Saturday, July 22, 2006

As Old as the Garden of Eden

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam

Street sexual harassment in India is a phenomenon India’s women are intimately familiar with, though foreign women —- since they spend most of their time in enclaves and very little time on the street — escape being grabbed, patted, pinched, or stroked.

Laura Neuhas is a visitor to Bangalore who decided to add her voice to a group which started last year to publicize the ubiquity of this practice, to counter the attacks, and, when possible, to bring whatever perpetrators they can find to justice:

“People run up and grab my butt, my breast and brush against me purposely,” Neuhaus says. “It happens so fast.”

“I will be walking with my boyfriends and it makes no difference. After that I go through post-traumatic stress. You are so angry and humiliated,” she says. “There is no one to talk to.”

When she says “people,” she means men, of course. The group she has joined, Blank Noise, calls this practice of public humiliation “Eve teasing,” which The Middle East Times calls “a euphemism in India for the sexual harassment or molestation of women.”

Eve-teasing. That’s a good name for a behavior that is probably hard-wired genetically, and controlled only by the strictures of established mores in any given culture. Evidently the controls on such behaviors are eroding in the face of the growing societal pressures on men and women in India.

In India, this problem is exacerbated by a number of conditions, the first being the general contempt with which women are regarded:

At riskIn India’s male-dominated society, 16 cases of various types of violence against women are reported every hour, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. More than 18,000 rape cases are reported against women every year.

Some 8,800 women are killed in India every year in dowry disputes, the bureau reported.

India is currently mulling laws to combat sexual harassment.

[These figures seem pathetically small, given the population of India: 1,096,221,674. If our Indian readers have more reliable statistics, Gates of Vienna will be glad to post them.].

Not only are women regularly harassed in public, killed in private, and subject to a higher suicide rate than men, there are limited ways to fight back:

Jasmeen Patheja, the 26-year-old founder of Blank Noise, says that she started the outfit in the high-tech city to encourage a public debate on eve teasing.

“This group encourages women to open up and question the harassment on the streets,” Patheja says. “In India your family or your peer group dismisses the topic of Eve teasing. A vast number of women choose not to question it.

“We are in an environment where every girl has to protect herself in a public space. Women are made to feel that they are asking for it.”

The group holds silent demonstrations on the streets of Bangalore, holding posters and banners reading “Y R U LOOKING AT ME.”

So far, retributive violence is not being suggested, except in the comments section of the blog at the Blank Noise Project ( One can only guess what would be the response in say, Texas, if women were regularly subjected to this kind of harassment).

In addition to the omnipresent misogyny in India, and the stress put on women via dowries in marriage, there is a crucial problem that India must address if this corrosive issue is going to be resolved. Behavior is driven by many factors, and in this case, one can guess that part of the pressure behind the harassment is the growing scarcity of women to begin with. The demographics in India break down as follows:

Sex ratio —

 at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
 under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
 15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
 65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
 total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Notice that the ratio of men increases as children age. Evidently the mortality rate for girls increases with age. Compare the above to US demographics:

Sex ratio—

 at birth: 1.05 males/female
 under 15 years: 1.05 males/female
 15-64 years: 1 male/female
 65 years and over: 0.72 male/female
 total population: 0.97 male/female (2005)

In other words, it’s safer to be female in the US than it is in India.

The Times of India reported recently of a sting operation that snagged a number of female doctors who were practicing female foeticide in private clinics in India. It’s amazing to realize that female doctors would willingly collude in worsening the conditions for girl children in their country, but it’s been a long time since we’ve expected the medical profession to be in the vanguard upholding the cultural safeguards in our own country. Why should we expect Indian doctors to be any different? At any rate, the news report does not make clear what India’s legal code has to say about gender-specific abortions. Certainly abortion itself is legal, so parsing it along gender lines might be difficult to prosecute.

Which brings us back to the beginning of the story. Men in India target women on the street for a very physical kind of sexual harassment. Women are beginning to fight back, however tentatively. Meanwhile, many men are doomed to life without a helpmeet… unless, that is, they can rent one for awhile:

…prompted by a shortage of eligible single women, some poverty-stricken husbands in western India have gone to the extent of renting out their wives to other men on a monthly rate.

