Thursday, February 05, 2009

Rape Allegedly Used In Iraq To Get Victims To Be Suicide Bombers

From the BBC:

Detained in January by Iraqi security forces, [Samira Jassim] the mother of six is accused of converting dozens of vulnerable women into suicide attackers. In an apparent video confession, the middle-aged woman described how she identified potential bombers, helped supply them with explosives and led them to their targets.

She also explained, in a separate interview with the Associated Press, how insurgents used rape as a tool, with the "shamed" women persuaded to redeem themselves through suicide attacks. Her apparent confession could help throw light on the recent increase in attacks in Iraq involving female bombers.

When I read about this strategy of using a mix of persuasion and rape, to get vulnerable women to do what their rapists wanted them to do, this pattern of force and coercion reminded me of another pattern of force and coercion.

This mix of violence and faked helpfulness is what children and adults in the US and elsewhere are regularly subjected to when pimps/traffickers want them to cooperate with their own trafficking. This pattern of using force and coercion is well documented by sex trafficking experts. Just like those prostituted in the US this pattern of actions done to get someone to be a suicide bomber is not genuine persuasion. The person targeted to be a suicide bomber or targeted by a pimp has not freely changed her mind. It is systematic violence and coercion designed to get the unwilling to look like they are genuinely willing.

In both cases those who plan and execute violence against the vulnerable get all the benefits but their targets are the one's who pay the price for those plans. Those targeted are viewed as disposable.

The goal of those who use a careful mix of violence and fake helpfulness is to make their desired choice the only possible choice for their target. For those who are targeted to become suicide bombers the only choice to gain redemption is to die in a suicide bombing. For those who are targeted to become "sex workers" the only choice to gain stability and relative safety is to cooperate and become "sex workers."

If people have only one choice they are allowed to make without being subjected to physical or psychological harm then in reality they are given no choice.

Unfortunately, this story about female suicide bombers will be misused to indict all of Islam and will be misused to slam US feminists for not opposing Islam. To take this view people have to be ignorant of how this pattern is used by those who are not Islamic or they need to find this pattern acceptable when it is used in the US or the UK by non-Muslims.

The key difference between these 2 patterns of violent coercion is that those who are pushed to be suicide bombers are likely to harm people who did not get violently coerced while those who are pushed to be prostituted help people (Johns) who did not get violently coerced.

For too many people as long as random people aren't harmed this violent coercion isn't worth focusing on and it isn't worth stopping. Yet if this type of plan is wrong, then it must be wrong across the board not selectively.

Any claim that that the strategy to get someone to blow themselves up is more severe because murder is involved ignores the murder of the prostituted. Those who are prostituted have been murdered by their traffickers when this violent coercion didn't get sufficient compliance and they have been murdered by people who view the prostituted as not worthy of living.

It's also important to note that this Iraqi woman is described as recruiting female suicide bombers while a story in The Sun about using this same strategy to get young men to become suicide bombers has a headline of Al-Qaeda in gay rape horror.

This contrast sends a dangerous message which helps rapists as long as they don't rape boys or men.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:04 PM   0 comments links to this post


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