26 October, 2006

Even Cats Aren't That Bad

Women who wear skimpy clothing encourage men to rape them – according to a Muslim cleric widely reported in the news today. It’s the same kind of notion as people who go about wearing expensive jewellery encourage people to mug them, or people who look weak and vulnerable encourage people to beat them up. The basic assumption in this kind of thinking is that men (in particular) will commit crimes if given enough temptation. The cleric in question actually likened the skimpy dress situation to putting meat down and expecting a cat not to eat it. So he obviously thinks that men have no moral sense at all and will behave like mindless animals whenever the opportunity arises.

Clearly he is wrong. Clearly there is more to people (even men) than that. Clearly all those people who believe that sexy rape victims, ostentatiously wealthy robbery victims, and feeble assault victims ‘deserve what they get’ because ‘they were asking for it’ do the vast, law-abiding majority a great injustice. Of course, the chap in question says it was all a big misunderstanding and his words were taken out of context. He just wanted to point out the dangers of young women putting temptation in men’s way.

Well why not lecture the men? Why not tell them they can’t behave like cats? That they are people and that they live in a society that expects more of them? That if they really can’t control themselves they should get psychiatric help for their pathological sociopathy? Strangely enough, he doesn’t seem to have mentioned this.

And while I’m ranting, isn’t it convenient that it was a Muslim cleric who said all this? Now the white, Christian politicians can stand in front of the TV cameras with grave expressions denouncing the guy and making themselves look like good, caring people. But how many times have they heard similar sentiments from their colleagues over lunch? How often have all of heard it from people in pubs, from rabid taxi drivers, from friends and relatives? It wasn’t many years ago that sentiments like these were accepted as true and reasonable by almost everyone – and they are still as common as muck. Muslim clerics may still be naïve enough to say such things in public meetings. It doesn’t mean they are the only people who still think them.

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