The local newspaper the Times of India reports that one man allowed his farm laborer wife, and mother of two, to stay with her boss for 8,000 rupees (175 dollars) a month. Many poor families and middlemen have also cashed in on the shortage of women by selling off their daughters to men in Gujarat, one of India’s wealthiest states.

The brokers dealing in the trade reportedly make up to 200,000 ($4,436) rupees a month from finding and selling wives to single men.

The paper doesn’t bother reporting the rates of female foeticide, infanticide, or dowry deaths. Just a typical MSM story: “prompted by a shortage of… women…” without bothering to tell you how the shortage occurred.

India is well known for the brilliance of its mathematicians. Goes to show you that intelligence has nothing to do with this, since individual decisions to kill girl babies continue to tunnel through the foundations on which a secure society rests, rotting it out from underneath.

China, another country known for the intelligence and industry of its populace, is equally well known for its female infanticide and the burgeoning population of single males with no hope of marriage or family. In fact, its demographics are even more depressing:

Sex ratio:

 at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
 under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
 15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
 65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
 total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

There doesn’t seem to be a solution on the horizon for either country. At least not one a humane person wants to contemplate. However, it would be well to contemplate the outcome for the world when the two countries in the world with the largest populations have millions of extra males to deal with. A recent study shows the effects of marriage and parenting on male testosterone levels:

PugilistsA man’s testosterone levels drop significantly when he holds an infant. Even holding a baby doll can decrease levels of the male virility hormone.

Married men, whether fathers or not, have markedly lower testosterone levels than single males, according to one of the first studies of how the hormone changes when men marry and become fathers. Results of the study, done by a team of Harvard University anthropologists, increase our knowledge of human biology and may have implications for so-called “male menopause.”

Researchers have long suspected that levels of the hormone largely responsible for fighting, competing, and mating decrease when men settle down and start a family. Other studies have shown that testosterone begins to decline shortly after marriage, but surges upward when unions end in divorce.

So what will India and China and any other large misogynist country or culture do with all those excess men?

Can you say “cannon fodder”?

19 comments:

Adaneshju said...

Japan is another country that is VERY infamous for subway gropings and the like. Blew my mind when I heard that--not at all the image of Japan I had, but a friend that lived in Japan for over a year confirmed that it's absolutely a huge problem.

Another interesting statistic to look at is literacy rates. Literacy rates in the non-West are quite frankly, awful--and especially for women. Countries like China (the worst in the world for selective abortions) that have fairly high literacy rates (IIRC China is over 90% literate) often have huge male-female literacy gaps. Equally true in India (the area of India that has achieved the highest literacy rates is the southern province of Kerala--notable for being Christian and Communist)

This is even more true in most middle eastern countries which in general have lower across the board literacy rates. In a pretty well-off country like Turkey, almost all men can read, yet only four out of every five women can read.

The Soviets actually did manage to do an amazingly good job with literacy, even in Muslim areas. Tajikistan, by far the poorest of the Central Asian former Soviet Republicans today has a 99% literacy rate for men and women. Compare that to neighboring Afghanistan..

Great post Dymphna.

ik said...

Several parts to the answer - too many things I could say

1. About the Wife beating cases
There is a section of Indian Law called IPC Section 498-A which basically says that as soon as a wife goes to the police and claims that she was being harassed for dowry the cops immediately put the husband and her entire family in jail (with no bail) for months. There are literally hundreds of cases of unscrupulous urban women misusing the act for blackmailing and harassing the husband and his family.

the anti-dowry law has been abused left, right and center. it is a creation of NGOs and feminazis. Instead of the purported beneficiaries of these draconian laws -- poor, rural, oppressed women -- in fact those who use these provisions are rich urban women who are looking to torment men.

The US State Department is aware of the misuse of this law by Indian women and has a travel advisory for men going to India to get married.

This section is non-bailable(you have to appear in court and get bail from the judge), non-compoundable (complaint can't be withdrawn) and cognizable (arrests without investigation or warrants). It is also based on "you shall be presumed guilty until you prove that you are innocent."

Judges themselves have pointed out that the law is discriminatory, stringent, unprecedented, exceptional and poorly formulated. The Supreme Court called this law "LEGAL TERRORISM". I call it Feminist Fatwa Law.

There is an organization called Sangyabalya in Bangalore to help men who are falsely accused.

