There is little I suspect more horrid than the practice of absolving rapists by having them marry their victims.
Why is this practice horrid? Let me count the ways.
- A woman (or barely even a child) who has been raped by her aggressor will NEVER be able to get away from the aggressor.
- In societies where marriage to clear a man of rape is allowed – the woman becomes little more than a servant or slave to the man in the marriage. The victim becomes the slave of the aggressor – for life.
- The aggressor – the rapist – is rewarded with someone who has to do everything that is asked of them.
- In cultures that allow rape to be ameliorated by marriage – there is no concept of rape during marriage. i.e. the raped gets to be raped and raped and raped for the rest of her life.
- In cultures marriage to absolve the rapist of charges – the wife will never see her family ever again – and will have no support system while she serves her ‘husband’, bears children for her husband, and eventually when she dies will become nothing.
- The raped will have children for her husband/rapist – one of the most difficult tasks that is asked of the human body. She risks death (as many countries that allow this practice have high infant and/or mother mortality during childbirth) and most certainly high degrees of pain – for the benefit of her rapist.
- It reduces the state of a woman to property – which has been damaged – and must be paid for. You break it, you bought it – with a dowry due from the rapist to pay for his bride.
This practice isn’t as rare as you might believe from the original posted article. It is mentioned in the book ‘Half the Sky’. I don’t know how to equate things – but the practice of giving your daughter up for your gambling debts is also relatively common in some parts of the world.
To the specifics of this particular incident:
- 28 year old rapist
- 14 year old victim (15 at the time of the article)
- Once judge was presented with marriage certificate – he discharged the case.
All the dreams this girl had are now gone. Any further education she may have attained will no longer happen. She has been sentenced to a lifetime of slavery, probably non-consensual sex, birth and child raising and being shamed for being raped (like she had a choice about it) not being able to be a part of the normal culture around her.
If I was her, I would kill this person in their sleep – and I typically rarely advocate violence. In this case (and cases like it) it seems to me that society, culture, government, authority, religion have all failed her – and the only recourse is her own. Certainly, rather than bearing children for her lifelong rapist which will benefit the rapist (she won’t be given credit for anything) and bearing female children to potentially go through a similar series of events – death to her rapist, her aggressor and now her master – would be a far better way out.