Vigilante Gender Violence: Social Class, the Gender Bargain, and Mob Attacks on Women Worldwide 0367249073, 9780367249076

In recent years, mob attacks on women by men have drawn public attention to an emerging social phenomenon. This book dra

339 57 12MB

English Pages 148 [163] Year 2021

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Vigilante Gender Violence: Social Class, the Gender Bargain, and Mob Attacks on Women Worldwide
 0367249073, 9780367249076

Table of contents :
Cover
Endorsement
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of contents
Preface and Acknowledgments
Part I Vigilante Gender Violence
Chapter 1 Defining the Problem: Vigilante Gender Violence and its Global Reach
References
Chapter 2 Explaining how Social Change Leads to Vigilante Gender Violence: The ‘Gender Bargain,’ Social Class ...
Lenski: Society in Stages
Great Britain: A Case Study of the Trajectory of Gender Inequality
Transition Periods and Vigilante Gender Violence
Defining Gender Inequality
Sexual Dimorphism
Polygyny
Property Rights
The Big Picture
References
Part II Case Studies
Chapter 3 Papua New Guinea: Hunter-Gatherers, Witch Burning, and the Implications of Colonization for Vigilante Gender ...
Traditional Modes of Production in Papua New Guinea
History of Colonization
Effect of Modernization on Social Structure
Increased Social Stratification
Jelasy and the Role of Women in Traditional Society
Vigilante Gender Violence as a Result of Jelasy
Gang Rape
Mob Torture and Burning of Witches
Two Case Studies: Helen Rumbali and Kepari Leniata
Addressing the Problem
References
Chapter 4 Afghanistan: Horticulturalists, Pastoralists, and Social Change at the Point of a Gun
References
Chapter 5 South Africa: ‘Corrective Rape’ amid Extreme Income Inequality
Roots of Social Stratification
The Ending of the Gender Bargain
Legal Same-Sex Marriage
Corrective Rape
The Future for Lesbian Women and Vigilante Gender Violence in South Africa
References
Chapter 6 The United States
Incels, Social Stratification, and Virtual Vigilante Gender Violence in the Postindustrial Present
How Postindustrial Societies Began
Gender Inequality in Postindustrial Societies
Variation in Gender Inequality between Postindustrial Societies: The Role of Social Stratification
Vigilante Gender Violence in Postindustrial Societies
Men’s Rights Activists
Men Going Their Own Way
Proud Boys
#GamerGate Vigilantes
Pickup Artists
Incels
What’s Social Stratification Got To Do With It?
References
Part III Where We Go From Here
Chapter 7 Predicting Vigilante Gender Violence: Can We See the Problem Coming?
China
Malaysia
Russia
Honduras
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Central African Republic
Somalia
India
Saudi Arabia
Other Nations that are Breaching the Gender Bargain but have Low Social Class Stratification
Toward a Typology of Nations and Vigilante Gender Violence
References
Chapter 8 Preventing Vigilante Gender Violence: What Can We Do?
Redistributive Policies
Universal Basic Income
Investment in the Social Safety Net and Public Infrastructure
Heavy Taxation of the Wealthy
Collection of Data
A Vigilante Gender Violence Database for the Twenty-first Century
References
Index

Citation preview

“Rebecca Álvarez has written an extremely important book. Vigilante-mob violence against women is a growing problem worldwide. It is now fed by social media. Dr. Álvarez provides a broad, thoroughly contexted analysis of the problem. She shows how rapid change leads to social tensions, which in turn can make some males feel threatened and vulnerable. Some of those men will take out their fear and anger on women, often deploying a weaponized form of traditional patriarchal values. Dr. Álvarez has developed a predictive model of male vigilante violence, applying it in several countries where local situations create significant differences. This is a highly original book, innovative and exciting. It is sociologically sophisticated, yet written in an accessible style that will give it wide appeal. This book is a major contribution to the literature on violence and to the literature on oppression of women worldwide.” E. N. Anderson, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, University of California “Rebecca Álvarez’s study of vigilante gender violence helps us to understand the causes of contemporary tragedies in several countries, but also sheds light on the role of physical force in gender relations in history and prehistory. Her analysis of the stresses produced when status characteristics are changing sheds light on contemporary patterns of violence, and as she notes, reveals similarities between the dynamics of race and gender relations. Álvarez’s book shows how structural contexts are important for understanding the causes of frequent vigilante gender violence events and she thoughtfully formulates possible policy solutions for reducing the frequency of these deplorable tragedies.” Christopher Chase-Dunn, author of Social Change: Globalization from the Stone Age to the Present (2014)

Vigilante Gender Violence

In recent years, mob attacks on women by men have drawn public attention to an emerging social phenomenon. This book draws upon concepts from critical race theory and sociocultural evolutionary theory to examine this specific form of gender violence, which takes place outside the law and is a vigilante form of enforcing traditional gender norms. The author positions vigilante gender violence as a global issue produced during specific periods of sociocultural change in conditions marked by intensified social stratification. The catalyst for vigilante gender violence is the formal state’s breaching of the ‘gender bargain,’ the tacit psychological wage even non-​elite men earn by at least not being female. When the state threatens to end the gender bargain by promoting women’s rights, the die is cast for low-​status men to enforce this bargain themselves in mob attacks against women who are perceived to be violating the patriarchal order. Seen through independent case studies in different national settings, this book provides empirical evidence that demonstrates the existence of vigilante gender violence in times when societies are shifting from one phase to another and the social hierarchies present within are disrupted. With greater understanding of when and how to predict the occurrence of this phenomenon, the author posits notable ways to prevent it from happening altogether. Rebecca Álvarez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at New Mexico Highlands University. This is her first book.

Vigilante Gender Violence

Social Class, the Gender Bargain, and Mob Attacks on Women Worldwide

Rebecca Álvarez

First published 2021 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 Taylor & Francis The right of Rebecca Álvarez to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-​in-​Publication Data A catalog record for this title has been requested ISBN: 978-​0-​367-​24907-​6  (hbk) ISBN: 978-​0-​367-​24908-​3  (pbk) ISBN: 978-​0-​429-​28506-​6  (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Newgen Publishing UK

For Artemisia and all the other Artemisias

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 

xi

PART I

Vigilante Gender Violence 

1

1 Defining the Problem: Vigilante Gender Violence and its Global Reach 

3

2 Explaining how Social Change Leads to Vigilante Gender Violence: The ‘Gender Bargain,’ Social Class Stratification, and Sociocultural Evolution 

17

PART II

Case Studies 

37

3 Papua New Guinea: Hunter-​Gatherers, Witch Burning, and the Implications of Colonization for Vigilante Gender Violence 

39

4 Afghanistan: Horticulturalists, Pastoralists, and Social Change at the Point of a Gun 

57

5 South Africa: ‘Corrective Rape’ amid Extreme Income Inequality 

71

6 The United States: Incels, Social Stratification, and Virtual Vigilante Gender Violence in the Postindustrial Present 

87

x Contents PART III

Where We Go From Here: Possible Solutions for a Global Problem 

109

7 Predicting Vigilante Gender Violence: Can We See the Problem Coming? 

111

8 Preventing Vigilante Gender Violence: What Can We Do? 

131

Index 

141

Preface and Acknowledgments

This book is intended to define and address a social phenomenon that impacts many people across the planet, in disparate nations in varying degrees of economic development. The emergent global phenomenon of mob attacks on women impacts men as well as women, and rich nations as well as poor ones. As with historical lynching attacks on African-​Americans in the U.S. South, there are discernible patterns in their timing and in the profiles of victims and perpetrators, along with the social conditions in which they arise. In the effort to alert the general reader to the scope and severity of the problem, I have departed from academic tradition somewhat in the style of the writing. For other social science researchers, I hope to explain the why as well as the how of these attacks. In doing so, I have identified several factors that predict the likelihood of such attacks emerging in a nation. It is my sincerest wish that future researchers may pick up the torch and bring to bear all the power and intensity of modern data science to better elucidate the ways in which global civil society may prevent future attacks. All of us have much to learn. For the readers of popular social science, I hope to connect dots that many of you have likely already compiled through reading news reports in the last decade. A great deal of public interest exists around women’s rights, and the global women’s rights movement. It is my goal to demonstrate the power of the popular backlash against this movement as well as the potential for informed citizens to shape public policies that could mitigate this backlash.This work is intended to serve as an introduction to the social factors at play. For the activists who have long been aware of the existence of mob attacks on women, I  hope to provide a connective framework that can demonstrate conclusively that such incidents are not

xii  Preface and Acknowledgments

isolated to a single nation or culture. I also hope to help cultivate public awareness of the issue, and bring greater attention to the problem, so that support for the study and prevention of this violence may increase, along with support for its victims. For the largely anonymous surviving victims of vigilante gender violence, I hope this work brings some small measure of recognition of the meaning of your lives, and the sacrifice that was exacted from you in challenging the patriarchy through ways large and small. For the families of those victims who made the ultimate sacrifice, I hope to demonstrate that the lives of your loved ones were not in vain; that they contributed to a future where all women may move through public spaces and express themselves without fear. I owe thanks to many people for the genesis and completion of this book. Foremost, I must thank my husband, Alexis Álvarez, for pointing out the vigilante nature of the attacks on women worldwide and for helping me develop and refine the concept. For his patience with all the lost weekends put into the writing of the manuscript and his help with creating figures and graphs, I cannot thank him enough. I am heavily indebted to my editor Dean Birkenkamp at Routledge, who patiently supported me as a first-​time author and provided exactly the right amount of critique. Tyler Bay and Lewis Hodder at Routledge also are to be thanked for doing a fair amount of logistical hand-​holding in the process of writing this book. Mike Davis at my alma mater, the University of California Riverside, deserves a great deal of credit for teaching me how to interest a popular audience in academic writing. The work of Susan Faludi on the backlash faced by women in the face of progress inspired in me a lifelong interest in its cultural manifestations. And you would not be reading these pages if not for the efforts of all the many persistent journalists who chose to cover this topic, sometimes at great personal risk. I am eternally grateful to my research colleagues Peter Grimes, Marilyn Grell-​Brisk, and Gene Anderson for seeing the potential in the work and encouraging me to continue. I would be remiss not to also mention my informal agent Christopher Chase-​Dunn, for bringing my work to the attention of Routledge. My faculty colleague Mario Gonzalez provided helpful material on ethnically motivated lynchings in the United States, while my friend and former faculty colleague Vivienne Bennett provided me with invaluable advice and mentorship. Ellen Reese’s work served as a shining example of how to present and structure an academic

newgenprepdf

Preface and Acknowledgments  xiii

book, and Valerie Stasik and Hannah Burling encouraged me to persist. Gloria Gadsden, my department chair, who identified the treatment of lesbian women in South Africa as a form of vigilante gender violence and so graciously allowed me free rein for a year in order to write this book, bears no small responsibility for its existence. Orit Tamir, my colleague and faculty mentor, provided advice and cheered me on during the early stages of the writing process. Anne Murigu helped immensely to encourage me as only a close friend can. Special thanks goes to her for reviewing the material on vigilante gender violence in Kenya. An enormous amount of voluntary time and energy went into the shaping of this book on the part of my ‘shadow’ style editors and proofreaders: my mother Marla Giem and my sister Elisabeth Giem. The work would not have been completed without them. I thank you all.

Part I

Vigilante Gender Violence

Chapter 1

Defining the Problem Vigilante Gender Violence and its Global Reach

One Sunday in mid-​December, 23-​year-​old Jyoti Singh left her parents’ home to meet a friend, Awnindra Pandey, to see a film. It was early evening in New Delhi, and the weather was foggy, smoggy, and cold. The film was Life of Pi, a Hollywood epic about the strength of a young boy who is shipwrecked and lost at sea with a tiger for company.The boy, Pi, survives a harrowing journey and triumphs against the odds. The Odyssean narrative of personal strength appealed to a young woman living in a middle-​ class neighborhood and on the rise in India’s capital city.That year, Jyoti was a physiotherapy student, a profession that in India confers significant social status. She had just finished her final exams and was slated to start her internship the following day. As a highly educated professional, her life would be different from that of her mother, who had moved to New Delhi to support Jyoti’s ambitions. Jyoti dreamed of one day building a hospital in her family’s ancestral village, where no medical facilities existed. Her entire family was counting on her to succeed in her chosen profession; her father had worked two jobs to support her education. These familial expectations were very different from those that had been placed on the women in her family and in her society for generations. In the past, the assumption had been that girl children would grow up to become wives, then mothers, and focus their effort on bearing more children, preferably boys. If a woman was so unfortunate as to birth a girl child, the child would be trained to replicate her mother’s life of housework and childbirth. This cycle had repeated itself since time immemorial in the farming communities surrounding New Delhi. But on this night, Jyoti was in defiance of the stifling norms of her parents’ village. Not only did

4  Vigilante Gender Violence

she have a male friend, she also was out in a public setting without a chaperone after dark, something that women in rural areas did not dare to do. But in New Delhi, in this vast bustling metropolis, a woman might flout tradition to see a film and even spend some precious time alone with a young man. After the film, Jyoti and her boyfriend caught a private bus. The bus was nearly empty, with only a few male passengers aboard. The driver was a man from a rural village much like that of Jyoti’s parents. His younger brother and a few friends were hanging out with him to pass the time, joyriding the bus. The friends, too, were men who had recently moved from rural areas to take advantage of the myriad opportunities that awaited them in the gargantuan city. Most of them lived in the same shantytown on the outskirts of the city. The men had been drinking heavily. Earlier that evening, they had already robbed one man, a carpenter, by luring him onto the bus and beating him, then taking his valuables.They had anticipated committing another robbery, but a female victim afforded other opportunities as well.What was a well-​dressed young woman doing out and about at 9:30 in the evening, and with a man no less? It was time to teach her a lesson, as the driver, Ram Singh, would later say. “What are you doing with a girl so late?” came the question, directed at Awnindra. As Ram Singh guided the bus through the streets of New Delhi, his brother and friends switched off the light in the bus and began their tutelage. First, Awnindra was beaten with an iron bar, then stripped. Terrified by the gang of men, he cowered under a seat. They dragged Jyoti to the back of the bus. Then, as she screamed for help and fought back with all her strength, the men took turns raping her, stopping only to switch drivers with Singh so that all of the friends on the bus could participate. They beat her with the iron bar and bit her face and body. The youngest, only 17, used the iron bar to penetrate her rectum so savagely that when he replaced the bar with his fist, a long piece of her intestine came out. Mercifully, by this time, Jyoti was unconscious with pain. Spent, the men pushed Jyoti and her boyfriend out of the moving bus by the side of the highway. The naked couple were discovered by male bystanders, one of whom described Jyoti as looking like a cow that had just given birth. Speeding away, the youngest attacker wrapped Jyoti’s intestines in a cloth and threw the bundle off the bus. Later, in the hospital, Jyoti survived long enough to identify her attackers. She died 13 days after the attack, after having been airlifted to the

Defining the Problem  5

best transplant-​specialty hospital in Singapore in an attempt to reconstruct her internal organs and save her life. [1] What happened to Jyoti Singh shook Indian society to the core. Protests over the prevalence of rape in India broke out, and the justice system imposed the death penalty on the adult rapists. A documentary film was made [2], then banned when the authorities decided it would be too inflammatory to the Indian body public. Laws intended to deter and punish the rape of women and other forms of gender violence were strengthened. [3] In the Western world, a few people paid attention, at least until the next horrifying rape report from the developing world broke. Activists spoke of feeling numbed to the recent spate of news items about extreme violence toward women. Why were these kinds of stories suddenly proliferating? Violence directed against women has always been a part of all societies everywhere. What made these cases so different, so terrifying? All human societies known to history have carried a greater or lesser undercurrent of potential for violence against the bodies of women. However, until relatively recently, this threat was expressed primarily in a domestic setting; the violence was directed by the husband against his wife, the father against his daughter.The kind of violence experienced by Jyoti was different. It was public, and it was directed by multiple strangers against a seemingly random victim. In terms of the extraordinary ferocity of the attack and the intent of terrorizing a victim perceived to be overstepping her social bounds, it bears more than a passing similarity to the lynching of African-​ Americans in the U.S. South. [4] It was a textbook example of what I will call vigilante gender violence. By this term, I mean the types of crimes against women that have grabbed headlines in recent years, defined by violent, extralegal, and public punishment of individual women by mobs or gangs of men who see their victims as violating traditional gender norms. The stories of these crimes have sometimes been dismissed by those in the West as simply due to a generalized hatred of women in non-​Western countries, or more frequently, as a part of religious doctrine. They have been used to cast the Western world as a morally superior place where secular humanism and/​or Christianity inures women to the threat of vigilante gender violence. They have also been used, in some instances, to bolster Islamophobia. A more accurate narrative is more complex. In this chapter, I will examine several more recent and more well-​known incidents of vigilante gender violence. In each case,

6  Vigilante Gender Violence

we will see that the motives of the perpetrators are not primarily religious in nature, though religion may become an ancillary justification for public retribution against women who dare to challenge patriarchal authority.We will also see that these cases bear a striking similarity in terms of the backgrounds of perpetrators and victims, and the urban settings in nations which, until relatively recently, had primarily rural populations. Our first case study takes place in Kenya, in the capital city of Nairobi, a large metropolis that has formed through migration from the rural countryside in the way that cities do across the globe. Over the last 40 years, the population has grown by 600 percent to over 3 million people in an area that is about half the size of Los Angeles. Like many large cities, in what people in the West term ‘developing nations,’ but which might more accurately be called ‘formerly colonized nations,’ open-​air markets coexist blocks away from formal urban-​style shops. While women are a critical part of Kenyan market life and are often the primary sellers of such goods as fruits, vegetables, and khat, the streets themselves present a gauntlet that must be traversed by women on their way from home to market. The streets of Nairobi have long been a public space that in theory is available to both men and women, but in practice, is dominated by men. Lower-​income and unemployed male residents of Nairobi congregate streetside to vend their wares, to pick up passengers on the ubiquitous motorcycle taxis, or simply to socialize.The high density of males in the streets confers an implicit power on men. Women who must walk to their destinations are subject to constant comments on their appearance or their sexuality. In this, the low-​grade background noise of sexual harassment is no different from that found in, for example, sections of Manhattan. [5] However, within the last decade, a new and more disturbing form of street harassment has emerged in Nairobi. Women have been stripped naked and sometimes paraded in public or beaten by gangs or mobs of men. [6] This new phenomenon has also been observed in urban areas of Malawi and Zimbabwe, African nations that also share a former history of colonization by the British. [7, 8] A large public movement of support, #MyDressMyChoice was born in 2014 in Kenya as a response to horrifying videos which were taken by mobs of men and posted on social media forums as warnings to women who wear short skirts in public. Women have been targeted for stripping, followed by public beating or even rape with a beer bottle after insisting that a man owed 70 cents at

Defining the Problem  7

an egg stand, or after simply riding a public bus. Victims are frequently too ashamed after these mob attacks to allow their faces to be shown on television. The women who have been targeted for this form of vigilante gender violence have uniformly been chosen as victims because of their attire in a male-​dominated public space. The men involved have openly stated that they are enforcing a traditional dress code. These women have been wearing pants or, more frequently, skirts deemed too short. Frequently, the attackers appear unafraid of social or legal consequences; they often film their attacks, which are then posted to Facebook or YouTube. The pattern is the same: a woman in an urban area is spotted violating gender norms shared by most in the rural population and is then attacked by a large group of men who aim to intimidate and terrify not only their victim, but by extension, the female population as a whole. While civil society in both Kenya and Malawi has been vocal in counterprotest, the risk of mob attack causes many women to restrict their wardrobe options as a preventative measure. Legally, there has been an effort to reinforce women’s right to dress as they please; however, as with all laws, the real test lies in enforcement. In many parts of newly industrializing nations, vigilante street justice trumps formal legislation. Another case study in which a nation’s law dictates one thing while traditional norms dictate another is found further to the south in Sub-​Saharan Africa. In the rapidly urbanizing nation of South Africa, the formal laws surrounding a woman’s right to choose whom she wishes to partner with are the most progressive on the continent. In South Africa alone, among all other African nations, the law defends same-​sex marriage. This legal anomaly has led to a small-​scale migration of lesbian women from neighboring countries who face severe social and legal oppression at home. Although the laws lead many to believe that South African cities are a beacon of tolerance on issues of gender and sexuality, the reality is very different. It is in the largely Christian South Africa that the practice of so-​called ‘corrective rape’ has emerged. Corrective rape is the term perpetrators use to describe the act of raping lesbian women in an attempt to convince them to ‘be straight.’ This concept is widely accepted by many men in South African society, the justification being that lesbian women simply need the experience of penetration by a man in order to ‘change their ways.’ Corrective rapes are almost exclusively perpetrated by groups of men rather than individuals.Though the modus operandi

8  Vigilante Gender Violence

may vary, the rapes often occur in public or semi-​public settings and are accompanied by beatings and/​or other forms of humiliation, such as urinating on the victim. Survivors speak of perpetrators yelling threats such as “We’ll teach you to be a real woman.” The fiction of the intent of corrective rape may also be entirely dispensed with, as it was in 2007, when the tortured bodies of prominent lesbian rights activist Sizakele Sigasa and her partner Salome Masooa were found in a field in an impoverished suburb of Johannesburg. Both had been brutally gang raped and shot. [9] The laws that made it possible for them to be public with their relationship and to even marry each other legally if they so wished did not protect them from the wave of vigilante gender violence washing over South Africa’s cities since the establishment of these laws. Female relatives of lesbian South African women, such as daughters, mothers, or even grandmothers may be subject to rape or other lesser types of retaliatory punishments purely because of their association with a woman daring to flout patriarchal relationship norms. Moving to Central Asia, we find a third case study in the circumstances surrounding the public lynching of a female Islamic scholar in Kabul, the largest city in Afghanistan and its capital. When the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, one of its stated goals was the emancipation of women from the fundamentalist Taliban government. While the U.S. became bogged down in the same morass of tribal loyalties and neocolonial blowback that the Soviets and, before them, the British also encountered, there was some real success in raising the social status of women—​at least on paper. Although Afghanistan is one of the very few nations in the world where women have a lower life expectancy than men on average, girls went from a legally 0 percent participation rate in primary education under the Taliban regime to a conservative estimate of a 35  percent participation rate—​in just a decade. Women also made significant strides politically: an electoral law mandated that a quarter of all provincial council seats had to be filled by women (a greater percentage than the equivalent political body in the U.S.). But this rapid social change was enforced at the point of a gun; the United States military had ensured the installation of their preferred candidate, who expressed a newfound commitment to women’s rights. Men all over Afghanistan seethed, at first quietly, then openly. The new rights afforded to women were conflated with any number of Western evils, and became a symbol of the occupation. Women who braved vigilante justice to exercise their

Defining the Problem  9

newly won rights risked retaliation in many forms. Rape victims who accused their rapists risked public assassination. Female police officers, lawyers, politicians, and even pilots were targeted for murder, sometimes in public. And the pent-​up rage of men deprived of their absolute authority over women erupted spectacularly one March day in 2015. A 27-​year-​old Islamic scholar named Farkhunda Malikzada confronted a male custodian at a mosque about his selling of non-​religious amulets and talismanic papers in a place of worship. She burned some of the papers he was selling and threw them in a trashcan. What Farkhunda didn’t know was that the custodian also was selling Viagra and condoms in violation of the law—​ and possibly acting as a pimp or go-​between for local prostitutes. Enraged and fearful that Farkhunda might discover and expose his more illicit activities, thus depriving him of a lucrative sideline, the man gathered up the burned pages, combined them with a partially burned Qur’an, and took to the streets, claiming that Farkhunda had burned a Qur’an. Within minutes, a large and exclusively male mob had gathered. Initially, police officers attempted to sequester Farkhunda from the crowd, but soon the mob pulled her away from the officers, who then stood back. A  group of over 50 attackers pulled off her veil, hit her, then kicked her (at which point she probably died), then stoned her with rocks from a nearby riverbank, then ran over her body with a car, then dragged her body for 300 feet with the same car, then burned her body. Because her clothes were covered with her own blood, her body would not ignite, so mob members eagerly volunteered their own clothing to feed the flames, stripping down in the street. Multiple members of the mob videotaped or photographed this public murder. They posted their trophies to social media outlets, proud of their participation. They did not believe they did anything wrong, though later some expressed regret after finding out that Farkhunda did not, in fact, burn the Qur’an. [10] While Afghanistan is part of the Central Asian region, many citizens of the West associate it with the so-​called Arab World, a term that is, in turn, often conflated with the Islamic world. A fourth case study can be found represented in some Muslim-​majority nations that are undergoing political, social, or cultural change. I am referring to the practice of throwing corrosive liquid—​most frequently hydrochloric or sulfuric acid—​in the faces of women who are out in public without male guardians or who are not wearing a hijab or

10  Vigilante Gender Violence

head covering. Women subjected to this hideous form of mutilation may have their faces disfigured for life, and additionally often suffer respiratory injuries. Most are condemned to a life of constant physical pain and emotional suffering. Some die of their wounds. In Afghanistan, the practice of acid burning as a form of social control of women’s public behavior has a long history, one that precedes the U.S. invasion. In fact, the Afghani warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-​I Islami and better known as the ‘Butcher of Kabul’ in the West, routinely ordered his henchmen 40 years ago to find women in public not appropriately attired and to throw acid in their faces. [11] During the last few years of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the risk for women has risen as an emboldened Taliban remnant has resumed targeting women in public. Other nations, too, most prominently Egypt and Iran, have seen a rise in cases of public acid burning targeting women not deemed sufficiently conservatively attired by fundamentalists. This, of course, is along with the general rise in acid burning of women who reject men’s advances, or are politically active, which has spilled over into France, Britain, and Canada. Victims of the vigilante-​style acid attacks do not always know they are being attacked until after the fact. Esraa Ali, a young Egyptian woman, was walking down a Cairo street in the busy downtown area, unveiled, when she noticed an impeccably dressed man following her. After following her to the subway station, the man warned her to “wipe off your pants.” Esraa thought his comment was odd, but did not heed his words. She traveled some distance before feeling an agonizing burning sensation on her back and buttocks.The man had thrown sulfuric acid on her. Esraa suffered from first, second, and third-​degree burns from the acid. She remained in severe pain for weeks after the attack. But in comparison to the injuries that other victims of acid attacks have suffered, Esraa was one of the lucky ones; her face and respiratory tract were unharmed. [12] Many others have not been so fortunate. Further north, in Iran, a series of attacks was carried out on women in Isfahan, the beautiful Persian city located at the nexus of the ancient Silk Road trade routes.These women were riding in cars when motorcyclists pulled up, threw acid in their faces, and drove off. The vigilante attacks ended—​at least temporarily—​when Iranian authorities rounded up some men whom they cited as the culprits. But the attacks left women in the city on edge and fearful that they, too, could be next if not properly veiled. [13]

