Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chastity Belts for Malaysian Women?

Khaleej Times Online >> News >> THE WORLD

Women should wear chastity belts to prevent sex crimes
(AP)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Women should wear chastity belts to prevent rape, incest and other sex crimes, a prominent Islamic cleric in northern Malaysia was quoted as saying Friday.


Abu Hassan Din Al Hafiz, speaking in the northern state of Terengganu, said chastity belts could protect women from a growing number of sex crimes in Malaysia, The Star newspaper reported.

The best way to avert sex perpetrators is to wear protection,’ Abu Hassan told a crowd of followers. My intention is not to offend women but to safeguard them from sex maniacs.’

The cleric said sex crimes had increased in the region of late. We have even come across a number of unusual sex cases where even senior citizens and children are not spared,’ he said.

Figures on sexual assaults in the northern state were not immediately available.

Religious leaders in Malaysia’s conservative north have in the past blamed sexual attacks on women wearing provocative clothing and make up. Local Islamic women’s groups and other organizations have routinely criticized those views.

Abu Hassan was not immediately reachable for comment.

Muslims make up about 60 percent of Malaysia’s population. The remaining 40 percent are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and a small minority of indigenous people who practice animism.

22 comments:

Aaron Nelson said...

You know, my masculist conscience would like to think that feminist women who assert that sex crimes and violence is being unduly blamed on women and not the offenders was just fabricated to fuel the fire. But I suppose there's the proof right there.

Linda Boreman's case (that being the only name I will ever refer to her by) is not all that unique, as brought to the mainstream by movies like "8mm" and any cursory glance at popular pornography would indicate. The glamour end of pornography, that passes itself off as glorifying female sexuality and being tasteful, is slipping quickly in popularity, being replaced by online amateur and admittedly violent pornography.

Possibly the biggest conflict I find all of that is what MacKinnon wrote about her speech at the ACLU: that many liberals will identify pornography as protected speech, and since its links to violating personal rights of women cannot conclusively be validated, it remains legal. It's still both immoral and illegal to coerce anyone into performing in pornography, but the repercussions it has in enforcing the stereotypes of female sexual subservience (and even marketing female sexual dominance as taboo, thereby even greater strengthening the stereotypes) perpetuates cycles of domestic and random violence against women, particularly in sexual ways. Pornography is thus very dangerous to the safety of women, but like the ties between violent video games and school shootings, since no concrete lines can be drawn between cause and effect, no action can morally be taken by the government.

A chastity belt as a solution to this problem would be hilarious were it not so sad. The real solution lies in easing the stereotypes out of our popular consciousness; on paper and in legal terms, women have legal rights, to vote and own land--in reality, their freedom is still bitterly restricted by the stigma that surrounds the powerful woman. Even more damaging is the way powerful women are being handled in the media: either posing them as sex-starved objects of overt and militant individualism or posing them as the foil to a dramatically stupid opposite, typically an inept husband whose life would fall apart if not for the strength and intelligence of his female partner. Both simply proliferate inequality between the sexes, and the only reason I can think of is that a subtle portrayal of a strong, confident woman is so contrary to our collective perception that it can't be marketed well enough... and the media is much more interested in making money than it is in fixing problems in society--quite the opposite, since the problems equal money.

The more I write, the more I realize I'm just raising more questions and no answers. I'll revisit this one later.

East_KY said...

Firstly, I would like to start off by saying that the statement made by this cleric was completely ridiculous. Even if the rate of sex crimes against women had risen dramatically over the past few months, this stament would have no validity. It implies that it is the victim's fault. Somehow, they are supposed to know to automaticaly wear chastity belts when they leave home. This is no way to live at all. Women should not have to live in fear in any society. It also implies that the women are "asking for it". If they didnt dress so provocative or wear so much makeup, then they wouldnt have anything to worry about. This is simply untrue. Our society has perpetuated the stereotpye of female domination and subserviance. This is mainly thorough the use of pornography and and other types of entertainment that depict women as enjoying domination. These types of entertainment are exactly wht Catherine McKinnon was talking about that depict rape, violence, and torture against women as somehow satisfying. The best way to cut down on the number of rapes and other sexual crimes is to stop feeding the female sterotype with lies misrepresented in pornography and other forms of entertainment.

osubuckeye said...

Why should women have to worry when walking through town? They shouldn’t. All in all, I don’t think women should have to wear a chastity belt because some man is so ignorant they have to rape a woman. I think this article makes it sound like it is the woman’s fault for being raped, and it is not. Men don’t have to worry about how they look and if something will happen to them for that look, so women shouldn’t either. If a woman wants to wear provocative make-up she should be able too. After reading this article I thought of Catherine MacKinnon. What has made these men think it is okay to rape a woman? Could it be pornography? MacKinnon says that pornography does give an assumption that women like to be raped, beaten, and tortured. Maybe this is why some men do become “sex maniacs” and think it is okay to rape women. I don’t think the women should have to protect themselves from these men though. I think that the men committing these crimes should endure harsher punishments than what they are. Something needs to be done to these men, not the victims. Women shouldn’t be punished for what someone has done to them.

