BBC Radio this morning aired a story about the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda. Traditionally, the way to “claim” a woman there was to rape her and then she was yours. “Forceful penetration” was a prerequisite to marriage.
There were conflicting reports on whether this is actually still happening, but it seems that it is still fairly common. It is also very common for cattle rustlers from neighboring villages (cattle rustling is still VERY much a part of the culture) to rape women in the villages they raid.
Rape is, of course, illegal. However, it is rarely reported in cases where it is viewed as a cultural practice or where there is very little likelihood of justice.
I also read yesterday about a 14-year-old girl in Bangladesh who was sentenced to 101 lashes for adultery (i.e. she was raped). She died after 70 of them. Local sharia law conflicts with national law in Bangladesh.
Sometimes I just want to say “screw your culture – this is wrong.”
Why is it that women, who are so rarely the perpetrators of violence, so often the victims of it?
This needs to change.
Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala