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Afghan Military Scandal (big abuse trigger)


poppy
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How on earth did this happen- for years?

And it is only a story now because one of the children being abused ended up killing a US soldier?

Everything about this war horrifies me.

How is it that the US military tolerates rape of children?

I'm so sorry for soliders who were forced to NOT stop children being abused, daily. 

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/22/us-military-indifference-to-afghan-sex-abuse-led-b/

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I remember reading about this a year or so ago.  I vaguely recall that the soliders are not allowed to interfer because they are only there to train and they have no say in anything else.  I don't think the military condones it but there are no protocols in place for them to interfer.  It is a sad situation all around.  I think the article I read was in regards to Canadian military though.

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People think the ends justify the means. We need a good relationship with the village elders, so we overlook their "traditions" in exchange for an uneasy peace and information. It's really gross.

 

It would be interesting to know how many us service members were quietly transferred, demoted, or disciplined attempting to speak out. I would hope it was just more than the one green beret guy in the article.

 

In some ways it is hard to stand up to these kids of things because your family's livelihood is on the line. In another way, it's not a hard decision to make to speak out or defy orders when it comes to this kind of abuse. Although I would guess there was quite a bit of education of our troops as far as telling them not to be intolerant or outspoken about local customs and traditions, especially among village leadership.

 

Wasn't the same sort of scandal uncovered in the UK recently?

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How horrible that to interfere in such a disgusting, culturally accepted thing as child rape is at odds with the ability to have a positive influence in that region.  I know that the focus will be on the military rather than this culture which perpetuates the awful treatment of children, women, gays and many other groups and that bothers me a lot.  But I also hope that shedding light on this will lead to some possible action.

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I always wonder how, with our media, this kind of stuff happens? Wouldn't an anonymous email or phone call to a news station or paper trigger some kind of investigation? Maybe our media should look for news outside of the Kardashian family once in awhile? Disgusting.

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Donning my flame proof suit...

 

I haven't read the article, but I must say I am not too surprised. Raping and pillaging have been traditional soldier activities since war began. Being American doesn't automatically make soldiers good guys or protect them from the emotional, psychological, and/or moral damage that comes from war.

You should read the article. It's not about what U.S. soldiers were doing.

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Donning my flame proof suit...

 

I haven't read the article, but I must say I am not too surprised. Raping and pillaging have been traditional soldier activities since war began. Being American doesn't automatically make soldiers good guys or protect them from the emotional, psychological, and/or moral damage that comes from war.

 

Read the article, or one like it.  The article was not in a good format for me, either.

 

It is repugnant.  I am sad that the soldati are actually being punished for interfering in something that is morally wrong and refusing to turn a blind eye.  There is no protocol, either, for stopping a civilian shooter on a civilian train, though those were lauded.  It is wrong, and I'm hoping the media attention will do it good.

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Donning my flame proof suit...

 

I haven't read the article, but I must say I am not too surprised. Raping and pillaging have been traditional soldier activities since war began. Being American doesn't automatically make soldiers good guys or protect them from the emotional, psychological, and/or moral damage that comes from war.

 

You may want to read the article as it is not about US soldiers abusing anyone.  It is about US military personnel being ordered to look the other way (and punished for not doing so) regarding the abuse of children by Afghani police and officials. 

 

If you have a strong stomach you can google "bacha bazi" for background on this element of the local culture.  There were some excellent stories written and at least one documentary that you should be able to find online, dating as far back as the mid-2000s.

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Donning my flame proof suit...

 

I haven't read the article, but I must say I am not too surprised. Raping and pillaging have been traditional soldier activities since war began. Being American doesn't automatically make soldiers good guys or protect them from the emotional, psychological, and/or moral damage that comes from war.

 

Read the article.  This is about US soldiers wanting to protect children from rape and not being allowed to do so.

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Everyone who has worked in Afghanistan for the past 150 years (every soldier, Red Cross worker, and missionary) has been fully aware of this practice. It is a disgusting practice but it literally would have been impossible to remove the Taliban and this at the same time.

