Men Getting Away with Rape as an Everyday Occurrence in South Asia

Throughout South Asia, women face rape at the hands of men who will almost certainly get away with it.  Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for Ms Magazine writes of one case in particular (worth clicking to read the whole article):

It is in this fraught atmosphere of political intrigue and crushing human need that Magdalene Ashraf worked as a nurse trainee. A member of the Catholic religious minority in Pakistan, 23-year-old Ashraf was receiving nursing training with the hope of obtaining a permanent job. She was on duty July 13 when a fellow nursing student, Sajida Fatima, approached her with a lead on a job. According to a statement given by Ashraf to the police, Fatima asked her to accompany her to Mess 96, a housing area for doctors, under the pretext of meeting two doctors who could help her with her career. It was outside this apartment complex that Ashraf was found hours later, lying face down and bleeding, her clothes torn and her body bruised.

She was treated for subdural hemorrhage–bleeding under the skull–and remained unconscious for two days. When she finally regained consciousness and was able to give a statement, she described the events leading up to her gang rape. When she and her friend reached the apartment, Dr. Abdul Jabbar Memon, a medical legal officer at the hospital, was present along with the two other doctors. Ashraf’s friend soon disappeared, leaving her with the three doctors, who then proceeded to brutally rape her. Witnesses reported seeing her being tossed from the balcony apartment onto the street.

The aftermath of Ashraf’s harrowing ordeal has been shocking. First, even as fellow trainee nurses protested against the rape and harassment of nurse trainees by doctors, the police made few efforts to register a report, begin an investigation or apprehend two of the accused men who had fled the scene. The room where the rape took place was not sealed as a crime scene for days. Jabar, the chief culprit, was arrested, but rape charges weren’t added to the police report until after the media began reporting on the case.

But this lack of justice for the victims of rape is not something that happens only in Pakistan.  Women in India and Bangladesh also face a criminal justice system stacked against them.  For example, Dalit women in India who are raped face a judicial system that weighs against he poor, unless it becomes a story in the media.  Let’s hope that the perpetrators of this rape will receive the punishment that they deserve for destroying the life of Magdalene Ashraf.

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42 thoughts on “Men Getting Away with Rape as an Everyday Occurrence in South Asia

  1. The Sri Lanka entry in the 2009 U.S. State Department human rights report said this about rape in Sri Lanka: "The law prohibits rape and domestic violence but it was not effectively enforced. Sexual assault, rape, and spousal abuse were pervasive societal problems." See http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136

  2. The Sri Lanka entry in the 2009 U.S. State Department human rights report said this about rape in Sri Lanka: "The law prohibits rape and domestic violence but it was not effectively enforced. Sexual assault, rape, and spousal abuse were pervasive societal problems." See http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136

  3. The Sri Lanka entry in the 2009 U.S. State Department human rights report said this about rape in Sri Lanka: "The law prohibits rape and domestic violence but it was not effectively enforced. Sexual assault, rape, and spousal abuse were pervasive societal problems." See http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136

  4. In Sri Lanka the situation is getting upside down. The rape laws to protect women are continuously abusing to hunt down and silence the men. The most recent incidents are the false rape charges against the District Medical officer of the Chelany Hospital, A false rape charges against an Appeal Court Judge in Sri Lanka and the False rape charges against three officers in Buttala police by an Army deserted pregnant woman soldier.

  5. Jim: you are absolutely right about the lack of enforcement of rape in Sri Lanka as well.

  6. In Sri Lanka the situation is getting upside down. The rape laws to protect women are continuously abusing to hunt down and silence the men. The most recent incidents are the false rape charges against the District Medical officer of the Chelany Hospital, A false rape charges against an Appeal Court Judge in Sri Lanka and the False rape charges against three officers in Buttala police by an Army deserted pregnant woman soldier.

  7. Jim: you are absolutely right about the lack of enforcement of rape in Sri Lanka as well.

  8. @ Shyaman
    Just because false rape charges have occurred does not mean that laws to protect women against this kind of abuse should be ignored. We need to begin to realize that what affects the woman affects ourselves – women are the centres of community in many societies and of families culturally and biologically. There will always be few that try to abuse the laws but this does not take away from the fact that they are necessary and essential. This story is a clear indication of that necessity.