Defining the Problem  11

Although acid-​burning attacks have been represented in some Western media outlets as tied to a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, they are a wholly modern phenomenon. No mention is made in the Qur’an of facial disfigurement as punishment for women not wearing a hijab, and the punishment that is proscribed is left up to Allah to determine. In fact, there are entire Muslim-​ majority societies (Turkey comes to mind) where many women do not wear the hijab. Furthermore, the rigidity with which laws regarding women’s attire have been enforced has fluctuated both across time within cultures and between different cultures throughout the Islamic world. The religious doctrine is just a pretext; acid burnings are a particularly effective way to control female public (and private) behavior in a patriarchal global culture in which facial beauty is considered a woman’s primary asset. One may rightly say that the acid attacks constitute a form of gender terrorism, a term not often used colloquially, but the use of which is salient here. As we shall see, the equation of the actions and motivations of the perpetrators of vigilante gender violence with those of terrorists, especially racial terrorists, is apt in many ways. In the next portion of this chapter, I argue that there are significant parallels between this kind of extreme gender violence and the racial terror tactics of the American Ku Klux Klan during the post-​slavery era. To begin with, there is the true vigilante nature of the violence. The Ku Klux Klan and other racial terrorist groups emerged as an extralegal force in Southern society toward the end of the Reconstruction era, when Black people were being elected as politicians and finally legally able to own their own bodies and even their own property. The result of the retraction of the slaveowner’s privilege (and the absolute social authority of even poor whites over Black slaves) was too much for Southern white society to countenance.The law may have mandated rights for emancipated slaves and their descendants, but white terrorists were determined to enforce the racial code by any means necessary, up to and including by rape, arson, and public murder. The term that became a byword for the public execution of Black victims by white mobs is lynching. Does it apply here? In the next few paragraphs, I will demonstrate that it does. Though the term has become synonymous with racially motivated murders in the United States, most experts agree that it simply means ‘extrajudicial punishment by vigilantes.’The term was

12  Vigilante Gender Violence

first used in bastardized form by Charles Lynch in 1782. A Quaker planter in Virginia, Lynch used the term to describe his extrajudicial punishment of British Tory sympathizers when he stated that an employee had acted under ‘Lynch’s Law’ when following his orders to imprison Loyalists without a judicial order. Over time, the term ‘lynching’ took on its modern-​day association with racial terrorism. [14] If we employ the literal dictionary meaning of the term, we can certainly classify the kind of gender terrorism outlined in this chapter as a gender-​motivated form of lynching. There are more parallels. In order to illustrate them, I turn to the story of my own sociological hero, Ida B. Wells-​Barnett, who earned her chops in investigative journalism. Born a slave, Wells-​Barnett was legally freed by the Emancipation Proclamation shortly thereafter. Wells-​Barnett made the most of the opportunities afforded her in the wake of the Civil War. She attended an historically Black college in Mississippi and honed her critical thinking skills while there. After a friend of hers was lynched by a mob along with two other victims, she embarked on a data collection process that ultimately debunked the public justification for the vigilante racial violence in most lynching cases involving Black men. Empirical data on the facts surrounding the circumstances of mob killings of Blacks by whites were not collected in a centralized database, and newspaper accounts were often unreliable. Official narratives held that the victims of lynching had almost always raped white women and that white Southerners were simply upholding the spirit of the law. In fact, Wells-​Barnett’s data told a different story: Black male victims of lynching were often targeted for exercising their rights as Americans, particularly their economic rights and their rights to behave as equals in public spaces. She found that victim after victim was lynched after they rose to a certain income level in society and posed a potential economic threat to white competitors. Other victims were simply in violation of social norms that required Black people to give way to whites in public or to avoid being drunk in public. Wells-​Barnett had found an element common to our case studies: the question of what is considered acceptable public behavior by an oppressed minority group. Wells-​Barnett argued that lynchings were not extrajudicial punishment for rapists, but instead a form of social control that was not fully available through formal law. [15] Her theory has withstood the test of time. In 1995, more than 60 years after her death, a pair of white sociologists, Woody Beck and Stewart Tolnay, published data

Defining the Problem  13

that further corroborated her ideas. Using a dataset that measured the frequency and timing of lynchings during the worst period of racial terrorism in the U.S. South, (which corresponded perfectly with the adult lifespan of Ida B. Wells-​Barnett) Beck and Stewart demonstrated that lynchings were more frequent during times when poor Southern whites were in greater economic distress. [16] Thus, lynchings of American Blacks can be seen as a significant form of social control, utilized when the dominant racial group feared the rise of a subordinate racial group. [17] So, too, are the lynchings of women globally: they serve to provide social control in the form of notice to other women who may be contemplating ‘stepping out of line’ in public, of acting ‘uppity,’ or (perhaps most importantly) providing economic competition—​real or perceived—​for men. An in-​depth study of this mechanism at play can be found in the classic book by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English entitled Witches, Midwives, and Nurses. [18] It posits a convincing case that many—​if not most—​public burnings of witches in Europe were motivated by male physicians feeling the pinch of economic competition with female nurse midwives. Another similarity between racially motivated lynching a hundred years ago in the U.S.  and the global lynching of women today is found in the extreme hatred expressed by the perpetrators. Criminologists refer to violence that goes over and beyond what it takes to kill an individual as overkill. Overkill was common for lynching victims in the South; newspaper accounts of the day recount multiple stabbings, multiple gunshots, draggings, burnings, castrations, disembowelings, and dismemberments. [19, 20, 21] Some members of lynching mobs even took grisly souvenirs in the form of body parts of the victims. Many a well-​intentioned white American child cleaning out the estate of an esteemed Southern parent has had to grapple with the incontrovertible fact of these ghastly artifacts, carefully preserved in an attic or basement. [4] Overkill is also present in the homicidal variant of vigilante gender violence; in order to kill a woman, it is not necessary to disembowel her, run her over with a vehicle, or shoot her multiple times, but this orgiastic release of violence is more the norm than it is the exception when lynchings of women occur. Yet another common factor in the two types of lynching is the expectation of impunity by the perpetrators. When reviewing the photographs of mob killings from the post-​Reconstruction era (so commonly taken and shared that they were sometimes sold as

14  Vigilante Gender Violence

postcards), one is struck by the lack of concern on the part of the participants for others finding out about what—​according to federal law at least—​was clearly a crime. Amid all the strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees are interspersed white men, women, and even children. Grins of pride proliferate, as do grimaces of hate. Some mob members, especially the children, look shell-​shocked at the brutality that has just been committed. One facial expression that is not represented, however, is fear. The perpetrators know that the law will not pursue them, and that even if it did, they would face juries and judges of their white peers. It is this utter impunity which emboldens them. Just such impunity enabled the attackers of Farkhunda to videotape the entire lynching and post it to YouTube. They knew they would never face justice, never be prosecuted for murder—​in fact, in the footage of the atrocity used by the media, a police officer can be seen groping Farkhunda, feeling under her skirt as the mob is about to close in on her. Other officers at the scene directed traffic around the lynchers as they dragged Farkhunda’s broken body under the car. That sense of impunity is reflected in the public videotaped statement of the lawyer for one of Jyoti Singh’s murderers: “In India, we have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.” [2] One more parallel remains: just as Ida B. Wells-​Barnett had difficulty collecting data about racial lynching that accurately told the story, it is also difficult today to collect hard data on the lynching of women. Many of the researchers on the ground are journalists, as Wells-​Barnett was. They are the unsung heroes of the narrative laid out in these pages.Vigilante gender violence is not recorded as a specific type of crime in almost any jurisdiction, and certainly not any of those in which it most frequently occurs. While a researcher can look at homicides of women, these do not record the private or public nature of a woman’s death. One can use the number of perpetrators of a rape or homicide if it is available, but frequently, this is not an officially recorded statistic. Criminal justice systems are either ignorant or uncaring of the idea that individual women are being systematically targeted as examples in a campaign of gender terrorism—​so they do not collect the data. Having access to good, reliable data on vigilante gender violence would help immensely to publicize the problem, as the crime of lynching was publicized through Wells-​Barnett’s data and investigative journalism. Though the collection of data on vigilante gender violence cannot by itself solve the problem, the ability of society in general to discount the

Defining the Problem  15

phenomenon as a consequence of religious belief, the inappropriate conduct of the victims, or simply ‘a few bad apples’ would be removed. We would be able to process the story of the next Jyoti, Esraa, or Farkhunda as part of a global problem with specific causes and solutions. But to address the problem of vigilante gender violence, it must exist in the public mind to begin with.

References [1]‌ Chamberlain, Gethin and Bhabani, Soudhriti. ‘Five years after the gang-​rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, what has changed for women in India?’ The Guardian, December 3, 2017. [2]‌ Udwin, Leslee, Anand, Abhey, Singh, Anuradha, and Krsna, India’s daughter: the story of Jyoti Singh. 2015. [Film] Assassin Films, 2015. [3]‌ Yardley, Jim and Bagri, Neha Thirani. ‘Notorious attack spurs India to approve new rape laws,’ The New York Times, February 3, 2013. [4]‌ Wood, Amy Louise. Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890–​1940. Chapel Hill, NC:  University of North Carolina Press, 2009. [5]‌ Levine, Alexandra S. ‘Catcalling on sidewalks,’ The New York Times, October 3, 2018. [6]‌ Robet Kiptoo, ‘Kenya arrests after women “stripped” in Nairobi,’ BBC News, Nairobi, 2014. [7]‌ Conway-​Smith, Erin. ‘Malawi gang “terrorized women wearing pants,” police say,’ pri.org, Johannesburg, 2012. [8]‌ Mwando, Madalitso. ‘Jail for Zimbabwe men who publicly stripped woman,’ Reuters, Bulawayo, 2012. [9]‌ Humphreys, Joe. ‘Outrage at killing of SA lesbians,’ The Irish Times, July 14, 2007. [10] Rubin, Alissa J. ‘Flawed justice after a mob killed an Afghan woman,’ The New York Times, December 26, 2015. [11] Rasmussen, Sune Engel. ‘ “Butcher of Kabul” pardoned in Afghan peace deal,’ The Guardian, September 22, 2016. [12] El-​Behary, Hend. ‘Girl recovering from random acid attack,’ Egypt Independent, December 14, 2013. [13] Dehghan, Saeed Kamali. ‘Iranians protest over acid attacks against women,’ The Guardian, October 22, 2014. [14] Waldrep, Christopher. Lynching in America: A History in Documents. New York: NYU Press, 2006. [15] Wells-​Barnett, Ida B. A Red Record:  Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, 1892–​1894. Chicago, IL: Donohue & Henneberry, 1895.

16  Vigilante Gender Violence

[16] Tolnay, Stewart E. and Beck, E. M. A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882–​1930. Champaign, IL:  University of Illinois Press, 1995. [17] Bailey, Amy Kate and Tolnay, Stewart E. Lynched:  The Victims of Southern Mob Violence. Chapel Hill, NC:  University of North Carolina Press, 2015. [18] Ehrenreich, Barbara and English, Deirdre. Witches, Midwives, and Nurses. New York: Feminist Press, 2010. [19] Armstrong, Julie Buckner. Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2011. [20] Simien, Evelyn (ed.). Gender and Lynching:  The Politics of Memory. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. [21] Carrigan, William D. and Webb, Clive. Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States, 1848–​1928. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Chapter 2

Explaining how Social Change Leads to Vigilante Gender Violence The ‘Gender Bargain,’ Social Class Stratification, and Sociocultural Evolution This chapter will outline the primary explanations for the social phenomenon of vigilante gender violence. Just as the characteristics of vigilante gender homicide bear more than a passing similarity to the defining features of racial lynchings, the theoretical framework explicated here borrows from, and is influenced by, important ideas of Black critical race theorists. While the comparison with critical race theory is not a perfect fit, as we are dealing with gender here rather than race, this academic debt must be acknowledged first. In his classic work on post-​Reconstruction race relations in the U.S. South, the father of critical race theory, W. E. B. DuBois, wrote of the ‘psychological wage’ of whiteness for poor white Southerners. [1] He argued that white Southern elites entered into an implicit bargain with their white workers:  that though the economic arrangements of the agrarian South would ensure that the white underclass would not enjoy the redistribution of the fruits of their labor, they would always be able to reap the psychological reward of at least not being Black.This race-​based social hierarchy as a mental and emotional compensation for the poverty of most Southern whites is sometimes termed the so-​called ‘racial bargain.’ The idea re-​entered public prominence with the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as many scholars have explained the surprise upset election of Donald Trump through the lens of the psychological wage and the rage of white Americans over its presumed ending. This particular argument has typically been expressed as the ‘status anxiety’ hypothesis, in which some U.S. whites have lashed out because they feel that their status in the racial hierarchy is threatened. While the status anxiety hypothesis is validated by multiple studies [2, 3], the racial bargain argument is

18  Vigilante Gender Violence

more nuanced: the mechanisms of the matrix of oppression hinge on both class and race. When class inequality is more pronounced, the racial bargain becomes more appealing, and thus, its removal poses a greater threat to those who benefit from it. Likewise, when women are oppressed by the patriarchal state in very highly stratified societies, the oppression of women in the hierarchy functions as a form of ‘gender bargain.’ This is separate and qualitatively different from the ‘patriarchal bargain’ identified by Kyandoti, in which women may conform to gender roles in order to receive the societal benefits offered by patriarchy for doing so. [4] By the term ‘gender bargain,’ I mean that in societies with very large gaps between the rich and the poor, women’s reduced status in society at large serves as a form of psychological wage for non-​elite men. In highly stratified societies, men may be poor, they may be oppressed in the extreme by elite men above them in the hierarchy, but at least they are not female. Anecdotally, an observer can see the gender bargain between men constructed in boyhood, when young boys are taught that to be called female is the worst possible insult, an idea common to all but some hunter-​gatherer and postindustrial societies. As a social construct, the gender bargain should vary in its appeal; it should hold more appeal in societies where stratification is more extreme, and less appeal in less stratified societies. Humans are universally conditioned to experience loss and negativity more strongly than gain and positivity, as established by the classic “loss aversion” principle in psychology [5] and the corollary “negativity principle” in social psychology. [6] Many men who experience status anxiety are motivated by strong feelings of loss of, and desire for, restoration to what they perceive as their rightful place in the gender hierarchy. It is men’s rage at the perceived ending of the gender bargain that drives the overkill demonstrated in the types of vigilante gender violence outlined in the previous chapter. Much as lynchings of Black Americans in the U.S. South manifested the awful anger and fear of Southern whites at the changing social order, these public mob attacks on, and killings of, women reflect the deep desire of men in highly stratified societies to keep women in their place. Many of the perpetrators of these mob attacks, when interviewed, are fairly forthright about their intent of inspiring fear in other women. The terrorist intent of these attacks is evident, just as the racial terrorism of the Klan, or in the modern era, the religious terrorism of fundamentalists, is evident in its methods. However,

The ‘Gender Bargain’  19

Western society is less comfortable using terms such as ‘gender terrorism’ than it is with naming religious terrorism. To properly understand the social circumstances that lead to the breaching of the gender bargain within a stratified society, thus producing vigilante gender violence, we must begin at the beginning. The smallest forms of human societies do not experience significant vigilante gender violence; much larger forms of human societies with low levels of class inequality also do not experience vigilante gender violence. The reasons for this, as viewed through the perspective of sociocultural evolution, are similar. While violence directed by men against women is nearly universal in most societies, the phenomenon of widespread vigilante gender violence is unique to specific periods of social change in human society.Those periods have in common a disjunction between social norms about gender roles and the formal norms of the state. For this disjunction to result in vigilante gender violence, the formal gender norms—​ codified in laws—​of the state must be less restrictive than the traditional informal gender norms of the society in which the state is embedded. The opposite trajectory, in which the state’s formal norms are more restrictive than the society’s informal norms, does not produce vigilante gender violence, because the state is serving the function of the oppressor—​and also is hypothetical for small-​ scale societies, as the formal state with its codified laws does not exist in these societies. We can visualize these transitional periods of human social organization as a stylized curve shown in Figure 2.1, with gender inequality rising, then falling with chronologically emerging modes of production. Note that this curve does not factor in time as a variable; the periods demarcated only indicate the order in which these modes of production have become adopted in human societies. Using this curve as a rough guide, one can see that women have relatively higher levels of equality vis-​à-​vis men in early forms of societies, then gender inequality grows during the transition to larger, more stratified types of societies (horticulturalists and pastoralists). It continues to grow and reaches an apex during the agrarian era, when the formal state is the most strongly oppressive of women.The industrial transition sees a decline in gender inequality, as evidenced in increasing formal (state-​granted) rights for women. This is followed by a transition to postindustrial society, in which women may have legal rights granted by the state that are equal to those of men.

Gender Inequality

20  Vigilante Gender Violence

Hunter-Gatherer

Horticulturalist/Pastoralist

Agrarian

Industrial

Post-Industrial

Figure 2.1 Gender Inequality and Modes of Production Source: Author, 2020.

Lenski: Society in Stages The theoretical model which produced our diagram above owes much to Gerhard Lenski. Lenski was a Yale-​ trained sociologist with a distinguished career at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Drawing upon previous anthropological ideas, he identified seven types of societies, based upon their modes of subsistence:  hunter-​gatherer, maritime, fishing, pastoral, horticultural, agrarian, and industrial. [7] His work has not been without its detractors, chiefly because of the ugly history of the eugenics movement, and the genocidal application of the idea that some cultures are more evolved than others. Hitler, after all, believed that the less-​developed non-​European nations and cultures were destined to be subsumed by the more evolved. For this reason, any attempt by social scientists to compare cultures using an evolutionary model of development has been met with strong resistance by social scientists in the Western academic world since the 1970s. It should be made clear that discussion of sociocultural stages of evolution does not imply a value judgment about the moral

The ‘Gender Bargain’  21

superiority of those in later stages of sociocultural development. However, it would be difficult to seriously argue against the military superiority of these societies, which for some is the primary social indicator of evolutionary fitness. [8] Therefore, in this book we shall accept the idea from sociocultural evolutionary theory that different societies have different gender norms, but explicitly reject the idea from Victorian-​era colonial supremacists that some societies are better than others. In the sociocultural evolutionary paradigm, all human society progresses through distinct stages, beginning with the simplest form of human social group, the hunter-​gatherer stage. Although anthropologists reading this will be tempted to point out exceptions to the rule, the general consensus about the actual existence of these stages (and the order of their progression) is clear:  the vast body of data that is our human history supports this thesis. Typical characteristics of hunter-​gatherer societies include small tribal bands in which all members are related either by blood or by marriage, a low level of social stratification, a gendered division of labor in which men hunt and women gather, and a nomadic way of life. In this type of society, women typically provide a significant majority of the calories that are consumed, with the male-​generated spoils of hunting making up the remainder. [9, 10, 11] Thus, there is a functional reason that women have greater equality in this type of society—​they are critical to its very survival, as they have arguably greater control over the means of production. This relative equality is reflected in the ability that many hunter-​gatherer women have to decide the geographic locations where the nomadic group travels. The next two stages in Lenski’s model of sociocultural evolution are the effects of two major leaps in human technology—​ the domestication of plants and the domestication of animals. Although they are two distinct types of society, they emerged historically as social forms within a few thousand years of each other. Horticultural societies, which use domesticated plants as their mode of subsistence, and pastoral societies, which use domesticated animals as their mode of subsistence, have similar patterns in terms of women’s status in society. In both, women become less important in their relationship to the mode of subsistence. Their status is thus lowered, and as social norms about private property are established, women in some horticultural and pastoral societies themselves become property. Men gain control over the means of production—​ animals and cropland—​ and social inequality at all

22  Vigilante Gender Violence

levels of society is heightened. Polygyny, or the practice of men marrying multiple spouses, becomes more common.While it is not unknown in hunter-​gatherer groups, it is not very intensive. The symbiosis of many horticultural and pastoral societies, in which crops are traded for animals, takes only a couple of thousand years to manifest as the next of our sociocultural stages: agrarian society. In an agrarian society, animals pull plows to facilitate the production of domesticated crops, and the waste products of both crops and animals are used to nourish the other in the forms of hay and dung. Most of the great civilizations that have built monumental architecture (the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Cambodians, Romans, Greeks, and colonial-​era Europeans) have been agrarian in their mode of production. In an agrarian world, surpluses of nutrients grow and support much larger populations, in which social inequality of all types becomes more pronounced. It is this type of society that produces the most extreme conditions for women socially. Polygyny is at its height in the sense that elite men are much more likely to have vast harems of women, leaving poor men to have no women at all.Women have little or no control over the means of production, and their disempowerment is reflected both in social norms and in the pronouncements of the state, which often deprives women of all property and parental rights, instead making them the legal property of their male relatives. While there is some variation in the extremity of patriarchy among agrarian societies, most notably the distinction between “wet” and “dry” forms of agrarianism identified by Rae Blumberg [12], the legal and social gender oppression found in agrarian societies persists across continents and across historical eras, remaining the status quo until the introduction of industrial manufacturing. In an industrial society, women are still oppressed. However, that very oppression is what helps women gain a foothold in the formal economy, as factory owners make the discovery that women can perform mechanized labor just as well as men can, but that social convention will allow the owners to pay them significantly less. Social convention also means that women are more easily exploitable in other ways as well, making them ideal workers from a capitalist perspective. While women in an industrial society start out making much less money than do men, over time they typically are able to command increased wages, especially as unions emerge and become gender-​integrated. The mechanization of labor, ironically, allows women to have more involvement in the means of

The ‘Gender Bargain’  23

production. It also coincides with the urbanization of society, as more people leave their family farms and flock to cities for jobs in factories. This puts a disincentive on having large numbers of children, which provide free labor in agrarian families. In turn, women (and men) begin having smaller families, leaving women more able to participate in the formal economy as physical lactation demands diminish. [13] Legal constraints on women’s rights also begin to loosen, as forms of democracy manifest in the political world. [14] In postindustrial societies, the mechanization of labor is even more extreme, as computer technology and artificial intelligence make many manual types of labor obsolete. In a truly postindustrial world, physical strength is no longer a general advantage. Skills such as cooperativity and sociality that have traditionally been attributed to women become essential to the operation of the economy. Even larger concentrations of people in cities make a conflict-​driven masculinist ethos a social liability, and women thrive as the wage gap begins to close. Though gender inequality is still present, in some areas, such as education, women may start to tip the scale the other way.

Great Britain: A Case Study of the Trajectory of Gender Inequality For an illustration of the trajectory of this rise and decline of gender inequality, we may turn to the case of the various societies that have existed over millennia within the territory of what we call Great Britain today. I use this example because the anthropology, archeology, and history of the society are well known—​and Great Britain is one of a select group of societies today that has made it through all phases of the above model. The earliest denizens of the island known as Great Britain were bands of foraging hunter-​gatherers. Like hunter-​gatherer groups everywhere, they had relatively short lifespans, but a comparatively egalitarian social structure, in no small part because women provided a significant amount of overall calories consumed by these small-​scale societies. Over time, these early British hunter-​gatherers developed horticultural systems of cultivation, using hand tools to grow wheat and barley. At this point, social stratification intensified as the concept of private property became solidified. Women became valuable commodities, traded freely among men to satisfy debts and make peace. According to archeologists, in Britain approximately 7000 years ago, horticulture

24  Vigilante Gender Violence

gave way to agrarianism after the introduction of the ox from Asia. The small and fractious tribes of England began to solidify into city-​states, as settlement sizes grew. Social inequality in general grew, as verified by the significantly poorer diet of the lower strata in society. Gender inequality also increased and was legitimated by the state. The absolute sovereignty of men over their women was codified into English Common Law [15] via the medieval Anglo-​ Norman doctrine of couverture, described by the famous legal historian, judge, and social commentator William Blackstone in the eighteenth century as follows: By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called in our law-​French a feme-​covert; is said to be covert-​baron, or under the protection and influence of her husband, her baron, or lord; and her condition during her marriage is called her coverture. Upon this principle, of a union of person in husband and wife, depend almost all the legal rights, duties, and disabilities, that either of them acquire by the marriage. I speak not at present of the rights of property, but of such as are merely personal. For this reason, a man cannot grant any thing to his wife, or enter into covenant with her:  for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself: and therefore it is also generally true, that all compacts made between husband and wife, when single, are voided by the intermarriage. [16] With the invention of mass-​scale mechanization of labor in the form of factories, which first made their appearance in England, urban centers boomed, attracting vast numbers of women from the agrarian countryside and producing the classically Dickensian conditions chronicled so extensively in Victorian-​era fiction. For these new urban transplants, this revolution of industry proved to be the tipping point in the trajectory of gender inequality. While the Industrial Revolution did not resolve all problems for women, it did provide a way for them to re-​emerge into the public sphere via the workplace, where over time, they soon made up a majority

The ‘Gender Bargain’  25

of workers in garment factories and other industrial settings where having smaller hands (and being perceived as less likely to demand fair wages) were valuable assets for a worker. Slowly British women began to gain property rights, the ability to vote, and the old common laws of couverture started to slough off. By the time that the nineteenth-​century British Empire began to collapse under its own weight, women had already made great strides from only a century prior. The twentieth century saw an equally strong march of progress for women and their legal and economic rights. The close of World War II, while marking the formal end of Great Britain’s global dominance, also indicated the beginning of a new postindustrial era for English women. Incidentally, the post-​WWII era also saw the reduction of the extreme social class stratification that had existed previously during the Gilded Age, thus making the gender bargain less appealing to men. Today, women in England receive more university degrees than men, make up 32 percent of the Members of Parliament (as of 2018), and have twice seen one of their own in the Prime Minister’s seat. They also make nearly as much as men, with Britain having a smaller gender wage gap than that of the United States. Modern postindustrial Great Britain today ranks among the top nations in the world in terms of quality of life for women as measured by the World Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index. [17]

Transition Periods and Vigilante Gender Violence The periods in the stylized gender inequality diagram (Figure 2.1) that are most likely to see the emergence of vigilante gender violence are the transition periods from one mode of production to another.These transitional periods meet the criteria outlined previously for state laws outpacing informal traditional norms about gender and hierarchy. In fact, the state law may reflect gender norms that are congruent with postindustrial society, even while a society still holds broadly to hunter-​ gatherer norms around gender or horticultural norms around gender, as in Papua New Guinea or Afghanistan. It is in these periods where the gender bargain seems betrayed to non-​elite men, and where the resulting uncertainty about gender hierarchy and status may turn ugly. This theoretical model is intuitive to those who have made a study of

26  Vigilante Gender Violence

racial violence in the U.S. South, which saw the worst outbreaks of racial terrorism after the federal emancipation of Black slaves during time periods where white Americans felt threatened socially or economically by Black Americans [18, 19], and a rise in membership in racial terrorism organizations again after the legal changes of the civil rights era.A more difficult intellectual task is establishing the measurement of gender inequality; while the model seems right, what metrics could we use to operationalize this phenomenon?