 

Many people are working on removing these kids, but in a country where they only recently stopped the Taliban from stoning women to death for not entering forced marriages, it did not receive the most funding or actually, any funding, because trying to stop the warlords will get you killed. As in, picture yourself in the kitchen--trigger warning, literally. You get a knock on the door. You answer it. You get shot.

 

Also, can I just say? Every woman in Afghanistan has fewer rights than most bacha bazi. Child marriage is rampant. So sudden rage is, to me, pointless. Anyone paying any attention should have already been in a state of permanent outrage and horror at the culture of war in South Central Asia. But people don't think like that. Homosexual child rape is somehow worse than run of the mill child rape. Gah.

 

Poppy, it is horrific.

 

But here is your choice:

 

Option one:

 

In the following order, stop the genocide of Afghani Tajiks, Hazara, and Uzbeks; institute a semblance of Democracy; attempt to stop the legal slavery and opppression of women; end child slavery and improve Democracy; get 100% of kids in primary education.

 

Option two:

 

During a genicide, decide to remove all Adghan combatants who have engaged in the abhorrent practice of rape. Realize this is very nearly 100% of combatant men over 20. Keep capturing them and fighting until you lose.

 

Those are your options. Pick one.

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Being born here means we get to sleep at night knowing that we paid the warlords to buy the children.

 

For my part, I can't feel grateful or superior.

 

We close our eyes to the fact that we were paying Afghan and Pakistani warlords to fight the USSR which was supporting a democratically elected government.

 

We are no better.

 

We are only further away.

 

Being disgusted from afar earns exactly 0 moral brownie points.

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I don't want moral brownie points. I can't do anything about these human rights abuses. I can be disgusted with my nation's decision to aid and abet child rape.

 

I have no illusions that it's only boys being raped , either.

 

We never should have gone to Afghanistan in the first place but that veers into the political so I will not go on.

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I'm increasingly of the opinion that if we have to go to war, we should plan on keeping bases there for 50 years.  In the last hundred years it seems every war we were involved in from WWI until now, if we left, things got worse in the vacuum of power.  In scenarios where we kept bases in the area (Germany after WWII, Okinawa, Korea) for 50 years things stayed better.

 

I'm not convinced it's right to be interventionist at all, but if we're going to be interventionist, let's do the right thing.  ETA:  the right thing means staying for two generations until the culture has changed.

 

ETA2:  I'm actually not interested in the political ramifications of this as much as the history.  For those who are more knowledgeable about history than I am, am I correct in my assertion that vacuums in power lead to more chaos?  What are the exceptions?

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We close our eyes to the fact that we were paying Afghan and Pakistani warlords to fight the USSR which was supporting a democratically elected government.

 

We are no better.

 

 

Many Americans don't know about the Soviet-Afghan war of the 80s and how the Americans sent billions of dollars to support mujahideen there (including a group which eventually became al-Qaeda). Yes, we are no better, maybe even enablers. I always believe that education opens doors for the poorest of the poor, the weakest and the downtrodden. When that happens in that part of the world, there will be empowerment. 

Political discussions are against the board rules, so I will not add any more of my personal opinions to this post.

CIA/Afghanistan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Afghanistan

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The real problem is that there is nothing in their culture that tells them there is anything wrong with child rape...It isn't rape to them, it is culturally acceptable. It's not as if they don't have moral absolutes, it's just that this does not equate as wrong.

 

Us coming in and trying to enforce a standard that says it is wrong is the same as trying to get them all to speak a different language.

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The real problem is that there is nothing in their culture that tells them there is anything wrong with child rape...It isn't rape to them, it is culturally acceptable. It's not as if they don't have moral absolutes, it's just that this does not

 

Us coming in and trying to enforce a standard that said it is wrong is the same as trying to get them all to speak a different language.

 

You're equivocating language and culture changes with ending child rape?

 

Do you not believe in absolute human rights?

 

I'm not attacking here, I'm honestly curious.

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I don't want moral brownie points. I can't do anything about these human rights abuses. I can be disgusted with my nation's decision to aid and abet child rape.

