Rape, And Afterwards

(First published by Independent Australia)

The raped girl in India has died now and a whole society in uproar will find new laws, no doubt, to enact in memory of her. But this is a part of the world where forced marriage, bride-burning, and, not so long ago, suttee (the immolation of young wives on their elderly husbands’ funeral pyres) showed how little women mattered in the scheme of things, and this has not greatly changed in many households and temples and religions these thousand years.

It is the great unspoken fact of modern life that religions, even now, are written across the bodies of their women like tattoos. Girls are honour-killed by their brothers for dating an infidel because Islam, or some sects of Islam, will have it so. Amish and fundamentalist Mormon and some Indigenous girls are forcibly betrothed at eight and ten to older men, or sometimes routinely deflowered at puberty by village elders, like those of Pitcairn Island. Arranged marriages, and my mother’s was one, have been the norm in most of human history, shotgun marriages in the last two hundred years in Australian country towns a commonplace. It is as though what is owed to a woman as her right is such a new thought in the world, it has barely been defined, or even thought upon.

For what has succeeded these old enforced arrangements – the dream of Sex and the City – is not all that agreeable either. Girls in their twenties may be sexually used by a man for six months, a year, and cast aside. Or two years, aborted, and cast aside. Or, worse, for ten years, childlessly, and cast aside when they are thirty-two.

Not many laws prevent this, though it is devastating as divorce, to girls who embrace it as part of their ‘freedom’. As in Muslim countries, a man may seek a younger ‘mate’ when he has worn out the old one. Across the world, this is seen as his right, as Rupert Murdoch, Hugh Hefner and Tom Cruise have shown. You find fresh stimulus when bored by habit, and loyalty has no claim on you.

It has been pointed out that marriages, up to 1800, were five to fifteen years long. A woman dead in childbirth, a man dead in war, or plague, or prison, or chance infection, would allow the survivor to move on, marry younger, have other children, be indulged as famed men are now. And the seventy-year marriage, like the Whitlams’, is an untried novelty still, and we have not yet come to grips with it.

But this reasoning, surely, ducks round what matters most, which is a debt owed. To a woman who in pain and risk has borne your child, you owe, at the least, a constancy of cohabitation. You owe her graduations, weddings, grandchild christening photographs uncontaminated by the smiles of your new young wife.

It is right that this should be so. It is part of the civility we seek in this, a fair- go society, surely. And it should be enshrined in laws more punishing than we have now.

In the older days, when families had five or six children in them, this loyalty was automatic. Too many bonds of blood and grandparenthood and family Christmases kept you together. But now, with, sometimes, one gay child and no other, it is getting more fragile. And new thoughts, new rules, new support groups where once there were churches, and church congregations, and stable neighbourhoods, and many siblings, are needed now.

We are dying alone of strangeness. And it is a pity. Discuss.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Frank’s tip for all married men:

    Tip: Get the little lady to do all the chores around the house.

    You’ll stay married longer.

    According to a recent Norwegian study, the divorce rate among couples who share household chores was about 50 percent higher than for those in which the woman takes care of the housework.


    I’ve been married for a long time. It works! Also, make sure you point out the error of their ways when they are doing it wrong. It bonds marriages like superglue.

    • I have worked it out it’s best if each partner does what they are good at. I don’t mind gardening(even paving), decorating (moving heavy furniture), putting the washing machine on as long as he cooks and vacuums….
      Our son made his bed when visiting; he somehow managed to use the top sheet as bedspread; how cute, I thought, but then I’m his mum, not his girlfriend.

    • You are very wrong, Frank, to trivialise the deep saddness, poignancy, utter desolation, and inexplicable injustice that casts a shadow over the lives of most women on this planet which Bob’s article casts a light upon.