Defining Gender Inequality Gender inequality can be viewed in a number of ways:  some scholars measure it as power, others by life outcomes such as comparative life expectancies, education levels, paid employment rates, or income levels. To accommodate the timespan involved in the emergence of all of the above modes of production, we must choose metrics that go back 13,000 years or more, when all human societies were organized as hunter-​gatherer bands of kin.The following three metrics can be studied across societies and throughout history: sexual dimorphism, polygyny, and property rights.

Sexual Dimorphism Sexual dimorphism is best defined as the physical differences that exist between the sexes. All primate species manifest some degree of sexual dimorphism; however, primates show a great deal of variation in degree. While our closer chimpanzee relatives have only a 29 percent body size difference between males and females, gorillas exhibit a 138 percent size difference. In modern humans, there is a range of height difference between males and females of 4 to 10 percent.While there are many factors that account for this difference, nutrition and (closely related) dominance patterns play a role. In most human societies, who gets access to food—​especially the best kinds of food—​has historically been a question determined by an individual’s status. Therefore, one might expect a sort of feedback effect, in which better nutrition enables an individual’s dominance, which then further enables access to better nutrition. If, in a human society, girls and women have less access to good nutrition, it is well-​documented [20, 21, 22] that their physical development is stunted. Access to good nutrition is clearly related to gender in many societies.

The ‘Gender Bargain’  27

Polygyny Polygyny refers to a specific type of polygamous arrangement in which men have multiple spouses, but the converse is not true.There are a few societies that are seeing the last remaining adherents of polyandrous marriages die out, as in Tibet and some parts of Nepal, but by and large this arrangement in which women have multiple spouses (who typically are brothers of the same family), is fairly rare. About half the societies where polyandry has been observed by anthropologists in the modern era are hunter-​gatherer groups. Far more common in the last 10,000 years of human history has been the practice of polygyny. While it has become politically fashionable in recent years for some feminists to defend the practice of polygyny under the guise of cultural relativism, most women in the developed world instinctively recognize it as a practice that disproportionately benefits men; women free to choose their marital destinies who are seeking out polygynous relationships online are few and far between! However, the developed world is awash with men who, not being able to legally practice polygyny, content themselves with cheating on their wives and/​or harassing their female subordinates à la Harvey Weinstein. A telling example of the gender imbalance here was demonstrated when the marital-​affair facilitation website Ashley Madison was hacked and user identifying information was made available to the public—​and Gizmodo’s analysis found that most people seeking satisfaction outside marriage were men. Many of the Ashley Madison online identities that presented themselves as female were in fact bots engineered by the company to ‘engage’ men so that they would purchase credits from the site. Evolutionary psychologists have argued that both the practice of polygyny and attempts to engineer infidelity are rooted in the maximization principle: the idea that men are biologically driven to maximize the quantity of offspring they produce rather than the quality. This writing is concerned not with the question of why polygyny is so much more prevalent in human societies than polyandry, but instead with the significance of its fluctuation in prevalence as a form of marital arrangement across the span of history and especially across the modes of production outlined in our curving gender inequality model. And fluctuate it does. When considering formal marital arrangements of polygyny—​as opposed to the practice of informal polygyny, which manifests in a primary marriage with one or more

28  Vigilante Gender Violence

side women—​there is a great deal of variation in what societies consider acceptable. The apex of polygyny is seen in agrarian societies and is often justified by religious doctrine. Later-​stage agrarian societies often see a decline or an outright forbidding of polygyny in favor of monogamy, and polygyny’s prevalence in postindustrial societies is all but null, with only a few marginalized religious sects still attempting the practice. There are two primary ways of examining polygyny as a measure of gender inequality in a society.The first, prevalence, as measured by the percentage of marriage-​age women in the society that are in a polygynous marriage, is the most commonly used by researchers. The second I will call intensity, by which I mean the ratio of the number of women in a society who are in a polygynous marriage to the ratio of men in the same society who are in a polygynous marriage. This polygyny intensity metric, when high enough, can be explained by two interrelated possibilities:  A) that dominant males in society (call them Trumpian ‘alpha males’) are sequestering more than their ‘fair share’ of wives, potentially leaving none for the lowly beta males, unless B) males are actually killed with high frequency in the society, in which case most men do in fact have wives. This kind of situation, where elite males in a society ‘hog’ all the women is illustrated at its apex by the sixteenth-​century king of Malwa in Central India, whose legendary harem encompassed an entire walled fortress populated almost exclusively by women. Examples of this kind of extremely intensive polygyny abound in Judeo-​Christian-​Islamic religious histories, as well as early Buddhist and Hindu texts. All of these examples were produced as part of the religious narratives reflecting the agrarian social norms and values of the societies in which they emerged. It could be argued that intensity of polygyny reflects not so much the level of gender inequality in society, but rather the level of social stratification in general in society. However, as (at least on the upswing of the gender inequality curve shown in Figure 2.1) both the general social stratification and gender inequality curves are very similar if not identical, I am interested in examining the intensity of polygyny in addition to its prevalence. It is likely that sexual dimorphism has an impact on the prevalence of polygyny in societies, and that polygyny in turn promotes greater sexual dimorphism, in a kind of feedback effect. A particularly illustrative example can be found by observing our primate relatives again:  most species of lemurs display sexual dimorphism in which females are bigger/​

The ‘Gender Bargain’  29

stronger/​have larger canine teeth. Interestingly, many lemur species also display monogamous pair-​bonding behaviors, or at least serially monogamous relationships. The research in humans also finds a connection between polygyny and sexual dimorphism, but as so often is the case in social science, correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It does seem likely, however, that there is some kind of causal mechanism at work here that encourages those individuals who have a physical advantage, vis-​à-​vis the opposite sex, to seek reproductive relationships that are advantageous to them as individuals. Monogamy presents clear benefits for females, as can polygyny for men. It is certain that monogamy manifests itself again in societies as women regain more power on the downward curve of gender inequality leading from agrarian to industrial societies. Some societies, in fact, establish laws mandating monogamy in the later stages of agrarian civilization—​think of the Roman Empire or Catholic Europe in the papal era. Many others do not do so until industrial development and urbanization necessitate a more equal distribution of wives to husbands in society. By the time a society transitions away from an industrial mode of production to a postindustrial one, monogamy is always the law. While some groups in postindustrial societies (like the Fundamentalist Latter-​Day Saints (FLDS) in the United States) may practice de facto polygyny, these marriages are not legal in a binding sense. Indeed, as recent raids on FLDS compounds demonstrate, there is an urge on the part of the majority of the population to break up these relationships. As a side note, it is remarkable to superimpose a color-​coded map of nations that today penalize same-​sex relationships by fine, imprisonment, or death upon a similarly color-​coded map of those nations that permit polygyny as a legal marital form—​the maps are nearly identical, with the same nations that are very intolerant of same-​sex relationships being very tolerant of polygyny, and vice-​versa. This is because the nations that today penalize same-​ sex relationships are almost exclusively agrarian societies, with social norms that reflect societal goals of reproduction maximization. These world maps include many agrarian, industrial, and postindustrial nations, but hunter-​gatherer nation-​states are nonexistent, and horticulturalist or pastoralist nation-​states can be counted on one hand. Thus, it is difficult to measure these trends across the model we have outlined for all types of society using modern national-​level data.

30  Vigilante Gender Violence

Property Rights The academic literature on women’s status in society often focuses on women’s participation in the paid labor force and their wage gap with men as primary metrics of gender equality. [23] And there is no doubt that women who earn money on their own have more opportunities to control their own destiny, as do women who earn greater amounts of that money comparative to men. The problem with using both of these common measurements for the purposes of this book’s argument is that they only can be measured in post-​ agrarian capitalist societies, when the concept of monetary wage labor as the organizing force of society emerged. Yet the idea of women’s economic rights is an important one; it is necessary to pay attention to it. Property rights (or the lack thereof) provide a good alternative measurement and can be measured across multiple types of societies. Property rights can be categorized roughly in two forms: rules about who can own property, and rules about who inherits it. The rules about who can own property in a society are not necessarily binary with respect to gender. Women can own some form of property in most societies, with the exception of the apex of gender stratification displayed in agrarian patriarchies, but how much property and what types is a question that shows great variation across cultures. But a general trend following the curvilinear pattern can be readily observed. Property rights in terms of inheritance also exhibit a significant degree of variability across societies. Anthropologists have conducted a great deal of research examining the specific circumstance surrounding patrilineal property inheritance (in which children inherit property from their fathers) and matrilineal property inheritance (in which children inherit property from their mothers). Dowry systems in which women bring property to the marriage and brideprice systems in which men trade cattle or other property with a woman’s family in exchange for a wife appear to be related to the matrilineality or patrilineality of a culture’s property inheritance system. Property rights do not even exist in many simple societies—​for men or women. This is because property is seen as the property of the society as a group. In this sense, it is communal. Obviously, a hunter-​gatherer group may defend territory from other groups, but this is not the same as withholding objects from other members of the same tribe. This means that women have essentially the same

The ‘Gender Bargain’  31

property rights as men, since neither really have these rights in the sense that we in the U.S.  understand them. When looking at the chronological emergence of modes of subsistence in our diagram, we do not see the emergence of the codified concept of private property until horticultural societies become sedentary. At this point in human history, some people (usually men) begin to have more resources than others.These resources may consist of land, water in the form of wells, or objects. For pastoralists, who emerge as a distinct social form within 2000 years of horticulturalists, the resources in question are typically animals, with some men owning larger herds than others. As time elapses, both horticulturalists and pastoralists may begin to think of women themselves as property—​ as resources to be distributed among men. The degree to which women are considered property varies widely among horticultural and pastoral societies:  the forager-​horticulturalist Yanomamö see women as little more than objects to be traded, while the semi-​ nomadic and pastoralist Wodaabe women of the North African Sahel region have considerable autonomy, can own property, and can even choose their own husbands. In all agrarian societies, however, the concept of private property is solidified and concentrated in the hands of men.The famous Marxian dichotomy of landowners and renters is manifested and slavery emerges in agrarian societies as a logical extension of this dichotomy.The great sociologist Maria Mies has conducted an intensive examination of the ways in which women’s power and social status suffer with their alienation from the means of production. [24] While some women in agrarian societies are able to own land through widowhood, history is rife with examples of agrarian societies targeting women who had too much power, either through land ownership or by a lack of male ties (see Kelkar and Nathan’s 1991 book Gender and Tribe: Women, Land, and Forests for an excellent analysis of this phenomenon). [25] Industrial society, by contrast, is where we see the worm begin to turn. Society itself at this point becomes more egalitarian and often more democratic in many ways as urbanization creates pressure on elites to share at least some of their privileges.While in most industrial nations the elites are not willing to share the spoils in terms of income or wealth, there are numerous less-​expensive options at their disposal, such as greater access to education or health care. Private property is still concentrated mostly in the hands of men, but increasingly greater segments of society see this situation as unjust. It was the newly industrializing United States that provided

32  Vigilante Gender Violence

the backdrop for women’s rights activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.  Anthony, who demanded expanded property rights for women along with suffrage. In industrial societies, women cease to be someone else’s property, and instead begin to own their own bodies. As women at last hold most property rights (though not yet that of abortion) to their own bodies, they can and often do focus on other types of property rights. Change is uneven and does not proceed at the same pace in all industrializing societies. In some urbanizing nations’ cities, property rights for women are enforced, while in rural areas of the very same nation, they may be less rigorously enforced, or not enforced at all. Modern India is a classic case of a nation with a split character in regard to property rights enforcement. While large swathes of the country are urbanized and revolve around industry, large parts are also rooted in the agrarian norms of India’s past. The tragedy of Jyoti Singh and her murderers perfectly illustrates this schizophrenic social fabric, in which cosmopolitan young women in cities must interact with men newly arrived from the rural countryside who have ideas about appropriate female behavior that reflect the worst gender inequalities from the historical apex of oppression of women. Property rights for both women and men are sacrosanct in postindustrial nations. Here the conflict shifts to women’s reproductive property rights. Debates around abortion in the United States are expressed in explicitly possessive slogans—​“It’s my body, my choice,” “get your hands off of my uterus,” etc.—​and though the legal framework of the original famous Roe vs. Wade decision revolves around a right to privacy, the lesser-​known Planned Parenthood v.  Casey decision solidified the Supreme Court’s position that a woman has the right to abortion as long as a fetus is not viable outside the womb. Meanwhile, in the rest of the postindustrial world (encompassing almost all European nations, Japan, and Canada) abortion rights are much more socially accepted and produce much less social pushback than in the United States. One likely reason for the contrast on this issue between the United States and the rest of the postindustrial world is that, like India, the nation is unevenly developed. Some parts of the U.S. South are still operating as nearly agrarian societies, and other parts (think the Rust Belt and other former industrial areas) have societies built around industrial-​era gender norms. However, large metropolitan areas generally hold ideas about women’s reproductive property

The ‘Gender Bargain’  33

rights that are more in line with European nations. As an aside, this tripartite cultural split also explains a lot about American politics and other issues that manifested in the 2016 election cycle. How else to explain a wealthy nation that enforces women’s rights then elects a president who openly bragged on tape about sexually assaulting women? We will return to this idea in Chapter 7 when discussing vigilante gender violence and the forms it takes in postindustrial nations.

The Big Picture This chapter outlines a generalized theory of gender inequality as a variable that rises and falls in a distinct pattern over time in response to changing modes of subsistence and production, due to women’s access to these modes. We have discussed ways of measuring this rise and fall with concrete indicators and have introduced the idea of a ‘gender bargain’ between elite men and all other men as a psychological compensation to non-​elite men for increased general social stratification. As we will see, the perceived betrayal of the gender bargain on the downward slopes of this inequality curve in conjunction with high levels of social stratification motivates vigilante gender violence in industrial and postindustrial societies. In the next chapter, we will see how a nation, that a generation ago was comprised largely of hunter-​gatherers and horticulturalists, has adapted to a rapid shift to gender norms prevalent in postindustrial societies in combination with a rapidly stratifying society.

References DuBois, W. E. B. Black Reconstruction. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935. [2]‌ Fuchs, Christian. Digital Demagogue:  Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Trump and Twitter. London: Pluto Press, 2018. [3]‌ Mutz, Diana C. ‘ “Status threat, not economic hardship,” explains the 2016 presidential vote.’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pp. 1–​10. 2018. [4]‌ Kandiyoti, Deniz. 1988. ‘Bargaining with Patriarchy.’ Gender and Society,Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 274–​290. [5]‌ Kahneman, Daniel and Tversky, Amos. 1979. ‘Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk.’ Econometrica, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 263–​292. [1]‌

34  Vigilante Gender Violence

[6]‌ Baumeister, Roy F., Bratslavsky, Ellen, Finkenauer, Catrin, and Vohs, Kathleen D. 2001. ‘Bad is Stronger than Good.’ Review of General Psychology,Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 323–​370. [7]‌ Lenski, Gerhard Emmanuel. Human Societies: A Macrolevel Introduction to Sociology. New York: McGraw-​Hill, 1970. [8]‌ Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton,  1999. [9]‌ Eaton, S. B., Konner M., and Shostak, M. 1988. ‘Stone agers in the Fast Lane: Chronic Degenerative Diseases in Evolutionary Perspective.’ American Journal of Medicine,Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 739–​749. [10] Marlowe, Frank W. 2005. ‘Hunter-​Gatherers and Human Evolution.’ Evolutionary Anthropology,Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 54–​67. [11] Marlowe, Frank W. 2007. ‘Hunting and Gathering:  The Human Sexual Division of Foraging Labor.’ Cross-​Cultural Research, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 170–​195. [12] Blumberg, Rae Lesser. 2004. ‘Extending Lenski’s Schema to Hold Up Both Halves of the Sky:  A Theory-​ guided Way of Conceptualizing Agrarian Societies that Illuminates a Puzzle about Gender Stratification.’ Sociological Theory,Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 278–​291. [13] Huber, Joan. On The Origins of Gender Inequality. New  York: Routledge, 2007. [14] Chafetz, Janet Saltzman. Gender Equity:  An Integrated Theory of Stability and Change. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1990. [15] Paul, Kevin C. 1989. ‘Private/​Property: A Discourse on Gender and Equality in American Law.’ Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice,Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 399–​439. [16] Blackstone,William. Commentaries on the Laws of England, A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765–​1769 (Volume 1). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002. [17] Human Development Reports. Available at:  http://​hdr.undp. org/​en/​composite/​GII. Geneva:  United Nations Development Programme, 2016. [18] Tolnay, Stewart and Beck, E. M. A Festival of Violence. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995. [19] Stovel, Katherine. 2001. ‘Local Sequential Patterns: The Structure of Lynching in the Deep South, 1882–​1930.’ Social Forces, Vol. 79, No. 3, pp. 843–​880. [20] Larsen, Clark Spencer. ‘The Anthropology of St. Catherine’s Island. 3, Prehistoric Human Biological Adaptation.’ Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History. New York: The American Museum of Natural History, 1982. [21] Ramalingaswami, Vulimiri, Jonsson, Urban, and Rohde, Jon. The Progress of Nations. Geneva: UNICEF, 1996.

The ‘Gender Bargain’  35

[22] Deaton, Angus. 2008. ‘Height, Health, and Inequality:  The Distribution of Adult Heights in India.’ American Economic Review, Vol. 98, No. 2, pp. 468–​474. [23] Cohn, Samuel R. and Blumberg, Rae Lesser (eds.). Gender and Development: The Economic Basis of Women’s Power. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2020. [24] Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. New York and London: Zed Books, 1986. [25] Kelkar, Govind and Nathan, Dev. Gender and Tribe: Women, Land and Forests in Jharkand. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1991.

Part II

Case Studies

Chapter 3

Papua New Guinea Hunter-​G atherers, Witch Burning, and the Implications of Colonization for Vigilante Gender Violence

The political philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ most famous, and often misquoted, quote is that man’s life in his natural state is ‘solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.’ Hobbes was cautioning his own society on the need for government by referring to the social relations of Native American hunter-​gatherers in colonies of the nascent British Empire. At the time of Hobbes’ statement, the Empire was well on its way to establishing a far more brutish and nasty mass genocide of its colonized peoples than any individual small group of hunter-​gatherers could accomplish on its own. Hobbes, as a prominent figure in colonial-​era British society, was perhaps not the best judge of the natural state of man. Despite the somewhat hypocritical perspective of Hobbes, this image of hunter-​ gatherers as violent brutes has persisted in the Western popular mind, driven by racist Hollywood tropes and a general lack of public knowledge on the subject. Nowhere is this ‘savage’ image more persistent than with the stereotypes built around the iconic image of the ‘New Guinea islander.’ Beloved of National Geographic photographers and anthropologists alike, the residents of Papua New Guinea have endured over a century of demonization as cannibals and ‘primitives’ by Westerners. Many cultural practices that were selectively used to create this stereotypic image have been released from the moderating influence of other facets of traditional culture by contact with colonial influences. In fact, the imposition of colonial rule on New Guinea’s islands has resulted in the amplification of vigilante gender violence, not its reduction, as social bonds have frayed and traditional ways of life have been modified or discarded altogether. Of particular relevance to the topic of this book is the consequence that, in many ways, the status

40  Case Studies

of women in Papua New Guinea has deteriorated with the contact of Hobbes’ ‘civilizers.’ As we will see, the rapid restructuring of Papua New Guinea as an economy and a nation-​state has resulted in a heightened risk to women of vigilante gender violence in the forms of gang rape and mob lynching of ‘witches’.The incidence of vigilante gender violence today is so high, in fact, that it has led the international organization Human Rights Watch to declare Papua New Guinea “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman.” [1]

Traditional Modes of Production in Papua New Guinea The terrain of Papua New Guinea contains the eastern-​most half of Indonesia’s large eastern island along with the archipelago that extends eastward to the Solomon Islands. Located just to the north of Australia’s coastline, the latitude of the scattered islands places them squarely in the world’s tropical zone.Viewed from the air, the lush foliage of the New Guinea highlands obscures much of the human activity on the ground. With this jungle curtain firmly in place, it is perhaps not surprising that colonial explorers until 1930 believed the interior of the main island to be uninhabited. However, in the mid-​twentieth century, a very different picture emerged of a highly complex and linguistically diverse social ecology, in which over 800 different kin-​based cultures lived in proximity to each other. Some groups practiced hunting and gathering, while others were horticulturalists, and yet others fished on the coast. Approximately 1,000 distinct languages were spoken by these islanders. Given the multitude of tongues and cultures represented in New Guinea, the newly ‘discovered’ territory proved irresistible to Western anthropologists. In droves, they descended and documented not only languages, but also the traditions and cultural structures of the bemused indigenous inhabitants. In turn, Western media outlets selectively broadcast the most salacious and provocative aspects of the anthropologists’ findings, creating a popular mid-​ twentieth-​century image of all New Guineans as violent cannibals, which has persisted until today. The question of the actual degree of violence exhibited by islanders has remained almost from the beginning a source of hot debate among social scientists. As a nation that contains

Papua New Guinea  41

(collectively) one of the largest hunter-​gatherer populations in the world, Papua New Guinea has been viewed by many as containing the answer to the question of how man behaves in his natural state. A general social science consensus about the use of violence among New Guineans, based on hard data, has emerged. [2] Led by public intellectuals like Jared Diamond at UCLA [3] and Steven Pinker at Harvard University [4], this view sees violence as a practical tool in a tactical toolkit that historically resulted in a high proportion of adult male hunter-​gatherers losing their lives as a consequence of warfare when compared to the proportion of deaths by violence in postindustrial nations. However, these high rates of violence did not result in a comparable number of female deaths in warfare. Rather, it was much more likely that women—​especially girls and younger women—​from rival tribes would be taken as wives by raiding warriors and subsumed into the conquering tribe, though women were sometimes the victims of infrequent tribal massacre events.

History of Colonization Papua New Guinea had a relatively light colonial presence until fairly late in the game of thrones that comprised the nineteenth century. Though the Dutch Empire claimed the western (Indonesian) half of the main island as part of its Dutch East Indies, Papua New Guinea itself remained relatively unscathed until 1873, when Captain John Moresby performed the first colonial survey of the peninsula for Great Britain. In addition to claiming the area that is today the capital city, he gave it his family name. In 1876, he published a swashbuckling report of his exploits, which prompted a wave of adventurers, evangelists, and fortune-​seekers from Europe. The impact of the colonizers was not felt in all corners of Papua New Guinea equally. While the Moresby report galvanized British colonial missionaries and ‘settlers’ alike to flock to the newly named island territories of New Britain and New Ireland, the paternalist viewpoint and policies of Sir Hubert Murray—​the governor of the protectorate from 1908 to 1940—​kept the nation safe from some of the more shocking atrocities of colonial rule that were unfolding during that time in the African subcontinent and in Australia. However, the cultural and economic impact of colonial rule cannot be underestimated.

42  Case Studies

After the early colonial period, which saw an admixture of claimants from Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany, the newly minted nation of Australia took over administration of the southern portion of the main island. Australia gained full control of the German stake in the island (the northeastern portion of the main island, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands) in the wake of World War I, as its share of the spoils of the German colonial territory, divided in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles. The islands of the territory were seen by the Australian government as a buffer zone for future wars, and indeed they served that function during the second round of world warfare in the twentieth century. While never respectful, the Australian national mood toward New Guinea islanders shifted from openly contemptuous and hostile, as happened with Aboriginal people in Australia proper, to a more paternalistic attitude as a result of the actions taken by indigenous New Guineans to protect injured Allied soldiers from the Axis forces during the 1942 invasion of Kokoda by the Japanese. While the indigenous New Guineans, acting as stretcher-​bearers in rough terrain, never left any injured Allied soldier they were tasked with, and were estimated to have saved hundreds of Australian lives, the Australians called them ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ in return for their pains, in a patronizing reference to the kinky hair of their saviors. In fact, Australia did not officially recognize the efforts of indigenous New Guineans in the war effort until 2009, when it began issuing official ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Commemorative Medallions’ in formal ceremonies. The popular Australian concept of the islander as childlike and still a colonial subject to be patronized extends to the most widely spoken national language. Tok Pisin is a creole language, a combination of German, English, and indigenous languages that originated as a lingua franca with colonial trade. Today, it is the primary language for over a million speakers in New Guinea. It is still derisively called Pidgin English by many in Australia, even after the formal political decolonization of Papua New Guinea in 1975. On the front of cultural colonization, Mark Twain’s ‘sivilized’ forces struck the tribes of New Guinea like a tsunami. While other tropical regions of the world beckoned to Christian missionaries wishing to prove their dedication to spreading the gospel, no other place on the globe offered quite the evangelical prestige of Papua New Guinea, with its active headhunters, partial nudity, and general colonial romance. For a certain type of sivilizer, Papua New Guinea was the ultimate prize, and the missionaries descended in droves.