  9. ‎@Rafia Zakaria: Let me correct you, if you will read the stats you will find that the maximum number of rapes are happening in Western and Developed nations and not in South ASIA.

    Going by facts:

    At the top is USA, South Africa, Canada and Australia… so… don't say that its happening in South Asia…the source of this info is :
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-r

    Of course wherever it happens its a bad thing, but don't give wrong info to people…It is happening more in well civilized, educated and rich nations….

  10. ‎@Rafia Zakaria: Let me correct you, if you will read the stats you will find that the maximum number of rapes are happening in Western and Developed nations and not in South ASIA.

    Going by facts:

    At the top is USA, South Africa, Canada and Australia… so… don't say that its happening in South Asia…the source of this info is :
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-r

    Of course wherever it happens its a bad thing, but don't give wrong info to people…It is happening more in well civilized, educated and rich nations….

  11. ‎@Rafia Zakaria: Let me correct you, if you will read the stats you will find that the maximum number of rapes are happening in Western and Developed nations and not in South ASIA.

    Going by facts:

    At the top is USA, South Africa, Canada and Australia… so… don't say that its happening in South Asia…the source of this info is :
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-r

    Of course wherever it happens its a bad thing, but don't give wrong info to people…It is happening more in well civilized, educated and rich nations….

  12. @ Shyaman
    Just because false rape charges have occurred does not mean that laws to protect women against this kind of abuse should be ignored. We need to begin to realize that what affects the woman affects ourselves – women are the centres of community in many societies and of families culturally and biologically. There will always be few that try to abuse the laws but this does not take away from the fact that they are necessary and essential. This story is a clear indication of that necessity.

  13. @ Chittranjan…I believe you are confusinng reporting of rapes with occurence of rape…one explanation for the higher statistics you mention is that rape is rarely reported in South Asia since authorities are so unlikely to take action and social norms blame the victim instead of the accused.

  14. ‎@Rafia Zakaria: Let me correct you, if you will read the stats you will find that the maximum number of rapes are happening in Western and Developed nations and not in South ASIA.

    Going by facts:

    At the top is USA, South Africa, Canada and Australia… so… don’t say that its happening in South Asia…the source of this info is :

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-rapes

    Of course wherever it happens its a bad thing, but don’t give wrong info to people…It is happening more in well civilized, educated and rich nations….

  15. Rafia is right ,and the reason for not
    reporting is because the victim knows
    that the system over there will not provide
    justice ,and she and her family will suffer
    more harassment (you can see what's happenig
    to Magdeline Ashraf,even though she has
    media and also people like Rafia on her side).
    I think it is not about number of rapes but
    about the number of women who get justice
    after reporting it.

  16. @ Chittranjan…I believe you are confusinng reporting of rapes with occurence of rape…one explanation for the higher statistics you mention is that rape is rarely reported in South Asia since authorities are so unlikely to take action and social norms blame the victim instead of the accused.

  17. What's terrible about this case is that even WITH media attention, there is still no justice.

  18. Rafia is right ,and the reason for not
    reporting is because the victim knows
    that the system over there will not provide
    justice ,and she and her family will suffer
    more harassment (you can see what’s happenig
    to Magdeline Ashraf,even though she has
    media and also people like Rafia on her side).
    I think it is not about number of rapes but
    about the number of women who get justice
    after reporting it.

  19. What’s terrible about this case is that even WITH media attention, there is still no justice.

  20. This is a very sad situation,lets assume the other culprits are acting out of ignorance due to there lack of knowlegde or implications that goes with rapeing to victims in terms of physical , physicological and emotional trauma,what of this so called educated doctors whose duty was to protect the lives of victims like Ashraf.One thing about all these nation that examples were used as a cased study of rapeing in the article is that,they have a lot of religional and cultural laws that put restrictions on women rights,these situation makes it hard for women to be protected since there rights are denied.I'ts high time the United nation armnesty international put pressure on these contries to amend some of the constitution that deprive women there fundamental human rights.

  21. This is a very sad situation,lets assume the other culprits are acting out of ignorance due to there lack of knowlegde or implications that goes with rapeing to victims in terms of physical , physicological and emotional trauma,what of this so called educated doctors whose duty was to protect the lives of victims like Ashraf.One thing about all these nation that examples were used as a cased study of rapeing in the article is that,they have a lot of religional and cultural laws that put restrictions on women rights,these situation makes it hard for women to be protected since there rights are denied.I’ts high time the United nation armnesty international put pressure on these contries to amend some of the constitution that deprive women there fundamental human rights.