    • Addendum. Last 2 programs I listened to on Radio National [RN = a major daytime distraction, all that enquiry, information, research; philosophy formally discussed, can you imagine! No wonder no-one listens to RN. When is that brain-neutralising pillar of suppression and lies in our society, that's right, THE AUSTRALIAN, going to attempt to have RN closed down so there isn't any more of this public education, free-thinking and informed choice-making that might find shape in a contagion] - program 1 - Tamil tea-picking women in Sri Lanka working for $25 a month. Up at 4:00am, family duties than off to work by 7:00am. Work until 5:00pm. Home to housework, cooking. Traditonally the men don’t work past 3:00pm; often turn up to collect their wives wages. Cold damp work conditions. The women are sick, defeated, unsure how they will feed their children. Their lot in life. Program 2 - The enormous number of grandmothers across Africa looking after grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. Elderly women with little or no money of their own; looking after multiple children; their own children dead; some of the grandchildren also with AIDS. Their lot in life. AND THE BAND PLAYED ON while in Africa… So hard to be glib, Frank

    • I think its absolutely obscene that an article on rape and the distressing plight of woman should attract from Frank such a disgraceful attempt at humour surrounding “gender roles”.

      There’s little doubt left, you really are a contemptible individual.

  2. I’ve heard this statistic mentioned on Fox News a while back and didn’t believe it at first. Fox’s legal expert said that “70% of American marriages now end in divorce! And that this statistic was the new norm.”


    It seems to me that America is not the land of the rugged outdoorsy John Wayne type hero but the land of the wimpy, obese, metro-sexual male who likes to run hot baths and fix his lady’s hair. Just like, err, the PM’s “boyfriend”… :oops:

    The other statistic that Bob forgot to mention is that over 60% of all divorce proceedings are initiated by women in the US and that rate is climbing. (Husbands are to blame here. Too many appliances..No chores for the wife to do. She gets restless. Bob’s your uncle - she wants your house!)

    Highly educated Lefties divorce each other at greater rates! (Who can blame them?) Some US cities favored by Democrats record the rate as high as 90%!

    Labor’s hand bag hit squad should take notice of these pearls of wisdom because Australia is going down the same path.

    Perhaps what we need is a good Catholic PM? Someone who studied to be a monk once…any suggestions?

    • Forget the attempts at humour, Frank. Humphries is about the only right winger capable of it. Rightists just don’t understand how funny they are, unintentionally.

      • “Also, make sure you point out the error of their ways when they are doing it wrong. It bonds marriages like superglue.”

        DQ, don’t be too tough, the above made me laugh :lol:

    • ” I’ve heard this statistic mentioned on Fox News a while back and didn’t believe it at first.”

      Jesus wept, hope does spring eternal a wingnut doubting ‘Fox News’

      Joy to the fucking world.

  3. The reaction in India is perhaps a watershed in relations between the sexes.

    I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I cannot imagine this sort of reaction occurring 20 years ago.

    It is human nature to require some such event to mark the change in perceptions, even though the change has been gradual, perhaps over many decades.

    The importance of the strength of the reaction shows that at least in major cities it is totally unacceptable behaviour; rural regions may take a little longer.

    Has the World changed? We live in hope.

  4. We build bigger houses and higher fences and have less people living in them.
    People need people as they sing. When living in inner city, in Balmain, a suburb that is busier than most, it wasn’t busy enough for our Korean student who kept moaning to me where are the people…
    The Hong Kong Chinese who stayed in our Country Cottage invited us to eat lunch and dinner with them every day, they wanted company…they were happy to pay us good money to stay with us and to feed US. :lol:

    • I don’t know what the attitude to outsiders is in Bowral, but in “East” Balmain (perhaps before or after your time there) there was a proposal to actually barricade the streets to keep outsiders from even visiting. Those residents didn’t want ‘people’ unless they were their type of people. Not confined to Balmain of course. Elites of Mosman ditto some years ago. Paddington residents floated the idea to block their streets to passing traffic; then some residents of Bondi and other suburbs don’t want outsiders (ie western suburbs people) coming to ‘their’ beaches, Sutherland Shire people seem to be territorial too and Sydney’s northern beaches mob seem insular also. Seems like ‘people’ aren’t that popular unless they are safely at arms length.