Papua New Guinea  43

There were, of course, the Catholics, followed by the Protestants, English Methodists, Congregationalists,Anglicans, Dutch Lutherans, and the spiritual descendants of the Methodists, the Seventh Day Adventists. All attempted to convert the heathen, with varying degrees of success.While the missionaries did manage to reduce the practices of taking heads in battle and cannibalism in the minority of tribes where these practices existed, they also disrupted the traditional structures of tribal life that had evolved over millennia. Though missionaries have been more cautious since the declaration of independence from Australia in 1975 about openly advertising their goal of imposing Western dress, customs, and beliefs on the tribal societies within which they operate, research indicates that the methods of this imposition remain similar to the colonial era, with devastating effects for the social structure of some tribes. The cultural casualties of the proselytizers include long hairstyles on men, traditional garments and ornamentation for both sexes, the fireside oral tradition, the public expression of strong emotion, traditional dancing at singsings, sacred groves of trees, and art objects such as masks and carvings. [5] More importantly for the factors that drive vigilante gender violence, missionaries have also drastically changed the social and economic structure of New Guinean societies. This was accomplished in several ways: first, by the consolidation of clanspeople from disparate locations to a single centralized village location near mission establishments, which disrupted pre-​ existing modes of subsistence such as shifting horticulture; second, by direct ostracization of villagers who were perceived as spending too much time in the bush, which disrupted traditional methods of hunting and gathering; third, by targeting polygamous marriages as illegitimate and thus disrupting the kinship networks and clan alliances that were already established by the practice, additionally provoking the suicide of some discarded wives; fourth, by encouraging people to choose their own spouses with the blessing of pastoral figures, rather than accepting the marital arrangements made by parents and tribal elders; fifth, by fracturing pre-​existing inter-​group alliances by prohibiting Christians from fraternizing with non-​Christians; and last, by promoting social stratification in providing the platform from which New Guinea’s elite launched themselves as the most palatable indigenous contacts for Western transnational corporations. In addition to the domestic social stratification prompted by colonizers and missionaries that anthropologists have observed,

44  Case Studies

islanders themselves of course have correctly perceived themselves to be at the bottom of the global neocolonial order. In Tok Pisin, the term cargo refers to the material objects brought by the colonizers. Jared Diamond, in his Pulitzer Prize-​winning Guns, Germs, and Steel, recounts a question that he was asked by a local man he met on the beach in Papua New Guinea. The man, Yali, frankly asked him “Why you white men have so much cargo, and we New Guineans so little?” Diamond’s answer to this question became the theory of geographic determinism as applied to colonization. [6]

Effect of Modernization on Social Structure The arrival of serious industry outside the mines in Papua New Guinea never happened. Instead, a policy of extraction by foreign transnational corporations persisted, with a few processed food and beverage plants operating in the cities of Lae and Port Moresby.The mining industry has in recent years been joined by the extraction of natural gas, and the destination market has shifted away from Australia toward China and other East Asian nations. A  primary effect of overreliance on extractive industries was the enhancement of social tensions. Disputes between landowners, villagers, and the government over the distribution of mining profits have been chronic and persistent. In 1988, the tension spilled into a civil war in Bougainville which resulted in a loss of life in the region not seen since World War II and included the involvement of two rival governments, a transnational mining company, and the attempted hiring of heavily armed corporate mercenaries. The war lasted a decade, and resulted in thousands of deaths and over 60,000 internally displaced people. [7] The overall social stratification has been heightened to an even greater degree since the discovery of new gold and copper mines in the early 1990s. In 2018, the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals obtained funding to develop Solwara-​ 1, off the coast of Papua New Guinea, as the world’s first commercial high-​grade seafloor copper-​gold mine. From the estimated pre-​colonial population of around 600,000, the population of New Guinea has expanded to approximately 8.5 million people today. The expansion has been due to the same factors creating the population explosion in the rest of the world; modern medicine and improved access to calories has meant less infant mortality and longer lifespans, while total fertility rates have

Papua New Guinea  45

remained relatively stable. However, a large percentage of Papua New Guinea’s population remains employed in subsistence agriculture, in contrast to the small portion who have benefited from the mining boom. Modern mining methods require very little manpower and, thus, the number of high-​quality jobs available to New Guineans has remained small, even as a small portion of the country’s elite has grown rich and left the island except for occasional business trips back. Port Moresby, the capital city, provides a case study in the dislocating effects of the rapid and extreme social stratification brought about by colonization. While it is the largest city in Papua New Guinea, there exists not even a single paved road to link it to the northern part of the country, ensuring a stark contrast between its urban population and the almost entirely rural rest of the nation. Perhaps the rural portion of Papua New Guinea should be relieved at the capital’s infrastructural isolation: In its 2017 Intelligence Report List of world cities, The Economist ranked Port Moresby as the fifth least livable city in the world—​only behind Damascus, Lagos,Tripoli, and Dhaka. [8] This dismal showing is due in no small part to the disruption of traditional ways of life by the mining industry. In their groundbreaking book on class formation in Papua New Guinea, Deborah B. Gewertz and Frederick Karl Errington examine the newly minted class structure produced by industry. They identify three generalized class castes within modern Papua New Guinea:  the descendants of the colonizers, who occupy the highest caste in New Guinean society; the educated middle class, who are corporate enablers, educators, and civil servants; and the grassroots, who constitute the largest part of the population and live in rural areas. [9] While the class gulf and the historical circumstances which produced that gulf between the first and third castes is obvious to the general reader, it is the social gulf between the second and third castes which produces much of the vigilante gender violence discussed in this chapter. In Tok Pisin, the dichotomy between the middle class and the grassroots is often framed in explicitly masculine terms: as the difference between ‘big men’ and ‘rubbish men.’ The ‘rubbish men’ of the grassroots who are often unemployed, but are not able to maintain community life in their home villages (in part because of population pressure) may join bands of raskols, free-​roving bands of criminals who extort travelers or raid tourists, with an increasing degree of violence. These bands are exclusively male.

46  Case Studies

Increased Social Stratification The modern-​ day social atmosphere in Papua New Guinea is fragmented, dislocated, and unpredictable. In the urban cities of Bougainville and Port Moresby, individuals who have long-​standing intratribal grievances with each other live cheek by jowl, a very nation of Hatfields and McCoys in close quarters. As for the significant portion of Papua New Guinea’s population that still lives in tribal villages, their lives are punctuated by exposure to wealthy foreign tourists, out for hiking tours, research trips, birdwatching, or ‘gap year’ experiences. This proximity to wealth and the ability to see—​but not attain—​it, invariably creates tension between the tourists and their hosts. The temporary visitors are almost exclusively European or Asian in ancestry, and their disposable income serves as a glaring reminder of the redistributory effects of the colonial process. The descendants of the colonized now serve as tour guides and village hosts for the descendants of the colonizers. And the contempt of the home nations of these colonial descendants for their former subjects is often barely disguised. The recent outcry around the treatment of Muslim immigrants in Europe, and Central American immigrants in the United States, has dominated media accounts in the Western Hemisphere. The wealthy nations of the world are waking up to the reality of a growing global migrant class that is increasingly less willing to accept desperate circumstances in their home countries. But it is Australia that stands alone in its uniquely draconian approach to immigration policy. Australian society has long expressed resistance to Asian immigration, mostly from Indonesia and China. But within recent years, the rising sea levels, which have become one of the most visible impacts of climate change, have pushed boatloads of Pacific islanders attempting to escape the literal ascending tide to embark for Australian shores. The official policy to this human tide embraced by the Australian government is called, euphemistically, ‘The Pacific Solution.’ What this solution entails is the imprisonment of all ‘boat people’ on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Rife with disease, assaults by both inmates and guards, and recurring riots and hunger strikes (with some of the inmates wiring their lips closed in protest), the concentration camp has a high suicide rate, and is intended by the Australian government to serve as a deterrent for refugees considering Australia as a potential safe haven. The international outcry this arrangement has aroused has

Papua New Guinea  47

not been lost on the formerly colonized. The hierarchy established during colonization extends to the present: the message is that not only is Papua New Guinea so terrible a place as to deter immigration, but also that Papua New Guinea is a place for Australia to dispose of its unwanted human trash. When comparing the domestic inequality spurred by the effects of colonization that exists in Papua New Guinea with that of other nations in the region, one can see that both conditions necessary for the emergence of vigilante gender violence are present: the change of a society from one mode of production to another and an extremely high level of social stratification compared to other nations in similar states of transition. While there are few, if any, nations with a comparable transition from hunting, gathering, fishing, and shifting horticulture to industrial mining under a formal state, the social stratification variable stands out in the region, and indeed globally: according to the Asian Development Bank, the country has one of the highest levels of inequality, if not the highest, in the Asia-​Pacific. [10] Data presented in 2018 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific demonstrate that income inequality has also increased by a higher rate during the period 1990–​2018 than any other nation in Asia or the Pacific.

Jelasy and the Role of Women in Traditional Society It is impossible to speak of New Guinea as a uniform society, just as it is impossible to speak of all Native American tribes in blanket terms. The traditional role of women in the 800+ small-​scale societies that today comprise one formal nation-​state is varied, ranging from groups where property inheritance can be both matrilineal and patrilineal [11], to groups where women are tightly controlled and traded. However, a few generalizations can be made. While women in pre-​ modern hunter-​ gatherer and horticultural New Guinean societies were typically bound by a gendered division of labor, they also partook in a relatively unstratified social structure in which norms of reciprocity upheld a fairly communal existence. The introduction of the mining industry after colonization and the consequent creation of cities upended thousands of years of tradition and has impacted the roles available to women and the social expectations around those roles. This can, perhaps, best be

48  Case Studies

seen through the lens of jelasy (a term in Tok Pisin). Writing of the term in her masterful ethnographic examination of changing gender expectations and the commercialization of sex among the Huli people of Tari, Holly Wardlow [11] states, [a]‌lthough clearly derived from the English word, jelas does not refer to jealousy—​that is, a feeling of hostility toward a rival or toward some-​one who is perceived to have an advantage … Rather, jelas means something more like covetousness or an inordinate and dangerous feeling of desire—​for money, for things, and sometimes for people. Huli people often say that this is the fundamental difference between the past (variously defined as either before colonialism or before the arrival of the road in 1981) and the present: everyone is ‘jelas’ now; everyone is plagued by desire. [11, italics mine] There is of course, a direct connection between jelasy and the activities of raskols. In his excellent interview with a woman named Monica Paulus, who escaped an attempted lynching as an accused witch, journalist Kent Russell explains the following: But in the past decade or so, Monica told me, scores of these villager-​ farmers have been trickling down from the mountains. They’re looking for work in Mount Hagen and Moresby, where Exxon expects its newly switched-​on pipeline to more than double GDP. That, or they are themselves refugees from sorcery-​related violence. These migrants live in crowded shantytowns on the cities’ outskirts, surrounded by strangers from far-​flung clans. Men grow frustrated, and turn to powerful home-​brew alcohol known as stim. Sometimes, they join up with bands of criminals known as raskols. Theft, rape and murder abound in the settlements. At the same time, the migrants are bombarded with images of Western culture and status. They have satellite televisions and smartphones. They watch expats speed through their settlements in bulletproof Range Rovers. And their capacity for jelasy—​as well as their keenness to detect potential sorcery—​ increases proportionally. These migrants, vulnerable people cut off from their support systems, see in the ruthless methods of Highland witch hunters—​methods perhaps discussed with a

Papua New Guinea  49

new neighbor or an acquaintance on social media—​a form of collective action that might be powerful enough to check the forces of entropy. [12]

Vigilante Gender Violence as a Result of Jelasy In response to changing gender norms and growing social class inequality, vigilante gender violence has manifested itself in two primary ways in Papua New Guinea: in the form of extraordinarily high gang-​rape rates and in the form of witch burning by mobs. Since both gang rape and the execution of individuals for witchcraft are practices that have a long history in this region of the world, and indeed in many if not most hunter-​gatherer and horticultural societies, it is important to see how the modern manifestations are different from the past. There are important changes underway in both the underlying intent by perpetrators of these types of violence and in the selection of their victims. There is also an increase in sadism in the perpetration.

Gang Rape It horrifies the average person living in a wealthy postindustrial nation to hear that gang rape is a normal part of existence in early societies. In general, we do not want to believe that man in his natural state is a violent rapist. But more than a century of data collection on the topic assures us that, while by no means universally prevalent, gang rape of women by male warriors from rival tribes is widespread among small-​scale societies, and indeed many larger societies as well. What is the reason for this practice? Are male humans somehow ‘hardwired’ to impose themselves sexually on any unwilling female? The answer is nuanced. As with most facets of society, there is a calculated purpose to these acts of group-​ perpetrated sexual violence that we see mirrored in modern-​day conflicts around the world, from South Sudan to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most feminists view rape as an expression of power, not of lust. As power relations have always been part of human societies, so too has rape.This idea is not without controversy among anthropologists—​ noted scholar Napoleon Chagnon was the subject of a significant controversy over his claims about the violent tendencies, including

50  Case Studies

gang rape, of the Yanomamö tribesmen he studied for decades in the Amazon basin. [13] Around the same time, the public intellectual Jared Diamond was also the target of a vicious smear campaign after the publication of his account of hunter-​gatherer violence in The New Yorker in which an indigenous source gave an inaccurate account. [14] But data consistently show that gang rape of the women of rival tribes is well within the range of normative hunter-​ gatherer behavior. The motivation of this behavior is to terrify and offend the enemy in a symbolic and gratuitous way, much as the corpses of rivals in battle are symbolically mutilated. In defense of the hunter-​gatherer societies in question, this kind of behavior is by no means limited to them—​gang rape of enemy women as a terror tactic is practiced by soldiers of armies around the world today and in the recent past, including by soldiers of the most developed nation in the world during the Vietnam War. [15] In fact, the abhorrent practice is so widespread and such an acknowledged part of warfare that the United Nations ten years ago called in a resolution for “the exclusion of sexual violence crimes from amnesty provisions in the context of conflict resolution processes,” describing rape as a tactic of war and a threat to international security. [16] Gang rape in Papua New Guinea today has taken a rather different turn. While still used on occasion in intratribal conflicts in the way that it has been since time immemorial in foraging societies worldwide, increasingly, groups of itinerant and under-​or unemployed raskols are targeting women unlucky enough to find themselves within reach. The raskols often see themselves explicitly as exacting revenge on women as part of asserting their patriarchal prerogative in the face of increasing class stratification. A  quote from a raskol interviewed in Marc Schiltz’s classic study of these gangs illustrates the motivation perfectly: People say that we rape girls because we want to have sex. This is not true. But whenever we see a nice girl and try to befriend her, we are given the cold shoulder as soon as she and her people hear that we have no job. They snub us and say: “You rubbish man, you think you can get a girl for nothing!” This makes us really mad; that’s why we want to get our own back and go out and rape. [17] In very recent years, the rapists’ rage has extended from local women to even more obvious exemplifiers of social stratification: Western

Papua New Guinea  51

female non-​citizen tourists and researchers. In 2013, a 32-​year-​old U.S. academic who was hiking with her husband and a guide on Karkar Island was attacked, stripped naked, and gang raped after having her long hair hacked off with bush knives. In 2016, a 31-​ year-​old female tourist from the U.S. was gang raped by three men while hiking and suffered deep wounds to her fingers. Gang rape is colloquially referred to as ‘line-​up sex’ and statistics on its incidence and prevalence are truly horrifying:  Research conducted by the Papua New Guinea Medical Research Institute found that approximately 60  percent of the men it interviewed admitted to having engaged in gang rape. [18] A  more statistically representative study conducted by United Nations researchers in Bougainville from 2011–​2012 found that 14.1 percent of men in its research population were self-​identified gang rapists. [19] When focusing on the victims, the picture of the devastation is even clearer:  70  percent of women in Papua New Guinea were raped at some point, and 1 in 5 suffer rape as their first sexual experience. [19]

Mob Torture and Burning of Witches Clearer even than the gang rapes in their intent and the departure from traditional tribal practices are the mob lynchings of witches, which have been making headlines in Papua New Guinea for the past decade or so. The concept of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea has likely existed for most, if not all, of human history on the island. Documentation of beliefs about witchcraft and witches are as old as anthropologist’s records of oral histories. Most social scientists generally agree that accusations of witchcraft on a large scale generally emerge during times of social change as a regulatory mechanism. This is known as social strain-​gauge theory. [20] Which behaviors or social relationships are being regulated varies from society to society. In many sub-​Saharan African cultures, the individuals who are accused of witchcraft are often accused by people who are intimately connected to them in some way, whether by blood or by marriage. However, in Oceania, the crime of sorcery is more typically attributed to targets outside the community. [20] While far less common in the past than today, there is precedent in Papua New Guinea for using witchcraft to target women who violate traditional gender norms. In a mid-​twentieth-​century ethnography, anthropologist Ronald Berndt describes a sorcery-​accusation event

52  Case Studies

that occurred under conditions that mimic some aspects of vigilante gender violence today:  an attempt by men to punish two women who had trespassed onto an exclusively male preserve. [21] This event represents the pre-​colonial function of gendered vigilante violence. In today’s Papua New Guinea, there are far more opportunities for women to violate traditional gender norms, as New Guinea transitions into a fully functioning member of the international community, with its expectations of women’s equality. Male resentment of this transition is then nurtured by the increasing social stratification discussed previously in this chapter. If we follow the premise of social strain-​gauge theory, then surely, there are few societies undergoing as much strain as that experienced by indigenous New Guineans presently.

Two Case Studies: Helen Rumbali and Kepari Leniata In early February of 2013, Helen Rumbali was in her mid-​forties and a successful schoolteacher with a college education behind her. According to a later analysis of her case, “one of her sons was a member of parliament in the ABG (Autonomous Bougainville Government), another son was the executive officer of the District Office and another was the chair of the local-​level government.” [22] By all objective standards, she had achieved a level of success far above most women—​and men—​in New Guinean society. As with many newly wealthy members of the New Guinean elite, she lived in Bana, a suburb of Bougainville, in a wooden house in a nation where many live in traditional huts. But Helen was a high-​profile target for the resentment of the less-​fortunate men that surrounded her. She was the leader of the South Bougainville Women’s Federation. As a women’s rights activist seeking to improve the conditions of women in her society, she posed an affront to traditional authority in the eyes of many. When a male villager in a neighboring community died of an illness, male elders and ‘witch hunters’ alleged that the gravesite bore markers of black magic, and that a supernatural swarm of fireflies led them from the grave to Helen’s home. Helen and three of her female relatives were taken from their home by a mob in the middle of the night. All were tortured with knives in an apparent attempt to get them to confess to causing the villager’s death. The police were notified, and attempted to negotiate the release of the

Papua New Guinea  53

women. After three days of captivity and intermittent torture, all of the women except for Helen were released, and police officers removed them from the area, where they were transported to the hospital. Thirty minutes after the officers left with her sister and two nieces, Helen Rumbali was beheaded.The same year, a woman named Kepari Leniata was burned alive in a trash dump after being accused of stealing a six-​year-​old boy’s heart. Kepari was an innocent woman who was the mother of two, and her death in particular shocked the international press, making headlines in a way that the attack on Helen Rumbali did not. An anthropologist at the University of Helsinki, Ryan Schram has made a connection between the Christianity imposed by colonizing missionaries and wealth. [23] Working with the Auhelawa people (who reside chiefly on the south coast of Papua New Guinea’s Normanby Island), he describes a belief in witchcraft as associated with whites that serves for the members of his research population as an explanatory narrative about the persistent wealth inequality between colonials and the colonized. For the Auhelawa, the answer that white people practice witchcraft is a logical answer to the question Yali asked Jared Diamond all those years ago on the beach. There is a nexus between social stratification set in motion by colonization, jelasy, and witchcraft in Papua New Guinea (PNG), described by journalist Kent Russell as an escalating phenomenon: This influx of foreign influence, money and durable goods has brought conspicuous consumption to PNG, complete with its attendant resentment and envy. Previously, there had been systems of prohibition integrated into many of PNG’s traditional societies that regulated public exhibitions of wealth or standing, such as pigs and shells. The preening of one’s status wasn’t just tabu; it was dangerous. The person who threw many large feasts or cultivated many fruitful gardens ran the risk of making his or her clanspeople jelas, a word that goes beyond mere ‘jealousy’ to convey something akin to ‘a state of uncontrollable, angry covetousness.’ Nowadays, a person can make others jelas by owning a car or running a successful highway-​ side concession stand. Making others jelas is to be avoided, especially since it is believed that witches are very jelas and vindictive creatures indeed … Traditional communities no longer decide upon their witch, enter her hut under cover of darkness, stitch her into a bag and toss her in the river or off a

54  Case Studies

cliff. Now, suspected witches are tried publicly before they are roasted over open flames, crucified, dragged behind vehicles, strung up and beaten to death, buried alive, beheaded, forced to drink gasoline or stoned. [12] It is certainly possible to see how, for a traditional New Guinea islander, the disruption of society by colonization and the imposition of many of the trappings of the modern world may seem like the result of witchcraft—​a malevolent force that undermines society from within. Like the victims of the witch burnings of medieval Europe, the victims of modern-​day witch-​hunts in Papua New Guinea are not chosen randomly. While as in the European case, men are also believed to be capable of witchcraft, the overwhelming majority of accused witches in Papua New Guinea today are female. Jack Urame, a native New Guinean researcher and former director of the Melanesian Institute, a non-​profit organization that seeks to prevent witch burning—​estimates that the ratio of accused male ‘witches’ to female is approximately 1 to 5. [24] The shift in focus to wealthy women or those advocating for women’s rights has mirrored the increase in social stratification driven by the mining boom—​and the ending of the gender bargain by the formal state, which places women on an equal legal footing with men.

Addressing the Problem Progress is being made at the legal level. Until 2013, the right of New Guinea islanders to kill ‘witches’ in ‘self-​ defense’ was sacrosanct—​protected within the nation’s constitution itself by a 1971 law called the Sorcery Act. [25] However, the high-​profile deaths of Kepari Leniata and Helen Rumbali brought so much attention to the practice of witch burning that the Sorcery Act was repealed, and the death penalty prescribed as a punishment for those convicted of the murder of ‘witches.’ A simultaneous effort was made by the New Guinean Parliament to deter gang rape, and the death penalty was expanded to cover gang rape as well. In the years that have passed since then, no executions for these crimes have taken place. As with all laws, the real power lies in enforcement. The impunity that exists in the vast majority of the country allows both villagers and raskols to carry out their attacks of vigilante gender violence without fear of consequence. The role of extreme social

Papua New Guinea  55

stratification also cannot be ignored. Both are on the radar of the United Nations; recent research from the international organization calls for a focus on bolstering the court system and reducing social stratification. It remains to be seen how these goals will be implemented.

References [1]‌ Human Rights Watch. Papua New Guinea:  Events of 2016. New York: Human Rights Watch World Report, 2017. [2]‌ Lemonnier, Pierre and Bonnemère, Pascale. ‘A measure of violence: Forty years of “first contact” among the Ankave-​Anga (Papua New Guinea).’ Oceanic Encounters:  Exchange, Desire, Violence. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press, 2009, pp. 295–​334. [3]‌ Diamond, Jared. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? New York: Viking Press, 2012. [4]‌ Pinker, Steven. The Better Angels of Our Nature:  Why Violence Has Declined. New York: Viking Books, 2011. [5]‌ Robin, Robert W. 1980. ‘Missionaries in Contemporary Melanesia: Crossroads of Cultural Change.’ Journal de la Société des Océanistes Année,Vol. 69, pp. 261–​278. [6]‌ Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies. New York:  W. W. Norton,  2005. [7]‌ Woodbury, Jo. The Bougainville Independence Referendum: Assessing the Risks and Challenges Before, During and After the Referendum. Canberra, Australia:  Indo-​ Pacific Strategy Papers. Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS), Australian Defence College, 2015. [8]‌ Economic Intelligence Unit. London: The Economist, 2017. [9]‌ Gewertz, Deborah B. and Errington, Frederick Karl. Emerging Class in Papua New Guinea: The Telling of Difference. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. [10] See www.scmp.com/​news/​world/​article/​1257935/​papua-​new-​ guineas-growing-​wealth-​gap-​fuels-​torture-​killing-​witches​. [11] Wardlow, Holly. Wayward Women:  Sexuality and Agency in a New Guinea Society. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA:  University of California Press, 2006. [12] Russell, Kent. ‘They burn witches here.’ The Huffington Post. 2015. [13] See www.nytimes.com/​2013/​02/​17/​magazine/​napoleon-​chagnon-​ americas-​most-​controversial-​anthropologist.html. [14] See www.newyorker.com/​magazine/​2008/​04/​21/​vengeance-is-ours. [15] See www.newyorker.com/​magazine/​1969/​10/​18/​casualties-​of-​war. [16] See www.ohchr.org/​EN/​NewsEvents/​Pages/​RapeWeaponWar.aspx.

56  Case Studies

[17] Schiltz, Marc. ‘Rascalism, Tradition and the State in Papua New Guinea.’ Susan Toft (ed.). Domestic Violence in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby, PNG: Papua New Guinea Law Reform Commission, 1985, pp. 141–​160. [18] Bradley, C. and Kesno, J. ‘Family and Sexual Violence in Papua New Guinea:  An Integrated Long Term Strategy.’ Report to the Family Violence Action Committee of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council, Discussion Paper No. 84. Port Moresby, PNG: Institute of National Affairs, 2001. pp. 8, 12–​13. [19] Jewkes, Richard, Fulu, Emma, Roselli, Tim, and Garcia-​Moreno, Claudia. 2013. Prevalence Of and Factors Associated With Non-​ partner Rape Perpetration: Findings from the UN Multi-​country Cross-​sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. Lancet Global Health,Vol. 1, No. 6, p. e338. [20] Marwick, Max. ‘Witchcraft as a Social Strain-​Gauge.’ Witchcraft and Sorcery. London: Penguin, 1982, pp. 300–​313. [21] Berndt, Ronald M. Excess and Restraint:  Social Control among a New Guinea Mountain People. Chicago, IL:  University of Chicago Press, 1962. [22] Evenhuis, Mark. ‘Sorcery Violence in Bougainville Through the Lens of Human Rights Law:  A Critical View.’ Talking it Through: Responses to Sorcery and Witchcraft Beliefs and Practices in Melanesia. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press, 2015, pp. 255–​280. [23] Schram, Ryan. 2010. Witches’ Wealth: Witchcraft, Confession and Christianity in Auhelawa, Papua New Guinea. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute,Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 726–​742. [24] See www.abc.net.au/​news/​2013-​06-​05/​an-​fears-​sorcery-​related-​ killings-​may-​be-​spreading-​from-​png/​4733870. [25] See www.bbc.com/​news/​world-​asia-​22698668.

