Values, societal norms and standards of behavior certainly vary from one religion, culture and civilization to another. But, there is a part of me that believes that some things should be recognized as self-evident truths to all mankind, and one of these truths is that there should be a complete and total prohibition on child molestation, sex trafficking and statutory rape, to name just some abusive behaviors still condoned in some parts of the world.
I have interviewed several experts who testify to these deviancies, including that which is still acceptable in certain Middle East countries which sanction marriages between middle-aged men and girls as young as eight years of age, as well as abusive relationships between men and boys. Recently, one of the legislative bodies in Iran was debating a bill that would allow men to marry their step-daughters, even though there is no cultural history or tradition that would suggest this is normal behavior.
I am inclined to condemn the cultures that still permit these practices as barbaric and evil, but while discussing this Iranian legislation on the show, I had to ruminate on the fact that as progressive as we might wish to think of ourselves here in America, we have Woody Allen! And, Hollywood still roots for the return of Roman Polanski. Our country, and the State of California, in particular, is the porn capital of the world. Americans also comprise more than their fair share of deviants visiting countries in the Orient in order to abuse child sex workers.
Since most of the abuse is aimed at women and young girls, it makes one wonder why isn’t the feminist movement here in America raising a hue and cry over this? Moreover, why didn’t Hillary Clinton make these issues tantamount to other concerns in her travels and discussions with world leaders while serving as our Secretary of State? Is it not important?
I have done many shows illustrating women’s suffering in this world, including forced abortions and sterilizations, along with the sadistic acid attacks on women for refusing marriage proposals, and the widespread ban on girls receiving the right to an education. Then there are those countries who prosecute and punish rape victims with whippings and even death as if they are to blame for their having been violated.
I personally believe these issues are crucially important as this constitutes a real war on women. Comparing the plight of these young girls and women around the world, I consider the American version of the war on women as nothing more than a politically expedient contrivance, including the latest machinations such as whether birth control should be entirely free or the existence of glass ceilings in the workplace.
Ronald Reagan courageously called the Russian Empire an evil empire and challenged Gorbachev to tear down the wall. It is high time we make it our political and moral priority and imperative to protect women and children throughout the world from these various forms of exploitation, abuse and oppression.
This column was first published in the Santa Barbara News Press.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.