This article in the Guardian reports on the stoning of a pregnant 25 year old woman in Pakistan because she married a man she loved. She was stoned to death by her father, brothers and other relatives. The stoning murder took place outside a court! Her father described it as an ‘honour killing’ because she married without their consent. He also said he had no regrets.
How twisted and distorted is it to consider such murder as an ‘honour killing’? There is no honour in such acts of atrocity. It is appalling, horrific and for us in the Western world, almost beyond comprehension how such an act could occur, and occur in broad daylight outside a supposed centre of justice – a court.
The article states that often such crimes involving violence against women are not fully or properly investigated by police or the men get lenient sentences or even acquitted. All of which smells of an underlying current of misogyny in the police force and judicial services such that the perpetrators are not held to account as those in authority in some way feel it must be ok or justified to be violent to women and kill them resulting in half-hearted investigations and sentencing. A vicious circle where those supposedly upholding the law and justice are perhaps as complicit in the crime by not taking a strong stand against the perpetrators.
Acts of evil are given free reign when we do nothing, when we say nothing, when we stand back and say ‘it’s not my problem.’ It’s all our problem. We are all responsible for the society we co-create together, for the world we co-create together. If we only see this as a problem in Pakistan then we are lost, for we are not recognising that we are one humanity and what is done to one is done to all.
We are all interconnected – we are not separate islands or peoples. Dividing people according to skin colour or religious beliefs is a complete fallacy that only serves to perpetuate such evil acts in the false belief that ‘they’ are different to ‘us’. We are all equal, we are all the same in essence, yet with our own unique expressions.
The men who committed this crime in Pakistan have been brought up in some way to believe it is ok and acceptable to be violent against women and even to kill women should they not obey their controlling ways. We maybe think “well what can I do? – that is in Pakistan – there is nothing I can do”. Well think again. It does not require us rushing off to Pakistan for there is plenty we can do in our own backyard. For example, speaking up and calling to account when we hear misogynistic or slanderous remarks being made against women. This can happen in subtle and not so subtle ways – yet how often do we just let it pass as we don’t wish to create a fuss, to stand out, to be seen as prudish or righteous?
Being aware in our own relationship dynamics of any power plays, controlling and dominating behaviours, bullying, being belittled or attempts to humiliate or make lesser in any way. Taking a stand and saying this is not acceptable – I do not deserve to be spoken to in this way, I do not deserve to be treated in this way, and stating it clearly – do not speak to me in that way. Dealing with misogyny requires not just addressing the men who have those tendancies and the beliefs that have led them to beleive it is ok but also requires women to not cower in the face of it, to stand up and say no, no more.
We may not get stoned in the western world for being a woman, but the levels of domestic violence in this country tell us there is plenty of work to do at home. And that is only the violent tip of the misogyny iceberg for the ways that many men still attempt to control, demean, bully, dominate, humiliate and impose upon women are manifold – and it will continue so long as we lie back and allow it.
I too have been guilty of that – I have often given my power away to men and allowed them to control or dominate. Thankfully I am now more aware of it and so I can begin to say no….when I feel it is happening, to have the self-worth to speak up and call it out.
Of course, I am no man-hater, indeed I love men and I am not here tarring them all with the same brush! I know there are many men who truly love and respect women as they are and do not need to control or dominate them.
However, this post started with the stoning murder of a woman in Pakistan – an act that can only be brought by those whose hearts are closed to the true beauty and grace of women. Whose minds have been fed lies and mistruths to justify their abhorrent position undoubtedly contributed to by certain religious beliefs that favour a domineering patriarchal society. Such beliefs that men are somehow superior to women are still well and truly present in the western world, often also fuelled by religious belief. So let us not just point the finger at others and clear up our own doorstep – until all the men in our society truly recognise the equality of women and cease their misogynistic ways.
Any belief that does not recognise the true equality of women and men is man-made not God made – for God is love who loves all equally irrespective of gender, sexuality, race or religion.
Feel free to share your views and thoughts in the comments section.