Stoning, Domestic Violence, and Our Attitudes About Women

There’s been a lot of news and Facebook shares lately about the Christian woman in Sudan who was sentenced to death for her faith. I could talk about that, but a lot of people more eloquent than I, have already spoken about it. And I want to turn your attention to another case, that’s not getting quite as much attention. Don’t get me wrong, it is still getting a fair amount of attention, but of the two cases, I have seen more on the previous one mentioned than on this one.

This case happened in Pakistan. The woman in question was pregnant, a Muslim woman. And that woman’s own family publicly beat her to death. Publicly stoned her, in fact, since a lot of sources are calling it a stoning. Can you imagine? Stoned to death, in this day and age? By your own family? I remember learning about stoning in school when we talked about Stephen, who died by stoning in the Bible. It is a very slow, unpleasant, torturous way to die. And the sad thing is, it is not entirely uncommon in this day and age. It happens far too often.

Her crime? She had “dishonored” her family by marrying the man she loved instead of her cousin. The husband is claiming that the family was okay with it until he refused to pay even more money to them, that’s when the family decided to kill her instead.

She was 25 years old, only a couple of years older than me. She was pregnant. And she died at the hands of her father and other male relatives, as they beat her with bricks and clubs and I’m sure anything else heavy they could find. Her baby died with her too.

The good thing is that they did arrest her father. I’m not sure they had much of a choice because it happened so publicly. The bad thing is that the legal system in Pakistan kind of sucks in this regard. Families can choose to forgive the perpetrators in an honor crime, making it a crime for which there is often essentially little to no punishment. I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe you need to face the consequences of your actions. But apparently the father of this has no regrets. That’s what he’s been quoted as saying. No regrets. Because apparently having a dead daughter is better than having a daughter who make choices you disagree with. No matter what my kids will ever do, I can never imagine them doing something so horrible, so terrible, that I would rather they be dead. No, not at all.

I do have to say though, it’s not like the husband is better. He’s a creep as well, having strangled his first wife to marry this wife. He got out due to that same forgiveness clause I just mentioned. Neither of these women deserved to die.

I could make it complicated, I could make it about Islam, as I’m sure many would be want to do. But I think that’s trying to simplify a complex issue too much. I think it comes down to our respect and attitude about women. I mean, you can say, well we’re not stoning people in America, but look at what happened last week in California. Look at the hashtag #yesallwomen on Twitter and see the ways women are harassed, put down, and even assaulted. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, almost one-third of women who die in homicide do so at the hands of an intimate partner (aka spouse, boyfriend, fiancee, etc). We might not be stoning them, but too many women in our country are still dying. It all goes back to our attitudes about women. If they are less than human, if they are someone who can be controlled, if they are property – that is why it is “okay” to treat them like this.

But women are beautiful human beings, half of God’s wonderful amazing creation, and they deserve the treatment that other human beings get. We are selling our society short when we let these attitudes about women permeate our culture. Our little boys grow up thinking it’s okay to treat women poorly. Our little girls grow up thinking they are worthless and they don’t deserve to be valued. Even if it never leads to violence, it can lead to poor treatment, harassment, anger, and other negative things which make our relationships less healthy. And less healthy relationships, I believe, make our society as a whole less healthy.

Enough is enough. #yesallwomen deserve better.

You can read more about this case in Pakistan here and here.

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