If I had a blogroll and treated it like Myspace, adding everyone I read, I might be on enough reading lists that this would get around the internet.
Anyway, maybe I'm happy that people won't be forwarding this all over. I'm kind of proud of the way I've been trying to engage people who are at all sorts of positions when it comes to gender--especially people who are interested in arguing the way I do.
So I don't think I want this bashed all over the internet. I think I want it discussed--even if that ends up meaning "bashed"--right here. Or at least on some of the moderate blogs--for example Sage's, Shrub, "I'm Not a Feminist, But...," "Thinking Girl," etc. The ones where people sympathize with the logic behind what a radical feminist would say but also sympathize with the logic behind "the way we handle social questions right now is good--or at least has good elements worth preserving through any changes" approaches.
So, yeah, if you take this elsewhere, please not only backlink but also leave a comment, since Blogger doesn't track backlinks very well! Thanks a lot.
On Muslim Wake Up!'s message boards, a very right-wing person posted this article on what might be the first prosecution under the new Women's Protection Act in Pakistan.
I almost didn't say anything about sympathy for victims, but I think I finally managed to work in in at the end in a way that is palatable even for someone who likes to abstract real humans into "rightdoer" and "wrongdoer" hypotheticals & projections.
That writer wrote:
Man lands in jail for admonishing neighbor
23rd Ziqad, 1427 – December 15, 2006
ISLAMABAD (Shabbir Ahmad Salafi - Ghazwah Special Reporter)
In the first ever case registered under the new Women’s Protection Act, a very respectable man was sent to jail on the complaint of a woman of questionable character. Being the first case to be registered under the much publicized Women’s protection Act, Ghazwah took an extraordinary interest in the case. Here is what our special reporter uncovered:
A woman in Islamabad called the police and complained that Nazir Ahmad, a man living in a portion of her house which she had rented out to him, had committed Zina (illegal sexual intercourse) with her. When an investigative police team reached her house, number 984 in Sector I-10/1, at three O’clock in the morning, the accused Nazir Ahmad was sleeping in his portion of the house. When the police woke him up and told him that a complaint has been made against him by his landlady for raping her, he was utterly surprised, appeared totally ignorant of the accusation, and said this was the first time he is hearing about it. He requested the police to call the woman so that the accusation could be verified there and then, but the woman, named Maimoona Anjum, was absent from the house, along with her two sons. The police told the Ghazwah reporter that the complainant had arrived at the police station accompanied by her two sons from an unknown location. Ghazwah was amazed to find out later, that the woman, instead of going directly to the police station, had, curiously, gone to the PIMS hospital to get a medical report as proof of rape. It was also astonishing that the police, after briefly questioning Nazir Ahmad, returned without arresting him.
Moreover, for some strange reason, the FIR (First Information Report) was registered at 6 O’clock in the morning instead of being registered right away. The police party left the station at 7 O’clock in the morning to arrest Nazir Ahmad. Meanwhile, Nazir Ahmad stayed at his house and did not try to flee. A police officer, on condition of anonymity, told the Ghazwah reporter that the police contacted the Ministry of Law for guidance as to which clause of the new Women’s Protection Act was applicable for the arrest of the accused. Upon the advice of the Ministry of Law, the accused was booked under Clauses 375 and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code. Theses Clauses has recently been added to Article 374 of the PPC which addresses to crimes of rape.
The accused Nazir Ahmad, who is a Grade 18 officer in the Ministry of Science of Technology, was arrested around 8 O’clock in morning by the police from his home. A police officer told the Ghazwah reporter that Nazir Ahmad’s cheeks were wet with tears when he was brought to the police station. Most of the policemen expressed sympathy towards Nazir Ahmad, but none of them was ready to talk about the case off-the-record. The Ghazwah reporter also contacted the SHO (Station House Officer) of the Sabzi Mandi Police Station, Khurshid Ahmad, Investigating Officer, Sub-Inspector Abd-ur-Rahman, and DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) Jameel Hashmi, for comments, but they all refused saying that they did not have permission to discuss the case.
Another interesting aspect of this case was that one of the investigating officers told the Ghazwah reporter that as yet the complainant had not been questioned. The medical tests on the complainant had been conducted by Dr. Sobia Luqman. The Investigating Officer, Sub-Inspector Abd-ur-Rahman told the Gazwah reporter that the medical report confirms that the complainant had had sexual intercourse, but it does not show that it was a forced act. Nazir Ahmad, meanwhile, immediately after his arrest, sent an application to DSP Jameel Hashmi, requesting him that a DNA test be conducted on the accused, as that would conclusively prove whether he is guilty or innocent of the crime. Surprisingly, even though six days have passed since the case was lodged; the tests have still not been conducted on the woman. Moreover, Nazir Ahmad was sent to Adiala Jail without presenting him before a magistrate. When the Ghazwah reporter asked the Investigating Officer, Sub-Inspector Abd-ur-Rahman as at which clause of the PPC allows for an accused to be sent to jail without being presenting him before a magistrate, the Sub-Inspector replied that he was sure his superiors were aware of the relevant clauses.