  22. This is an appalling tale of rape. That it was committed by doctors (placed in a position of trust) is even more foul. I wonder if they'll be executed if caught and convicted?

    Your headline should be titled Men Getting Away with Rape as an Everyday Occurrence in Great Britain

    Why just pick on Asia? Is it to allow Jim (Cluster Bomb) McDonald to continue smear Sri Lanka? After AI failed to 'get' SL at the UNHRC vote and spurious war crimes allegations, I suppose a generalised 'rape' smear is just as effective.

    In SL, as in all other countries, there's rape, child molestation, general sexual violence etc. All appalling crimes and all to be pursued with utmost vigour to prosecute the offenders.

    Here are some interesting stats about men getting away with rape in the UK. "….The government estimates that as many as 95% of rapes are never reported to the police at all. Of the rapes that were reported from 2007 to 2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction, compared with 34% of criminal cases in general."

    Japan has a conviction rate of 99.9%, and China has a conviction rate of about 98% and even better, they execute the worst offenders.

    e.g. "..a former lawmaker from Henan province was executed by the local intermediate court (August 2008). 62 year-old Wu Tianxi was sentenced to death for raping 24 underage girls in less than two years."

    Wow! Say what you will about the China's 'human rights' record, but that guy won't be doing any more raping. China also executes corrupt bankers.

    I've yet to see any appreciative press releases from AI about China's 'interesting' policy of executing their worst rapists. But I realise that AI doesn't approve of capital punishment.

  23. This is an appalling tale of rape. That it was committed by doctors (placed in a position of trust) is even more foul. I wonder if they’ll be executed if caught and convicted?

    Your headline should be titled Men Getting Away with Rape as an Everyday Occurrence in Great Britain

    Why just pick on Asia? Is it to allow Jim (Cluster Bomb) McDonald to continue smear Sri Lanka? After AI failed to ‘get’ SL at the UNHRC vote and spurious war crimes allegations, I suppose a generalised ‘rape’ smear is just as effective.

    In SL, as in all other countries, there’s rape, child molestation, general sexual violence etc. All appalling crimes and all to be pursued with utmost vigour to prosecute the offenders.

    Here are some interesting stats about men getting away with rape in the UK. “….The government estimates that as many as 95% of rapes are never reported to the police at all. Of the rapes that were reported from 2007 to 2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction, compared with 34% of criminal cases in general.”

    Japan has a conviction rate of 99.9%, and China has a conviction rate of about 98% and even better, they execute the worst offenders.

    e.g. “..a former lawmaker from Henan province was executed by the local intermediate court (August 2008). 62 year-old Wu Tianxi was sentenced to death for raping 24 underage girls in less than two years.”

    Wow! Say what you will about the China’s ‘human rights’ record, but that guy won’t be doing any more raping. China also executes corrupt bankers.

    I’ve yet to see any appreciative press releases from AI about China’s ‘interesting’ policy of executing their worst rapists. But I realise that AI doesn’t approve of capital punishment.

  24. "Why just pick on Asia ?" the above commentor asks.

    Some question.

    Problems are always tackled specifically, NEVER generally.

    And if your country's system is critiqued, & all you can do is only point at OTHER lousy examples, one wonders what kind of standards you keep.

    Apparently yet unsurprisingly, China's outstandingly high execution rate is the above speaker's admired model.

  25. “Why just pick on Asia ?” the above commentor asks.

    Some question.

    Problems are always tackled specifically, NEVER generally.

    And if your country’s system is critiqued, & all you can do is only point at OTHER lousy examples, one wonders what kind of standards you keep.

    Apparently yet unsurprisingly, China’s outstandingly high execution rate is the above speaker’s admired model.

  26. @ a. savage:
    English comprehension isn't your strong point, so, I'll try to explain my critique of this post in simple sentences.

    You say:"Problems are always tackled specifically, NEVER generally."

    If only the writer of this post had listened to you.

    He used the words 'South Asia'. That is a general description covering countries ranging from India to Pakistan, Bangladesh to Sri Lanka.

    I used a specific description specific and used just one country, Great Britain. Therefore, I was being specific.

