Today in the New York Times there are a number of articles about the brutality of men towards women. Sometimes it amazes me how many of these stories we find. I know there are good men in the world but I constantly read about violence against women on the front page of every major newspaper. Today’s paper told a story of a woman in Afghanistan who had tried to kill herself by covering herself with cooking oil and then igniting herself with a match. She has burns which cover 60 % of her body.
She did this because she was ashamed to not have brought a gift to a birthday party. A male relative had scolded her for forgetting and this remark was the straw that broke the camels’ back. It is easy to imagine what her life was like and the abuse she had suffered from male relatives in the past to make her do this horrible thing to herself. Evidently this is a favorite form of suicide in Afghanistan as the tools are readily available: cooking oil and matches.
I wonder how long the world will have countries where women are second class citizens who have no rights and are physically and mentally abused with no consequence. Will it be another 100 years? Another 50? If we look into the future how will we begin to stop these practices? NPR was broadcasting the trial today of the man who abducted Elizabeth Smart and the audience heard in detail what he did to a 14 year old girl. Rape, terror and all the while this was watched by his wife who supported the kidnapping. I can’t get my mind around this behavior. What twist of psychosis makes men want to possess a 14 year old girl? The trial of the man who broke into the home of Dr. William Petit and raped and killed his wife and daughters is also going on and the man was found guilty and sentenced to death. I wish he could be killed immediately!
What really offends me is the time and money which will be spent on this sentence and on the trial and retrial and retrial again. If it were up to me I would have them taken outside the court and shot to death. I know. There are a lot of people who will be shocked at my language, argue that our system protects its innocent, and form an argument that shows how wrong I am.
In this case it is clear what these men have done so let’s punish them immediately and not wait around. Maybe if the consequences of such a crime were equally violent things would shift. This is a radically un Buddhist thought, I know, but I am filled with disgust at these crimes and imagine that it was my daughter.
The last article today in the Times that moved me was the story of the parents of a young American woman who was killed in Palestine while protesting in a rally by soldiers who ran over her with a tank. These parents were suing the army and the government in order to make the soldiers aware and accountable for what they had done. Good for those parents! Instead of sadly accepting their daughter’s death, they are fighting the government who made it happen and publicizing the tragedy to the world. Imagine being strong enough to do such a thing.
Life is precious and brief. Violence has always been with us. I have no suggestions on how to make it stop.