When the Ghazwah reporter visited Nazir Ahmad in Adiala Jail, he told the reporter that the house he was living in now was previously owned by another man. The complainant had bought this house about a year ago and had moved in with her three sons about a couple of months ago. Her husband works in Saudi Arabia. He said he lives with his family in the upper portion of the house. He said the staircase to the upper portion used to be within the lower portion, but when he observed that the woman lives alone without her husband; he had another staircase constructed outside the house at his own expense. He said the woman was very resentful when he had the staircase constructed. During all this time, he said, men, apparently strangers, would often visit her house. He said he advised her that since her husband is away, it did not seem proper that strange men should visit her all the time, nor would it reflect positively on his own family.
Nazir Ahmad said the woman gave him a notice to vacate the house the very next day after he had given her that advice. He said he had paid the rent up to the 31st of December, but the complainant insisted that he vacate the house immediately. Nazir Ahmad wanted the woman to increase the rent rather than have him vacate it. He said this is what became my crime, and the woman accused him of rape. He said that he had requested that a DNA test be conducted on the complainant to conclusively prove that he had not committed the offence, but even though many days have passed no action has been taken in this regard.
The Ghazwah reporter then visited the neighborhood where the supposed crime had taken place. Everyone in the neighborhood said that Nazir Ahmad is a very pious man. They said he had been living in this neighborhood for the past five years but no one had ever observed anything bad about him. In fact, they said, he used to lower his gaze when he passed by the young women of the neighborhood. When the Ghazwah reporter inquired about the complainant, no a single woman of the neighborhood offered a good word about her. One woman said that the complainant, Maimoona Anjum’s husband has been abroad since the last three years, and he is so fed up with his wife’s antics that he prefers not to be associated with her. One woman, on the condition of anonymity, even said that Maimoona’s husband had called one of her neighbors and told her that he is not responsible for what she does anymore, and that he is sick and tired of her actions behavior and activities.
When the Ghazwah reporter visited the complainant to find out her version of the story, her eldest son adopted a very harsh attitude and said he cannot talk to anyone, nor is he ‘allowed’ to talk to anyone regarding this case. He did not mention who had prohibited him to talk, but it was apparent from the rest of the conversation that the police had prohibited them to talk to the press. In her FIR, the woman said she was alone in the house when the incident happened, but she goes on to say that she went to the hospital with her son to have the medical tests conducted. One wonders where her son was before he came home, and also, where were her other two sons when the incident supposedly took place. Interestingly, the medical examiner who conducted the tests has also been prohibited by the police to talk to the press.
Discussing the case with our reporter, Habib Wahab-ul-Khairi, a famous lawyer, and a senior advocate, said, if the woman complainant has really been raped then the offender should definitely be punished, but the biased attitude of the police and senior officials in favor of the complainant is shameful. He said it seems the authorities want to make this case an example for the promotion of the Women’s Protection Act, even if in the process an innocent man gets punished for a crime he never committed.
In response, I wrote:
previous commenter wrote:
...the medical report confirms that the complainant had had sexual intercourse, but it does not show that it was a forced act. Nazir Ahmad, meanwhile, immediately after his arrest, sent an application to DSP Jameel Hashmi, requesting him that a DNA test be conducted on the accused, as that would conclusively prove whether he is guilty or innocent of the crime. Surprisingly, even though six days have passed since the case was lodged; the tests have still not been conducted on the woman.
He said that he had requested that a DNA test be conducted on the complainant to conclusively prove that he had not committed the offence, but even though many days have passed no action has been taken in this regard.
First conducting the test that was conducted, and second conducting the test that Ahmad has asked to be conducted, makes perfect logical sense to me.
The parts that sadden me most, though, are 1) that this kind of testing is invasive to the complainant and I wish that people had had the foresight to take swabs for both tests at once, and 2) if jails are inhumane there (I have no idea whether or not they are), then indeed waiting for the test results in an inhumane place is NOT "due process."
However, just the very basic idea of being detained where you can't get away until the test results about if it's your sperm come back does seem like due process. It'd only be the conditions of the detention that might make me change my mind about fairness & that "due" part.
So yeah, I feel upon reading this that there's a lot of potential for great due process, but that issues of poor treatment along the way (for example, having repeated tests when geez louise, someone could've thought of the next logical test and made sure a swab was taken, and for example, the condition of a detention center) might completely undermine that potential and turn the reality into something quite undue and unfair. If I were in charge, man, I'd start on the bases that I agreed with above but do everything I could to make sure that people are treated very well given those bases.
previous commenter wrote:
a famous lawyer, and a senior advocate, said...it seems the authorities want to make this case an example for the promotion of the Women’s Protection Act, even if in the process an innocent man gets punished for a crime he never committed.
For all the "show people the other extreme and they'll get what we're talking about when we complain" ideas I do support (for example, publishing advertisements that break men into body parts and subject them to bodily objectification and the message, "Your body is the only ultimate criterion about whether you're worth of praise or not" so that they will see how nasty it is and start fighting against such advertisements for everybody, man or woman), I do not support that approach as done through legal systems. The ultimate authority of legal systems to use force makes this too extreme an arena to play around with "making examples."
I do hope that that's not what's going on here. I do hope that this is a genuine attempt at due process and creating a balance where there can be victim-compassion-giving and yet "accused-compassion-giving" at the same time--in other words, due process for ALL.
If it's not...SHAME ON THEM.
I just feel like if one person says, "Ooooooh, bogeywoman is suspicious because she got a test before she went to the police," the best answer is, "No, actually, that doesn't seem suspicious to me--seems reasonable." And so on. Isn't that the answer that, if heard enough, is most likely and fastest to change someone's mind?