Comment: Future ‘not bleak’ for victims if they marry their rapists

Whenever statements like

The future of rape victims is “not bleak” if they are married to their rapists…

…marriage between a victim and her rapist can in fact help solve social problems…

…For a wife that was raped, if she can marry (the person) she would not go through such a bleak future. At least she has someone who can become her husband. So this will be a remedy to social problems

are attributed to Muslims, I am reminded of “The Islam the women were promised” that I wrote in 2013 concerning laws encouraging women to marry their rapists. This main points of the article are that the Islamic worldview is clear concerning the rights and obligations of self-defense and defending others from attacks against person and dignity. This is especially the case for sexual assault, where a woman is obligated to fend off her attacker and bystanders are obligated to come to her assistance. Obviously, the fulfillment of such an obligation depends greatly on the circumstances she finds herself in, her state of mind, her ability to fend him off, and so forth. Regardless of whether or not she manages even to attempt to do so, it is still rape and must be treated as such. Some scholars advocate that a woman’s self-defense extends even to the after-effects of an attack, including restoring their feeling of security, treating the emotional trauma, and aborting a pregnancy resulting from rape. Advocates of this position argue that this is consistent with the noble purposes of the sacred law that place protection of the life and the intellect of the woman above the protection of lineage, property, and reputation. The Sacred Law is also clear that marriage is a relationship based on affection, mutual respect, intimacy, trust, kindness, and a refuge from uncontrolled carnal lust.

Encouraging or compelling a rape victim to marry her rapist (alleged or convicted) denies her the opportunity to defend herself and exposes her to additional attacks against her person, her intellect, and her dignity. It also forces her to live in a relationship that is based on hatred, alienation, violation, and abuse, and it rewards her attacker for his violence.

Exhortations to mercy are ingrained in Islam. Placing a victim with her rapist to do so are mercy’s antithesis.

Placing victims with their rapists has the potential to lead to suicide. Forcing and encouraging victims to marry in such a way places family dignity above her own life, intellect, and dignity – which is opposite the order of priorities assigned by the sacred law. How can one reconcile this inversion of priorities with the Islamic worldview which views spreading corruption and the wrongful taking of a single life each as akin to slaying mankind in its entirety, and the saving of a single life akin to saving mankind in its entirety (Q5:32)?

Contrary to the claims quoted above, placing the victim with her rapist doesn’t solve a social problem: it buries it along with the victim.

  • Qiko

    Note: Levonogestrel pills (AKA ECP, Plan B or “The morning after pill”) are up to 89 percent effective when taken within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. They continue to reduce the risk of pregnancy up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, but they are less effective as time passes.

  • Abu Fatimah

    Out of interest. Did any classical scholars, in any of the madhahib advocate such a marriage?