Consider the title your trigger warning. I’m sorry. This story is gruesome. I saw the story while surfing for news this afternoon, and my stomach fell upon seeing the title: Somalia Rape Victim, 13, Stoned to Death. I clicked on the link with dread, not because I wanted to, but because I have to. It’s my job now to notice the trends and document these tragedies. This story is more horrible than that title suggests though, for not only was this very young girl, a rape victim, stoned to death, this is where she was stoned to death, and the circumstances of that stoning:
Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.and
Jesus fucking Christ, where the hell are You? It is literally beyond my comprehension how 1,000 people can watch this debacle unfold. I am emotionally exhausted and horrified imagining this girl’s last moments. Finally, I am scared shitless reading this story. It is the scariest report of a stoning I have read this year and I have read dozens of reports, almost all women, or men who helped women. Dozens. What the fuck is going on with the world today? Every single one of these cases involves a focus on female sexuality. Meanwhile, we see the eruption of displays of misogyny the likes of which this country hasn’t seen since the 1970s.
One has to wonder if this is a world wide trend. I knew it was going to get rough. We’re a huge, interconnected population now, inhabiting most of the inhabitable space on the planet. Some places are way too dense. Take a look at animal population studies for clues on how this will play out. We are animals, after all, subject to the same laws of biology as any other beast roaming the planet, and as much as we’d like to believe we’re in control, we have blinders that prohibit us from seeing the vast areas where we have no control. We are to a certain extent creatures of impulse and reaction, both chemically and manifestly.
China. Good grief, how I have worried about China. I didn’t worry for the reasons other people worry, namely the population explosion. I worried because of reactive trends within that population explosion, specifically the one-child rule and the cultural favoring of sons.
I am no scholar in Chinese cultural trends, but my understanding based on the reading I’ve done is that sons are valued over daughters because sons are expected to care for elderly parents. Fair enough. It’s the exact opposite over here–daughters are expected to care for elderly parents. However, Chinese men also enjoy all the privilege of patriarchy as well, including economic and educational opportunities far and above those granted to women, which one cannot say of American daughters. We are still the victims of patriarchy, the same as Chinese daughters. So, given this cultural setting, what is the effect of the one-child policy on Chinese values and traditions?
The answer lies in Chinese adoption trends. 95% of children adopted from China are female. Moreover, American families adopt from China more than from any other country. The country is literally exporting its girls. Think about that. The one-child policy was implemented in 1979. The export arrangement has been in effect since 1992, when China formally codified international adoption law. That’s two generations under one-child and one generation of export. What do you think will happen in China as more and more males enter reproductive age, only to find there aren’t enough females to, how does one say this? Meet the need? I’ll just let that question sit there, let you ponder it a bit. We all know the nature of patriarchy and human biology. Here’s a hint.
What does this have to do with the public stoning of this little girl, or the rise of public stonings in countries with a controlling fundamentalist Muslim faction? In a word: trends. The Middle East and the Far East are not the only places where women’s lots are taking a turn for the worst. They are turning for the worse everywhere. Anglachel has a post up just today about a 76% increase in the number of pregnancy discrimination complaints in America. We all saw what went down with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, what happened to the millions of women who dared support their gender in a manner similar to those who supported Obama because of his race. That’s just the latest round in America in a fight that began as a conservative backlash in the 1970s and has now culminated in a full-out virtual stoning of empowered women anywhere. Metaphorical stones are flying from everywhere. Left, right, it doesn’t matter. Thousands sit back and watch it, Somali-style.
I wish I could say it was even isolated to the countries discussed in this post, but it’s not. Research Japan, or Spain. Check out Sharia Law, which was recently allowed to operate as a parallel justice structure within the United Kingdom. The United fucking Kingdom. Educate yourself on human trafficking, which is on the rise even within the borders of the United States of America. The attack on women is happening everywhere, and it will get worse as resources grow more scarce.
This is what we are up against. What I am trying to demonstrate here is that this trend we’ve seen manifest right here in America is part and parcel of that larger trend of accumulative misogyny present in the world. It’s not just about the attack on women in this country–it’s a global problem. Many of us saw and decried the W. Bush-led rise of authoritarianism in our own country, even while we kept a fearful eye as one governement after another fell to the authoritarian impulse–Russia, France, Australia, Austria, etc. It’s easy to fear that the world is setting itself up for a nasty fight, and that women will be the ones to suffer the most, even as we will be the least involved in picking the fight since not one single government has a majority of women deciding its fate. Depressing, I know. But we can’t fight what we don’t understand, and so I trudge on, telling the truth as often as I can, to anyone I can. These trends, though, enhance my decision to always vote for women until global parity is reached. We would not be in this position if women where there to fight it. We must work to make sure we never find ourselves here again.