    The writer disapproved of the fact that men were getting away with rape in many South Asian countries.

    I provided examples of countries (Japan & China) where men were not getting away with rape, quite so easily. In China, not all rapists are executed, but the conviction rate for rapists is 15 times better than the UK.

    Neither the writer nor you say whether China's rape conviction rate example is a good or bad thing.

    Consider this a free lesson in reading and comprehension. Next time, you'll be charged $10 per lesson.

  27. My heart goes out to Magdeline and her story is one many women suffer universally. All points and comments brought up ask valid and hard questions, as well as bring awareness to the global issue of violence against women. It's no secret that globally we live in "she-deserved-it-society" (or he/she also deserved it if they happen to be gay/bi/effeminate/transgender) which empowers predators to not only justify their actions but to feel entitled to violently hurt someone else.

    Woman are presented and accepted by the majority in society as somehow sub-human/inferior/here to please, making them exploitable by those who feel egotistically in power, or above them, our laws and lack of police action both in Western and Sub Asia societies embrace this notion. We are objects to be consumed, or hurt, for someone else's gratification or insecurity.

    My question is what kind of values as mothers and fathers are we raising our sons with—to think that this is okay? What kind of values as mothers and fathers are we raising our daughters with to think it's okay to lure another woman/professional peer/friend to a gang rape trap? (This brings to mind the atrocities Phoolan Devi suffered.) And what type of cultural values make this okay or acceptable behavior for not only young adults, but for doctors (who are supposed to be healers [although modern doctors are more motivated by greed in general than the ancient credos] and lead by example in society)? With that said, as individuals, there may not be a lot we can do, but we can start with raising our kids right and hopefully change the world one home, and one conversation, at a time (in addition to care gifts, political action etc).

    My heart is still breaking over what has happened to Sajida Fatima, and I am going to do something within my means and circle of influence, since we have discussed in these chats/comments about the universal problems facing us concerning rape and violence against women, but seem to have neglected what can we do to help Sajida specifically, whom we know did suffer this brutal attack. I maybe can't do much as a working class writer—but I will have coffee with friends this weekend, share her story, and see if we can make some cards of hope with healing poems to send to her or send perhaps to her through AI.

  28. With above last paragraph, I made a big type, I transposed Fatima (the lurer) for Madelene, the real victim. I'm a mom with a big heart and deep conscious, just clearly not enough espresso in the morning yet.

  29. @ a. savage:
    English comprehension isn’t your strong point, so, I’ll try to explain my critique of this post in simple sentences.

    You say:“Problems are always tackled specifically, NEVER generally.”

    If only the writer of this post had listened to you.

    He used the words ‘South Asia’. That is a general description covering countries ranging from India to Pakistan, Bangladesh to Sri Lanka.

    I used a specific description specific and used just one country, Great Britain. Therefore, I was being specific.

    The writer disapproved of the fact that men were getting away with rape in many South Asian countries.

    I provided examples of countries (Japan & China) where men were not getting away with rape, quite so easily. In China, not all rapists are executed, but the conviction rate for rapists is 15 times better than the UK.

    Neither the writer nor you say whether China’s rape conviction rate example is a good or bad thing.

    Consider this a free lesson in reading and comprehension. Next time, you’ll be charged $10 per lesson.

  30. My heart goes out to Magdeline and her story is one many women suffer universally. All points and comments brought up ask valid and hard questions, as well as bring awareness to the global issue of violence against women. It’s no secret that globally we live in “she-deserved-it-society” (or he/she also deserved it if they happen to be gay/bi/effeminate/transgender) which empowers predators to not only justify their actions but to feel entitled to violently hurt someone else.

    Woman are presented and accepted by the majority in society as somehow sub-human/inferior/here to please, making them exploitable by those who feel egotistically in power, or above them, our laws and lack of police action both in Western and Sub Asia societies embrace this notion. We are objects to be consumed, or hurt, for someone else’s gratification or insecurity.

    My question is what kind of values as mothers and fathers are we raising our sons with—to think that this is okay? What kind of values as mothers and fathers are we raising our daughters with to think it’s okay to lure another woman/professional peer/friend to a gang rape trap? (This brings to mind the atrocities Phoolan Devi suffered.) And what type of cultural values make this okay or acceptable behavior for not only young adults, but for doctors (who are supposed to be healers [although modern doctors are more motivated by greed in general than the ancient credos] and lead by example in society)? With that said, as individuals, there may not be a lot we can do, but we can start with raising our kids right and hopefully change the world one home, and one conversation, at a time (in addition to care gifts, political action etc).

