Nicholas Kristof, the emasculated columnist for The New York Times, bemoans the continuing rapes of young girls in Northern India, including one 16-year old victim calling herself “Bitiya,” writing that he’s “rooting for Bitiya and strong girls like her to change those attitudes and end the impunity that oppresses women and impoverishes nations.”
Those rapists are in for a rude surprise. Forget about the power of Kristof’s hand-wringing; just wait until he creates a hashtag!
Kristof writes: “This isn’t one more tragedy of sexual victimization but rather a portrait of an indomitable teenager whose willingness to take on the system inspires us and helps protect other local girls.”
Inspire us to do what, pray tell?
Bitiya, who is a member of the lower-caste system, asserts that she was roughly 13 in 2012 when four upper-caste village men raped her in a field, filmed the incident, then told her they would publish the video and kill her brother if she went public about the attack. But when her father saw the video six weeks later, he filed a report with the police, who did nothing. Worse, the village elders banned her from school. Public sentiment forced the school to rescind that decision, but the elders, punishing the family, refused to let her family obtain government food rations.
The four men were ultimately arrested, but released in bail; Bitiya’s father died of a heart attack during the court process. Her brother stays home out of fear of reprisal, leaving the family bereft of food. Meanwhile the rape suspects told Bitya’s family they would give them $15,000 if the case was dropped, Bitya refused, telling Kristof, “I want them in jail. Then everyone watching will know that people can get punished for this.”
"The United States should not hesitate to promote its values."
According to Kristof, no rapes have followed Bitya’s, because the rapists had to sell land to pay for their bail.
With the West’s abandonment of teaching Western values to other nations, the long-established subjugation of women is unlikely to end soon. Attacks on “cultural imperialism” abound; as one writer, Mejai Bolah Avoseh, was quoted in The Effects of Globalization in Latin America, Africa, and Asia: A Global South Perspective, “cultural imperialism is a way of superimposing the values, aspirations, tastes, standards of colors of powerful communities on poor, weak and vulnerable communities of the world.”
Kristof admits that when he interviewed local men about rape, they suggested that the problem would be best addressed by forcing the victim to marry the rapist. As one 18-year-old boy succinctly stated, “If he raped her, he probably likes her.”
Unlike Kristof’s sniveling and his waving of his tear-stained handkerchief, there is another way to address the primitivism evidenced in other countries, as David Rothkopf wrote in Foreign Policy in 1997 in a pellucid essay:
Many observers contend that it is distasteful to use the opportunities created by the global information revolution to promote American culture over others, but that kind of relativism is as dangerous as it is wrong. American culture is fundamentally different from indigenous cultures in so many other locales. American culture is an amalgam of influences and approaches from around the world. It is melded - consciously in many cases - into a social medium that allows individual freedoms and cultures to thrive. Recognizing this, Americans should not shy away from doing that which is so clearly in their economic, political, and security interests - and so clearly in the interests of the world at large. The United States should not hesitate to promote its values. In an effort to be polite or politic, Americans should not deny the fact that of all the nations in the history of the world, theirs is the most just, the most tolerant, the most willing to constantly reassess and improve itself, and the best model for the future.