There are several web sites and blogs dealing with misuse of 498A
http://www.498a.org/ (This site has a lot of information about this law)
http://498a.blogspot.com/
http://batteredmale.blogspot.com/ (not a nice site but has lots of related links)
This guy does not write well in English but he has a huge number of links of men who are trapped in these cases on the left hand side of his page under the heading Co-Satyagrahis

1, 2, 3

This by the way is how things end up when you listen to leftists to solve problems.

2. There is an Indian lady who compiled all the statistics for dowry deaths in India (men killing their wives for money) and all the cases of men killing their wives in the US for getting money from the Insurance company and found that the percentages were approximately equal - of course it is "classified" as a "cultural crime/misogyny" in India whereas in the US it is classified as "Insurance Fraud" - the wonders of playing word games by utilizing the amazing flexibility in the English language. She wrote a book about it - Dislocating Cultures by Professor Uma Narayan.
Excerpt

"Most Americans that I have talked to about dowry-murder know that many US women are killed by their partners as a result of domestic violence. Given that many members of the US public know that domestic violence has fatal forms, why is it that they make no connection between the "foreign" phenomenon of dowry-murder and the "familiar" phenomenon of domestic violence? What are the difficulties that stand in the way of this connection being made? I believe that part of the answer to this lies in the ways in which domestic violence agendas have developed in the United States, and their effects on the ways in which the term "domestic violence" is widely understood. Let me explain what I mean.

When I began looking through the articles in my files, and through several books that either wholly or partly address issues of domestic violence in the US, I did not come across any book or article that centrally focused on US women murdered as a result of domestic violence (even thought I found a fair amount of writing on legal issues pertaining to women who killed their batterers). In all of the American "domestic violence" readings I initially went through as I began writing this piece, I found no data about the number of women who are annually killed as a result of domestic violence, though I found plenty of other kinds of data on facets of domestic violence such as injuries or homelessness. None of the several American feminist friends I called knew off hand roughly how many women were killed by their partners each year in the US. Nor could they find this figure easily when they went through their collections of books and articles on the subject. We were all struck by the fact that it was quite difficult for any of us to find this particular piece of data, and also struck by the degree to which deaths resulting from domestic violence have not been much focused upon in US literature on domestic violence. A friend who participated in my search for the numbers of US women annually killed by their partners commented that she was surprised at the difference between the "disappearing dead women" in US accounts of domestic violence and the "spectacular visibility" of women murdered over dowry in India" (p. 89).


Here is a article which somewhat covers this issue

3. I would love to get some decent statistics from India about violence against women as a percentage of the population. Here are some numbers for many European countries including Spain and France
"For European women aged 16-44 violence in the home is the primary cause of injury and death, more lethal than road accidents and cancer. Between 25% and 50% of women are victims of this violence. In Portugal 52.8% of women say that they have been violently treated by their husbands or partners. In Germany almost 300 women a year - or three women every four days - are killed by men with whom they used to live. In Britain one woman dies in similar circumstances every three days. In Spain it is one every four days. In France six women die this way every month: 33% of them are knifed, 33% shot, 20% strangled and 10% beaten (1). In the 15 member states of the European Union (before enlargement to 25), more than 600 women die every year because of sexist brutality in the family (2)."
I did not write this to offend Europeans - My belief is that violence against women is a global SOCIAL problem - trying to exoticise it does no good to anyone - The key point is whether the authority figures (government/judges/priests etc.) in the society officially approve of violence against women or not. The other option would be to set up a 1984 like state with telescreens in each house to monitor everyone all the time.

4. About the sex ratios - I agree it is a problem at this point in time. In my eyes in a culture which has polygamy there is an artificially created sex ratio problem (40 men and 40 women - 10 men marry 40 women so 30 men are left high and dry;) ). I would like to see a SINGLE feminist web site which talks about sex ratios in India and China also talking about sex ratio poblem created by Islam artificially. - or is it that the sites which happily discuss India and China do not discuss the sex ratio problem created by polygamy out of "respect" for Islam. (no not dymphna's web site)

5. about the groping it happens because the cities are extremely crowded - why do people do it? - because they can get away with it (What happens when the lights go out in NYC?). If you try it in a rural area or in a less crowded place you will get thrashed severely by the public -
"This time, Bridget raised a ruckus, waking up sleeping passengers who grabbed Mishra and gave him a good thrashing."