    My heart is still breaking over what has happened to Sajida Fatima, and I am going to do something within my means and circle of influence, since we have discussed in these chats/comments about the universal problems facing us concerning rape and violence against women, but seem to have neglected what can we do to help Sajida specifically, whom we know did suffer this brutal attack. I maybe can’t do much as a working class writer—but I will have coffee with friends this weekend, share her story, and see if we can make some cards of hope with healing poems to send to her or send perhaps to her through AI.

  31. With above last paragraph, I made a big type, I transposed Fatima (the lurer) for Madelene, the real victim. I’m a mom with a big heart and deep conscious, just clearly not enough espresso in the morning yet.

  32. At the Post Office in San Francisco, California, I believe it was one in four women that were raped. The problem with the death penalty is 1) many innocent people are executed 2) the act of executing someone is an act of premeditated murder. It is criminal behavior, no matter how many accomplices try and justify it. How many molested children become molesters, themselves? With that rational, you should execute the child/victom before they have a chance to grow into a preditor. You'll never kill them all. We're all criminals in someone's eye. Vengeance doesn't beget justice or deter crime. It's an irrational act of passion and stressed emotions. George W. Bush,The Psycho, approved more than a hundred executions, while Govenor of Texas. One, a retarded child. G.W.B. still walks a free man. No, these evils aren't limited to Asia or Africa.

  33. At the Post Office in San Francisco, California, I believe it was one in four women that were raped. The problem with the death penalty is 1) many innocent people are executed 2) the act of executing someone is an act of premeditated murder. It is criminal behavior, no matter how many accomplices try and justify it. How many molested children become molesters, themselves? With that rational, you should execute the child/victom before they have a chance to grow into a preditor. You’ll never kill them all. We’re all criminals in someone’s eye. Vengeance doesn’t beget justice or deter crime. It’s an irrational act of passion and stressed emotions. George W. Bush,The Psycho, approved more than a hundred executions, while Govenor of Texas. One, a retarded child. G.W.B. still walks a free man. No, these evils aren’t limited to Asia or Africa.

  34. ONE THING THEY CANT TAKE AWAY FROM ANY OF US, WE GET TO DIE AND LEAVE THIS SAD PATHETIC WORLD WHERE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE DEFEND EACHOTHER!

  35. ONE THING THEY CANT TAKE AWAY FROM ANY OF US, WE GET TO DIE AND LEAVE THIS SAD PATHETIC WORLD WHERE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE DEFEND EACHOTHER!

  36. Davina-Rebel Mom. I love and wholly endorse your post.

    My deepest sympathy of course goes out to Magadalene. This is a heinous crime committed by those she should have been able to trust..

    Part of the problem, that you raise Davina, is that parents(and schools) are no longer encouraged to enshrine the values of kindness and understanding or teach mutual respect at a detailed level.*

    (*The humanities, in particular drama have been radically reduced at primary level. There are many reasons, but the most obvious is the foregrounding of traditional subjects,maths, english, the sciences etc. in the pursuit of ever higher exam results. This is based on the hope of success in the increasingly flooded 'job' market'. These paradigms for success were set up to feed a now out of date industrial age model. The world is not like that any more, and is changing at a rapid rate. Ironically a growing number of 'fortune 100 companies' will give preference to candidates who have some drama training. Why? One of the values of drama in particular is that you get a chance to 'play' out, improvise certain scenarios, explore real life human solutions to quandaries. It is a laboratory for problem solving aswell as enhancing communication skills and conflict resolution. Much of behaviour management could be sorted out with 45 mins of drama a day). But I digress

    Quite often we/they(Parents/teachers) are just too knackered from the increasingly long hours worked. The education system is too often regarded as a glorified "Nanny service"… and the 'true well being of the child' becomes a pretty hollow mantra.