Nichole said...

This past weekend I began interviews for a research project I am doing for my women and religion class in which I asked a number of Holiness church goers, men and women, what their thoughts on rape were and whether or not they believed it to be the fault of the man or the woman (when a woman is being raped). I was blown away at the answers I received! I know on the surface its like “oh, yeah, women can’t get raped with chastity belts on! Whoo hooooo!” okay, no, I suppose they wouldn’t be raped vaginally or anally, but what stops a man from trying other ways to exploit her? For that matter, what right does someone have to blame the person being taken advantage of? The overall consensus I received from the Holiness people I interviewed was that women should not put themselves in situations in which they could be raped and should learn to be more modest. Well, why are there even situations in the world in which someone would rape a woman? Why cant I, or any other woman, dress exactly the way I want too? “Because the world is a bad place.” Oh, well, no shit Sherlock. I’m well aware of the fact that our society is far from perfect, but instead of blaming a woman for getting into a situation in our society, why don’t we attempt to change the frickin’ society? It’s tiring for women to be blamed for the downfall of the world because Eve took from the tree of knowledge, let alone take the blame for having some man force her into having sex with him.

tbugg04 said...

First off I want to know why the women have to wear chastity belts and not the men? Is it safe to assume that in this case they are putting the blame of rape on women? Ah yes, yes it is, “Religious leaders in Malaysia’s conservative north have in the past blamed sexual attacks on women wearing provocative clothing and make up.” I think that women are unfairly blamed when it comes to rape. I get very angry about this because it is a generalization that rape occurs only because of women or that only women can get raped and not men. You always hear that it was the women’s fault because she puts herself in a situation where she could be raped. This is crap. I think that a woman should be able to dress and go places that she wants to without feeling that she will be raped. Our society has made it so it is unsafe for women to go places in particular at night if they are alone without fearing that they will be raped by a shady looking character. Really thought I have a hard time choosing who to blame for rape. To me it is very situational and each case should be looked at individually and not compared to other situations how ever similar they may seem. I defiantly don’t think that women should be automatically blamed every time a rape case occurs.

God.Reagan.Rush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
God.Reagan.Rush said...

You have to keep in mind that this is a culture different from our own. In the United States, blaming women for provoking sexual attacks is an outrage. The Malaysian government has recognized that there is a problem with sexual violence, and they are looking for ways to solve this problem. I agree with osubuckeye in that the men who attack women should be punished more harshly, but I disagree with his/her theory that pornography is to blame. Again, Malaysia’s culture is different from that in the United States. Asian countries have harsher regulations when it comes to sexuality. Catharine MacKinnon is the correct source for understanding this issue, not because of her views on pornography, but because of her views on sexual violence. Men are exposed to an environment in which they are the superior sex. This comes not from pornography but from their culture. Chastity belts are a feasible option for Malaysian women because educating men about morality and equality of the sexes won’t begin to solve the problem immediately. There could potentially be a lot of backlash and increased attacks on women if the men feel they are being directly targeted, rather than indirectly targeted with the chastity belts. I don’t agree with this method of protection in our society, but if it works to decrease the number of sex crimes against women and children, then I say go for it.

jimboaimstrong said...

It appears, at first, that this is a somewhat reasonable solution. To wrap Malaysian women’s mid-section in some sort of protective gear. Well, ok, maybe that doesn’t seem reasonable, but it may look as though it could work. But, at a second glance, this idea reveals itself as a very weak solution to the sexual violence in this area. This is because the cleric and others who support the chastity belts fail to realize that there are forms of sexual violence other than their expressed idea of rape, calling for a new solution. One I don’t think underwear can sensibly provide.
On another note, this suggestion of making women wear chastity belts makes it seem as though it is the women’s fault that they are being assaulted. They must suffer wearing what must be uncomfortable undergarments because they provoke vulnerable men to rape them. I also see this suggestion as sexist. Preventing rape should be mostly in the hands of men, on a citizen level. If anyone should wear garments, it should be men. Maybe Malaysian males should wear something to contain their “uncontrollable sting.” Even if the penis controller was mandated, sexual assault can still take place. Maybe they should also tie the hands of men behind their backs or to either sides.

Hendrix said...