 

I have no illusions that it's only boys being raped , either.

 

We never should have gone to Afghanistan in the first place but that veers into the political so I will not go on.

The brownie points discussion was a response to Hoppy the Toad.

 

We should have let the USSR win, I agree. So many crappy things came out of our support for "the muj". But having stirred up that particular quagmire I am glad we have now taken up the job that the USSR tried to do 30 years ago when it was providing military support to an elected secular government.

 

I hate a lot about what is happening there but I think coalition troops are not working in vain. As a woman and mother, I am glad for every minute a square meter is Taliban-free.

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The real problem is that there is nothing in their culture that tells them there is anything wrong with child rape...It isn't rape to them, it is culturally acceptable. It's not as if they don't have moral absolutes, it's just that this does not equate as wrong.

 

Us coming in and trying to enforce a standard that says it is wrong is the same as trying to get them all to speak a different language.

Bullcrap!

 

The rapists say it is their culture, but the rest of the country suffers under the oppression of these warlords who continue to be well-funded.

 

This is war culture. Saying "they like it" is disgusting. It is only the way of the warlords. That does not make it their culture.

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I always wonder how, with our media, this kind of stuff happens? Wouldn't an anonymous email or phone call to a news station or paper trigger some kind of investigation? Maybe our media should look for news outside of the Kardashian family once in awhile? Disgusting.

I think NPR had an article years ago. I remember it being the first time I had heard about dancing boys.

 

ETA: 2010, as a country, we have primarily ignored it.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130888319

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The real problem is that there is nothing in their culture that tells them there is anything wrong with child rape...It isn't rape to them, it is culturally acceptable. It's not as if they don't have moral absolutes, it's just that this does not equate as wrong.

 

Us coming in and trying to enforce a standard that says it is wrong is the same as trying to get them all to speak a different language.

 

Actually it isn't.  It is acceptable to those perpetrating the rapes (which is always true) and unfortunately those doing this have the power to get away with it.  That doesn't mean it is accepted by the culture at large.

 

Let's not pretend we haven't had an issue with those were power in western nations getting away with exactly the same thing (including those investigating being told to look the other way.)  **cough** Catholic Church **cough**

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The real problem is that there is nothing in their culture that tells them there is anything wrong with child rape...It isn't rape to them, it is culturally acceptable. It's not as if they don't have moral absolutes, it's just that this does not equate as wrong.

 

Us coming in and trying to enforce a standard that says it is wrong is the same as trying to get them all to speak a different language.

 

That's painting with a pretty broad brush, don't you think?  Consider:

 

"During the Taliban's rule (1994-2001), bacha bazi carried the death penalty. The practice of dancing boys is illegal under Afghan law, being 'against both sharia law and the civil code,' but the laws are seldom enforced against powerful offenders and police have been reportedly complicit in related crimes."  Wikipedia

 

Clearly some (and probably most) in the country believe this practice to be morally wrong.

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THIS is the impossible dilemma of the US soldier.  The whole world says "How DARE you interfere!"  The whole world also says "How DARE you let this happen?"

That is my feeling exactly. There is no winning for these poor guys. When you are in a situation where doing the right thing is wrong, how in the heck are you supposed to function. Blaming the soldiers for the disgusting, filthy conduct of others when they were not allowed to stop it is wrong.

 

The Obama administration covering it up is wrong, and it may be the thing they are remembered for when the dust of history really settles. DH and I were just having a discussion that Obama seems to have avoided a big moral scandal like Watergate, Iran Contra,  Lewinsky, ect, but if they are going to lay the blame on foot soldiers for their own policy of noninterference, then hopefully they will suffer the same fate as Joe Paterno. Because you can't allow this sort of thing and still be considered decent.

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Bullcrap!

 

The rapists say it is their culture, but the rest of the country suffers under the oppression of these warlords who continue to be well-funded.

 

This is war culture. Saying "they like it" is disgusting. It is only the way of the warlords. That does not make it their culture.