No I am not going to argue with anyone about what I wrote above (how do you say it - I will take my reply off the air;)) Take it or leave it or take parts of it.

I hope I did not offend anyone - apologize in advance. If someone can prove that any of the data given above is false I will gladly withdraw the offending statement.

ik said...

By the way - I have not read Uma Narayan's book that I referred to above - just picked up stuff from around the web - so do take that fact into account.

The_Editrix said...

"In other words, it’s safer to be female in the US than it is in India."

[sarcasm] I guess that's why there are so many feminists in America and so few in India! [/sarcasm]


"My belief is that violence against women is a global SOCIAL problem - trying to exoticise it does no good to anyone -"

"about the groping it happens because the cities are extremely crowded - why do people do it? - because they can get away with it (What happens when the lights go out in NYC?)."

Here we have two nice little bits of cultural relativism.

I used to be a regular on three public transport systems, namely the tube in Munich, the railway/tube network in the large industrial Ruhr area in West Germany and the London Undergound and never have I been groped once.

And no, I am not old or ugly or at least I wasn't then. I have been groped once in a crowd in my life, that was at the beer-laden Munich Oktoberfest.

I doubt that it would be much different in America, the country where men are afraid to ride in a lift alone together with a woman for fear of a sexual harassment suit.

As far as the "domestic violence" goes, it's a two-way-street. Men are just not into dumping, have no network of enraged masculinist friends who listen ("there there, I can relate to that...") and stand beside them. And even if they WOULD dump, would the world listen? Lorena Bobbit is a hero, her husband... a joke.

The feminist American society has managed to emasculate its male population, at least the educated classes.

What other country could have produced a monster like Patsy Ramsey? What other country has anything comparable to the perverted beauty peagant and prom cult? You are not telling me that men have invented such an obscene carnival of vanity?

And in India little girls are denied medical care and left to die because they are girls.

"Global social problem" my behind!

Dymphna said...

Editrix-

I agree with some of what you say...however, I would still maintain that US abortions are not yet gender-specific and thus we do not have the disproportionate #of unattached males.

What we do have in the underclass is men who do not stay around to raise their children and that is a serious problem with many consequences. But it is not the point of my post.

I know the details of domestic violence intimately, first as a victim in my early adulthood, and then as a counselor of battered women (and occasionally men) for eight years.

I know when a woman is most likely to get killed, and when she is safest. I've sat with women in court who have killed their abusers, I've been in chambers for women who are so disfigured by their partner's violence that the judge mercifully held the hearing away from public display.

The numbers of men being abused are actually dropping precipitously. The #s for women haven't dropped nearly so much.

Here's a pdf file with the stats on partner homicide:Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics Online

It covers the years from 1976 to 2004.

The most interesting totals were the comparisons between the first and last years. In 1976, there were 1,596 female fatalities and 1,348 male. In 2004, the picture changed dramatically: 1,159 females died as a result of partner violence, while only 385 men suffered the same fate.

I worked in domestic violence for eight years. I was part of the push to change the laws to give women in this country more legal protection and to educate families and communities on the best ways to help women caught in the situation.

I agree that men feel emasculated, and that radical feminism is largely to blame. But what do men do when they feel emasculated and estranged? They take it out on their intimate partners. Their frustration and feelings of impotence are powerful parts of the dynamic. Hard wiring doesn't go away just because the culture twists things.

And while the US produced a monster like Ramsey, that kind of thing goes on in every culture: using the tools of the culture to promote children in damaging ways.

The US, for example, doesn't have anywhere near the number of child prostitutes as,say, Thailand -- where a colleague of mine works trying to get kids off the streets and into some kind of normal environment where they are not preyed upon.

And look at Germany and the importation of prostitutes for the World Cup. That couldn't happen here...IOW, each country and culture has its sexual problems.

However, my concern in this post is the fate of women in countries where girl babies are systematically eliminated, leaving a cohort of single males who will grow up without a chance to have a wife, family, or real adult attachments. No wonder they run thru the streets grabbing body parts.

Dymphna said...

ik--

For numbers, please see the pdf file in my comment above. It's quite informative, much more so than my bare totals indicate.

About 1300 women die in domestic violence disputes every year. They are partly responsible in that they cannot muster the courage to leave, or the hope that they can successfully escape, or they have been pummeled into believing its their fault.

Having counseled about 3,000 battered women in my time -- some of whom died, one of whom murdered her abuser -- I know the intimate details of abuse all too well.

