Payne, BVU & Rape Advocacy

I sure hope that Kyle Payne wasn’t really doing any counselling with rape and sexual assault survivors on the basis of this website, purporting to be associated with Buena Vista University.  BVU’s website uses a different web address root, as you might expect, and there doesn’t seem to be any association between the two.

BVU doesn’t list any sexual assault services.

There are virtually no external links on Payne’s website.  He refers to BVU’s women’s studies program and if you didn’t know better, you could believe he is linking to it.  He refers to training programmes and possibilities for classroom presentations, but there are no links there either.

The photo on the home page comes from Men Can Stop Rape but, again, there is no link.

Payne is listed as the webmaster.  There is reference to “Advocates”, note the plural, but none are listed, nor is there any biographical information or training credentials with reference to Payne.

I’d surely like to know more about Payne’s “advocacy” with respect to rape survivors.  If he was really doing it, it would appear to have been fraud.

VAW and Islam

The empirical research done by Elizabeth R. Sheeley to form the basis of her book, Reclaiming Honor in Jordan, is re-capped here, in her open letter to King Abdullah II of Jordan.  Another step towards a more accurate view of the Muslim world:

I … traveled to 21 cities, towns, villages, and refugee camps throughout the country conducting in-depth, face-to-face personal interviews with Jordanian citizens age 18 and older. People from all segments of society participated and were represented-male and female, employed and unemployed, educated and uneducated, young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian, East Bank Jordanian and West Bank Jordanian, nomadic and sedentary, urban and rural. To all, I continue to be deeply grateful for the cooperation, the honesty, and, in many cases, the almost heart-breaking hospitality and kindness.

When I finished gathering and analyzing the data, I found that the people in the sample overwhelmingly support overturning Articles 97, 98, and 340 of the Jordanian penal code. It is not even a close call. It appears that the people are far ahead of the legislation and (dare I say?) the leadership on this issue. The news is good-most people do know right from wrong.

When asked if “honor” killings are morally just, 94.5% of the survey respondents said no (3% were neutral and 2.5% said yes). One respondent went so far as to equate “honor” killings with terrorism. Even among the few respondents who replied affirmatively to this question, there was strong support for codifying into law the specific behaviors that a victim must engage in before a successful “honor” killings defense can be had (80% agreement) and for clearly placing the onus of proof on the defendant that one or more of these behaviors was engaged in (100% consensus).

When asked whether “honor” killings should be punished the same as other murders, 87% said yes (3.5% were neutral and 9.5% said no). If anything, the extent to which the survey respondents agreed with this statement is understated. About 25% of the way through the administration of the survey, one of the respondents who replied negatively to this question added that he did so because he believes “honor” killings should be punished more harshly than other murders. Up until then, it had not occurred to me that respondents might reply negatively for that reason and not because they favor leniency. So, thereafter, each respondent who initially disagreed with this question was probed for his/her reasons. Many of the respondents who were surveyed after that expressed a desire to see the perpetrators of “honor” killings receive the death penalty. One respondent even went so far as to say, “”Honor” killers should be decapitated at Hadrian’s Arch [in Jerash, Jordan], in front of people. I will personally oversee the event.”

When asked if the perpetrators of “honor” killings deserve to be treated with leniency, 95.5% said no (2% were neutral and 2.5% said yes). Again, many of the survey respondents favor the death penalty for perpetrators of “honor” killings.

When asked if the victims of “honor” killings deserve what they get, 86% said no (7.5% were neutral and 6.5% said yes). A number of the survey respondents who either were neutral or responded affirmatively had quite nuanced explanations for their reply to this question. A recurring one was some variation of “yes, if the victim is married; no, if s/he is single, but then s/he should receive [variously] 80 or 100 lashes.”

When asked whether there is any honor in “honor” killings, 89.5% said no (8% were neutral and 2.5% said yes). One male survey respondent added, a woman’s “honor does not reside in the lower body.”

When asked if the penal code articles that offer leniency for “honor” killings will ever be overturned, 66.5% said yes (11.5% were neutral and 22% said no). Many who responded negatively to this question added that they hoped they were wrong. A number of the survey respondents even speculated as to what the time frame will be for overturning the three penal code articles, and it ranged from “Queen Rania [already] overturned them” to “it will take centuries.”

And when asked whether they support stiffening the penalties for “honor” killings, 89% said yes (3.5% were neutral and 7.5% said no). One respondent stated, “If I were king, I’d execute every person who murders.” Others noted that, if the relevant penal code articles were overturned, even the people who purport to believe in “honor” killings would be relieved because finally the peer and the social pressures would be removed.

And should you wonder whether my results might be statistical flukes, even though they were attained using standard scientific methodology, there is corroborating regional data. In an online referendum on “honor” killings conducted by Dubai-based Al Arabiya News Channel (www.alarabiya.net), 63.0% of the respondents stated that they believe these crimes are not justified, that they are unsupportable by any religion or law (24.7% were neutral and 12.3% indicated that they are sometimes warranted to eradicate bad influences and people from society).

Full text of the letter at Red.eVolution