It's not the way of the warlords. Up to 50% of men participate in the Bachi bazi. It's been going on forever. This is heir culture. Ironically, bachi bazi was forbidden under Taliban rule. For the Taliban, raping little girls and women was okay, just not little boys. But from I understand, the culture of Bachi Bazi goes back at least over 100 years.

 

I read another article about how soldiers were told to turn a blind eye to a lot of things- like men beating their wives in the streets, or boys beating another kid to a pulp.

 

Recently I read a book by a feminist muslim woman. She talked about during the "arab spring" women were taking part in these demonstrations, only to be raped by the men they were supposedly fighting along beside. The abuse and oppression of women and children is so engrained in their culture in general that ousting an oppresive regime does nothing to help women because whoever comes into power still behaves much the same way.

 

I don't know if there is a way to help these people. You can't establish any "semblance of democracy" when more than half of their people are systematically oppressed and abused.

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Clearly some (and probably most) in the country believe this practice to be morally wrong.

No, they don't. Half of men participate. It's a status symbol to be seen with your boys draped over you. The highest officials are involved. This isn't like the underground child prostitution you hear about in the U.S. This is normal and out in the open. One soldier mentioned walking in on Afghan soldiers on a military base, lying on the ground with several little boys between them. And they couldn't say or do anything.

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No, they don't. Half of men participate. It's a status symbol to be seen with your boys draped over you. The highest officials are involved. This isn't like the underground child prostitution you hear about in the U.S. This is normal and out in the open. One soldier mentioned walking in on Afghan soldiers on a military base, lying on the ground with several little boys between them. And they couldn't say or do anything.

 

That's not what the article said.  It said the warlords (eta: and the current government) consider it fine, but the tribes preferred the Taliban because the Taliban enforced the death penalty so their boys were safe from being kidnapped.

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That is my feeling exactly. There is no winning for these poor guys. When you are in a situation where doing the right thing is wrong, how in the heck are you supposed to function. Blaming the soldiers for the disgusting, filthy conduct of others when they were not allowed to stop it is wrong.

 

The Obama administration covering it up is wrong, and it may be the thing they are remembered for when the dust of history really settles. DH and I were just having a discussion that Obama seems to have avoided a big moral scandal like Watergate, Iran Contra, Lewinsky, ect, but if they are going to lay the blame on foot soldiers for their own policy of noninterference, then hopefully they will suffer the same fate as Joe Paterno. Because you can't allow this sort of thing and still be considered decent.

This was the explicit policy of not one (Reagan--they knew), not two, not three, not four but five administrations. We have been funding these guys for three decades.

 

I share your moral repugnance but to blame this on Obama (or even Bush!!!) is absurd. It is our nation's shame all together.

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No, they don't. Half of men participate. It's a status symbol to be seen with your boys draped over you. The highest officials are involved. This isn't like the underground child prostitution you hear about in the U.S. This is normal and out in the open. One soldier mentioned walking in on Afghan soldiers on a military base, lying on the ground with several little boys between them. And they couldn't say or do anything.

Maybe the people don't say anything about the behavior of the combatants because they don't want to get raped and then shot.

 

Just a guess. It might be the case that they approve of the behavior.

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Can you link me to the source of the statistic?

Yesterday I was reading a bunch of articles about it and I don't remember where I read it. But one article mentioned the practice of Bachi Bazi was popular back in the early 1900s. This isn't new.

 

One article I read was about a kid who had been pulled off the street and raped by a man. Because of his "disgrace" his family rejected him and he had to go live with the man.

 

I just can't even wrap my head around that kind of mentality.

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This was the explicit policy of not one (Reagan--they knew), not two, not three, not four but five administrations. We have been funding these guys for three decades.

 

I share your moral repugnance but to blame this on Obama (or even Bush!!!) is absurd. It is our nation's shame all together.

 

In fairness you are muddling some facts together.

 

We have had two administrations with an actual military presence in Afghanistan.  What we had under Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton was very limited, and painting them as being intentionally blind to these kinds of activities is a bit extreme.