Chapter 4

Afghanistan Horticulturalists, Pastoralists, and Social Change at the Point of a Gun

In 2001, with the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States in the wake of the bombing of the World Trade Center, once more the theater of war, which had defeated two empires previously took center stage in the attention of the West. Unlike the later military conflict in Iraq, the invasion of—​and ongoing war in—​Afghanistan was broadly supported by the U.S. public. According to an October 2001 CBS poll, 87 percent of Americans approved of the invasion. [1] A large part of the appeal of military involvement for many who would normally be inclined toward peace was the promise by the Bush administration that the rights of women would be improved by the nation-​ building project. Afghanistan consistently ranked at the very bottom of international comparison lists for global measures of women’s equality. The invasion held, for some, the promise of raising the status of women in a society that had some of the worst outcomes for women in the world. In fact, the beginning stages of the post-​invasion reconstruction of Afghan society did yield positive results for women: the constitution adopted by Afghanistan enshrined women’s equal rights, a provision notably lacking in the constitution of its occupier. Schools for girls were opened, and women’s literacy rates improved.Women were finally allowed to run for political office and to vote. But efforts to raise the status of women and girls were mostly ineffective outside of large cities in rural areas where the vast majority of the population lives. The hardest areas to reach have been the remote reaches of central Afghanistan and the so-​called ‘tribal areas’ populated mainly by Pashto-​speaking peoples who share a culture and a border with Pakistan. Called the Durand Line, this border was arbitrarily drawn by the British in the twilight of that nation’s

58  Case Studies

empire. It is a porous border, as those on the Pakistani side of it share much in common with those on the Afghan side. It was in this area that Osama bin Laden was believed to be hiding for much of the early U.S. invasion. Both sides share similar subsistence patterns, as well as traditional patriarchal ideas about the place of women in society. At the time of the invasion, it was estimated that approximately 9  percent of Afghans engaged in nomadic pastoralism. Subsistence admixtures of semi-​sedentary pastoralism and horticulture were even more common. [2] The attempt to impose Western postindustrial ideas about women’s rights on the population was well intentioned, but in many places, the appeals about women’s rights being human rights largely fell on deaf ears. In tribal societies bound together by kinship ties, a family’s honor was everything. So ‘honor killings’ continued unabated, and in fact probably increased post-​invasion with the social disruption that accompanied the conflict, though it is difficult to quantify this given the unreliability of available data. When talking with friends and family while doing the research for this book, a common response when I mentioned including a chapter about vigilante gender violence in Afghanistan was some variant on “Are you going to talk about honor killings?” or “What about the prevalence of domestic violence?” It is salient here to address these questions directly. In an honor-​based society, one solution for saving the perceived compromised honor of a family is to kill the individual who has brought dishonor. Frequently, the targets are women, and honor-​based killings of women are particularly frequent in Afghanistan on a per capita basis. Domestic violence against women is also extremely common; as recently as 2017, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health found that the proportion of ever-​partnered women aged 15–​49 years experiencing intimate partner physical and/​or sexual violence in the last 12 months was 46 percent. [3] As this figure is based on self-​reporting, the true statistic is likely higher. Both practices enjoy widespread social support in the general population, including among women themselves. But as terrible as they may be, these forms of violence are not the focus of this chapter. Both honor-​ based killing and—​ to an even greater degree—​ domestic violence are gendered forms of violence that typically have individual perpetrators. Furthermore, there is a direct family tie between perpetrator and victim. Revisiting the definition of vigilante gender violence from the first chapter of this book, (violent,

Afghanistan 59

extralegal, and public punishment of individual women by mobs or gangs of men who see their victims as violating traditional gender norms), one sees that the mob element is often missing. Therefore, traditional honor killings and domestic violence do not fit the theoretical profile of true vigilante gender violence. However, as we shall see later in this chapter, in the absence of formal state control over women’s bodies and lives, increasingly honor-​based violence—​and even honor killings—​are beginning to shift from a private, family-​centered violence conducted in the domestic sphere to a more public form which entails the participation of extrajudicial mobs, often conducted in public squares. This new form, I argue, does fit our profile of vigilante gender violence, with the caveat that relatives are often involved in the mobs and provide the impetus for the identification and targeting of victims who are perceived to be violating traditional gender norms. As in Papua New Guinea, ancient traditions about the role of women in society are being disrupted in rural Afghanistan.To avoid being reductionist, it is worthwhile noting that these traditions have historically had a fair amount of flexibility. For example, under the early twentieth-​century rule of King Amanullah, the importance of education for the women of Afghanistan was promoted. Many elite women at this time opted to be unveiled, or at least for a less restrictive form of veiling. In 1921, King Amanullah Khan created a law that abolished the practices of bride price, child marriage, and forced marriage. The law also restricted polygyny. His wife, Queen Soraya Tarzi, was perhaps the most prominent advocate for women’s rights in the country. She was the only woman listed as an official ruler of the country and campaigned vigorously for social reforms for women, famously tearing off her veil in public after one of her husband’s speeches. She also was well known for starting the first Afghan women’s magazine and establishing a school for girls in Kabul. Both Soraya and her husband made the promotion of women’s rights a national priority. However, in 1929, popular resistance to these attempted social changes around gender norms resulted in the forced abdication of the royal couple. They both died in exile in Europe. The continued narrative of evolving women’s rights in Afghanistan is largely urban in context. During the latter half of the twentieth century, some steps toward increased equality for women were made. The late 1970s saw the formal extension of equal rights to women under the communist government of Nur Muhammad Taraki, an

60  Case Studies

extension that was continued into the 1980s. During this era, the Afghan Women’s Council (AWC), led by Masuma Esmati-​Wardak did excellent work in promoting the rights of women and girls, particularly in the area of female education and literacy. However, despite the popularity of the AWC in Kabul, the extension of rights to women in the rural majority was largely unsuccessful prior to the U.S. invasion. The United States is not the first invading empire in Afghanistan. In centuries past, Afghanistan was subject to the rule of Alexander the Great, the Mongols, and the Mughals, among others.Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, both the British and Russian empires attempted to gain political control via military invasion and/​or occupation. The outcomes of these ventures have earned Afghanistan the sobriquet ‘The Graveyard of Empires.’ During the colonial rule of India by the British, a series of three wars, known as the Anglo–​Afghan Wars, culminated in the British recognizing Afghanistan’s independence in 1919. Despite the prior exemplar of the most powerful hegemon on the planet having to cede control to a rural backwater, the Soviets also saw fit to invade and occupy the country, this time during the 1980s.The defeat they suffered there, abetted by the Americans, has been cited as a critical factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Chalmers Johnson, in his excellent book Blowback, identifies the American effort to undermine the Soviet empire in Afghanistan via the funding of mujahedeen anti-​Soviet fighters as a source of the rise of Osama bin Laden, who got his military start as a financier and organizer of the Afghan resistance against the Soviets. [4] The Taliban support for bin Laden drove the decision by the United States to invade Afghanistan after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. At 19 years and running, U.S. boots are still on the ground in Kabul, and the war has become the longest in U.S.  history, at a cost of well over 2,000 American lives [5] and an estimated over 100,000 Afghan lives, though no one knows the true number since statistics on loss of civilian life during the war have only been collected after 2009. Many of these lives have been Afghan civilians, with the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-​General for Afghanistan estimating the toll at over 32,000 civilians. [6] One of the more devastating effects of the most recent invasion of Afghanistan has been the creation of an extremely unequal society. Old feudal-​style inequities have been massively amplified, with many of the same players from the Soviet era capitalizing on the

Afghanistan 61

uncertainty of shifting alliances and the seemingly endless flow of money from the United States. The military purse has been rocket fuel for the Afghan elite. The United States has spent over $700 billion on the war in Afghanistan—​and counting, as of this writing. Of this sum, a considerable amount has been spent on direct aid. The official estimate of the amount spent on aid to Afghanistan by the U.S. military during the period from 2001–​2015 is over $100 billion. [7] This is more than was spent on the rebuilding of Europe after the Second World War. Most of this money went to heads of tribal factions, often known as ‘warlords’ in the Western press.These tribal leaders spent the money on ostentatious displays of their newfound wealth and when possible, sent it out of the country, often to Dubai. They also spent heavily on weaponry. Meanwhile, the conditions of life for everyday Afghans have not improved. Recent statistics show that the percentage of the population living in absolute poverty is just over 39 percent, and a further 37 percent live just barely over the poverty line. [8] Seventeen years after the invasion and hundreds of billions of dollars later, Afghanistan ranked 168 out of 189 countries in human development, according to the United Nations Human Development Program. [9] A  primary cause of the social inequality is the corruption enabled by seemingly unlimited flows of money from U.S.  coffers to the Afghan elite. For the last 10  years, Afghanistan has consistently ranked near the bottom among all nations in the world for corruption, as measured by Transparency International. [10] Egregious social inequality combined with the early death toll by violence from the continual battling of the U.S. and the Taliban has resulted in one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. This extreme—​and extremely visible—​disparity between the rich and the poor creates a greater incentive for men to value the traditional gender bargain they are slowly being stripped of. The Taliban can be viewed as an older, state-​ level agent of oppression of women. As discussed in Chapter 2, when the formal state acts to oppress women, the gender bargain is enforced. In this case, during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, every Afghan man had the satisfaction—​the psychological wage—​of knowing that at least someone was below him in the social hierarchy:  his daughter, his wife, women at large. This enforcement of the gender bargain explains a part of the widespread public support among men that the Taliban still receive outside large cities in Afghanistan and in the Afghan border region of Pakistan. The Taliban, when

62  Case Studies

in power, were a classic example of an agrarian state apparatus of gender oppression. Under their reign, women were forbidden to go outside unveiled, be in public without a male guardian, and were the legal property of both their fathers and husbands. Rape was—​ and still is, in many parts of Afghanistan—​ seen through the legal lens of theft of male property:  the property of fathers, brothers, or husbands.Woe to the woman who has no male relatives in this society:  she is no one’s property, and therefore there are few consequences for those who rape her. While these patriarchal attitudes are often seen as being part and parcel of religion, in fact they are not uniformly reflective of all Muslim-​majority societies. They are more properly seen as reflective of the especially militant and fundamentalist strain of Islam, Wahabism, which was brought to Afghanistan by Saudis like bin Laden, among others. One can see Wahabism itself as a backlash against a shifting cultural tide and increasing women’s rights. In its austerity and emphasis on the extreme control of women’s bodies and lives, it provides the religious justification for the extrajudicial enforcement of the gender bargain. It is not the brand of Islam practiced in the majority of Muslim societies, but it is enticing to those men who see their economic prospects dimming in an increasingly stratified society and yearn for a retrotopia, [11] a return to a (fictitious) storied past. The continued enforcement of the gender bargain is a large part of the lasting appeal of the Taliban in rural Afghanistan, where most men live in abject poverty with the knowledge that their leaders lead lives of unimaginable luxury. With the formal overthrow of the Taliban by the United States in the December of 2001 came the resentment of men at the violation of the gender bargain by the newly installed government of Hamid Karzai, which initially set aside 25 percent of seats for women on provincial and district councils. Though the Taliban were no longer acting as a government, vigilante groups, some of whom were former Talibs, formed in the countryside to continue oppressing women. In that these vigilante groups consisted of mobs of men targeting unrelated women in an attempt to punish them for challenging traditional gender norms, they fit our definition of vigilante gender violence. While the circumstances of many of these attacks cannot be officially verified, a few have managed to gain the attention of an international audience. In the northeastern Afghan village of Rabat in mid-​January of 2018, we find a typical example of quasi-​vigilante gender violence. In this case, the violence was extrajudicial and took place in public

Afghanistan 63

at the hands of a mob of men, but some of the attackers were related to the unnamed female victim, a common occurrence in the small rural villages of Afghanistan. The vigilantes were unconcerned enough about the repercussions of the attack to upload video footage of the event to social media, where it was picked up by the local press after several hundred shares. The brother, uncle, and father-​in-​law of the victim were among the attackers, lending the event an honor violence element. In the video, members of the mob can be seen beating the woman with sticks while she kneels quietly, apparently resigned to her fate and attempting not to escalate the situation further. After about 45 seconds of filming, a man rushes in and kicks her in the back, knocking her over. She gets up quickly and resumes the position on her knees. During the beating, the attackers shout insults and degrading sexist slurs. She never replies. The vigilantes justified their actions by claiming that the female victim was entertaining a man at home alone while her husband was away on business in Iran. Journalists interviewing the woman later heard a very different explanation of events.The victim said that she did not have cell phone service while trying to call her husband, and so stepped out into the street to ask for assistance. A man stopped at her doorstep to offer help, and was there discovered by a relative, who sounded the alarm. When asked by a journalist if she planned to press charges against the men who beat her, she replied that she would not as she feared for her life. [12] This is not uncommon for the victims of vigilante gender violence in Afghanistan, where the formal government has little ability or political will to protect women from patriarchal mobs. According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, at least six similar acts of extrajudicial organized violence against women and girls were documented during the year preceding the Takhar attack. [13] And the nameless Rabat victim was right to be concerned for her safety; while the Afghan state officially embraces a more progressive attitude toward women, it has a dismal track record of prosecuting offenders in honor killing cases. In 2018, a report published by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan found that the vast majority of perpetrators of honor killings went unpunished. [14] In such a climate, there is little incentive for men to refrain from avenging family honor by exacting the ultimate penalty from female bodies. In many instances, they do so with help from mobs carrying out attacks of vigilante gender violence.

64  Case Studies

While the Rabat victim lived through the ordeal of her attack, many others have been less fortunate. Such a case was that of a 19-​year-​old woman identified in the press only as Rokhshana (likely to save her family embarrassment) from the small village of Ghalmin, in the central Afghan province of Ghor. As a girl, Rokhshana was forcibly engaged by her family to be married to a much older man. She ran away to Iran, only to be brought back to the village by her family. While the first engagement was broken, Rokhshana was then forcibly married to another much older man. In desperation, she ran away with a 23-​year-​old man named Mohammad Gul. This time, she was a married woman and the affront to patriarchal authority could not be ignored. After being captured, Mohammad was lashed. Rokhshana was lynched. A group of men dug a hole almost as deep as Rokhshana was tall, and forced her into it. They threw rocks at her head, slowly at first, then faster and faster, until she was dead and her head was a bleeding stump. We know this because some of the perpetrators, as with the attacks on Farkhunda and the Rabat victim, filmed it with their phones and uploaded the footage to social media. Such vigilante mob attacks may be dismissed in the non-​Islamic Western mind as simply being continuations of previous customs and thus not being much different than the state-​sanctioned stonings or beheadings taking place in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Iran. But several of the women executed by mobs in Afghanistan in the post-​invasion era were shot. Nowhere in Islamic tradition are military rifles referenced as an acceptable method of execution. The government of Afghanistan is recognized by the United Nations, and its constitution recognizes human rights protections. These vigilante executions, which inflict inhuman and degrading treatment, including torture, on the victim, are counter to the protections of the formal state. While the Afghan government can and does administer capital punishment, it is typically by the method of hanging, and is not issued as a means of controlling women’s behavior. The extrajudicial acts of vigilante gender violence by Taliban members and Taliban sympathizers are common enough that they have already produced a world-​famous survivor of vigilante gender violence just across the Afghan border with Pakistan in an area that is culturally more similar to Afghanistan. Many readers will already be familiar with the story of what happened to Malala Yousafzai. Although Malala was born and raised in Pakistan, her ordeal is representative in many ways of the same

Afghanistan 65

types of cultural barriers women and girls face in rural Afghanistan. In almost all ways, what happened to her was a textbook example of vigilante gender violence. Malala was a resident of Mingora, in the Swat Valley, part of the former federally administered tribal areas. She was born to a family with an activist father who ran a school for girls. Because of her father’s active support, she was able to go to school and became a diligent student. In 2008, when Malala was just 11, the Taliban invaded her family’s village. By the next year, Malala was blogging for the BBC, documenting the rigors of life for a female child under the new regime. She gained a small measure of regional fame for her nascent activism around issues of girls’ education and was nominated in 2011 for the International Children’s Peace Prize by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner. In 2012, Malala was riding a bus after taking an exam with a group of girls. A Taliban member, acting on behalf of the local Taliban, stopped the bus, asked for her by name, identified her by her lack of a headscarf, and shot her in the head at point-​blank range. Miraculously, she survived this assassination attempt, and international activists paid to have her flown to a hospital in England, where she stayed and made a full recovery. In 2014, Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to promote the rights of women and girls. At 17, she was the youngest person in history to win the prize. The Taliban leader who ordered the attack on her was killed in 2018 by a U.S. drone strike. However, Malala remains in exile in the West, unable to return home. The experience of Malala at the behest of the Taliban is representative of the challenges faced by older women journalists. Outspoken female journalists in Afghanistan can expect to live furtively and in constant fear. There have been a number of high-​ profile deliberate attempted and successful assassinations of women exercising their constitutional Afghan right to work as reporters. Though not all of these assassinations rise to the definitional level of vigilante gender violence, they are clearly aimed at silencing women, and the practice has had the effect of compelling many female journalists to adopt pseudonyms in order to protect themselves and their families (and sometimes to protect themselves from their families). Not only journalists, but also women who rise to power of any kind are frequently targeted for assassination. In Laghman province, two women’s affairs officials were killed within a year of each other:  the first blown up by a bomb, the second shot by two men who escaped on a motorbike. Female police

66  Case Studies

officers are not exempt either. In 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Malalai Kakar, head of Kandahar’s department of crimes against women and the highest-​ranking policewoman in Afghanistan, was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen with AK-​47s and died in front of her son. Other less well-​known policewomen have also faced assassination attempts and threats of vigilante gender violence from family members. Even one of the best-​ known and widely publicized success stories in post-​invasion Afghanistan, that of the national women’s soccer team, turns out to have an oppressive patriarchal side. The team was composed against great odds and with much international assistance in 2007, but many traditionally minded Afghans believe that women have no place in sport, and their playing record within the South Asian Football Federation has remained spotty. However, their story has made them a popular underdog and in 2016, a Danish athletic apparel company, Hummel, created a specialized uniform for them, complete with an integrated hijab. Many positive press stories focused on the familial and social obstacles the female players had to overcome in order to compete. Then, in late 2018, accusations began breaking against Keramuddin Keram, the president of the Afghanistan Football Federation. Keram allegedly had a bed set up in his office, where he harassed and sexually assaulted multiple female players. When they threatened to go public with accounts of the abuse, he beat one with a pool cue and threatened to tell the Afghan press that other members were lesbians, a potential death sentence in a nation where LGBT status is socially taboo. A significant factor encouraging the perpetrators of vigilante gender violence is the lack of punishment surrounding those who persecute women. In Farkhunda’s case, discussed in the first chapter, the 11 policemen who were on the scene and who failed to protect Farkhunda, instead directing traffic around the mob, were sentenced to just one year in prison. Mediation is often utilized as a way of helping perpetrators avoid punishment; in 2018, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found [15] that [i]‌njustice for women victims of violence—​generally called survivors—​ and impunity for perpetrators are still widespread in Afghanistan. Most cases involving violence against women, including for the five ‘serious’ offences stated in

Afghanistan 67

Afghan Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law—​rape, enforced prostitution, publicising the identity of a victim, burning or using chemical substances and forced self-​ immolation or suicide (apart from murder, which is regulated by the penal code)—​are not prosecuted by or adjudicated in courts. By contrast, more than a half of the 237 cases monitored by UNAMA between 2015 and 2017 were referred for mediation. The Afghan authorities, as evident from the UNAMA reports, exacerbate the situation for victims by allowing mediation mechanisms to resolve serious offences and by not carrying out their duty to investigate or prosecute these offences. [16] After 18 years of occupation by U.S. forces, the picture looks, on the surface, to be improving. As peace talks with the Taliban progress while the U.S. prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, women are being included for the first time. On paper, the literacy rate for girls has risen from 0 percent by law under the Taliban in 2001 to 24  percent in 2015. [17] However, this change has been evident primarily in large cities and the capital, Kabul, in particular. Outside of the urban core, Afghanistan is very much still a pastoralist and agrarian society. When explaining to my undergraduate students the attempts by U.S. forces to change gender norms in Afghanistan, I  frequently use another analogy from U.S.  military history:  the Reconstruction period, when Northern soldiers imposed their cultural values around racial equality in the South at the point of a gun. While the armed enforcement of newly freed slaves’ right to vote, own property, and hold office was necessary, it also was impermanent. During Reconstruction, Black Southerners were able to begin to enter public, economic, and political life in a way that had been completely closed to them previously. In fact, the first African-​American U.S. Senator was elected in this era: Hiram Revels, of Mississippi. But with the waning appetite of Northerners for an indefinite military occupation, the Northern presence came to a formal end in 1887 with the Tilden-​Hayes Compromise. Post-​ occupation, Southern whites did not suddenly turn over a new leaf and learn to follow the example of their Northern conquerors. Instead, immediately after Reconstruction, lynchings surged. Racial terrorism became a part of daily life, culminating in the bloodbath of Rosewood, Florida, in which an entire town was liquidated. Though the dynamics of racial stratification are not identical

68  Case Studies

to those of gender stratification, the historical analogy has grim implications for Afghanistan as the U.S. increasingly dials down its presence in an acceptance of the inevitable denouement of empire. The adaptation of social norms around complex axes of social stratification like race and gender must be transmitted via consent, not coercion.

References [1]‌ Bernbaum, Brian. www.cbsnews.com. [Online] January 23, 2002. www.cbsnews.com/​news/​poll-​support-​for-​war-​stays-​strong/​. [2]‌ Blood, Peter R. (ed.) Afghanistan:  A Country Study. Washington, DC: GPO for the Library of Congress, 2001. [3]‌ Central Statistics Organization (CSO), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), and ICF. Afghanistan Demographic and Health Survey 2015. Kabul, Afghanistan: Central Statistics Organization, 2017. [4]‌ Johnson, Chalmers. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. New York: Henry Holt, 2004. [5]‌ United States Department of Defense. [Online] Available at: https://​ dod.defense.gov/​News/​Casualty-​Status/​. [Cited: April 14, 2019]. [6]‌ UNAMA and UNHR. Afghanistan: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts Annual Report 2018. Kabul:  UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, 2019. [7]‌ Sopko, John F. Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan. Arlington, VA:  Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, 2016. [8]‌ Burhani, Obaidullah.‘Afghanistan’s Economic Problems and Insidious Development Constraints.’ Foreign Policy. October 25, 2018. [9]‌ United Nations Human Development Programme. Available at: http://​hdr.undp.org/​en/​2018-​update. [Online] 2018. [10] See www.transparency.org/​cpi2018. www.transparency.org. [Online] 2019. www.transparency.org/​cpi2018. [Cited: May 22, 2019]. [11] Baumann, Zygmunt. Retrotopia. New York: Polity Press, 2017. [12] See observers.france24.com. [Online] February 9, 2018. Available at:  https://​observers.france24.com/​en/​20180209-​beating-​video-​ violence-​women-​afghanistan-​Takhar. [Cited: May 21, 2019]. [13] Ghubar, Gulabuddin. ‘Takhar woman lashed after a kangaroo court verdict.’ Tolo News. February 2, 2018. [14] UNAMA and UNHCHR. Injustice and Impunity Mediation of Criminal Offences of Violence against Women. Kabul: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 2018.

Afghanistan 69

[15] UNAMA and UNHCHR. Injustice and Impunity:  Mediation of Criminal Offences of Violence against Women. Kabul: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, May 2018. [16] Ruttig,Thomas and Bjelica, Jelena. Widespread Violence yet Perpetrators go Unpunished: A New UN Report on Violence against Afghan Women. Kabul: Afghanistan Analysts Network, May 29, 2018. [17] See www.cia.gov/​library/​publications/​the-​world-​factbook/​fields/​ print_​2103.html.

Chapter 5

South Africa ‘Corrective Rape’ amid Extreme Income Inequality

In 2019,World Bank data listed South Africa the most unequal nation in the world. It was ranked first as measured by the Gini coefficient index, a commonly used metric for measuring inequality within a nation.1 This dismal showing is directly linked to the twin regimes of colonization and apartheid; inequality in South Africa has a spatial concentration that corresponds to the areas where Black South Africans were forcibly segregated and those where whites historically lived. Townships, where Black South Africans lived from the end of the nineteenth century up through the apartheid era when they were forcibly relocated, exist around the peripheries of South African cities. They are often characterized by informality:  both in jobs and in housing. Still racially segregated de facto, township residents who are employed frequently commute into the city for their jobs. While the characteristics of South African inequality are rooted in individual people and their interactions with others based on race, that racial history manifests itself spatially with respect to class inequality. [1] There are multiple ways to measure that race-​ linked class inequality, and South Africa ranks near the top in all of them. Access to education, which is necessary in an industrial economy for social class mobility, is a primary metric of this class inequality. When examining the quality of primary and secondary education, one finds that fully 75 percent of public schools are located in racially segregated peri-​urban and rural areas. These schools often suffer 1 The Gini coefficient is a standard and widely used metric that captures a nation’s level of income inequality as a number between 0 and 1. Higher Gini coefficients mean greater income inequality.

72  Case Studies

from poor infrastructure, ineffective teachers, and are so different in the outcomes delivered than the top 25 percent of schools that one researcher suggests measuring their outcome averages separately, as there are in reality two separate systems: one for the poor and one for the rich. [2] Approximately a quarter of South African 6th graders are functionally illiterate, owing to the lack of quality in the education they receive. Turning to tertiary education, white South Africans tend to dominate the university faculty, though there has been increasing representation of Black South Africans in the student body. Here, again, race and wealth dictate access as well as success: Though South Africa changed its higher education policy in 2002 to provide greater access to Black South Africans, the fee structure at many institutions of higher learning has meant that the class barrier remains. Furthermore, success and participation rates for university students from low-​income families greatly lag those of their peers. [3] The lack of access to adequate and equal education has perpetuated class inequality linked to race despite the discontinuation of de jure segregation in the economy. [4] While the unemployment rate for white South Africans hovers around 8 percent, the rate for white South Africans is approximately 25 percent. As with the educational system, a two-​tiered healthcare system also exists in South Africa, segregated by class. Since 1994, the healthcare system has been officially desegregated; however, the high correlation between race and class has meant that Black South Africans are largely limited to receiving underfunded public health care. [5] Private health care is available for those who can afford it; in today’s South Africa, that largely means white South Africans and a few Black elites. In recent years, medical research has woken up to the strong connection between sociological variables and health outcomes; this systems approach is commonly known as the social determinants of health inequality paradigm. Nowhere are the social determinants of health inequality more evident than in South Africa. The differences in health outcomes, particularly with respect to HIV/​AIDS are stark [6]: As a group, Black South Africans have a nearly 15-​year difference in life expectancy with white South Africans. This can be attributed largely to the lack of medical care received by poor South Africans with HIV/​AIDS, both in terms of prevention and in terms of regular access to antiretroviral medications, which have been free to the public since 2006. [7] Black South Africans make up the vast majority of HIV/​ AIDS cases in South Africa, and South Africa as a whole constitutes

South Africa  73

nearly a fifth of all HIV/​AIDS cases in the world. [7] While some of the mortality from HIV/​AIDS has diminished since the widespread availability of antiretrovirals post-​2006, a 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report found that South Africa has among the lowest life expectancies in the world, at 49.7 years. [8] The wealthiest 10 percent of the population owns over 90 percent of the wealth in South Africa. Who are these lucky few? Most are the descendants of South Africa’s Dutch and British colonizers. Only 1 percent of white South Africans live in poverty, while over 60 percent of Black South Africans do. [9] However, over time, a proportionately small Black elite class has emerged in urban areas, though it is less visible in rural parts of the country. While absolute poverty is greater in rural South Africa as employment opportunities are scarcer [10], class inequality is also less pronounced than in the city/​township divide. Rural wealth inequality is most discernable in the distribution of land ownership, as white farmers profit from inherited parcels, along with the ownership of game lodges catering to the tourist industry. The lower degree of relative poverty in rural areas may serve to tamp down class resentments to an extent not seen in urban areas. There is some support for this point of view; in a micro-​level case study, Princeton researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton found that self-​perception of poverty is greater in townships than in rural areas. [11]

Roots of Social Stratification As with the social stratification seen in previous chapters of this book, the roots of the extreme inequality in South Africa can be traced to colonization and the predations of empire. Pre-​colonial South Africa was a conglomeration of indigenous peoples and chiefdoms, dominated by no particular empire, unlike the territory that today is Zimbabwe.While most indigenous peoples were Bantu-​speaking, a number of subsistence patterns were present, including shifting horticulture, pastoralism, and hunting and gathering. In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck, a representative of the Dutch East India Company, established a settlement with a fort in what is today Cape Town. Over time, the fort metastasized to a European-​style castle complete with a bell tower and pediment. In its inception, the colonial outpost was intended to serve as a stopover replenishment station for ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope on their way to the Dutch East Indies, where the majority of the company’s profit was incurred.