      • M Ruytin, I don’t know what you are talking about.
        Anyhow a couple years ago some uppety shop owners did not want Smith Family to move into one of the main street empty shops.
        There is justice after all as many of the overly expensive shops have gone broke since and more and more second shops are appearing everywhere, and they are thriving…

        • Don’t know? It all seems clear to me. So many Sydney suburbs don’t seem to WANT people to come there, the worst examples being the residents who seem to want to own the People’s Beaches, but the barricade-favouring residents of “East” Balmain were the most blatant. Fearful Jews and rich residents of Bondi for example claim that “the 380 bus is extremely profitable” as their public alternative to their private admission: “we don’t want the western suburbs mob here”. It’s as if now that they are there, keep everyone else out. They don’t want the people that your houseguests said the places lacked.
          That leads me to the pretentious mobs trying to keep McDonalds or Starbucks out to ‘protect’ local businesses – the ones who have been ripping off locals and the passing trade for years. A Smith Family example is okay, but the frightened burgers who own these suburbs now know that the heady days would be over if they relaxed their grip, as your own example shows.

          The ‘locals’ would be better people if they did mix with the ordinary folk they contrive to keep out.

          • @M Ryutin, is it too simple to suggest that, all else being equal, the prime determinant of where people choose to live is their capacity to afford the real estate they intend to occupy?

            In saying this, I’m as aware as you are that the ‘all else being equal’ factors are not equally shared by dwelling-seekers - aspects such as ‘ethnic clustering’ are also of major importance; Cabramatta, for example, as a location of choice for Vietnamese; Hurstville, Chatswood, Eastwod for Chinese, and so on.

            When I sniff the air I don’t get any sense of active discrimination in the sense of ‘you can’t live here because you aren’t like us.’ Am I wrong in this?

  5. I don’t want to sound Christian or any other sort of wowser, but surely we are on the wrong track — ie, humans, led by the rich West (China is chasing us so hard it’s turning into a caricature of the grossest aspects of America).

    Avoiding all the age-old human realities has led us first to gigantic cities, which now we use our headphones and i-toys to avoid seeing and hearing as we move from one interior to another, where after arriving we avoid the relos with the same devices plus the internet and TV.

    However, as always, our over-reachings contain the seeds of their own correction . . . after the climate crash annoying reality will again be unavoidable.

  6. The inescapable historical reality is that in the scriptures of all three Abrahamic religions, women are subordinate to men. While we look askance at female inequality in Hindu India, let’s also acknowledge some aberration on our own parts in espousing the three major faiths in whose midst we wallow in superstition.

    Ephesians 5:22 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    The very next commandments in Ephesians are:
    (6:1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. and
    (6:4) Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

    Women, children, slaves - all in the same boat.
    It is said that Solomon had 700 wives, countless children and infinite slaves - thts a lot of submission right there!

    • “…While we look askance at female inequality in Hindu India, let’s also acknowledge some aberration on our own parts in espousing the three major faiths in whose midst we wallow in superstition”.

      Who here on this blog advocates religion? Or are you referring to Australians generally?

      By aberration, I presume you mean contradiction?

      In any case I think you are wrong if what you are stating is that we all sit idly by condemning female subjugation overseas while ignoring it here.

      This is patently absurd; surely, this is not what you are saying?

      • @ GrahamP
        Bob comments included this: But this is a part of the world where [------ etc-----] , and this has not greatly changed in many households and temples and religions these thousand years.

        My comments are borne from observations that Judaism Christianity and Islam are all scripturally based religions; their scriptures make women subordinate to men; we (people not in the part of the world Bob was commenting on) espouse these three faiths; and, given that we reject (I hope) the notion of woman being subordinate to man, this is an aberration. No, I didn’t mean contradiction.

        I can’t see what’s patently absurd in pointing that out.

        • “I can’t see what’s patently absurd in pointing that out”

          Well there is (principally)this movement in the west -called Feminism- which has assuaged militant adherence to many edicts of our biggest “scripture based” religion (Canguro picked up on this point below) and whose influence now extends to every every area of our human jungle.