As for women who have their husbands jailed in India -- the problem couldn't exist without the a priori problem of those 8,800 dowry deaths every year. Those are real, and they have consequences for the larger population. You'd think with the female shortage already in existence, there would be interest in making sure more of them lived to begin with.

Polygamy is not the main problem, ik. Female foeticide and infanticide and dowry deaths is the problem. Not to mention female suicide among the educated classes. LOOK AT THE STATISTICS FOR INDIA -- there are fewer females across the board. And that is not because they are being kept in polygamous marriages somewhere. There just aren't as many to begin with...same with China.

Murdered women in the US don't disappear, despite what your comments say. The newspaper reports are numerous. Some who do disappear through serial killings don't show up for years, but I'm concerned with domestic disputes that lead to murder, and they are quite well-publicized and the records are kept by local police departments and passed on to the Department of Justice.

In fact, it's much easier to find state statistics on google than it is to find national totals since states have DV programs that monitor this kind of information very carefully. They have to: their funding depends on keeping accurate records.

In fact, the Baron wrote one of the first computer programs for our local shelter (at my request, since I was working there and needed to reduce my paperwork reporting). We kept track of admissions to the shelter, types of violence, disposition of each case, and also the number of DV deaths (men or women) in any given quarter. These were sent on to the state government, which kept the stats yearly and passed them up to the federal level.

The police dept. did the same thing, as did the Commonwealth Attorneys office. Not all women sought legal redress, and not all of them sought criminal proceedings -- some of it was civil damages. Their #s were always lower than ours since we were providing refuge and counseling on options.

However, we did work together on legal cases, and our shelter was part of a movement to have mandatory arrests in cases where they suspected assault had taken place. And they didn't always just assume it was the man's assault, either.

However, I return to my original thesis: female foeticide, infanticide, and dowry deaths are causing deep cultural divides in those countries which practice them. And it leaves gangs of unattached, lonely males who cause violent trouble.

Don't you wonder if there is a connection between the rise of jihadist movements and the surplus males? What if it was the opposite and there weren't enough men to go around...do you think groups of single women would be terrorizing the countryside?

Just a thought experiment.

ScottSA said...

Forgive me for being flippant, but I couldn't help chuckling at this:

"The group holds silent demonstrations on the streets of Bangalore, holding posters and banners reading “Y R U LOOKING AT ME.”

Y R U holding a demonstration if you don't want to be looked at? This is rather like an actor on stage berating the audience for impolite staring.

ScottSA said...

Another point: Your population stats for the US [65 years and over: 0.72 male/female], interpreted by using the same logic, could mean that almost 30% of males over 65 are being done away with by their female spouses.

Dymphna said...

scottsa-

Ithink the point of the sign is to make very clear what's going on...

They also have a clothesline strung out with various items of clothing women were wearing when assaulted. A range of old jerseys, regular dresses, etc -- to make the point that they weren't dressed "provocatively" when the assault took place.

I'm guessing, but I think the point of the sign is to induce shame and the hope is that this will cut down on some of the grabs and gropes.

I can say with feeling that enduring this kind of chronic physical encounter is traumatizing. I was in an environment for some months where it happened constantly. Not every single man did that -- maybe 1 in 10, but I just never knew when the next "grab" was going to happen, or from which direction, or which part of my body it would involve. Sometimes it hurt, sometimes it was just creepy...but believe me, it does a job on your head. You become hypervigilant and filled with dread...

As for your second comment, that's cruel. Howo many lonely, elderly widows have you met who are pining for their dead husbands? That's not even close to funny.

Dymphna said...

adaneshju--

The lack of literacy for females may have some connection, but the rates of suicide for women in India is higher the among college-educated females than it is the illiterate.

Any conclusions on that would be conjecture at this point.

Andrewdb said...

My grandmother used to say that hat pins (some of them 8 inches long) were VERY useful for self defense.

Mihir Shah said...

Why did you display the "Examining the plight of women under Islam" picture in this post? India isn't an Islamic country - yet.

Jamie Irons said...