 

I do agree that military commanders under Bush and Obama have had to look away which is 100% wrong.

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I'm sure there are plenty of people who disapprove. Hopefully the mothers of these poor boys do. But it's not like they have any kind of voice in their culture.

 

Supposedly it's technically illegal. But when your police and government officials participate in it as well, it's not like anyone is being punished for it.

 

First of all, it isn't "supposedly" illegal - it is illegal.  And there is nothing I have read indicating that this practice is commonly practiced by 50% of the men.  It actually seems more prevalent among (for lack of a better term) "ruling class" in the outlying districts, and yes, because those with substantial power engage in it then there has been an issue with the law actually being enforced.

 

The fact that it is illegal should give you some indication it isn't widely accepted.

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It's not the way of the warlords. Up to 50% of men participate in the Bachi bazi. It's been going on forever. This is heir culture. Ironically, bachi bazi was forbidden under Taliban rule. For the Taliban, raping little girls and women was okay, just not little boys. But from I understand, the culture of Bachi Bazi goes back at least over 100 years.

 

I read another article about how soldiers were told to turn a blind eye to a lot of things- like men beating their wives in the streets, or boys beating another kid to a pulp.

 

Recently I read a book by a feminist muslim woman. She talked about during the "arab spring" women were taking part in these demonstrations, only to be raped by the men they were supposedly fighting along beside. The abuse and oppression of women and children is so engrained in their culture in general that ousting an oppresive regime does nothing to help women because whoever comes into power still behaves much the same way.

 

I don't know if there is a way to help these people. You can't establish any "semblance of democracy" when more than half of their people are systematically oppressed and abused.

 

Considering the rape and sexual abuse statistics in the United States, I think we should be just a bit hesitant before we start implying that only certain cultures have problems with how women are treated.

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While troops did not turn a blind eye, the CIA and the executive branch most certainly did.

 

Actually, the present administration is the most transparent in this regard, which is why we are seeing it on the front page.

 

But books were written on the covert war, including quotes with extensive excerpts from high-level briefings, decades ago.

 

This is a very well known practice. It is not extreme to suggest they knew. The only person who might not have really known was Reagan, but only because he seemed to have cognitive impairments by that time. There is zero doubt in my mind that his staff knew.

 

This is not muddling anything. It has been one war and it has been a long war. Chopping it up to suggest this is Obama's or Bush's or whoever's problem or legacy completely ignores the big picture, which is that in America, when we want to get your stuff, this is how we do. Period. We will arm whoever it takes with whatever it takes to screw you.

 

We did it in Cambodia, we did it in Vietnam, even in Korea--that was not a Democracy. Whom did we prop up in Iran? The goddamned Shah!

 

And we knew. We knew it all. Not every American, but the military, yes. The CIA, yes. We knew what the shah was doing and we didn't care. That's us. Until we stop suggesting it was this one guy or that ex-President and take responsibility as a nation for everything it will keep going on. Because until the entire nation believes it is their job to actively prevent leaders from doing this, not--"A Republican is in power so it must be moral" or "a democrat is in power so it must be humane"--well, it won't change.

 

That is why I vehemently object to the claim that this is an Obama or Bush or whatever legacy.

 

Also I think paying U.S. citizens to fight or paying warlords or other armies to fight is still war. I don't care if it wasn't our boys and girls over there killing commies. It was somebody's boys and girls and we paid for it.

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Considering the rape and sexual abuse statistics in the United States, I think we should be just a bit hesitant before we start implying that only certain cultures have problems with how women are treated.

Sorry, but what goes on here doesn't even compare. Not even close.

 

In her book she mentions how girls out after curfew are subjected to "virginity tests" because somehow that's relevant. Or how girls are forced to marry their rapists in order to not bring shame upon themselves and their families. The author mentioned that she participated in a religious ceremony (I don't remember what it was) but it was considered one of the most holy ceremonies one could do- during which she was groped and fondled by the surrounding men. It was really eye-opening and difficult to read. Headscarves and Hymens I think is what it was called.