          What you classify as an “aberration” is merely one symptom of the continued influence of this movement, as the west seeks to adjust to the habitual flux of mainstream philosophical revision.

          It is also happening in India and will probably, but gradually, take hold everywhere else.

          • I have no idea what you’re talking about, sorry.

            • “I have no idea what you’re talking about, sorry.”

              Let’s back up and go s l o w e r.

              You seem to be claiming we embrace the tenets of Abrahamic faiths while simultaneously believing in equality between the sexes. You say it is an aberration on our part to do so.

              I am saying your analysis on this point wrong.

              I am saying the phenomenon you speak of is not an aberration; but rather a predictable result of the introduction of a competing ideology, which in practice has altered and tempered the behaviour of in this case Christians over many decades.

              What is so complex about what I am saying?

              Are you dumb?!

              • Feminism has modified the Abrahamic religions?

                No wonder you two are at cross-purposes!

                In a sense, feminism and egalitarianism have modified the views of some of the more moderate elements of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. And of course, those who regard themselves as secular or non-religious.

                But in another sense it has affected the basic tenets of these religions not a whit. They are still fundamentalist, reactionary, patriarchal and sanctimonious. And that is how they like it.

            • @ GrahamP

              Let me repeat for a final time what I was getting at (while ignoring what you say I’m saying and what you say I seem to be claiming.)
              Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all scripturally based religions , i.e. organisations (or churches or faiths) whose members (or followers or faithful) are bound ( re-ligare means ‘tied to’ ) under sanction (excommunication, purgatory, damnation) to obey the sacred texts ( divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired commandments). Am I misinformed? (dumb)

              Those sacred texts (Torah, Bible, Qur’ān) and their canonical interpretation (Talmud, Catechism, Hadith) have not been changed for one intrinsic reason – they are Verbum Dei . The Word of God. Immutable. No competition, alteration or temperance. Not even by ‘isms’. Not one word in any of the Holy Books, or doctrinal texts has been modified to reflect any social changes down the centuries. Not one word. Am I misinformed? (dumb)

              It is my understanding that all three unchanged Holy Books place woman in a subordinate position to man. How is it possible to regard woman as equal to man, without withdrawing from the organisations which bind their members to the word of god? How is it possible to define oneself as Jew, Christian or Muslim without regarding woman as subordinate to man?

              There is a way – it’s called aberration.

              • “Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all scripturally based religions… whose members… are bound… under sanction… to obey the sacred texts.”

                Please try to understand the distinction between theory and practice; between militant adherence to scripture (the minority) and the ubiquitous lip-service variety (the majority). You are beginning to piss me off. Here, let me help:

                -Many Christians and Catholics use contraceptives

                -Many drink alcohol

                -Most eat pork

                -Many co-habit as defactos

                -A good deal are gay

                -Most eat shellfish

                -Many don’t go to church ever

                -Many marry and omit the words ‘to honour and obey’

                -Many are feminists and equal-opportunists

                -Some are ordained female priests

                -And all self-identify as Christian.

                Those sacred texts … and their canonical interpretation… have not been changed for one intrinsic reason – they are… Immutable. No competition, alteration or temperance…. Not one word in any of the Holy Books, or doctrinal texts has been modified to reflect any social changes down the centuries. Not one word.

                You are boring the fuck out of me. Doctrinal change is not necessary for change to occur. See list above.

                It is my understanding that all three unchanged Holy Books place woman in a subordinate position to man. How is it possible to regard woman as equal to man, without withdrawing from the organisations which bind their members to the word of god? How is it possible to define oneself as Jew, Christian or Muslim without regarding woman as subordinate to man?

                Well many do. In practice. It’s what some might say is a contradiction.
                You claim it is an ‘aberration’.
                The better term is hypocrisy; which we all have to some extent.