Dymphna,

I'm a big fan of Gates of Vienna and of your posts in particular, but I have to say I was surprised at this statement in its context:

[The Times of India] reported recently of a sting operation that snagged a number of female doctors who were practicing female foeticide in private clinics in India. It’s amazing to realize that female doctors would willingly collude in worsening the conditions for girl children in their country, but it’s been a long time since we’ve expected the medical profession to be in the vanguard upholding the cultural safeguards in our own country. Why should we expect Indian doctors to be any different?

Now, you are reporting on a terrible situation affecting the women of India, and are trying to find an explanation for it. So far so good. You go to a report on a practice of foeticide (I think you are referring to so-called "therapeutic" abortion, but I'm not sure because the Times of India article doesn't make it very clear), but, be that as it may, somehow you drag in the American medical profession, broadly defined, I guess, and fault them for "[not being] in the vaguard upholding cultural safeguards in our own country..."

What? There are many physicians who are passionately involved in (for example) resisting the "pro choice" movement, who refuse to practice in hospitals where abortions are performed, and so on. In this country, for better or for worse, medicine does not speak with a single voice. (I think that is a good thing.) The AMA, for example, represents a minority of doctors.

But most individual physicians are more or less, in my experience, on the side of the angels.

Jamie Irons

ik said...

I just happened to visit the "Blank Noise" web site - it is run by out and out moonbats. If I had seen it earlier...
Here is one of the contributors "Chinmayee"'s personal blog

Why the hell isn't anyone stopping Israel's indiscriminate, horrific bombing of Lebanon? Has the world gone collectively blind, deaf and dumb? While Britain hums and haws, the US has maintained a terrifying silence. Where's the cowboy and his 'we'll smoke 'em out' bravado while Lebanese are dying like flies? Oh, of course, it's Israel now, isn't it. Let's just be a little indulgent of the scarred child, we don't want to traumatise it further now, do we?

Her are the "Links I Need" from another member of the site "Mangs"
* Guardian
* IBN Live
* Indian Express (check out spindianexpress.blogspot.com)
* NYT
* Telegraph
* The Hindu (run by an open Maoist called N. Ram)

Dymphna said...

Jamie Irons--

Ya got me. That was an uncalled-for swipe at American docs in general. I should have stuck with the ones from my personal experience, some of whom are anything but pro-life, not to mention the scum at the Guttmacher Institute who admit they lied to get Roe v Wade passed.

And I will admit my personal bias against the medical profession when it comes to the needless surgery, harm, and indifference that docs visited on my family of origin and on my children. All in the name of accepted medical practice, too. One of my grown children died while awaiting a settlement from negligent and abusive hospital staff. Of course, once the complaining patient is dead, she can't testify, so no settlement.

OTOH, I have an excellent internist, but I have to be my own advocate with her. As much as she tries to keep up, some of the things she has recommended for me would have been harmful. And some were useless. But she's the best diagnostician I know and she's dedicated to her patients.

I know a psychiatrist who sees really marginal people for free and uses the big pharma people who come to his door to squeeze every bit of free medication he can from them -- which he then dispenses to his poorer patients. When I asked him why he did this, he said he was making obscene amounts of money and he felt obliged to make sure that some of those who would otherwise fall thru the cracks get some help. He goes out of his way...

I could give you more horror stories from my own personal experience but I'll spare you. Let's just say medicine is not what it used to be and as a result the men and women coming in are not as sharp as they were a generation ago. The sharp ones go into business or research. IMHO.

But nonetheless, you were right about my remark.

Dymphna said...

ik--

These people could well be raving lunatics, but that's was never my point. I didn't check their political credentials, just their anecdotal experience of being chronically sexually assaulted.

I used their problem to make the point about the Law of Unintended Consequences when you abort girl babies in overwhelming numbers.

It doesn't appear that you get the point of my post, which is the serious ramifications of having a very large cohort of unattached and sexually frustrated young males.

If you check out the demographics in the comment I made to the Editrix, you'll find some strange numbers. For example, among the Christians in India, the females outnumber the males. In general, this ratio *should* be lopsided in favor of females. As any pediatrician can tell you, male fetuses and babies have a higher mortality rate if you do not interfere with nature.

The_Editrix said...

Dymphna, I am humbled by your hands-on experience with battered women and of course I exaggerated to make my point.

But there are two things I'd still like to challenge:

"I would still maintain that US abortions are not yet gender-specific..."

I predict that if feminism gets more clout you will soon have sex-specific abortions of male foetuses.