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While troops did not turn a blind eye, the CIA and the executive branch most certainly did.

 

Actually, the present administration is the most transparent in this regard, which is why we are seeing it on the front page.

 

But books were written on the covert war, including quotes with extensive excerpts from high-level briefings, decades ago.

 

This is a very well known practice. It is not extreme to suggest they knew. The only person who might not have really known was Reagan, but only because he seemed to have cognitive impairments by that time. There is zero doubt in my mind that his staff knew.

 

This is not muddling anything. It has been one war and it has been a long war. Chopping it up to suggest this is Obama's or Bush's or whoever's problem or legacy completely ignores the big picture, which is that in America, when we want to get your stuff, this is how we do. Period. We will arm whoever it takes with whatever it takes to screw you.

 

We did it in Cambodia, we did it in Vietnam, even in Korea--that was not a Democracy. Whom did we prop up in Iran? The goddamned Shah!

 

And we knew. We knew it all. Not every American, but the military, yes. The CIA, yes. We knew what the shah was doing and we didn't care. That's us. Until we stop suggesting it was this one guy or that ex-President and take responsibility as a nation for everything it will keep going on. Because until the entire nation believes it is their job to actively prevent leaders from doing this, not--"A Republican is in power so it must be moral" or "a democrat is in power so it must be humane"--well, it won't change.

 

That is why I vehemently object to the claim that this is an Obama or Bush or whatever legacy.

 

Also I think paying U.S. citizens to fight or paying warlords or other armies to fight is still war. I don't care if it wasn't our boys and girls over there killing commies. It was somebody's boys and girls and we paid for it.

 

The CIA likely did to some degree.  Your claims against previous administrations are speculative at best.

 

And considering you said you supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in an earlier post and your post above seems to go all over the place, pursuing additional conversation on this matter seems likely to be fruitless for both of us.

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Sorry, but what goes on here doesn't even compare. Not even close.

 

In her book she mentions how girls out after curfew are subjected to "virginity tests" because somehow that's relevant. Or how girls are forced to marry their rapists in order to not bring shame upon themselves and their families. The author mentioned that she participated in a religious ceremony (I don't remember what it was) but it was considered one of the most holy ceremonies one could do- during which she was groped and fondled by the surrounding men. It was really eye-opening and difficult to read. Headscarves and Hymens I think is what it was called.

 

25%+ of women in this country experiencing sexual assault is pretty damn bad.

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25%+ of women in those country experiencing sexual assault is pretty damn bad.

And 20.7% children.

 

...not that moral relativism helps here.

 

Both things are excruciatingly, terribly, painfully awful at the same time.

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You're equivocating language and culture changes with ending child rape?

 

Do you not believe in absolute human rights?

 

I'm not attacking here, I'm honestly curious.

No, you missed my point. I'm saying changing the culture of this practice is the same as trying to change any other endemic cultural practice like the language that is spoken. It takes a huge cultural shift, the will to change, and probably a couple generations.

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Yesterday I was reading a bunch of articles about it and I don't remember where I read it. But one article mentioned the practice of Bachi Bazi was popular back in the early 1900s. This isn't new.

 

One article I read was about a kid who had been pulled off the street and raped by a man. Because of his "disgrace" his family rejected him and he had to go live with the man.

 

One of the articles I read also mentioned a boy who was made to go live with his rapist. The same article said:

 

"Same-sex relationships between men and boys remain prevalent among the Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan...There are over 13 million Pashtun in Afghanistan with men making up just over 50 percent of the population. It is conservatively estimated that just over 40 percent of Pashtun males practice bacha bazi in some form." I wonder if that might be the statistic you are remembering?

 

If this is true, it would mean about 2.6 million men are involved in the practice.  That's not 50% of the men in Afghanistan, it's 16%. That's still horrific, but a far cry from half the male population.

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Mona Elthaway the author of headscarves and hymens is Egyptian American. She's not from Aghganistan. So all the "theys" from the poster referencing her book is referring to ALL muslim people. When the dancing boys is a regional spinoff of the global problem female and child sexual assault.

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