January 12, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

Thank you, India, for reminding us about cultural relativism

…and what a crock it is, was, and always will be. Human rights are universal, especially the right to be free from violence. If religion was a refuge for the cowardly criminals that raped and murdered the female student in Dehli, women would be out protesting in support of the defence lawyer. That person (guess the gender) said the victim should not have been out at night. Just another way of saying ‘she asked for it’.

Is that why no one helped the couple for nearly two hours after they were thrown naked from the bus? What cultural attitudes does that reveal about the capital of what could be a great democracy? To their credit, a large group of lawyers refused to defend the accused group.

A ‘spiritual guru’ (the devil may also lay claim to this description) has also gone on record saying that she would have been saved if she had ‘chanted  God’s name’.

The whole sick episode makes me want to find some cross-cultural research on violence against women: is there less or more in permissive societies such as ours, where women can flaunt themselves in gear that many would equate with prostitution? Or do places where women are compelled to cover up totally and not leave home without male assent really protect women? I have a good guess what the findings would be.

Cultural ‘norms’ often exist just to justify control, power over the weak, and irresponsible lack of care.

Let us insist that such cultural norms never become tolerated in Australia.

Have Indian leaders in Australia made this clear?

And let’s never forget about the 13 year old who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for seeking the right to an education. She is alive, and rescued, for now, but death threats against her and her family continue.

In San Francisco it is apparently not illegal to sit naked in cafes (as long as you place a handkerchief on the seat, for hygiene).

Copying this practice, like dressing up in sexy revealing gear, is not something I aspire to (I’m too old for it to be fun for anyone).

But I will proclaim loudly and long the right for women and everyone else to do as they wish when it doesn’t hurt others, and be free from violent attacks because they dare to use the streets and public transport that should be guaranteed safe.

Hurrah for all those in India, males as well as females, who have stood up and called for an end to this violence.

Time for the law to assert basic human rights.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 11:34 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. The Delhi rape (there’s been another elsewhere since) is a complete disgrace on any standard, in any culture, whatever “relativism” might be applied.

    It is vital that we separate conceptions of common sense (don’t be half naked in public is a good starting point) from the blame that attaches to those who perpetrate criminal acts.

    I don’t care what culture the offenders in the Delhi case oozed out of. They are scum. And so are any who seek to justify or defray the culpability of those offenders.

    Comment by Richard Laidlaw — January 14, 2013 @ 8:44 am

  2. The root of the problem in India is in the past all girl children were aborted or killed. Now the society it left with a lot of very frustrated young men with no hope of a female partner. The whole society is in a sexual cricis.Those that can afford to leave India and go where females are more avaiable. The other problem is men have never learned to control their sexual urges in Muslem countries. They blame women for this by way of what they wear and restrict them access to education, work and entertainnment. This is a question of control and power OVER women.

    Comment by Mary J — January 14, 2013 @ 11:58 am

  3. sounds like sufficient reason to a) legalise prostitution and b) de-stigmatise sex outside marriage.

    But then what would be left for religion to control?

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 14, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

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