"And look at Germany and the importation of prostitutes for the World Cup. That couldn't happen here...IOW, each country and culture has its sexual problems."

Here, we see prostitution not as the problem, but as the solution. That is, if the prostitutes are doing their job voluntarily and aren't minors, which most of them do/are. Here, they pay taxes and get health insurance, as it should be.

I have found that the cross-cultural gap between Europe/Germany and America is well nigh insurmountable when it comes to sexuality.

But all that carries us too far away from the original topic.

The_Editrix said...

Dymphna, I am humbled by your hands-on experience with battered women and of course I exaggerated to make my point.

But there are two things I'd still like to challenge:

"I would still maintain that US abortions are not yet gender-specific..."

I predict that if feminism gets more clout you will soon have sex-specific abortions of male foetuses.

"And look at Germany and the importation of prostitutes for the World Cup. That couldn't happen here...IOW, each country and culture has its sexual problems."

Here, we see prostitution not as the problem, but as the solution. That is, if the prostitutes are doing their job voluntarily and aren't minors, which most of them do/are. Here, they pay taxes and get health insurance, as it should be.

I have found that the cross-cultural gap between Europe/Germany and America is well nigh insurmountable when it comes to sexuality.

But all that carries us too far away from the original topic.

Dymphna said...

Editrix--

Roger Scuton's essay(subscription) on prostitution, "Old Profession, New Toleration", which appears in the June 19th National Review is much in keeping with my ideas re the mind/body/spirit continuum and the fact that we cannot, however much we may think so, "use" our bodies -- they are us and therefore not open to our instrumental designs.

His ideas are closely aligned to Gabriel Marcel's (French post-war philosopher)notions about our confusion between problems needing solutions and the ineffable mystery of our incarnate reality.

There are malign ways we can use our bodies, minds, and spirits, and ways we can damage those of others. The "exchange" between prostitute and user is not a value-neutral exchange. It has in it, as Scuton says, a measure of contempt. If anyone wants to test the reality of this, then contemplate what meaning it would have for you to know that your mother is a prostitute. How does that change her perceived reality for you? Has she become less a person and more a commodity? Does this fact of her life make her more depersonalized? You are flesh of her flesh. Does the use to which she puts her flesh as a prostitute change your relationship to your own body? These are simply thought experiments.

The number of women who are kdinapped into prostitution as children, unwillingly and without escape, is surely one of our great present-day scandals. They are hauled in from villages in Eastern Europe, sometimes as young as eight. They are disposable and at some point, beyond redeeming to a full life.

The number of women who "willingly" become prostitutes are almost without exception victims of repeated sexual abuse as children. They dismiss their abuse as something that didn't hurt them and as a small matter. It's hard to say which comes first: the prostitution or the drug abuse.

There have been studies done on female prisoners that report a 90 to 95 percent sexual abuse rate before the age of 14. Sexual abuse before this age actually causes brain changes, permanent ones.

Sexual promiscuity of any sort has a higher price than we realize. Vaginal cancer, which used to be rare, is becoming more commonplace. One of the risks associated with it is multiple sexual partners. Funny how nature keeps things in balance. There are simply some things we are technologically informed about, but we often have little of the underlying knowledge that makes such information useful. We know price; we are ignorant of value.

As for abortion in America, I don't think the gender choices parents will make with carrying fetuses to term will be unbalanced. There is no particular preference until children are older...and many people like the "one boy/one girl" idea. Americans don't tend to have one child families, though it's more common than it was.

On awful thing in America is partial birth abortions. I will never understand the moral universe of someone -- doctor or mother -- who would allow the dismemberment of otherwise viable babies while they are still in the womb. The US may be the only country in the world which allows partial-birth abortions and these are a perfect example of the triumph of technology over knowledge. Termination in the 8th month, while couples literally beg for children.

The ABC link between early term abortions and breast cancer (in women whose maternal relatives carry either of the BRCA genes) has been well-established by now. But women are not informed of this when they discover they're pregnant and go in for "reproductive counseling" -- so they end up with their legs in stirrups and it's all over...in the last few years, some young women have successfully sued abortion clinics for withholding this information and have gone on to develop breast cancer. There is a very high correlation between BRCA and becoming pregnant without carrying at least one baby to full term. The sudden interruption of the pregnancy causes a hormonal cascade that sets up a genetically disposed woman to be quite likely to develop breast cancer.