It is quite ballsy of someone to say that women get sexually assualted because they wear sexy clothes. I highly doubt that the senior citzens were wearing daisy duke shorts and halter tops when they were attacked. But as Mackinnon said women are portrayed as wanting to be raped. And to blame women for this because they wear skimpy clothes just backs this statement up. But lets just turn our heads away from the guy who is getting his johns off by beating the crap out of women then taking advantage of them. He's not to blame its those short shorts.

Its not right that women should have to walk around with chasity belts on for protection. Why should women have to live their lives trying not to be a victim? The assualters is the one at fault here not the women so they should be punished. If the laws were stricter on sexual assualt, the amount of victims would probably decline. If you murder someone you are likely to go to jail for a long time as a result there aren't as many people murdered as there are sexually asaulted women.

Lindsay said...

I find this to be especially offensive. On the whole, people are much more comfortable with limiting the freedom of women than with actually confronting the rape crisis. This is truly problematic. To say that women should have to wear chastity belts to avoid rape is limiting the freedoms of women yet again. In this scenario, if a woman does happen to be raped, she will be blamed for NOT having been wearing one of these miraculous belts. I mean, if she was, she wouldn't have been raped, right? Wrong. If the man she encountered had not been a rapist, she would not have been raped. So many cultures, including our own, thrive on blaming women for rape. This needs to stop. If you've ever said that woman shouldn't have been drinking in public, because then she wouldn't have been raped, you are a rape apologist. If you have said that woman shouldn't have been walking alone, because then she wouldn't have been raped, you are a rape apologist. Women should not be limited to our bedrooms, wearing robes and burkas, and now chastity belts, in order to avoid rape. Women are NOT the problem. RAPISTS are the problem. This seems to be lost on the majority.

clintbanks said...

I would agree that this is a rediculous statement, but I believe that it is most probably not made because of problems with sex crimes. I would susspect that this was postulated as a way of men to assure themselves that their child is their own and not that of another person. Women are always convinced that their child is their own, but men seldom have that assurance. Chastity belts are mainly used to stop infidelity, not sex crimes in particular. Sex crimes are an act of power and not sex, so there would be sexual violence regardles of the introduction of chastity belts.
Perhaps Malaysia should address the image of women in their culture and try to fix their problem that way. To say that they should bear this burden because of their social identity within this culture and the insensititvity of men to this is unreasonable.

open_minded said...

Well, according to this article I should make my female friends wear chastity belts when they go out to Sigma Pi, SAE, and Sig Ep to party because it's obviously not a drunken frat boy's fault that that hot piece of tail has been trying to seduce him all night. It's her fault.

Anyone else smell bullshit?

retro_liberal said...

Someone’s been watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights! Such a novel idea, chastity belts! Yes, my friends that clearly is the answer to all sex crimes. These women who so brazenly walk around in regular undergarments are certainly asking to be raped, beaten, and tortured. Why, it’s scientific fact that if women wear chastity belts, the rape rates will decline dramatically!

Honestly, I have to wonder at the mental stability of anyone who can safely say that’s a viable solution to the problem. I fail to see how even a fanatical religious leader can say something like that, in a public setting, and not feel like a complete and utter moron. Do they say things like this because they’re in the majority? Probably, but still, I’m a man in eastern Ky, probably one of the most sexist sections of the country, and I’d feel less intelligent than my cousin Jim Bob(psst I don’t have one) if I said something to that effect.

Women in our society and apparently other societies too, are degraded and a dehumanized to the point that is makes me sick. How can a society that can cure numerous diseases, build rockets to send people into outer space, create something like the internet, and a ton of other wondrous creation, be so narrow minded and uncreative is it’s solution to a problem as far reaching as violence toward women? Shame on us all!

MaxTurmoil said...

Women wearing chastity belts is not an option. I agree who the person who sad it would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad. I am in a conflict here. I believe in the 8th amendment banning cruel and unusual punishments. But modern science has not been able to “fix” or curb these desires of sex offenders. Everyone is offended by these sex crimes and is looking for something. Traditionally women have been blamed for wearing provocative clothing and getting blamed for it. To me sex crimes is the most heinous of all crimes. More so than murder or other capital offenses. While I would like to see modern psychology or medicine have a cure for these rapists/pedophiles there is no known cure and we have been reduced giving sex convicts medicinal/chemical castration where they are giving pills and injections regularly on parole so they cannot get erections and that is suppose to help the desire. Mackinnon would like to have seen moves to tougher crimes towards women. But wouldn't this be counter productive to equal rights? I mean if crimes (not just sex crimes) are worse towards men committing them against women then it does no good for either parties. It needs to be so women won't commit crimes vs men or other women and men on men. Not just men on women tougher laws. It needs to be made where nooned wants to commit the crime regardless if your a women or man.

raiden5060 said...