74  Case Studies

Quickly, the stopover port appealed to retired representatives of the Dutch East India Company, who flocked to the burgeoning colony to lease land on which to farm crops that were then sold to the corporation for a fixed price. In order to expand, the business model rapidly incorporated plantation agriculture and the requisite system of enslavement. As representatives of the company were originally forbidden from enslaving the local natives, and the natives in question were proudly self-​sufficient Khoikhoi pastoralists who had no interest in being exploited for agricultural labor, slaves had to be imported for the system to function. Slaves were typically imported from the pre-​ existing slave-​ trading colonies along the Indian Ocean trade route, as the Dutch East India Company was allowed to trade only along the east coast of Africa and with countries in the east. Nations from which slaves were imported included India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Japan, Guinea, and Angola. The system of imported slave labor and plantation agriculture made a significant contribution to the coffers of the Dutch East India Company. At its apex, the Dutch East India Company was the most powerful corporation in the world; it was also the first transnational corporation, with the first corporate logo in the world. The success of the Company in the Cape area encouraged an influx of Dutch and Huguenot settlers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who became known as Boers; their descendants are today known as Afrikaners and today compose a majority of the white South African population. From very early on, the nascent British Empire presented a threat to the dominance of the Dutch in the region. In 1795, during a period of war with France, Britain seized the Cape region from the Dutch East India Company. After a brief interlude of relinquishment to the Dutch government, the British reasserted control, realizing the logistical value of the Cape region to its shipping industry. British settlers began arriving en masse during the early nineteenth century, and the population boom this precipitated resulted in increased incursions into indigenous South African territory for both land and slaves. Although British slaving officially ended in 1807, a two-​tier class society based on race remained. A significant resistance to the end of slaveholding was present in the Boer population, and abuses of the indigenous Black population by whites were rampant. During the mid-​twentieth century, the two-​tier class society was codified into law by the apartheid

South Africa  75

regime, which disenfranchised Black South Africans, forcibly relocated many to rural areas and townships, and created separate and unequal structures of education, medicine, and government. The apartheid regime crumbled in 1994, followed by the election as president of anti-​apartheid resistance hero Nelson Mandela, but its legacy of racialized inequality survives. From the rewriting and passage of the new South African Constitution in 1996 up until the global financial crisis that began in 2007, the global commodities market saw a steep rise in mineral prices. South Africa’s most valuable exports are metals and minerals; depending on the year measured, it has been either the world’s largest or second largest producer of chrome, gold, manganese, platinum, vanadium and vermiculite, and zirconium, all metals used in industrial manufacturing or electronic products. As with other governments of other nations during this time period, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) saw no reason that this economic expansion couldn’t continue, fueled by China’s industrial juggernaut. As in many other nations, including the United States, the extension of cheap and easy credit pacified poor and middle-​class constituencies and enabled a consumption boom. Increasingly, manufactured commodities were imported from outside, while local manufacturing collapsed. South Africa’s mining system, which generated so much wealth, historically relied on turning small-​scale farmers into migrant workers. Some of these migrant workers found work outside the mining sector in urban areas during the boom years, giving many hope in finding a pathway to the middle class despite low wages and poor conditions in the townships. But when the international economy froze up during the global financial crisis, the South African economy also went into a tailspin. Global prices for minerals fell, and over a million workers lost their jobs. Now dislocated from the land by the mining industry, many former farmers found it difficult to return to agriculture and remained in the townships, unemployed.

The Ending of the Gender Bargain During the same post-​apartheid era, the South African state partially dismantled the gender bargain. Just four years after Mandela’s promulgation of the new South African Constitution, the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000

76  Case Studies

prohibited any type of gender-​based violence. More specifically, aspects of various sections of the amendment forbade (d) any practice, including traditional, customary or religious practice, which impairs the dignity of women and undermines equality between women and men, including the undermining of the dignity and well-​being of the girl child; (e) any policy or conduct that unfairly limits access of women to land rights, finance, and other resources; … (g)  limiting women’s access to social services or benefits, such as health, education and social security; … (i) systemic inequality of access to opportunities by women as a result of the sexual division of labour. [12] This amendment legally eviscerated millennia of patriarchal cultural tradition in both pre-​and post-​colonial South Africa. Gendered traditions generated during the agrarian colonial period existed alongside pastoralist, horticulturalist, and even hunter-​ gather practices in various regions of the country. Despite the variety in modes of production and accompanying sociocultural traditions around gender, the new laws expected all South Africans to comply. Though enforcement in many rural areas was non-​existent, the symbolic importance of the act, generated by intellectuals and elites living in educated urban areas, spoke to the South African state’s commitment to no longer acting as an enforcer of the gender bargain.

Legal Same-​S ex Marriage Perhaps nowhere does the ending of the gender bargain by the South African state achieve so much prominence as with its legalization of same-​sex marriage; South Africa was only the fifth nation in the world to do so. Outside of the Western Hemisphere (and Western Europe and Australia), South Africa is still alone in the world in permitting marriage between women. In fact, its neighbor, Zimbabwe, still punishes same-​sex relationships with imprisonment. Many other African nations also legally penalize same-​sex couples, a select few with the death penalty. Others hand down life-​threatening ritual floggings. South Africa has allowed same-​sex marriages under the Civil Unions Act since 2006. This apparent oasis of equality in a desert of intolerance is only a mirage, however.

South Africa  77

While women can and do marry each other, with most ceremonies taking place away from rural areas, the reality is that the marriage license application may serve as a sort of hit list, with women who identify themselves publicly as lesbians in this way at risk of being targeted. It is worthwhile to note that men in same-​ sex relationships are also targeted; however, women in same-​sex relationships are singled out for a gruesomely ideological form of vigilante gender violence that is explicitly designed to ‘teach a lesson’ to women straying from patriarchal norms of marriage and gender presentation. This form of vigilante gender violence is known as ‘corrective rape.’ Some readers may object to the categorization as vigilante gender violence of corrective rape attacks on lesbian women as being overly inclusive; this would be a misinterpretation of the motivations behind corrective rape in South Africa. Corrective rape is primarily targeted at ‘butch’ lesbians who do not ‘perform’ gender in ways acceptable to men. [13, 14] In a 2019 legal analysis of the case for changing laws to more effectively combat this particular form of gender violence, Sarah Doan-​Minh notes that [c]‌ orrective rape against lesbians is not perpetrated solely because they are identified as not following sexual orientation norms; being “read” as lesbian and gay is primarily about interpreting gender presentation. Therefore, sexual orientation-​ based discrimination is largely based on the policing of gender. Corrective rape is a punishment for the gay woman’s perceived violation of both heteronormative masculinity and femininity in an institutionally heterosexual society. In this way, the heteronormative gender structure can single out anyone who “resists heterosexuality’s configuration of masculinity/​femininity, perhaps by failing to participate (or participate correctly) in the social economy of (hetero) sexual desire.” In fact, perpetrators of homophobic violence themselves even admit that their actions were not based on their phobia or hatred of homosexuality or of gay or bisexual people, but instead on targeting their victim’s violation of gender … Butch lesbians in particular are frequently the victims of violent physical attacks and rape. Their expression of their sexual orientation is the most visible, and therefore most likely to be considered to undermine masculinity and claims to male bodies. [15]

78  Case Studies

Corrective Rape The phenomenon of corrective rape is widespread among poor communities in South Africa, particularly in township areas. The underlying assumptions behind the practice of corrective rape differentiate it from ‘standard’ gang rape. Those assumptions are, namely, (1) that heterosexuality is the only morally acceptable type of sexuality; (2) that heterosexual rape is morally preferable to consensual lesbian sex; (3) that women are biologically ‘programmed’ to be heterosexual; and (4) that women who are in lesbian relationships simply need to be ‘reminded’ of their innate heterosexuality via heterosexual rape as a ‘correction.’ This ghastly illogic is openly cited by not only rapists but by men in the general South African public as a justification for the practice. The targeting of women for corrective rape is most common in the parts of South Africa where the partial ending of the gender bargain is most keenly felt: in the townships, where rates of class inequality are highest in juxtaposition to the urban cores, and where men have the most to gain by reasserting their dominance via the policing of gender expression by vigilante gender violence. [14] Kwa Thema is a township that is part of the East Rand, itself part of the Johannesburg conurbation. Established in the early fifties under apartheid, in many ways it is typical of townships across South Africa in its poverty, high unemployment among men, and large number of residents who do not own formal titles to their homes. In 2008, a local soccer celebrity and openly lesbian activist, Eudy Simelane, was murdered in Kwa Thema during an attempted ‘corrective rape.’ Her case was the first to make international headlines, partly because she was in training to be the first female referee at the Men’s World Cup, held in South Africa in 2010. Eudy was making her way home after drinking with friends. A group of men attacked her and stabbed her all over her body, including her upper thighs as she attempted to fight off the attack. They left her mutilated corpse in a ditch. Journalist Charlayne Hunter-​Gault interviewed Bontle Khalo, a leader of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee, an LGBT

South Africa  79

rights organization focused on promoting tolerance and awareness in township areas. She attended the trial of Eudy’s murderers: Soon after Simelane was murdered, four men were arrested in the case. Her celebrity undoubtedly made it easier for the police to find the killers. “A lot of people were there,” Khalo said. “A lot of witnesses weren’t afraid to speak out.” At the trial, two of the suspects were released for lack of evidence. The other two were convicted. Thato Mhpithi, twenty-​three, received a thirty-​ two-​ year prison sentence, and Themba Mvubu, a twenty-​ four-​ year-​ old who had had Simelane’s blood on his clothing, was sentenced to life imprisonment. He smiled as he was walked from the courtroom. “I’m not sorry at all,” he told reporters, as friends of Simelane’s yelled that they wished he’d been sliced into pieces. It was a dramatic end to a contentious trial: Khalo recalled that the police had expressed disapproval of the way gay men in the courtroom were dressed, and had laughed at spectators in drag. At one point, the judge asked the prosecutor about the use of the term ‘lesbian’: “Is there another word that you can use instead of that one?” [16] Although no one knows exactly how many corrective rape attacks take place each year in South Africa, one non-​ profit agency working with lesbian women recorded 31 deaths resulting from attacks during the period from 1998–​2009. [17] More common is the instance where women survive the attacks. Many are too frightened to report their rapes to the police, and many who do are discouraged by police hostility or indifference to their victimization. Rarely do survivors tell their stories to the media, but journalist Clare Carter managed to collect 45 interviews with surviving victims of corrective rape during a period from 2011–​2013. [18] A common theme in her interviews emerges, that is, the attempt to intimidate and set an example by the perpetrators: Mvuleni Fana was walking down a quiet alleyway in Springs—​ 30 miles east of Johannesburg—​on her way home from football practice one evening when four men surrounded her and dragged her back to the football stadium. She recognised her attackers. One by one, the men raped her, beating her unconscious and leaving her for dead. The next morning, Mvuleni

80  Case Studies

came round, bleeding, battered, in shock, and taunted by one overriding memory—​the last thing they said to her before she passed out: “After everything we’re going to do to you, you’re going to be a real woman, and you’re never going to act like this again.” [19] While the popular myth among men in the South African street argues that the intent of corrective rape is to return lesbian women to a ‘normative’ state of heterosexuality, the terroristic intent of the practice is often undeniable, as when corrective rapes reach their conclusion in murder. One such victim was the out lesbian Noxolo Nogwaza. [18] Noxolo was 24  years old and an activist with the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee on the evening of April 24, 2011 when she confronted a group of men who had propositioned her friend. The next day, her body was discovered in a drainage ditch: Her head was deformed, eyes out of their sockets, her brain split and her teeth were scattered around her face. An empty beer bottle and used condoms were shoved up her genitals and parts of her body were stabbed with glass and the brick used to smash her head was found next to her body. Her surname, Nogwaza, ironically means ‘one who stabs others’, but she was the one who became yet another unfortunate victim of corrective rape when a group of men in the Kwa-​Thema Township attacked her. [16] Such attacks occur with nearly complete impunity. A rare case of an attack that ended in the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators came in Khayelitsha in 2006. Here the attackers did away with the pretense of the ‘correction’ of rape and initiated an attack that resulted in murder. Khayelitsha is a large township of Cape Town. It is the fastest-​growing township in South Africa. As in all South African townships, informal bars known as shebeens abound. On the evening of February 4, 19-​ year-​ old butch lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana was accosted by a mob of nine men who pursued her from a shebeen who beat, stoned, and stabbed her to death for using the women’s bathroom. Zoliswa died 10 feet from her home. [20] What made her case unusual was the arrest and trial of her nine assailants; five were released and the remaining four were convicted and sentenced in 2012.

South Africa  81

Far more typical is the outcome in the June 20, 2008 lynching of Sibongile Mphelo, a 21-​year-​old lesbian who lived near Cape Town. The victim and a friend were crossing a field near her home when men accosted them. Her friend managed to escape but the men raped and shot Sibongile.They skinned her calf and mutilated her genitals by cutting them off. [16] Her body was found the next day, surrounded by condoms. No suspects have been arrested, despite the existence of a witness in Sibongile’s friend, and the case has been closed. Rape under all circumstances is far too common in South Africa, even when not part of a mob lynching. South African rape rates rank among the highest in the world, according to Human Rights Watch. A 2009 study by South Africa’s Medical Research Council found that over a quarter of the men sampled had committed rape. [21] It estimated that only one in nine rapes is actually reported to law enforcement. Public awareness of the general problem is high; in advance of the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in Durban, an enterprising South African blood technician and medical researcher named Sonnet Ehlers-​ Bryant designed the world’s first vagina dentata-​type antirape device, marketed as Rape-​aXe. A number of high-​profile government officials have been identified as rapists. Even Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa from 2009 until 2018, has been credibly accused of raping a lesbian woman, though he was acquitted at his 2006 trial. Given the high rape rates and the public profile of the issue, it is surprising that more has not been done to address the problem. Although the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000 specifically prohibits hate crimes, which includes hate crimes based on gender or sexual orientation, in practice, attackers are not brought to trial for hate crimes in corrective rape cases; they are instead prosecuted for rape or murder.

The Future for Lesbian Women and Vigilante Gender Violence in South Africa In the twenty-​first century, people deemed transgressive by traditional gender norms held by the general public have frequently been ‘normalized’ by high-​ profile celebrities who served as dissectible examples, often via social media and the Internet. This has directly led to increased support of same-​sex relationships. [22] In the United States, Ellen DeGeneres stands out with her “Yep, I’m gay!” TIME magazine cover, and in more recent years,

82  Case Studies

the transgender actress LaVerne Cox became the first transgender actress with a major television role. South Africa has Mokgadi Caster Semanya, an accomplished and charismatic middle-​distance runner who is also an open butch lesbian. A two-​time Olympic athlete, Semanya has suffered through a very public controversy over whether or not she is ‘female enough’ to compete with other female athletes. Though born female, Semanya is considered a woman ‘with differences of sexual development,’ which means that levels of testosterone in her body are naturally significantly higher than in most women. She may have an intersex condition. The International Association of Athletics Federations, the track-​ and-​field event’s world governing body, has barred Semanya from competing on the grounds that her testosterone levels are too high—​unless she agrees to reduce her naturally high testosterone levels by taking contraceptives. Semanya publicly challenged that decision, making her a national heroine to some. Additionally, during the midst of the regulatory turmoil, Semanya married her girlfriend in a lavish ceremony shared with the world on social media. The reaction from South Africans was mixed; while some admired Semanya for her bravery, others threatened violence. A changing cultural narrative around the social legitimacy of lesbian relationships can be helped along by charismatic public figures like Semanya, but the root causes of vigilante gender violence attacks cannot be eliminated in this way; the class inequality that differentiates South Africa from all other nations remains. Indeed, veteran activists and researchers identify socioeconomic inequality as a primary driver of this type of vigilante gender violence.The South African Department of Justice created a taskforce to combat sexual assault and gender-​based violence in the wake of the killing of Eudy Simelane. In a geographically representational series of over one hundred interviews conducted in South Africa’s provinces, a former member of the taskforce, Dipika Nath, argues for the historical context of the extreme class inequality that drives the attacks as a primary causal factor. [23] Other primary source explanations echo those given in Papua New Guinea for the behavior of raskols:  the breakdown of traditional authority in society, exacerbated by urbanization and industrialization. Hunter-​Gault explains: “There are real gaps in just information of what sexual orientation is, what gender is, what gender identity is,” Nath told me. “Coupled with that is a history of violence in the country.”

South Africa  83

She cited a number of factors to explain the increase in violence, including mass migration of male laborers to cities, unsafe working conditions, and the legacy of segregation and apartheid policies that encouraged violent crime in townships by leaving them deliberately unpoliced. She pointed, too, to widespread firearm use, beginning during colonial rule and continuing through apartheid. Socioeconomic inequality has persisted in the post-​apartheid era, as have alarming rates of unemployment, lack of educational and economic opportunity, uneven functioning of state institutions, and the devastating effect of H.I.V. and AIDS. [16] At the core of South African socioeconomic inequality is the ownership of land. During the years of colonization and apartheid, land was violently expropriated from Black Africans by the state; many South Africans believe the time has come for the state to peacefully expropriate farmland from those who hold it exclusively. Some politicians in the ANC and on the left advocate for this expropriation to be conducted without compensation. [24] Such proposals are the fear of many rural white Afrikaners; the escalated political rhetoric around the issue has given fodder to a transnational movement of white nationalists portending a ‘white genocide.’ In terms of the proportion of the population affected, however, the larger problem is an urban one; 83 percent of South Africa’s population lives on 2 percent of the land. [24] That 2 percent is comprised of urban hubs and their sprawling townships. In these informal settlements, many live in backyard shacks that have no legal authorization or title. Any genuine attempt to address the yawning gulf between rich and poor must address land rights where they affect most people, and where vigilante gender violence is most problematic: in the townships. Employment, too, must be addressed. Only then will the gender bargain seem less appealing to the men who are so unsettled by its termination.

References [1]‌

Todes, Alison and Turok, Ivan. 2018. ‘Spatial Inequalities and Policies in South Africa: Place-​based or People-​centred?’ Progress in Planning, Vol. 123, July, pp. 1–​31. [2]‌ Spaull, Nicholas. 2013. ‘Poverty & Privilege:  Primary School Inequality in South Africa.’ International Journal of Educational Development,Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 436–​447.

84  Case Studies

[3]‌ Mzangwa, Shadrack T. 2019. ‘The Effects of Higher Education Policy on Transformation in Post-​apartheid South Africa.’ s.l. Taylor & Francis Online, April 16, Cogent Education,Vol. 6, No. 1. [4]‌ McKeever, Matthew. 2017. ‘Educational Inequality in Apartheid South Africa.’ American Behavioral Scientist,Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 114–​131. [5]‌ Ataguba, John Ele-​Ojo and Alaba, Funke. 2012. ‘Explaining Health Inequalities in South Africa:  A Political Economy Perspective.’ Taylor & Francis Online, Development Southern Africa,Vol. 29, No. 5, pp. 756–​764. [6]‌ Coovadia, Hoosen, Jewkes, Rachel, Barron, Peter, Sanders, David, and McIntyre, Diane. 2009.‘The Health and Health System of South Africa: Historical Roots of Current Public Health Challenges.’ The Lancet,Vol. 374, No. 9692, pp. 817–​834. [7]‌ Haal, Karel, Smith, Anja, and van Doorslaer, Eddy. 2018. ‘The Rise and Fall of Mortality Inequality in South Africa in the HIV Era.’ SM-​Population Health,Vol. 5, pp. 239–​248. [8]‌ He, Wan, Goodkind, Daniel and Kow, Paul. An Aging World: 2015. U.S. Census Bureau. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2016. International Population Reports. P95/​16-​1. [9]‌ van der Berg, Shanelle. Equality Report 2017/​2018. Braamfontein: South African Human Rights Commission, 2018. [10] Turok, Ivan. ‘Worlds Apart:  Spatial Inequalities in South Africa.’ Michael Nassen Smith (ed.). Confronting Inequality: The South African Crisis. Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2018. [11] Case, Anne and Deaton, Angus. ‘Health and Well-​Being in Udaipur and South Africa.’ David A. Wise (ed.). Developments in the Economics of Aging. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2009. [12] South African Human Rights Commission. Research Brief on Gender and Equality in South Africa 2013–​ 2017. Braamfontein:  South African Human Rights Commission, 2018. [13] Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge, 2004. [14] Swarr, Amanda Lock. 2012. ‘Paradoxes of Butchness:  Lesbian Masculinities and Sexual Violence in Contemporary South Africa.’ Signs: Journal of Women in Culture,Vol. 37, No. 4. [15] Doan-​ Minh, Sarah. 2019. ‘Corrective Rape:  An Extreme Manifestation of Discrimination and the State’s Complicity in Sexual Violence.’ Hastings Women’s Law Journal,Vol. 30, No. 1. [16] Hunter-​Gault, Charlayne. Corrective Rape:  Discrimination, Assault, Sexual Violence, and Murder Against South Africa’s L.G.B.T. Community. Evanston, IL: Agate Digital, 2015. [17] Fihlani, Pumza. ‘South Africa’s lesbians fear “corrective rape.” ’ BBC News. June 30, 2011.

South Africa  85

[18] Carter, Clare. ‘The brutality of “corrective rape.” ’ The New  York Times. July 27, 2013. [19] Strudwick, Patrick. ‘Crisis in South Africa.’ The Independent. January 4, 2014. [20] Conway-​Smith, Erin.‘South Africa: Four men sentenced to 18 years for killing lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana.’ s.l.: Public Radio International, February 1, 2012. Global Post. [21] Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch World Report:  South Africa. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010. [22] Díez, Jordi and Dion, Michelle L.  ‘New Media and Support for Same-​Sex Marriage.’ 2018, Latin American Research Review, Vol. 53, No. 3, pp. 466–​484. [23] Nath, Dipika. ‘We’ll Show You You’re a Woman’:  Violence and Discrimination against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men in South Africa. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2011. [24] Levy, Ariel. ‘Who owns South Africa?’ The New Yorker. 2019.

Chapter 6

The United States Incels, Social Stratification, and Virtual Vigilante Gender Violence in the Postindustrial Present

Since you are reading this book, you are most likely a citizen or resident of a postindustrial society. If you are not a member of a postindustrial society, then you are almost certainly living in an industrialized city and have much higher levels of income and education than most of your fellow city-​dwellers. If you do not fall into either of these two categories, then congratulations: you have managed to make the time in your very busy life to read this book up to this point! This is no mean feat. But what is a postindustrial society? Alain Touraine [1] defines it as a society in which the service sector has outstripped the manufacturing sector. In practice, many nations in the world today have passed this threshold. Perhaps an updated benchmark in the present would be the World Bank’s list of high-​income nations. In this chapter, I  will examine how gender inequality changes during the postindustrial era and discuss variations between postindustrial nations in terms of gender inequality. I  will focus on the ways in which forms of vigilante gender violence manifest themselves in some postindustrial nations—​though not in others. We will also see that differences in levels of gender inequality between postindustrial nations are highly correlated with differences in levels of social stratification in general in these nations, using the United States as our central case study.

How Postindustrial Societies Began The concept of a postindustrial society is an extremely recent one in human history; in fact, the world’s most powerful postindustrial nation, the United States, has really only manifested the defining

88  Case Studies

features of this type of society for a little over 50 years. Consequently, there is a great deal of academic confusion about what this kind of society actually entails. Most scholars recognize an increasing transition from authoritarian and traditional norms to norms of tolerance, democracy, and inclusion. The Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker [2] sees these societies as the organic outcome of the values of the Enlightenment period, though not without pushback from others, most prominently the sociologist Michael Mann. [3]

Gender Inequality in Postindustrial Societies

Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (2011 PPP $)

While it would be foolish to claim absolute equality between the sexes in postindustrial societies, the opportunities for women have greatly increased with human sociocultural evolution. Any woman who doubts this should ask herself the question: Would I rather exist as a woman in the society I am living in today—​or 100 years ago? For those living in a postindustrial economy, the answer is a forgone conclusion. The United Nations World Development Programme’s Human Development Indicators paint a similar picture: for almost all indicators of women’s status in a society, the data shows that high-​income postindustrial societies are better places for women to live. For example, note the trends shown in Figures 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 below, in terms of the life expectancies of women, the adolescent birth rate, and the percentage of women in parliament. All are mapped against GDP per capita, a commonly used metric that measures the wealth of nations.

150,000 140,000 130,000 120,000 110,000 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0

United States

30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 Life expectancy at birth, female

Figure 6.1 GDP per capita and Female Life Expectancy at Birth in 2013 Source: Author, 2020. Data from Human Development Report 2015, United Nations Development Programme.

Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (2011 PPP $)

The United States  89 150,000 140,000 130,000 120,000 110,000 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0

United States

0

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220 230 240 250 Adolescent birth rate (births per 1,000 women ages 1–19)

Figure 6.2 GDP per capita and the Adolescent Female Birth Rate in 2013

Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (2011 PPP $)

Source: Author, 2020. Data from Human Development Report 2015, United Nations Development Programme.

150,000 140,000 130,000 120,000 110,000 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0

United States

0

2

4

6

8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 Share of seats in parliament (% held by women)

Figure 6.3 GDP per capita and Women’s Share of Seats in Parliament in 2013 Source: Author, 2020. Data from Human Development Report 2015, United Nations Development Programme.