                Am I misinformed? (dumb)


                • ”You claim it is an ‘aberration’. The better term is hypocrisy; “

                  No, hypocrisy implies the deception of others, aberration implies a defect in one’s own vision. I am talking about the latter, the lipservants you say are ‘theoretically’ faithful, but practically unaffected by the official teachings. Fine, terrific. But why still remain in the delusion that they are of that religion.

                  Jibes are advertisements for inadequacy .

                  • Jeezus you are still fucking going?!?!

                    - [hi-pok-ruh-see]
                    noun, plural hy•poc•ri•sies.
                    1. A pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.

                    If Tony Abbott professes his Catholicism but uses condoms and has two wives, he is a hypocrite. If he professes his Catholicism but hides these inconvenient facts, he is still a hypocrite. No ifs or buts. Find me the rule that ones hypocrisy need be in the public domain. (I’ll give you half an hour).

                    Yes aberration can probably be used as a weak substitute; but let’s get back to the point: that these “aberrations” have always existed and entirely rely upon the devoutness of the individual. This ain’t changing mate!

                    If a Christian believes in gender equality, should he renounce being a Christian?
                    If he toasts his bride at their wedding with Moet should he renounce being a Christian?

                    Give me a fucking break.
                    Stop ignoring the complexities in this.
                    Stop making mountains out of molehills.
                    And stop stating the fucking obvious.


    • @Dali, when I read ‘… let’s also acknowledge some aberration on our own parts in espousing the three major faiths in whose midst we wallow in superstition.’, my reaction is along the lines of ‘Well, I’m not wallowing. Who’s he referring to?

      The 2011 ABS census stats suggest 61% of Australians admit to an affiliation with a Christian religion, along with a 2.2% group af adherents to Islam and 0.5% to Judaism. I’d be willing to bet that of the 61% of so-called Christians, there would be a much much smaller core of practicing believers with the bulk being Christian only in a nominal sense.

      Coming back, then, to wallowing in superstition; one is entitled to ask to what extent is this happening, and further, what is the net social impact?

      Catholics have been ignoring papal prescriptions for decades and practising active birth control. Emancipated women in Australia and other countries find the notion of obedience (in the religious sense) laughable and deservedly worthy of derision.

      I’m not espousing an absence of superstitious belief in our mentating - magical thinking has a way of popping up when vigilance flags, but I suspect you are overstating the extent of the problem. Compared to deeply religious cultures as found in Eastern Europe, South America (and North too!) and some parts of Asia, Australia is relatively pragmatic in the way it reconciles faith-based belief and the practical needs of a society.

      Having said that, I still find it remarkable how such a small core of fantasists can exercise considerable influence on the levers of power and other social mechanisms. Incredible really, to be driven to such ends through superstitious beliefs…

      • @Canguro:
        I think your remarks are accurate. I think though that superstition has not waned much, nor the power and influence of the church hierarchies. Their authority though is in tatters. People appear to have found new homes for their irrational fears. Perhaps that accounts for the prevalence of vampire and zombie entertainment?

        Here’s a trivial example – this year’s schools spectacular ended with a rendition by Jack Figgins (?) of the John Lennon classic Imagine . Redacted from the song was the verse exhorting us to imagine “no religion”. According to Yoko Ono, this was the kernel around which her late husband formed the song.

        Pauvre Jean

  7. You didn’t emphasise Muslims enough Bob – worst current offenders. As for “routinely deflowered at puberty by village elders, like those of Pitcairn Island”, they were low sexual predators (mainly white) where ‘elder’ meant ‘older’ and they relied on a conspiracy of silence for their breaches of the law (which did catch up with them finally).
    And ‘shotgun marriages’ were not confined to Australian country towns. The term ‘had to get married’ was very common everywhere, especially amongst Catholics, prior to the far-too-short sexual revolution.

  8. Serial monogamy is not a good replacement for the old style…..people make too big a deal about sexual jealousy… Exes are meant to hate each other and be threatened by their partners old lovers and so on.

    It is largely nonsense, it happens because it is socially validated.

    If there was social norm that you don’t fuck someone unless you are prepared to be a friend for life and people who routinely break friendships with their ex partners are not normal but are dickheads then there would be more social cohesion. Obviously.

