed to someone else. They both got abducted and she was seriously violated, traumatised and violently raped - the story fills one with revulsion.

These inhuman beasts took pictures of the dastardly event and threatened the family of the victim with menace and more.

When the wheels of justice rolled onto this case, the learned men of religion who as judges devoid of compassion, sentenced the men to terms of imprisonment and the girl to 90 lashes for being alone with a man who was not her relation.

This sentence duly attracted opprobrium and rightly so; but on appeal, the judges increased the punishment of the girl, the rape victim to 200 lashes and six months in jail "for her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media".

That kind of judgement had to see the light of day, not only was inhumane, unjust and completely apathetic to the circumstances, it was another case of where people are sacrificed to religion, customs and traditions that belong in the deep dark ages.

Justice for religion and not for the rape

Indeed, the rape victim by the law of the land should not have been with the man, but that does not however, give anyone the right to violate her for their pleasure, entertain themselves with pictures of the ordeal and then threaten her family with menace when seeking justice.

The judges could not accept that they had been in error of judgment and laid into her defence counsel stripping him of his license to practise. I would hope that this issue does not die down till the judges not only acknowledge the errors of their ways; and a judge in a rape case where the needs for a conviction has been satisfied should and must do well to help restore the honour and dignity of the violated - in this case, an apology, a resignation, the restoration of counsel and some compensation should be the bear minimum of redress.

Witnesses to their own crimes

The men who committed the heinous crime could have been sentenced to death but for the lack of witnesses and confessions, said one commentator - one wonders how many people really witness a rape, but in a gang-rape there should have been ways to get them to testify against each other, only that Saudi Arabia might not be apt to use torture to restore the dignity of a woman even though they are experts at it for other purposes.

If they had taken pictures of their committing the crime, it should not take more that two brain-cells to acquire those pictures and build a strong case against the men for the most punitive sanctions - whilst I am no supporter of the death penalty, when it comes to rape - death is too good for a rapist.

In this case, the victim was raped by seven men and then twice raped by justice, this is despicable to the extreme, I am ashamed to live in these times when adherents of religion have lost their ability to be human, humane and serve humanity.

Her worship has lost her altar

Seven time zones to the East in Northern Queensland in Australia and a 10-year old girl seeks justice for being gang-raped by 9 men, the suspects are found guilty, but none receive a custodial sentence for their acts.

It might well be that their being minors meant they could not be sent to adult prisons but they should have at least been confined to some establishment and proper rehabilitated to recognise that the crime of rape was unacceptable if not abominable and the one of gang-rape when human-beings behave like pack animals borders on irredeemable sacrilege.

In Australia of all places, where the Judge was also a female, even if the prosecution had demanded lenient sentences, one would think the judge could exercise discretion in the matter and mete out a fair and just sentence whilst in sympathy and compassion she attempts to restore the person, honour and dignity of the girl.

This is also with the knowledge that in Northern Queensland child sex abuse is both rife and committed with impunity. This no doubt requires the very strong arm of the law to indict criminals, arrest this unseemly state of affairs and offer terms of sentencing that would serve as a deterrent to others who might be inclined to be less than animals.

Consent at 10 cannot be acceptable mitigation

The Age of Consent in Queensland is 16, this rape victim was 10 and the judge had the temerity to suggest that the girl probably agreed to have sex with all the men. If a girl of 10 is so sexually aware to consent to sexual intercourse with 9 men, there is a serious problem in the Aboriginal society a situation that is in dire need of radical action and all the goodwill that can be mustered in the world to solve it now.

The judge was in her little mind really of the opinion that the girl was not forced into sex by the men, 9 of them, I need to pause to be seriously sick because this is reading like a horror film can only be produced on CGI.

Politicians have waded into this case because it is not only an embarrassment to Australia, there is the likelihood that this judgement is not the first of its kind where the victim is twice raped by men and then by justice with almost no recourse.

Dehumanised by separation

There is a deeper, terrible and horrifying thought to this matter which might be informing the psyche of those who hold the scales of justice. Half a century ago, in fact from 1915 to 1969; Aboriginal children were removed from their families by the Aboriginal Protection Board that thought the parents were not good enough for their kids in what could be only be a eugenics-driven assimilation policy.

That story is almost too harrowing to tell, to be deprived of parental love and your heritage for the sake of giving the child a "white" upbringing - one such of the "stolen generation" recently won a payout for the rape of his identity and heritage - not that the payment would fully assuage the pain of the crime of the State, but it was a start.

It would be horrifying to think that this mindset might have played a part in the justice the rape victim received; the Premier of Queensland has opined and is seeking to satisfy herself that "the people of Cape York, and the people who live in remote indigenous communities, are receiving the same level of justice as we can expect in any other community in Queensland." I can only concur there, not just Queensland but Australia at large.

There is also a suspicion of the corruption of justice as the suspects are from some of the most powerful Aboriginal families, justice for the rape victim means little compared to the freedom of the suspects whose forebears are influential.

Activism Against Gender Violence

This ties into the fact that the female gender suffers terribly at the hands of others in the pursuit of religious adherence, inordinate pleasure which is rape or just indifferent insignificance.

If in the 21st Century women cannot seek safety, comfort, succour, justice and the restoration of dignity from society and our representatives that manage the dispensing of punishment for the violation of their persons; the whole human race is the poorer for it.

The judges; religious or academic have no business remaining on the bench if they cannot be awaken to see that fact that their service to humanity has sunk into a dehumanising farce that heaps disgrace on our humanity.

It is unconscionable that anyone can be raped and then raped by the judicial system, we must not stand for this and it must not stand at all.

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