Despite the positive news from global data for postindustrial societies, we should not take out our rose-​colored spectacles just yet. Women in many developed nations still earn less than men do, are still not well-​represented in the upper echelons of our highest-​ prestige occupational sectors (in the ranks of CEOs, engineers, and STEM-​field scientists), and are still underrepresented in politics. When I  first began to mention the curve of gender inequality throughout history to students in my undergraduate courses, invariably those students would reference the above-​mentioned facts as evidence that things are still very bad for women. As a female academic myself, I am intimately familiar with the ways in which

90  Case Studies

things are not perfect for women in the society in which I  live. However, conditions are not uniform for women across all postindustrial societies.

Variation in Gender Inequality between Postindustrial Societies: The Role of Social Stratification There are significant differences in terms of gender inequality between postindustrial nations. Some are culturally subtle and manifest most obviously in daily interactions between the sexes, while others are readily measured. The differences that are cultural often revolve around sexual harassment, both on the street and in the workplace, and social attitudes about what kinds of behaviors are acceptable and appropriate for men and women. For example, despite the protestations of Italian, French, and U.S.  citizens that women have equal opportunities in their societies, the average woman walking down an Italian, French, or American street has a much higher chance of being harassed by catcalls than does the average woman walking down a Swedish, Danish, or Finnish street. Likewise, cultural attitudes about the roles of fathers in the domestic sphere tend to be more progressive in the Netherlands than in Portugal.When looking at measurable differences in gender equality between postindustrial societies, there are four areas that are generally of concern: women’s outcomes in health, education, politics, and economic participation. Women’s health is important to researchers of gender equality. Throughout most of human history, women faced a high probability of death in childbirth, or maternal mortality. This high risk of maternal mortality is exacerbated in humans by one of the characteristics that separates us from other species of primates:  bipedalism, or the ability to ambulate on two feet instead of all fours. Human female pelvises have significantly less space for a baby’s head to pass through when compared to the great ape species with which we humans share the greatest degree of DNA similarity, gorillas and chimpanzees. [4] Small birth canals relative to the size of an offspring’s head have historically meant that women in the past had very high rates of maternal mortality compared to the women of today’s postindustrial nations. As late as 1935, women in the United Kingdom had a risk of dying in childbirth that was 40–​50 times as high as it is today. Yet even between the

The United States  91

postindustrial nations that are the focus of this chapter, there are wide variations in rates of maternal mortality, though all of the national rates are better than before the advent of modern medicine. The toxic stress brought about by poverty and the lack of access to adequate healthcare are among the known factors that combine to give the United States the world’s worst maternal mortality rate among developed nations. High adolescent birth rates and (recently verified by medical scientists) the toxic stress brought about by the effects of racism directed at African-​American women are also likely contribute to the deficiency of the United States in this important statistic. [5] Women’s outcomes in education are another metric that has only very recently improved; for most nations, women’s education levels did not rise beyond the secondary level until the post-​WWII era. In almost all postindustrial nations today, women’s education levels exceed those of men. Even in those where this is not the case, such as Japan, the numbers are still close. However, despite the good news for women on the educational front, achieving higher levels of education has not always translated into better-​paying jobs or more representation in politics. In fact, one effect of women gaining higher levels of education may be the inflation of credentialing—​ where jobs require higher and higher levels of education but may not pay significantly more. The stagnation of wages for workers is one consequence of credentialing. Where are wages most stagnant for average workers in the developed world? In the same nations that have the highest levels of social stratification. Women’s representation in the political sphere has also increased greatly since WWII although, in fairness, representative democracy as an institution is another very historically recent development. Here, too, there is a wide variance in rates between developed nations. While the country most often cited as a paragon of parity for women in politics (Finland) has a political representation rate of over 40 percent for women and has had a female president, the United States has a comparatively dismal rate of just over 20 percent and has never had a female president. Again, a unifying factor here is social stratification. Finland has one of the lowest levels of income inequality in the developed world, while the United States has the highest, bar none. The economic participation of women is yet another way to quantify the strides that women have made in society since the emergence of industrialization and modern capitalism. It is

92  Case Studies

Inequality-adjusted income index

important to note that women have always worked—​ they just haven’t always been paid for it. Many advocates of gender equality point out that women’s labor in the domestic sphere is still unpaid and thus devalued by society at large.This is a good point. However, the reliable data that researchers have at the national level is largely focused on the percentage of the female population that is employed in paid work vis-​à-​vis that of men. It is important to consider sex ratios here because some nations may have high general levels of unemployment, yet those levels may be similar for both women and men. In keeping with our trend, those developed nations that have high levels of social stratification also have lower levels of women in the paid labor force. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) measures gender inequality in nations using a multipart index that utilizes dimensions of all of the variables discussed previously, called the Gender Inequality Index, or GII. The UNDP also measures several different types of social stratification with its inequality-​ adjusted income index. Figure 6.4 below shows what the world’s postindustrial nations look like plotted against each other by the UNDP’s gender inequality index and inequality-​adjusted income indexes: These data illustrate a strong and significant correlation between social stratification and gender inequality. This has important implications for where in the developed world we find the emergence of vigilante gender violence.

0.9 0.88 0.86 0.84 0.82 0.8 0.78 0.76 0.74 0.72 0.7 0.68 0.66 0.64 0.62 0.6

Norway Switzerland

Luxembourg Netherlands Finland

Slovenia

Sweden Germany Denmark Austria

Iceland

Japan

Australia Canada Czech Rep Cyprus Italy

Lithuania Poland Spain Portugal

Slovakia

Malta Hungary

Estonia Romania

Latvia Bulgaria

Greece a

0.05

0.1

0.15

United States

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

Gender Inequality Index (GII), value 2014

Figure  6.4 The Inequality-​Adjusted Income Index and the Gender Inequality Index (GII) in 2014

Source: Author, 2020. Data from Human Development Report 2015, United Nations Development Programme.

The United States  93

Vigilante Gender Violence in Postindustrial Societies The good news about vigilante gender violence in postindustrial societies is that it gets better! We will see that it is not entirely eliminated, but much of the homicidal violence seen in societies transitioning from agrarian to industrial forms is absent from postindustrial societies. For intuitive proof, you, the postindustrial reader, only need look at your own horror when reading the first chapter of this book. The reason that the kinds of violence directed at women arouse empathy and shock in your central nervous system is that you live in a society that so rarely sees public violence against women of this kind. When was the last time a mob of men stoned, burned, or disemboweled a woman in public for challenging gender norms in Sweden, Japan, or the United States? These things have happened in those nations, but not since the agrarian era transitioned to the industrial for those societies. The kind of mob-​based violence against women that we are most likely to see has become largely (though not completely) symbolic in nature. Its most measurable manifestation is—​where else in the postindustrial present?—​online. Because the United States is among the most economically unequal societies among developed nations, as we have already discussed, some of the most obvious forms of symbolic vigilante gender violence are seen in the U.S. We will start with a look at how online public spaces are policed by mobs of gender vigilantes in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. As the social life of the postindustrial world has moved online, the social control of deviance in public spaces has moved online as well. Online mobs are not new, nor are they limited to gender vigilantes. Indeed, some of the most publicized instances of online mob activity have been directed by progressives against people whose online speech or posted activity is not congruent with a progressive viewpoint. From the mobs directed against the zoo which ordered the killing of Harambe the gorilla, to the vigilantes who caused the dentist whose big-​game hunt killed Cecil the lion to shutter his practice and go into hiding, to the woman on a plane who made an insensitive statement on Twitter about her white privilege protecting her from AIDS and then landed to find herself a pariah, the twenty-​first century has been rife with public shaming and denigration of those who have run afoul of the online mob. [6] Nowhere has this been more evident than in the trolling of the modern-​day alt-​r ight.

94  Case Studies

A unique feature of the online alt-​right movement lies in its partial genesis from masculinist groups who populate the series of online forums collectively called the ‘manosphere.’ The denizens of the manosphere in its emergence utilized a number of tactics to preserve their dominance in the public space of the Internet, ranging from the mild (name-​calling) to the moderate (doxxing, or public posting of personal information) to the extreme (rape, torture, and death threats). The behavior described above has been extensively documented [7, 8, 9, 10] and has escalated over time. Some of the most mentally disturbed young men have extended their violent intent beyond the virtual realm of the manosphere and have committed acts of gender terrorism. Bailey Poland describes the manosphere as an amalgamation of men who have, as their common denominator, an abiding hatred of women who do not adhere to traditional gender roles. [10] The main groups who consider themselves online gender vigilantes in the manosphere consist of the following: men’s rights activists, #GamerGate vigilantes, the pickup artist community, and the involuntary celibate (incels).

Men’s Rights Activists Many of the readers of this book may have heard of men’s rights activists; however, the general public in the United States remains relatively unaware of what men’s rights activists (henceforth abbreviated MRAs in this book) are and what their role in online vigilante gender violence is. When I teach undergraduate students about the sociocultural evolution of gender inequality, I invariably ask how many of them know what the men’s rights movement is. Those raising their hands are invariably less than a quarter of the class—​despite the fact that my millennial and Generation Z students are the most likely age cohort to run across the online presence of MRAs, given that they spend the most time in online forums and are generally more comfortable online. Although this might seem to indicate a lack of importance of the men’s rights movement, rarely has a group of activists worked so diligently behind the scenes to implement an agenda so successfully and managed to stay so far below the public’s radar. Of all the groups in the manosphere, men’s rights activists are the oldest both chronologically and in terms of their membership. Within the manosphere, the men’s rights movement is also perhaps the least openly hostile to women, proffering itself initially as

The United States  95

a type of social justice movement for men. However, with some roots in the mythopoetic men’s movement [11] of the 1990s, the men’s rights movement also emerged as a counter to feminism in its inception [12], when men’s rights movement founder Warren Farrell split with the National Organization of Women, in part over the organization’s support for granting sole custody to mothers in divorce cases. Farrell and prolific blogger Paul Elam are widely considered the leaders of the men’s rights movement. With the publication of Farrell’s book The Myth of Male Power [13], the men’s rights movement suddenly had a doctrinal text. In the twenty-​ first century with the addition of Elam’s website and organization A Voice For Men, it gained a much larger, Internet-​based audience. The central tenets of the men’s rights movement are: (1) that feminism disadvantages men; (2) that men are routinely discriminated against in social institutions, particularly in the legal sphere, making men the ‘true victims’ in the gender wars; and (3) that men must rekindle a sense of brotherhood in order to unite together against feminists and feminism.While there are a few women who identify themselves as men’s rights activists, they are largely subsidiary to the group’s activities. It is not hard to see why women are a minority of the movement’s members when reading calls for violence by Elam such as the following proclamation upon the occasion of Domestic Violence Awareness Month: I’d like to make it the objective for the remainder of this month, and all the Octobers that follow, for men who are being attacked and physically abused by women—​to beat the living shit out of them. I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I  mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles. And then make them clean up the mess. [14] Men’s rights activists advocate for the abolishment of the U.S. Violence Against Women Act and any gender-​based affirmative action initiatives. In the United States, they have lobbied successfully behind the scenes to persuade the Trump administration to overhaul campus policies on sexual assault to favor perpetrators over victims. Their largest audience is in North America, though

96  Case Studies

they are transnational in their reach. The Southern Poverty Law Center has recently designated A Voice For Men as a hate group, as its members have increasingly embraced and advocated for violence against women who are feminists or who do not conform to traditional gender norms.

Men Going Their Own Way While most of the manosphere views women with unrequited longing, Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) have a different approach. MGTOW are a largely online support group of male separatists. Rather than fulminate over their lack of sexual prowess, MGTOW advocate a path of establishing exclusively male ties and rejecting women in any aspect of social life. Largely communicating through Reddit threads and a glossy website, they occasionally meet for communal weekends, much as the mythopoetic men’s movement once did. There is a high degree of overlap between MGTOW and men’s rights activists in both their rhetoric and membership. Like many of the other groups in the manosphere and the alt-​r ight, emphasis is placed on bonding weekends and all-​male activities, with drinking playing a prominent role in group bonding.

Proud Boys The Proud Boys are a neo-​fascist masculinist hate group.The group, founded by Canadian Vice Media co-​ founder Gavin McInnes, has its largest following in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. While McInnes has distanced himself from the alt-​right in terms of racial ideology, encouraging both Jewish men and men of color to join his community and banning white nationalists and anti-​ Semites, he embraces whole-​ heartedly the ideas of closed borders and reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism via the organization’s website. Proud Boy members engaged in the deliberate instigation of violent conflict with U.S. anti-​fascist protestors at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the anti-​racist activist Heather Heyer was murdered. The degradation rituals [15] of the Proud Boys, while ludicrous to the non-​member, are designed to promote a masculinist ethos, and some involve violence. Proud Boy initiates must complete four ‘degrees,’ or levels, within the organization. The first step involves simply reciting “I am a Western chauvinist who refuses to apologize

The United States  97

for creating the modern world.” To complete the second degree, a member must be jumped into the organization via a group beating that continues until he is able to name five breakfast cereals. The third degree requires a tattoo reading ‘Proud Boy,’ and the fourth degree accrues after a member engages in violence with anti-​fascist activists. Physical fist-​fighting is valorized, and members are routinely encouraged to participate in altercations in order to promote a sense of brotherhood. In a nod to the openly fascist British National Front, the Proud Boys wear Fred Perry polo shirts, and many sport ‘fashy’ (fascist) haircuts—​ long on the top and short on the sides, modeled after the style utilized by Wehrmacht officers and the Hitler Youth. The neo-​fascist attitudes extend to sexual interaction and gender as well. In an effort to make members more motivated to meet women and have sexual relationships with them, the group has instituted its famous ‘no wanks’ policy, which forbids members from viewing pornography and masturbating. While representing the organization, McInnes has heckled a female journalist, telling her to quit her job, get married, and have children. The organization also publicly urges members to ‘venerate the housewife,’ implying that the proper role for women is the domestic sphere prescribed by fascist gender ideology.

#GamerGate Vigilantes The first online mobbing attack of symbolic vigilante gender violence carried out by members of the manosphere that was documented widely by the press was the famous Gamergate affair in 2012. It is a nearly perfect case study for examining symbolic vigilante gender violence, as all the elements were there: a woman threatening male economic opportunity; a symbolic intrusion by a woman into male-​dominated public virtual space; and a public virtual lynching of several high-​ profile women to serve as an example to other women. The spectacle began when a female game developer, Zoe Quinn, attempted to publish a game called DepressionQuest, a text-​based game based on her own experiences with clinical depression. For those readers who are not frequent players of video games, a text-​based game is often considered a ‘feminine’ style of game (as opposed to ‘masculine’ first-​person shooter games). Quinn’s ex-​boyfriend, a former game developer, was angry with her for sleeping with other men in the industry

98  Case Studies

during their on-​again, off-​again relationship, and accused her of committing infidelity in order to advance her career. His blog was popular with men in the gaming industry, and commenters on the blog and related online threads soon concluded that the sole reason that DepressionQuest had been published was that Quinn had slept her way to the top. Reddit and 4chan threads (both venues are virtual public spaces where men’s rights activists frequently hang out) rapidly initiated a campaign of harassment, in which Quinn was frequently threatened by anonymous vigilantes with rape, torture, and murder. Her personal information was posted publicly online, including her address and hacked nude images. The vigilantes openly encouraged her to commit suicide and speculated about the likelihood of that occurring with relish. They made it their goal to ensure that Quinn would never work in the gaming world again, targeting her employment. When other women in the gaming world began to rise to Quinn’s defense in industry publications and then mainstream media, the online mobs attacked them, too. One woman in particular, a Canadian-​American activist named Anita Sarkeesian, was the target of multiple threats and had several public appearances cancelled because authorities deemed the risk to her life too great. Not content with making Sarkeesian’s life miserable with bomb threats to her public speaking engagements, one vigilante came up with an online game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian, which is exactly what it sounds like it is. Another woman, a game developer named Brianna Wu, was targeted because of her support for Quinn. In her case, a man posted a video to YouTube in which he claimed he had crashed his vehicle en route to her home on an assassination mission. Breathing heavily, he claimed that he had a backup accomplice who would ‘finish the mission.’ He turned out to be a mentally ill veteran who had been egged on to attack Wu by the online mob. For all the mainstream media flap around Gamergate, commentators were careful to point out that the violence was not acted upon—​that it remained threatening talk in the virtual world. ‘Just trolling’ was the standard reply to criticism in some corners of the part of the Internet where men still openly dominate: portions of Reddit, 4chan and its nastier cousin 8chan, and the blogs and websites of MRAs and incels. Women identifying themselves as women, or just simply expressing disagreement with the general misogyny reflected in these spaces, are likely to be the subject of a

The United States  99

lesser version of the virtual violence inflicted on Sarkeesian, Quinn, and Wu. This hostility predates the Gamergate event, reaching back to the very inception of the Internet. [9] In our twenty-​first-​century world, the manosphere is the virtual version of the male-​dominated streets of New Delhi or Nairobi. Where did these disparate trolls with their flaming anger meet? How did they become hardcore MRAs? Many turned to the Internet, looking for community and a justification for their misogyny following relationship breakups, or experiencing a general lack of success with the opposite sex.

Pickup Artists The online groups that constitute the manosphere span a range of perspectives. Arguably the least openly violent of these perspectives is that espoused by the self-​styled pickup artist (PUA) community. PUAs are most important to this discussion as a feeder group for the incel movement, examined next. Current and former members of the online PUA community make up a large portion of the manosphere and also tend to gravitate toward the men’s rights movement. PUAs gather in Reddit threads and in the comments threads of PUA websites.The unifying goal of the PUA community is to maximize the number of female sexual partners available for its exclusively male membership.To this end, PUAs trade tips with one another based on principles of evolutionary psychology.Within the online forums in which members congregate, one can find advice on everything from how to precisely calculate one’s own sexual marketplace value to how to hack evolutionary adaptations such as ‘peacocking’ [16] and the r and K reproductive strategies. [17] The proclaimed purpose of all this activity is to share tips and methods for having sex with as many women as possible. These strategies, which PUAs call ‘game,’ range from the psychologically manipulative (advocating ‘negging,’ or telling women negative things about themselves to undermine their confidence) to the frankly criminal (one popular PUA Internet celebrity, Roosh V., recommended getting women drunk enough to pass out so that his fans could then have sex with their unconscious bodies). There are several PUA entrepreneurs who have made a successful living from their blogs and the sale of in-​person seminars and weekend workshops where men who have paid up to $3,900 a ticket learn PUA techniques. In the terminology of the manosphere, these more prosperous PUAs are ‘alpha males,’ in contrast to their followers just

100  Case Studies

learning the ropes, who are termed ‘beta males’ by the community. Many of these ‘beta’ men are frustrated by their lack of partners, and while some do report success using PUA techniques, some ‘beta’ would-​be PUAs find their way through down the manosphere food chain to the incel community. One may accurately state that PUAs are concerned with what they perceive as the unequal distribution of sexual access in core societies; the primary difference between them and the more well-​known group that contains many former would-​be PUAs, the incels, is that PUAs are still trying to achieve that access through strategy. Incels, on the other hand, have given up trying, and have become embittered in the process.

Incels ‘Incel’ is an abbreviation for the term ‘involuntary celibate.’ It is, as it implies, people who would like to be sexually active, but are not, most frequently because others are not physically attracted to them (or at least, that is their perception). The involuntary celibate community originated in a blog initiated by a Canadian woman in the early days of the Internet. As a queer person struggling with mental illness and depression, she created the blog in 1997 and soon found hundreds of visitors to the site. Disturbed by some of the commenters’ violent and misogynist thoughts, she eventually discontinued the site in 2000. However, the digital community of male incels simply moved the conversation to Reddit, where spinoff groups like braincels, heightcels, etc. proliferated.There, they nursed their grievances and expressed violent grudges toward the women who had rejected them. Incel men are angry at society in general and women in particular for denying them sexual gratification. Incels, like members of other obsessive online communities, have created their own argot. In their case, the terms often are ways to verbally dehumanize women, calling them ‘foids’ (for female humanoids) and ‘roasties’ (a reference to the alleged resemblance of female external genitalia to a roast beef sandwich). Other frequently used terms include ‘normies,’ used to describe non-​incels; ‘Chads,’ used to refer to alpha males able to attract many sexual partners; and ‘Stacies,’ who are attractive women that gravitate toward white ‘Chads’ or their Black counterparts, ‘Tyrones.’ Often an obsession with penile size is expressed; there is a recurrent fixation with the number of partners and penile size of partners that women have had which is referenced by the phrase ‘cock carousal.’

The United States  101

When I  reviewed recent incel postings, many appeared to be mentally ill, suffering from narcissism, extreme depression, and a toxic and potentially violent form of rage. Many additionally claim or appear to be on the autistic spectrum, with frequent references to Asperger’s syndrome. Both suicidal and homicidal ideation are frequently expressed. Posters competed with one another in an attempt to come up with the most self-​loathing screen names; variations on ‘unfuckable,’ ‘ihatemyself,’ and ‘zeroonatenpointscale’ were common. Even more telling was the screenname ‘LynchingTriHards.’ It is more popular than most of the general public would guess:  On the braincels subreddit thread alone, the membership is over 40,000 strong. This seems more believable when one considers the broader pool of younger males who are involuntarily celibate; the Centers for Disease Control reports that 11 percent of U.S. men in the age bracket 15–​44 report having no sexual contact of any kind with a female partner. [18] In the relative anonymity of the online manosphere, incel hatred festers. Incels often attack women remotely in large hive-​like swarms, responding not only to intracommunity grievances, but also to outside stimulus. The anonymous imageboard 4chan and the more troubling 8chan, an online platform that doxxed a U.S.  federal judge and was blacklisted by Google for child pornography, have both harnessed the power of incel misogyny to harass and threaten women targeted by men. However, because these virtual mob attacks are usually invisible except to attackers and victims, they have largely flown under the public radar. Another unifying theme of the incel community is that feminism as an ideology has hopelessly corrupted society and must be reversed. Men’s Rights Activist F. Roger Devlin expresses the antipathy felt by incels toward feminism perfectly, as quoted by Angela Nagle in her excellent Kill All Normies:  Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-​Right: “Feminism has led to promiscuity for the few and loneliness for the many.” Many incels profess an unwillingness to accept what they perceive as the removal of their right as men to have access to women’s bodies. Some tell stories, impossible to verify, of raping unconscious women. Others are more violent, fantasizing about massacres of women, sometimes complete with visual renderings of the anticipated event. Even the most remote and apparently unrelated of topics can provide fodder for malignant glee:  during the beginning of the North Korean nuclear scare in the first year of the Trump administration, incels

102  Case Studies

rooted for nuclear annihilation on the grounds that it would kill women. Mass murderers (especially those who targeted women) are revered by many incels, as expressed in their own words via Reddit. And at least one incel in the United States came to the manosphere with misogyny in his heart, which then festered in the poisonous environment of the emerging incel movement. We can say that this young man was the first documented gender terrorist produced by the manosphere in the United States. Eliot Rodger was an angry incel. A  strikingly pretty teenager, he was the privileged biracial son of a white freelance film director and an Asian American mother who worked as a nurse on film sets. He was socially awkward and delicately built, a combination that made him the target of severe bullying at school. Although officially undiagnosed, he displayed many of the classic symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, including a self-​centered way of processing emotion, inability to empathize with others, and an obsessive interest in very specific topics. He had no friends and was frequently rejected by women. Stung by his sexless life, he turned to the PUA community to learn how to make himself more attractive to women. When his ‘game’ still proved ineffective, Rodger became still more resentful and in 2013, moved to an early incel-​driven Reddit thread, the now-​defunct PuaHate, where he openly fantasized about the new world he hoped to create and identified himself as an incel. In this forum, he posted “If we can’t solve our problems we must DESTROY our problems … One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system … Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU.” On May 23, 2014, Elliot Rodger killed all three of his roommates in sequentially timed stabbings in their shared apartment, armed himself with three nine-​ millimeter caliber pistols, got into the BMW his mother had bought him in the hope that it would increase his popularity, and drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house near the elite coastal community of Santa Barbara. There, he killed three people near the sorority house and wounded 14 in a mobile crime spree that ended in a self-​inflicted gunshot wound to Rodger’s head. Along with a 141-​page manifesto, he left behind a video entitled ‘Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,’ which detailed his frustration at being a virgin and hatred of society in general and women in particular. He noted that “I hated the feeling of being trapped and lost. I wanted a way out, but I  saw none. I  had already spent two years in Santa

The United States  103

Barbara, and I was still a virgin. There was no way I could ever attract a girl without becoming extremely wealthy, and all of my prospects of becoming wealthy at a young age seemed impossible now … I cannot kill every single female on earth, but I can deliver a devastating blow that will shake all of them to the core of their wicked hearts. I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender: The hottest sorority of UCSB.” [19, italics mine] In death, Elliot Rodger achieved a measure of the fame and adulation he was looking for. His ‘Retribution’ video went viral on YouTube, leading to criticism of the news outlets that published it. His densely written autobiographical manifesto was published by The New  York Times. Fan wikis were created in praise of his exploits. And in the dankest and most misogynist corners of the Internet, the anniversary of St. Elliot’s Day of Retribution is still celebrated by admiring incels, complete with iconographic memes of Rodger. Despite the clear connection to the manosphere and the online would-​be lynchers of women, the reaction from the American press was largely muted in a way that would be unimaginable if Rodger’s murders had been, for example, religiously or racially motivated. Most media reports focused instead on his alleged mental illness and failed to draw the connection between the manosphere’s toxic fomenting of misogyny, the symbolic lynching-​style violence that it engaged in, and the real-​life manifestation of that violent hatred and resentment. In fact, the coverage of the gendered aspect of this vigilante gender violence was most thoughtful and extensive in a British paper, The Guardian. The precedent set by Rodger has inspired an entire new generation of would-​be gender terrorists. Participants in online incel forums openly urge other members to commit mass murder. The United States general public only belatedly began to recognize the threat posed by boys and men stewed in the toxic brew of the manosphere in the wake of the 2018 Toronto attack in which Alek Minassian drove a van into a crowd of women on a public sidewalk. Prior to the attack, Minassian posted a manifesto statement on Facebook, which read: “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please, C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

104  Case Studies

Minassian’s attack killed ten and wounded 14, mostly women. As reports on the details of the attack began to filter into press reports, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has recently created a new category for mapping hate groups called ‘Male Supremacists,’ reported the following unfolding on incels.me, which replaced the banned Reddit thread as the online gathering place for angry haters of women: A person with the username Letting Go opined that the women of Toronto deserved what they got. “As someone who visited Toronto at the beginning of the month, I can see how a man from that city could be driven to kill a bunch of people like that. The women up there are HORRIBLE—​even the ethnic women. It would brighten my day if the majority of the victims were young cunts like the ones that I encountered on my trip.” Letting Go was jubilant when the identity of the first victim, a young woman, was revealed. “It’s a foid!” they said. “I have one celebratory beer for every victim that turns out to be a young woman between 18–​35.” [20] Yet another angry man, disillusioned and self-​ identifying with the incel community, struck in the United States in November of 2018. Scott Bieirle committed an act of gender terrorism when he walked into Tallahasee Hot Yoga studio with more than 100 rounds of ammunition and opened fire with a handgun. He murdered two women by shooting them in the back at point-​blank range and injured five others before killing himself. A later FBI investigation revealed that Bieirle had a penchant for yoga-​themed pornography and also had been brought to the FBI’s attention as a potential gender terrorist in the months before the massacre, but that they had not perceived him as constituting an actionable threat. Like Minassian, Bieirle paid homage to Elliot Rodger online in social media posts. In a YouTube video he entitled ‘Plight of the Adolescent Male,’ he stated: “I’d like to send a message now to the adolescent males … that are in the position, the situation, the disposition of Elliot Rodger, of not getting any, no love, no nothing. This endless wasteland that breeds this longing and this frustration.That was me, certainly, as an adolescent.”