    We have had run ins with our local school over this issue, and we are now home educating our second child – a lovely boy, who is more than capable of defending himself physically, but is psychically and spiritually exhausted by years of petty "I'm better than you because….."etc

    It all boils down to what kind of society do you want to live in. It has been said that we will not have a kind and equitable society until the love of Power gives way to the Power of Love. I realize that that sounds a bit too 'woolly' for most people, how else could we put it? To give and give freely of yourself, and think of the welfare and happiness of others ..or to selfishly take, take ,take and hoard. Polar opposites.

    I fear that the effect of globalisation has more than seeped into the fabric of Western Civilisation, and Asian societies that now seek to embrace it . It is, I think, deeply pernicious. Profit really is the only motive. People are afraid at a very deep level (and I think we have reason to be, our democratically elected governments are a sham and more keenly serve the interests of the corporations and banks.- who are not democratically elected). In a climate of fear and helplessness people start to do very strange things, and respect for women seems to be at an all time low. It doesn't help that the idea of the "Sacred feminine" has been belittled for over 2000 years. (*side note…. Pop culture it may be, but Dan Brown's the "Da Vinci Code" at last raised this idea in an accessible format. Of course it was eviscerated from the film version. Too controversial and adversorial for middle America, I suspect.).

    BTW I am not Christian, or of any religion.. I am post religion (I prefer the term 'Make believer"), but recognise the many values of the great religions and mythologies. There is a deep-seated psychological need within humankind to ritualise and sanctify it's most precious discoveries of the soul.

    So many of these issues are inter-related. I hope in some way this furthers the debate,

  37. Davina-Rebel Mom. I love and wholly endorse your post.

    My deepest sympathy of course goes out to Magadalene. This is a heinous crime committed by those she should have been able to trust..

    Part of the problem, that you raise Davina, is that parents(and schools) are no longer encouraged to enshrine the values of kindness and understanding or teach mutual respect at a detailed level.*

    (*The humanities, in particular drama have been radically reduced at primary level. There are many reasons, but the most obvious is the foregrounding of traditional subjects,maths, english, the sciences etc. in the pursuit of ever higher exam results. This is based on the hope of success in the increasingly flooded ‘job’ market’. These paradigms for success were set up to feed a now out of date industrial age model. The world is not like that any more, and is changing at a rapid rate. Ironically a growing number of ‘fortune 100 companies’ will give preference to candidates who have some drama training. Why? One of the values of drama in particular is that you get a chance to ‘play’ out, improvise certain scenarios, explore real life human solutions to quandaries. It is a laboratory for problem solving aswell as enhancing communication skills and conflict resolution. Much of behaviour management could be sorted out with 45 mins of drama a day). But I digress

    Quite often we/they(Parents/teachers) are just too knackered from the increasingly long hours worked. The education system is too often regarded as a glorified “Nanny service”… and the ‘true well being of the child’ becomes a pretty hollow mantra.

    We have had run ins with our local school over this issue, and we are now home educating our second child – a lovely boy, who is more than capable of defending himself physically, but is psychically and spiritually exhausted by years of petty “I’m better than you because…..”etc

    It all boils down to what kind of society do you want to live in. It has been said that we will not have a kind and equitable society until the love of Power gives way to the Power of Love. I realize that that sounds a bit too ‘woolly’ for most people, how else could we put it? To give and give freely of yourself, and think of the welfare and happiness of others ..or to selfishly take, take ,take and hoard. Polar opposites.

    I fear that the effect of globalisation has more than seeped into the fabric of Western Civilisation, and Asian societies that now seek to embrace it . It is, I think, deeply pernicious. Profit really is the only motive. People are afraid at a very deep level (and I think we have reason to be, our democratically elected governments are a sham and more keenly serve the interests of the corporations and banks.- who are not democratically elected). In a climate of fear and helplessness people start to do very strange things, and respect for women seems to be at an all time low. It doesn’t help that the idea of the “Sacred feminine” has been belittled for over 2000 years. (*side note…. Pop culture it may be, but Dan Brown’s the “Da Vinci Code” at last raised this idea in an accessible format. Of course it was eviscerated from the film version. Too controversial and adversorial for middle America, I suspect.).

    BTW I am not Christian, or of any religion.. I am post religion (I prefer the term ‘Make believer”), but recognise the many values of the great religions and mythologies. There is a deep-seated psychological need within humankind to ritualise and sanctify it’s most precious discoveries of the soul.

    So many of these issues are inter-related. I hope in some way this furthers the debate,