The importance of not shaming victims

In too many areas in the Middle East, victims of rape, other forms of sexual violence and harassment have absolutely no recourse if the predators who go after them have money, power and influence.  A man can harass a woman for years and can destroy her life, making her very ill, both physically and mentally, and he can literally get away with it by buying off the police, who not only deny that they ever interrogated him but refuse to take any action against him due to the power and prestige that he possesses.   In some places, like Iran, a victim can be executed merely for defending herself against her rapist.

And due to the power, money and influence possessed by the rapist, sexual predator and/or harasser, throughout the world, people blindly side with the perpetrator against his female victim, putting her in a position where she must mediate with her perpetrator if she wants to be left alone.  But when mediation is attempted, it only whets the appetite of the perpetrator to go after her more for as Winston Churchill once stated, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”  Indeed, post-mediation, she begins to regret that she ever tried to make peace with her perpetrator for every concession she gives he ends up using against her.   This is why the whole concept of tribal mediation in the Arab world does nothing more than screw over victims, who in some cases are forced to marry their rapists in order to save their honor.

Despite the fact that we are living in an era when the Iranian people are rising up against their totalitarian government, seeking to be free, and that many other Arab nations post-Arab spring are yearning for a better life, the female victim in the Middle East still finds herself in a position where her voice seeking a tranquil life is considered less valid than the powerful man, who tramples upon her dreams in the name of waging a Middle Eastern vendetta against his female victim.

For this reason, no matter where we live in the world, it is very important to always believe the stories of victims of rape, sexual violence and harassment.  In most cases, the women are not the liars.  We should always be skeptical whenever a man in power tries to shame his victim into silence.  And for this reason, society should cease to punish the victims and to start to call into doubt claims made by perpetrators with money, power and influence.  This is the raison d’etre of the Me Too Movement in the US.  It is time for the message of the Me Too Movement to reach the Middle East and the Islamic World at large.

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