Monday, September 18, 2006

A Suggested Solution To Hudood

I was going to post something funny related to my recent vacation. For example when my cousin's friend, who was considering driving to Toronto, asked me the speed limit on Canadian highways I replied '120'. And the friend nearly went into a shock before I explained I meant 120 kilometers per hour, not miles per hour.

But then I opened my news reader to reconnect to the world, and the first item from South Asia read thus.
How Pakistan's rape reform ran aground
According to the country's independent Human Rights Commission, a woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours in Pakistan. These figures are probably an under-estimation as many rapes are not reported.
Wow, for a supposedly "Islamic" nation, full of nang and namoos (honour and pride) there sure are a lot of horny perverts in Pakistan.

I have the solution to this dilemna, and since I am a nice guy I am going to share it with all.

The main problem is that the "Islamists" do not have a problem with punishing rapists, rather they have a problem letting a someone go unpunished when clearly extra-marital sex has taken place. So when a woman cries rape, but fails to prove her case, for punishment purposes she will do.

Never mind what the "Islamists" say about Sharia being unchangeable, Umar (r) increased punishment for drinking, Ali (r) changed some of Umar (r)'s laws and so on. Here's what I suggest:

When a woman W accuses a man M (who is not her husband) for raping her, immediately arrest man M. Believe the woman's words, and have her undergo a medical examination. If she was raped, she will have a sperm sample. Take it. Test it against M. If it matches, charge M with the rape and let W go.

Yes, it's the woman's word against the man, but you have medical examination to back W. If no medical proof is found, release M and charge the woman W with providing a false statement.

"But what about consensual sex?" You ask.

Well, it's Pakistan, so it's an Islamic country. They *cough*do not have*cough* consensual sex between an unmarried couple. This simple change has lots of benefits. To the west it tells them we value a woman's word (and by definition the woman). To an "Islamist" it a) prevents unmarried couples from having sex, b) punishes the rapist c) promotes marriage between couples, for if you are the man and you want to sleep with your girlfriend, better be damn sure she is not going to cry rape.

There's only one problem. Will the same courtesy be extended to boys who cry rape while attending "religious" schools?



Em said...

Salaams! It's a cute solution, but seems a little problematic to me... let me explain.

I'm guessing you were kidding when you conjectured on the unimportance of consensual sex, because a study I've read suggests that the figures for premarital sex among men are alarmingly large for a Muslim country like Bangladesh (and may be similar in Pakistan?)... To keep the numbers simple, ignore extra-marital sex and assume condom use is negligible (supported by studies alluded to in that review)... Then, to put your idea in numbers, suppose every woman who was a partner in this premarital sex (even ignoring extramarital sex) cries foul; we could have 50% of the unmarried men behind bars! I'll be shocked off of my rockers if you tell me all of this 50% of unmarried men in Bangladesh are indeed rapists.

But that's the problem! Men will know just how much power such women can wield over the guy merely by threatening to tell! So, the desperate but risk-averse men could continue their activities with a condom (even the real rapists could improvise and incorporate some form of barrier method). Now your solution gets turned on its head and even the real rapists can run free (no semen samples)... A side-effect would be fewer STDs of course, but the incidence of illicit sex could well rise with your solution...

Do I make any sense?

mezba said...


From the 'Islamist' point of view in Pakistan/Bangladesh, jailing people for extra-marital sex is not an issue - rather they would welcome that side-effect. From my reasoning, if you are really engaging in consensual sex then your partner won't complain and you are safe. If however a woman is raped then this change will give her a protection. Yes, I do recognize this law gives women a lot of power, but I think after years of discrimination they earned that much.

I have no medical background but I am sure some medical student/reader will be able to clarify if a rape, even if a condom is used, leaves a DNA/sperm sample. I would assume it did, however minute.

Aisha said...

My mom told me in she read in the pakistani news that a 67 year old woman is in jail after she reported her next door neighbor's 20 something son raped her. She is in jail.

Why is there so much sexual crime particularly in the provinces of PAkistna that are the most conservative? That's exactly why. They are so repressed they act out upon innocents in a way they shoudl not. Its very sad.