It’s always the same thing: Blame the victim. If a woman gets raped, her dress must have been too short. She must have been asking for it. Right? Right? This just seems to be another ploy made by a patriarchal society to punish women who suffer sex crimes. If a woman leaves home without her chastity belt and she is raped, is it her fault? I like how east_ky summed it up, “Somehow, they are supposed to know to automaticaly wear chastity belts when they leave home. This is no way to live at all. Women should not have to live in fear in any society.” That is really the heart of the issue. Why should women have to compensate for the flaws of their would-be attackers? Why is it that the question that is asked when a woman is raped is “what was she wearing?”? What difference does it make? Women should not have to live in fear, and that is exactly what the Malaysian government seems to be trying to mandate. Chastity belts? Talk about ignoring the root cause, and blaming the victim. It’s so blatantly misogynist—Forcing women to wear chastity belts rather than focusing on punishing the rapists and actually doing something to make SOCIETY safer is wrong. Telling women that to prevent rapes they must wear chastity belts is saying that it is the woman’s responsibility rather than society’s at large to deal with rape. It’s a cop-out on the government’s part.

aaron "che_70" Bevard said...

Women, and everyone else, should just start carrying guns, the dead rape no one.

Joe Gray said...

Well, I suppose chastity belts can protect women buy only if they want to but it would be hard to get the truth weather if the women wants to wear it or if the husband or father make the women say she wants it. I have all the respect for the women’s groups who stands up for equality, especially how dangerous it can be over in Malaysia who’s religious leaders can blame sex attacks on the women for just wearing makeup, sounds like we need some Rambo style feminist over there.

kingkong said...

I think this article is making it sound like it is the womans fault foe being raped, which in most cases isn't true. It is pretty sad if everytime a woman walks out of her house that she had to wear a chastity belt because some ignorant guy is gonna rap her. I would feel really bad for an woman who lives in fear like that and would wear a chastity belt everytime they leave their house. I don't think that woman should have to live in fear like that and I feel bad for the woman over in Malaysia who get blamed for the sex attacks by the sex attacks by their religious leaders even thought it isn't the womans fault.

the procrastinator said...

I find this sort of comical in a way. I can not believe that someone would consider a chastity belt a valid solution to a sex crime problem. I guess the thought process is different in Malaysia than it is here, but typically a good solution to this problem would be to have harsher punishments for the criminals. I guess a chastity belt could be a defense mechanism if a girl really wanted to resort to that, but honestly the government should have better solutions than that.
This is a prime example of women being considered as not equal with a man. Men view women as inferior to them and feel as if they have free reign over them. In the case of the chastity belt situation, I feel as if the women are looked at as being blamed for this. However, on occasion I have viewed situations such as these as partly the girl’s fault. I have seen on many occasions girls putting themselves in bad situations with guys and going to places that are uncomfortable and probably not safe because they think it would be fun. Now in Malaysia it sounds as if the problem is much worse and that women can’t go anywhere without being sexually violated. In this case there should be some major punishments for the criminals in order to show the other men that this will not be tolerated. Women have the same rights we do and that is to be able to be safe and free from harm, and that is what the government should provide.

Aaron said...

If we live in a world where chastity belts are our #1 protection against sex crimes then we might as well give up. All hope is lost. That would be a pretty pathetic world to live in. Luckily we don't. Or at least I like to think we don't. If women would like to voluntarily wear a chastity belt or place one on their child...Then so be it. But a mandate? Either from the government, religious leaders, or even their own husbands is absurd. That's what the police are for. It sounds more to me like some insecure husband really jut wants peace of mind and blame it on sex crimes.

Peace and Love said...

Chastity belts for women are appalling. Why should women have to be “safe-guarded” at the protection of men? Why should women have to feel threatened? Malaysia is notorious for heinous sex crimes, but that does not mean that the women who live there should live in fear because of sex-crazed men. Chastity belts would not allow women to have sex freely or for their own pleasure. If men can rampage about without their parts being concealed, why should women feel obliged to? Besides, there is no defining way as to how the chastity belts would work. If they can be removed, then couldn’t a sex perpetrator have their way still? It’s a huge violation against the rights of the people, especially women. Women should not have to suffer because of a few reckless men. It’s a shame that a handful of men commit crime against a bunch of women and the women are the one’s who are punished. The authorities of Malaysia should punish the men, not the women. Obviously, there is corruption in the society for this to continue. There is a whole grade of degradation that needs to be stopped. Forcing chastity belts on women are not going to stop the problem.

davidb said...

This is probly the most obserd article i've read on this site and that is saying something special. People in your country are being raped and the decision you decide to make is making them wear chastity bealts! i feel like any moment theres going to be a punchline for this article. There has be some slightly better way to control the sexual violence than making all the women wear steel underwear. Then again i really cant see where this idea would go wrong? Ow wait.........evreything about this idea is wrong!