    • And it is creepy seeing kids now (middle aged man speaking I know) call each other sluts like that was a bad thing and pick up the term “cheating” from American sitcoms.

      Virgins are ridiculous (and the lifelong faihtful only slightly less so) and cheats and sluts are disgusting is the ideology…the only really acceptable life is the constant round of betrayal that is serial monogamy.

      Destroying social cohesion to the greater glory of capitalism and the state is the effect. Probably no-ones conscious idea.

  9. Unfortunately, men are biological wanderers with more complicated urges than women.Men like rape. Rape in war is horrific. Given the opportunity, they will always rape. The laws are the only thing stopping them.The rape itself is bad enough but why do they have to beat and disfigure. Yes power comes into it.

    • @ Wombat

      ”Men like rape. Given the opportunity, they will always rape. “

      You should be embarrassed to spew up such nonsense.

      • What is wrong in speaking the truth. Most men dream of rape sometime in their lives. The difference is most of us dnt do it-it is called CHOICE mate! Most rapes go unreported U know son.

        • @ Wombat

          ” What is wrong in speaking the truth. “

          You said “Men like rape.”
          And “Given the opportunity, they will always rape.”
          And now, “Most men dream of rape sometime in their lives.”

          What is wrong with a bit of evidence? I find none. Are these perhaps opinions of yours? Perhaps embarrassing confessions?

          ” The difference is most of us dnt do it-it is called CHOICE mate! Most rapes go unreported U know son. “

          A useless non-sequitur, I’m afraid; the use of ‘mate’ and ‘son’ awkward patronization.

          • Kinsey and Margaret Mead have said given the choice between rape and not raping most men, if they thought they had a 100% chance of getting away with it would rapeto satisfy their animal urges.Sexual abstinence is an unnatural state remember.

            • the alternative to abstinence is not sexual assault is it?

              i will try to find Kinsey and Mead on this

            • All that I’ve been able to find indicates that Margaret Mead is now regarded as a young gullible ignoramus and Kinsey as verging on the predatory.

              The latter has been quoted as quipping that “the difference between rape and a good time depends on whether the girl’s parents were awake when she finally came home.”

              Sorry, no cigar

              • I hope you have had fun with our resident concern troll, aka Wombat, and the mysterious newbie, Graham P.

                Now go back to your wonderful poetry of the Liberal “leadership”. I missed seeing one on Turnbull, there must be a mine! And what about Morrison? :lol:

                • @ Doug Coyote
                  Concern trolls with fake identities (sometimes known as sockpuppets or hitchhikers, I believe) are rarely fun, mostly timewasters, and are usually revealed by their own posts, long and winding roads leading to nowhere. When you reply, they just shift ground.
                  Best option is to drive on by. Don’t look back.

                  BTW – haven’t done much versing lately, but Turnbull, et al, get a Guernsey in my third video (Abbott on Team Abbott) – have you seen them? Here are the links:

                  Abbott on Asylum Seekers
                  Ashby and Pyne - Rendezvous in the Speaker’s Office
                  Abbott on Team Abbott

  10. It would piss me off no end in the old hippie daze when western (esp amerikan) woman would rhapsodise about how revered and respected and well treated and worshipped women in India were when the obvious was all around them.
    None so blind as blinded by delusion.

  11. Rape is a power thing.

    Rape in war : the soldier is trained to kill the enemy soldiers who by military mindset definition “are not like us”; when they come upon enemy civilians, rape is a likely perversion of the military mindset.

    Go back to caveman times if you like; kill the men and rape the women, enslave whoever survives.

    Human nature does not change, but attitudes can. Some men will still rape when opportunity presents itself; where there is hope is the change of the attitude of those who might have turned a blind eye in past generations.

    The officer who might have said “let them have their fun” in past generations may now be inclined to intervene;

    In peacetime rapes, those women who were inclined to say “the slut deserves it” may now be inclined to raise a hue and cry.

    It is called civilisation.

Leave a Comment

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

97,118 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>