Crimson Mouzi said...

thanks!! Ramadan Mubarak to you too, however, we still have to wait a few more days! I am EXCITED!!!

sonia said...

bottom line is the authorities don't actually give a damn apart from wielding power over women - if they wanted to convict men they could. given the conservative society and 'shame' associated with rape if its hardly likely someone who hasn't been raped is going to make it up. in any case, that isn't the problem is it = the problem is that effectively rape isn't all that unacceptable really- given that the burden of blame appears to rest on a woman. and the general attitude towards women - till that changes, the rape situation isn't going to. and considering that some people seem to think that rape can be used as punishment, i can't say how disgusting that is but reveals the extent of the problem.

you're right, some disgusting perverts indeed.

Crimson Mouzi said...

yeah, Bengal tiger of Toront, rape leaves a LOT of evidence! DNA can be sampled even from a hair cell, we don't even need a sperm cell, really!However, it's really going to be tough for the rapist to remove all the evidence to prevent taking at least one cell from at least 280 million cells that he would ejaculate! And a condom only creates barrier for these swimmers: sperm. It takes a lot of effort for these cells to reach the fallopian tube, and thus condom gives protection against pregnancy, however, the success rate is around 97%, not 100%. Given all that, a DNA testing is more than enough to validate any rape accusation. And if any woman is lying, that should be very apparent as rape is a LOT more different than having consensual sexual intercourse. Rape comes with other (often brutal) physical abuse which leaves a lot of evidence. So, I guess it would be just better to simply trust the women. And I have never heard of any story about women lying about these things, where you will hear thousand of stories where women just NEVER disclosed their story of sexual abuse/harrassment.

sonia said...

just to clarify my comment - the social attitudes in the country towards rape need to change. but that in my opinion depends on the wider attitudes towards women - so it's a long road uphill.

Em said...

DNA testing is pretty foolproof, but it costs circa $200 per test, AFTER you have all the equipment available (which is also pretty expensive). Together with the general level of corruption in our patriarchal subcontinent, I can imagine difficulty in actually putting this to practice, although it would be a major step forward.

Of course, even with the test, one can only ascertain the partner, but not bifurcate the rapist from the non...

Maybe I'm just coming at this from a theorist's viewpoint (you're right MFH - I haven't seen many of such real-life stories), but if a woman hates a man enough to get him behind bars, she could entice consensual sex and even be willing to endure masochism to indict the man...

At any rate, the Hudood Ordinance HAS to be changed. A lot of women are being wronged, and too many times are mistakes being made... however, I'm not sure Mezba's solution is the best one (no offense, mate!).

Em said...

To Sonia (sorry for the digression, Mezba):

this is a little random, but would you know a Manzur Elahi?

Abu Sinan said...

Good idea, but the problem is that even consensual sex partners will cry "rape" if they are caught by their family. Fear of the family will often outweigh love or lust for their partner or fear of false accusations.

i-factor said...

Its clearly not the evidence providing part that is the problem but it is the hudood laws.
Because most rape victims end up at the local courts which dont care about the evidence but demand four male witnesses instead.
Clearly its not possible to find the witnesses.(this provision of hudood makes me my opinion,if anyhow 4 men are found i wud rather like to punish them too for letting the rape happen.what exactly were they doing there?enjoying the scene?)and generally the men present there wud be the people involved in rape so why wud they come up?

The solution is only one - repeal the hudood laws and make laws based on human rights.and this is what musharraf was trying to do. lets see whether he is fully succesful or not.

mezba said...

In Islam 4 men are not required to punish a rapist - evidence is.

The 4 men law is only for adultery, whereas Judaic and Christian laws require an adulterator to be stoned to death on charges, in Islam you have the 4 men requirement - thus almost guaranteeing that the stoning proof requirements will be very hard to meet.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Abu Sinan that a lot of rape claims involve consensual sex that was discovered by the girls family (almost no condom use in our countries). I think to understand how we can really satisfy the Islamists and come up with a law that conforms to the modern society, I recommend you watch this video which would give you insight of the Islamists opinion.