Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Objectification and Scapegoating of Women

If you follow this link to BBC Radio,
                  access the podcast in the left hand column entitled

GlobalNews: 05 Dec 07 AM
Condoleezza Rice in Africa//Rape in Iran//Cluster bomb ban

Just beyond the midpoint in the podcast, listen to the story of a Leila, a 22 year old Iranian woman who was arrested for prostitution at age 18, pimped out by her husband. Leila's own mother sold her for sex from the tender age of 9 years in order to support their family before selling her off into this marriage. Her husband received a sentence of 5 years of incarceration, not for pimping which is permitted by law, but for providing the location for illegal sex. Other women in the home who also engaged in prostitution (in the home) were not charged. Leila was held accountable for setting the example for conduct within the home and neighborhood.

During the process of investigation of the activities within the home, Leila’s brothers confessed to raping Leila and each brother received 99 lashes as their punishment.....

Leila was sentenced to death by hanging
for the crime of incest,
informed of her fate by a prison guard.

Leila is alive today because of the bravery of another woman, her attorney who has become, according to the BBC reporter, a “thorn in the side of the Iran’s conservative judiciary.” This lawyer comments that Leila was the original victim; however she was also, quite hypocritically, the accused.
Fundamentalist belief systems within Iran and ideas concerning the value of a woman provide the basis for this type of objectification of women. Leila’s story demonstrates the fallacy of scapegoating that can occur as evidence of the fruit of the beliefs that undergird a nation.

I am reminded of this article and another one, too. I am also reminded of the better example of Jesus, Who when presented with a woman who had been caught in adultery replied “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” This is not to say that He did not excuse the wrongs that were done, for the Bible tells us that Jesus wrote in the sand. We are not told what was written there, but many speculate that He may have written the sins of the adulteress’ accusers. This is not to argue that we should not punish criminals by granting them automatic mercy or light sentences.

What a stark contrast to the rigidity of and the fruit of service to the Letter of the Law
Christ’s revolutionary and merciful example demonstrates both then and now.

Psalm 85:10 (NKJV)

Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.