Thursday, November 24, 2005

Culture Frustrations

Iam not too good at accepting others cultures. Perhaps that's not correct either. I think i do accept, just don't like many others. Particularly non Western if i am to be precise. Working with many Indigenous children and their parents, i have learned a great deal about Aboriginal traditional law. Many Aussies would say, "Nope, let the Aboriginals go through the criminal justice system as any white Australian would do, no special treatment for them, they've been given enough"! Well, Aboriginal tradional law is not widely practiced and accept here in Oz, although in some far northern and western communities it is practicsed. Personally, i would like to see it practicsed in my town. Many of my clients have no clue on "court speak", many never turn up, their understanding of the system is failing.
I guess i am going off on a tangent here to what i orignally wanted to share. Yesterday i was shown an article on a number of rape cases and their outcomes. The article was arguing Western rape laws over "Hudood laws". These Hudood laws exist in Pakistan, and probably elsewhere, but it was the Pakistani cases that freaked me out. "Hudood laws" are based on the Islamic culture , these are applied with the countries secular laws, meaning if a woman is raped, a conviction requires 4 male witnesses OR the actual rapist confessing!! If the sex was found to be consensual then the woman can be charged with "zina".......extramarital sex, illegal under "Hudood laws"!!! The case i read was of a 33 yold woman who was gang raped by 5 males who were ordered to do so by some arsehole Pakistani tribal council as payback for her brothers alleged love affair with a woman from another tribe. Of course the 5 accused were acquitted.
Indeed, the "culture made me do it" defence is now an essential part of any defence lawyer's armoury. Recently, the lawyer for one of three Pakistani brothers convicted of gang-raping two teenage girls in Sydney in 2002 argued that his client's sentence should be reduced because this 27-year-old man was a "cultural time bomb". The lawyer pointed to the defendant's "cultural conditioning"; he grew up in Pakistan, "a society with very traditional views about women".
Fortunately Justice Grove didn't buy the culture rubbish and the 3 pricks sentences were not reduced.
You know, i do try to understand others cultures, but when you see how poorly women are treated in many Islamic cultures, my patience just goes out the window.

till next time, Michelle.
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