There is nothing that should be honored more than women fighting back.
In Pakistan, a law is passed (which I have discussed previously) that creates a mandatory minimum 25 years of prison for “honor killings”. Not familiar with the term “honor killing”? Murder of a family member for not being ‘acceptable’ – is probably a good working definition.
The problem with murdering loved ones because they are doing things that are not acceptable is that it is deeply ingrained in the society. Many cheer when a popular social media personality Qandeel Baluch was killed by her brother and cheerfully defaced her Facebook page with threats (before she was killed), agreement that she was killed, and joy that a woman that had pride in her physical aspect was no longer alive. The page appears to have been taken down since her death.
The point is, that laws are great, but when police officers turn their backs or even aid the aggressors it will be a long time before those laws are effective.
Women in India have an organization that was started just to protect women. The Gulabi Gang trains women to fight back. It was formed when the women who started the organization got tired of hearing her neighbor being beaten by her husband. She picked up a stick and went over to their house and beat the husband.
This grandmother trains boys and girls in fighting techniques. An important quote in the article:
Physical and sexual assault and rape remain at crisis levels in India. 41% of women experience violence or harassment by the age of 19, new research by Action Aid found. Just as troubling, nearly three-fourths of women surveyed in the report say they were harassed or violated within the past month alone.
75% of women harassed in the last month alone – in one of the two most populated countries in the world. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen in the US.
In fact, the US could sorely use organizations such as the Gulabi Gang and this grandmother teaching fighting techniques. In the US there is an organization “slutwalk” which has done some good in raising awareness, but on the whole I don’t think it is as effective as teaching women to protect themselves.
In the end though, I suspect that none of these groups are yet willing to do what needs to be done in order to reduce rape. There is an imbalance. Women are killed, faces destroyed by acid, forced to marry their rapist (and basically sold in to slavery), sold for a dowry or sold to settle gambling debts or finally, tricked in to finding work that turns out to be sex slavery (as told in the opening story in the book “Half the Sky”.
There is in states such as India and Pakistan (among others) tribal courts. These courts often give daughters away or have women raped to settle wrong doing or gambling debts . There needs to be the equivalent of these by women in these countries. It needs to be done in secret as the males would view this as a challenge to their authority. In fact, if the existing tribunals order the rape of a woman, sale of a woman to settle a debt, or marriage absolving a rapist for his crime – those tribal “elders” are up on the block.
Sometimes, in courts, the death sentence is recommended. Honor killings result in the deaths of women. I don’t think the men who have these attitudes are going to stop until they start dying for acid attacks, honor killings, rape (which ends a woman’s honorable life and chances for a good future), selling women in to sex slavery, etc. There are often no repercussions to the (mostly men) who commit these acts. Sometimes, the men who do these things go free and taunt their victims as the justice and legal system do nothing.