The United States  105

Bieirle also had a history of violent and predatory behavior toward women, and openly railed against women in society in general. Despite these warning signals, he joined the growing list of North American men who had “gone E.R.” (Elliot Rodger), in incel terminology.

What’s Social Stratification Got To Do With It? In a column for The New  York Times [21], conservative opinion writer Ross Douthat mused that perhaps the root cause of the incel phenomenon could be found in the redistribution of sexual partners caused by the sexual revolution. While Douthat focused on a predictably conservative culture-​war angle, his argument also drew directly (and somewhat cheekily) on the language of leftists concerned about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Loosely translated, he seemed to be saying that a primary cause of the increasing number of young heterosexual men who couldn’t get laid was the increasing ability of wealthy men to monopolize resources and attract women away from the losers of the late capitalist economy. An irony in this argument was the genitor of the redistribution idea:  the libertarian economist Robin Hanson, a research fellow at the Koch-​ funded Mercatus Institute. Likely intended as a Swiftian modest proposal, the argument appeared to equate the redistribution of resources with the redistribution of sex, in an attempt to mock the former. The idea was picked up by incels online and dubbed ‘sexual Marxism.’ After his column was published, Douthat was widely criticized by liberal pundits and bloggers for appearing to suggest that women themselves were to blame for the incel phenomenon. Some of the more vehement of his critics accused him of parroting the viewpoints of the incels themselves, and advancing their agenda in the mainstream media, as some incels have enthusiastically advocated for the ‘redistribution of women’ by the state. Douthat was on to something, though. His causal mechanism doesn’t explain why, if sexually frustrated young men do not have enough access to women via the existing socially stratified sexual market, they would choose to attack the very women to whom they wanted sexual access rather than the capitalist system of social stratification that created that market. However, social stratification does play a role in the gender bargain, as discussed previously. To

106  Case Studies

wit, as social stratification increases, the appeal of relatively higher status is greater to men—​and the sting of its threatened removal the more punishing. It is no accident that the most vituperative and dangerous strain of virtual vigilante gender violence has emerged within the United States, a postindustrial economy that has the highest level of social stratification found among all developed nations.The questions of whether we can predict outbreaks of vigilante gender violence and what we can do to prevent them remain to be answered. These questions are the topics of the concluding chapters of this book.

References [1]‌ Touraine, Alaine. The Post-​Industrial Society. Tomorrow’s Social History: Classes, Conflicts and Culture in the Programmed Society. New  York: Random House, 1971. [2]‌ Pinker, Steven. Enlightenment Now:  The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. New York: Viking, 2018. [3]‌ Mann, Michael. 2018.‘Have Wars and Violence Declined?’ Theoretical Sociology,Vol. 47, pp. 37–​60. [4]‌ Rosenberg, Karen and Trevathan, Wenda. 1995. ‘Bipedalism and Human Birth: The Obstetrical Dilemma Revisited.’ Wiley Online, Evolutionary Anthropology,Vol. 5, pp. 161–​168. [5]‌ Lu, Michael C. 2018. ‘Reducing Maternal Mortality in the United States.’ Journal of the American Medical Association,Vol. 320, No. 12, pp. 1237–​1238. [6]‌ Ronson, Jon. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. New York: Riverhead, 2015. [7]‌ Condis, Megan. Gaming Masculinity:  Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2018. [8]‌ Salter, Anastasia and Blodgett, Bridget. Toxic Geek Masculinity in Media:  Sexism, Trolling, and Identity Policing. New  York:  Palgrave MacMillan, 2018. [9]‌ Nagle, Angela. Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-​Right. Alresford: Zero Books, 2017. [10] Poland, Bailey. Haters: Harassment,Abuse, and Violence Online. Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books, 2016. [11] Bly, Robert. Iron John: A Book about Men. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press, 2015. [12] Faludi, Susan. Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women. New York:  Crown, 1991.

The United States  107

[13] Farrell, Warren. The Myth of Male Power: Why Men are the Disposable Sex. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. [14] Elam, Paul. www.avoiceformen.com. [Online] October 22, 2010. Available at: www.avoiceformen.com/​2010/​10/​22/​if-​you-​see-​ jezebel-​in-​the-​road-​run-​the-​bitch-​down/​. [15] Garfinkel, Harold. 1956. ‘Conditions of Successful Degradation Ceremonies.’ American Journal of Sociology,Vol. 61, No. 5 (March), pp. 420–​424. [16] Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man: And Selection in Relation to Sex. London: J. Murray, 1871. [17] MacArthur, Robert and Wilson, Edward O. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967. [18] Chandra, Anjani, Mosher, William D., Copen, Casey, and Sionean, Catlainn. ‘Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–​2008 National Survey of Family Growth.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011. pp. 1–​36, National Health Statistics Reports. 36. [19] Rodger, Elliot. Elliot Rodger Manifesto:  My Twisted World. 2015. [Online] Available at:  www.documentcloud.org/​documents/​ 1173808-​elliot-​rodger-​manifesto.html. [Cited:  September 29, 2018]. [20] Junik, Rachel. www.splcenter.org. 2018. [Online] April 24. Available at:  www.splcenter.org/​hatewatch/​2018/​04/​24/​i-​laugh-​ death-​normies-​how-​incels-are-​celebrating-​toronto-​mass-​killing​. [21] Douthat, Ross. ‘The Redistribution of Sex.’ The New  York Times. May 2, 2018.

Part III

Where We Go From Here Possible Solutions for a Global Problem

Chapter 7

Predicting Vigilante Gender Violence Can We See the Problem Coming?

A good sociological theory predicts as well as explains.The purpose of this chapter is to explicate a predictive framework for where episodes of vigilante gender violence might break out in the future. Doing so necessitates that we consider the commonalities apparent in the geographically disparate case studies discussed in the previous chapters. We have seen that vigilante gender violence is likeliest to manifest when two conditions, each necessary but not sufficient, are present: first, when the evolving laws of the formal state precede the traditional norms of the general population in anticipation of the sociocultural evolutionary gender equality curve described in Chapter 2, and second, when social stratification in terms of class is extreme among comparably developed cultural and regional types of societies, making the gender bargain much more appealing to non-​elite men. While the former condition is commonly found in many nations in this global era of technological transition, the latter condition is much less common, especially in conjunction with the former. To predict where we might anticipate vigilante gender violence attacks in future, we may turn to those places around the globe where both of the above conditions are already in place or are developing. The map shown in Figure  7.1 displays countries’ levels of inequality as measured by their Gini coefficient. The darkest gray indicates higher levels of inequality. Several regional areas stand out for their very high level of income inequality:  most of the Western Hemisphere, with the sole exceptions of Canada, Cuba and French Guiana; additionally, much (though by no means all) of Sub-​Saharan Africa; and both Russia and China. The reader will also note that all of the nations covered in the prior chapter case

newgenrtpdf

112  Where We Go From Here

Gini Coefficient No data 0.00 – 0.08 0.09 – 0.19 0.20 – 0.30 0.31 – 0.41 0.42 – 0.49 0.50 – 0.63

Figure 7.1 Map of World Nations by Gini Coefficient Source: Alexis Álvarez, 2019. Data from the World Bank.

Can We See the Problem Coming?  113

studies are represented with high-​income inequality on this map. As we have already covered these nations in detail previously, and this chapter is focused on predicting future outbreaks of vigilante gender violence, we will set them aside for the duration of the chapter. Though the existence of social stratification that is extreme among similar regional or cultural types of societies is a necessary condition for the eruption of vigilante gender violence, it is not sufficient. To predict the phenomenon under question fully, we must examine these nations to see if the laws of the formal state with regard to gender are significantly more progressive than the traditional gender norms of the general population. Since there is no recognized dataset that measures this variable, we will examine the nations individually that stand out either regionally or culturally among like nations for their high levels of social stratification, as depicted in Figure  7.1. Some nations, which have very high levels of class stratification, are not examined here because there is a nation in the vicinity that stands out with even higher levels of inequality (for example, South Africa in the already very highly unequal Southern African region).

China While the Middle Kingdom is culturally and politically unique, therefore being difficult to compare with other ‘like’ nations, it does stand out regionally for its very high level of stratification as measured by the Gini coefficient—​by this metric, higher than that of the United States. This stratification is a historically recent phenomenon. Class stratification in China has gradually risen since 1978, when the communist government of Deng Xiaoping liberalized the economy and ushered in an era of essentially capitalist economic development. While social stratification was (in theory) almost non-​existent in the twentieth century during the Maoist era of the centrally planned economy, in recent years it has grown among the highest in the world. [1] This has happened despite, and concurrently with, the lifting of hundreds of millions of people out of poverty that has gained more attention. However, unlike the other nations profiled in previous chapters of this book, China has not seen episodes of vigilante gender violence. This is not due to any lack of misogyny; China’s population is nearly alone

114  Where We Go From Here

globally in its generation of ‘missing women,’ due to sex-​selective abortions, which were no doubt amplified by the state-​enforced one-​child policy in force until 2015.This phenomenon has resulted in all kinds of social ramifications, most notably the creation of a generational class of the involuntarily celibate that has, in extreme cases, resorted to the kidnapping and trafficking of women as wives from other neighboring nations.While this abuse of women is horrific, it is not vigilante gender violence, either. What can explain the lack of vigilante gender violence in this highly stratified society when so many other nations with similar levels of inequality have experienced an epidemic of vigilante gender violence? The answer is simple: In place of addressing the widening class inequality, the Chinese government has systematically turned a blind eye to gender inequality and in recent years has quietly enforced the gender bargain. An excellent report on the gender consequences of this phenomenon was published in 2019 by Amy Quin for The New York Times: Thirty years ago, when the country first began implementing market reforms, Chinese women earned just under 80 percent of what men made. By 2010, according to the latest official data, the average income of women in Chinese cities had fallen to 67  percent that of men, and in the countryside 56  percent … Over the past decade, China’s ranking in the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index has declined significantly—​ from 57th out of 139 countries in 2008 to 103rd in 2018. China once enjoyed one of the highest rates of female labor force participation in the world, with nearly three in four women working as recently as 1990. Now the figure is down to 61 percent, according to the International Labor Organization. [2] One might even argue that China’s famously careful communist party leaders are cynically aware of the pressure-​gage function that the state enforcement of the gender bargain has in an extremely unequal society. Given its deliberate attention to strategic detail in public planning, Beijing’s gradual reversal of decades of women’s economic progress can hardly be interpreted as accidental public policy. As China expands its role on the global stage, it remains to be seen whether social inequality will be allowed to increase at the expense of women’s rights and status in society.

Can We See the Problem Coming?  115

Malaysia China’s Southeast Asian neighbor, Malaysia, is culturally very different than most of the mainland nations surrounding it. As a country, it has more in common with Indonesia than, say, Thailand or Vietnam. Its multiethnic population is comprised predominantly of Muslims, with a smattering of Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians. Like China, it has a high level of social stratification, especially for the region. In the Asia-​Pacific region, only Papua New Guinea is more stratified. But, unlike Papua New Guinea, there have not as yet been outbreaks of vigilante gender violence. This can be attributed in large part to the conservatism of the Malaysian state where gender norms are concerned. A hybrid of British common law and Islamic sharia law, Malaysia’s unique dual justice system is delineated in the constitution. Sharia law applies in most issues concerning gender, in particular the family. Polygyny is permissible under Malaysian law, though not polyandry. This traditionalist approach to gender and family relations can be interpreted as an unwillingness to violate the gender bargain on the part of the Malaysian state. It has produced conditions for women that prompted the daughter of a former Malaysian prime minister to compare the social situation to a gendered form of apartheid. However, in recent years, Malaysia, like several other nations in the region, has come under pressure from the United Nations and the European Union to improve the status of women. As the economy continues to modernize, and if social stratification remains high, the social conditions are in place to make Malaysia a prime candidate for the manifestation of vigilante gender violence.

Russia The case of Russia is very similar to the case of China, where the second condition of social stratification in terms of class being extreme among comparable cultural and regional types of societies is satisfied, but the first condition—​in which laws of the formal state precede the traditional norms of the general population—​is not. Russia does indeed have a high level of social stratification, both compared to its Eastern European/​Slavic neighbors and to other nations that have similar levels of industrial and economic development. It is worth noting that its Gini coefficient is comparable to that of the United States. But unlike

116  Where We Go From Here

the United States, the formal laws of the state do not precede the sentiments of the majority of the population around traditional gender norms. Especially for readers whose impressions of Russian policy around gender were indelibly shaped by the Cold War era, this may come as a surprise. Weren’t the reforms of the Bolsheviks, and the Soviets after them, among the most progressive of their day? Didn’t Russian women get the right to vote three years before women in the United States? Didn’t women’s status rise markedly with the implementation of communism? To understand how deeply conservative social norms about women’s roles have become in Russian society, it is necessary to understand how radically the strongman rule of Vladimir Putin has changed the cultural and political landscape of modern-​day Russia. Over the past two decades, Putin has carefully supported the conservative and masculinist elements of traditional Russian society, tacking to the right on a number of gendered social issues, including, and most recently, partially decriminalizing domestic violence, a move that received surprisingly little coverage in the Western press, perhaps because of the unexpected emergence of 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee in that month. Perhaps as importantly, like his authoritarian admirer in the United States, Putin understands the significance of symbols. In his personal life, he openly cultivates a Theodore Roosevelt-​like masculinist image in which he is portrayed hunting, fishing, and horseback riding, sometimes bare-​chested. He hints at womanizing, and once congratulated former Israeli president Moshi Katsav on his prowess at rape, and expressed envy. [3] Amid the widened inequality in Russia, in a nation where in a generation men went from relative social equality under the Soviet regime to an era of oligarchic post-​glasnost excesses, these misogynist and masculinist appeals send a powerful message. Both with the law and with the symbolism projected in his “L’état, c’est moi” approach, Putin is assuring Russian men that he has their back—​he will continue to enforce the gender bargain. Here we have extreme social stratification, but Russian women increasingly take their domestic violence cases to European courts because the Russian state, under Putin, plays the role of the oppressor. This is manifested in the laws governing domestic violence themselves, in the informal lack of enforcement by male-​dominated police departments, and by Putin’s public embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church. When Russian legislators attempted to pass an anti-​domestic violence law in 2012, the Church’s official objected to the term ‘violence in the

Can We See the Problem Coming?  117

family,’ on the grounds that it was a victimization of men by radical feminists.The Church’s lobbying efforts paid off in 2017, when first battery offenses among family members were decriminalized by the Russian Parliament. [4] This symbolic embracement of the gender bargain on the part of the Russian state has resulted in the tamping down of men’s resentment of women’s increasing economic success during a period of growing class inequality. There have been no known recorded cases of vigilante gender violence. However, upon the inevitable end of Putin’s regime, this state of affairs may change. If social inequality does not decrease at the same time, Russia’s social and cultural climate is ripe for an outbreak of vigilante gender violence.

Honduras Central American nations as a general group have very high levels of inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. Panama, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras stand out in particular, even within this group. But the largest national group of immigrants from Central America seeking refuge and asylum in the United States is Hondurans. Ranked as one of the five most violent countries overall in the world, Honduras was the source of tens of thousands of applicants for refuge and asylum last year.This has received much attention. Less attention has been given to who the individuals are—​ and why they are fleeing their countries of origin. In recent years, the United States has been inundated with a human tide of refugees, primarily from Central American nations. While the press has noted the fact that most of the refugees are women and their children who are fleeing violence, the source of that violence is typically identified under the generic term ‘gang violence.’ But surveys of immigrants demonstrate that the threat of violence is omnipresent for many Central American women. Both El Salvador and Honduras are among the five deadliest nations for women, in terms of their likelihood of being killed, when compared to men. [5] In Honduras, women’s rights groups have recently found that the level of sadism or ‘overkill,’ as discussed in the first chapter of this book, has increased.The overkill is intended to send a message to Honduran society at large.The Pulitzer Prize-​ winning author, Sonia Nazario writes that [i]‌n 2017, 41 percent of women and girls killed in Honduras showed signs of mutilation, disfigurement and cruelty beyond

118  Where We Go From Here

what was needed to kill them, according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras … In 2013 the Honduran government passed a law imposing harsher sentences for femicides—​ gender-​ motivated killings in which the perpetrator was a partner, a family member, an ex, or had committed domestic violence; in which sex preceded the death; or in which the victim’s body was degraded or mutilated. The label can increase a homicide sentence to 30 or 40 years. [6] Are some of these killings instances of vigilante gender violence emerging after the state has instituted laws protecting women’s rights? It is hard to tell. In other nations, the legal framework that supersedes traditional gender norms put in place by the formal state has had at least a minimal enforcement. However, in Honduras, Nazario goes on to say, … almost no one is actually charged with femicide. The Violence Observatory says that more than 60  percent of women’s murders are femicides, but the charge has been used only 33 times—​during a period when 1,569 women and girls died violently. Domestic violence laws, which didn’t exist here until 1997, also remain weak. Beating someone the first time is a ‘fault,’ not a crime. A court or prosecutor’s office can issue restraining orders for up to six months, but the police largely don’t enforce them. Sometimes the police are so afraid to even go to a violent neighborhood that they tell the woman she has to serve her abuser the restraining order on her own. If you put a machete to your wife’s throat, all the police can do is lock you up for 24 hours, and they often don’t even do that on weekends, said Saida Martinez, a leader of the López Arellano women’s group. [6] Regardless of whether or not some of the killings of these women were a response to the recent changes in Honduran law, it remains doubtless that a high level of violence toward women has been normalized to some degree in Honduran society. More research needs to be done to determine if vigilante gender violence is occurring, but it is safe to say that if the state begins more enthusiastically enforcing currently existing laws to protect women, the

Can We See the Problem Coming?  119

preconditions for the emergence of vigilante gender violence are already there with a vengeance.

Bolivia If the proportion of women in office were a good indicator of the status of women in a country, Bolivia would be exemplary indeed in this respect. It has the third-​highest proportion of female parliamentarians in the world, behind Rwanda and Cuba. An electoral law instituted in 2010 by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia mandates gender parity for all party nominees at the federal, state, and local levels. This breaching of the gender bargain by the state had an immediate impact: women went from 28 percent of all seats in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly to over 50 percent in the period from 2009–​2015. The same pattern was seen at the municipal level, with even more drastic figures: from 18 percent to 51 percent in the same time period. Such a spectacular change was predictably met with resistance; harassment of female politicians and political violence against women in office became so visible, particularly in rural areas, that in 2012 a law was instituted to address this issue with granular specificity. In addition to identifying and criminalizing political violence against women as such, it prohibits, among other things, spreading false information about female politicians for the purpose of discrediting their management abilities and pressuring a woman to resign from an elected position. Along with the state breaching of the gender bargain, Bolivia also has one of the higher Gini coefficients in South America, compounded by the racial/​ethnic divide between its wealthy white and mestizo upper class and its majority indigenous population. Seemingly, the rapid promotion of women’s status by the Bolivian state, combined with high social-​class inequality, should result in the classic conditions that generate episodes of vigilante gender violence. There have been no such attacks. An explanation for this apparent anomaly can be found by examining the trajectory of social inequality over the same time period in which the gender bargain has been weakened by the state. At the beginning of the twenty-​ first century, Bolivia’s Gini coefficient was approximately a third higher than it is now. Thus, the sting of women’s rise in Bolivian society for lower-​income men is likely lessened by the bettering of conditions for the lower classes. We will investigate the Bolivian

120  Where We Go From Here

success story in terms of averting vigilante gender violence more extensively in the next chapter.

Brazil Brazil has an even higher Gini coefficient than does Bolivia, at 0.53 as of the most recent World Bank data. As with South Africa, much of this class inequality is related to its history of racial segregation and discrimination. Brazilians of African, indigenous, and multiracial (or pardo) descent compose a majority of the population, and a vastly disproportionate majority of its working poor and unemployed. In theory, this inequality should make the gender bargain more appealing to Brazilian men. And there is certainly misogyny to spare in Brazil: in a national survey performed in 2017, almost a third of girls were self-​reported victims of violence in the previous year alone. [7] The state, at least on paper, has moved in recent years to weaken the gender bargain with its implementation of internationally acclaimed domestic violence legislation in 2006 in the form of the Maria da Penha Law, which created shelters for the victims of domestic abuse and increased legal penalties for domestic abusers. In 2015, during the tenure of the first female president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, a law targeting femicide was passed, with enhanced penalties for femicide perpetrators. As per the model, this would be a classic scenario that should produce vigilante gender violence. But, as with Russia, Brazil now also has a strongman leader who is supremely aware of the symbolic power of public misogyny and its appeal to men who feel cheated by the breaching of the gender bargain. Jair Bolsonaro has a high-​profile public history of demeaning women while in office; when voting to remove Dilma Rousseff from office in 2016 during her impeachment scandal, Bolsonaro dedicated his vote to Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who was the commander of the military’s torture unit during the years of Brazil’s dictatorship. Rousseff was among those tortured by this unit. Bolsonaro also has told an opposition lawmaker that “I would never rape you, because you don’t deserve it,” immediately before pushing her in the chest. Furthermore, when Marielle Franco, a Black lesbian member of Rio de Janeiro’s city council, was assassinated in March of 2018 while Bolsonaro was campaigning, he was the only candidate who said nothing about the issue. Later on,

Can We See the Problem Coming?  121

his son was linked to her assassination. [8] Bolsonaro has also gone on record opposing the anti-​femicide law: In an interview on International Women’s Day … he said that Brazilian women should “stop whining; stop with this story of femicide,” and proposed to arm them, though specialists warn that most cases of violence against women are committed by intimate partners or close acquaintances. [9] As Bolsonaro’s presidency continues, it will be worthwhile to see if the reductions that Brazil has made in its social class stratification are reversed—​and if Bolsonaro will take his rhetorical embrace of the gender bargain to the formal embrace of state law. Either action could influence the future potential for vigilante gender violence in Brazil. Thus far, it has not emerged.

Chile Like Bolivia and Brazil, Chile stands out among South American nations when one looks at the map in Figure  7.1. In a comparison of OECD member nations, Chile ranked number one for inequality, with a Gini coefficient of 0.46. [10] Recently, Chileans rioted violently over the unequal class structure of society, which, as in Bolivia and Brazil, is historically linked to the oppression of the descendants of the colonized indigenous peoples. These riots, centered in Santiago, have resulted in the deaths of 19 people, the deployment of the military, and the injury by rubber bullets of nearly a thousand civilians. The international community generally seemed puzzled by the intensity of the riots, which ostensibly were about the increase in public transit fares.The defenders of capitalism pointed out that the Gini coefficient had been slowly ticking down at the rate of a fraction a year. But the damage done to the psyche of the average Chilean was too deep:  in a 2017 report, UNDP researchers found that Chileans were slightly more likely (43 percent of those surveyed) to suffer abuse due to their social class than on account of being a woman (41 percent of those surveyed). [11] Unlike Bolivia and Brazil, however, there are signs that vigilante gender violence is beginning to emerge as a full-​fledged phenomenon in pockets of the population. The cultural permutation here is similar to South Africa, but is more specifically targeted against

122  Where We Go From Here

butch lesbians, known in Chile as camionas. The specific perceived violation of gender norms for which camionas are being attacked is the presentation of the self in traditionally male clothing styles and forms of self-​presentation. A  recent group assault by men in which a lesbian couple was attacked, but the femme half of the couple was left unharmed while the butch partner was nearly killed with blows to the head, illustrates the specific targeting of camionas, not lesbians more generally. [12] Chile’s 5th administrative region, which encompasses Valparaiso but also a large rural swath of Chile, is known colloquially among the Chilean queer community as the Red Zone for its history of lesbophobic violence. It is in this area where, among other instances of vigilante gender violence, a camiona was whipped in a public square on March 7, 2019 by a group of young men. While she survived her attack, others have not been so fortunate. Nicole Saavedra Bahamondes, a camiona, was tortured and killed by unknown attackers in 2016, her body dumped in a field of a 5th district mining town. In part because media documentation of this permutation of vigilante gender violence in Chile is relatively recent and in part because of lack of successful prosecution of perpetrators, it is difficult to tell how many of the recent killings of camionas in the Red Zone have been carried out by groups of men as opposed to lone predators.

Central African Republic The situation in Central African Republic with respect to the variables which produce vigilante gender violence is quite unique among the nations examined in this chapter: though social stratification is extremely high—​nearly as high as in South Africa—​there is little government apparatus to either enforce or withdraw from the gender bargain. In 2019, a Human Rights Watch report estimated that armed rebel groups controlled approximately 70  percent of the country, leaving the central government control of only the area surrounding the national capital, Bangui, and some area to the west of the capital. [13] Religious violence between Christian and Muslim factions has, in rare cases, descended into cannibalism (on the part of the Christians). Violence against women, though not specifically vigilante gender violence, has thrived, with widespread reports of rapes in connection with war crimes. In such a chaotic environment, in the absence of a centralized state, traditional gender norms in which men’s dominant social status is unchallenged are

Can We See the Problem Coming?  123

likely to persist, leading to a de facto gender bargain in which even very poor men benefit from their gender status. Thus, we have not seen vigilante gender violence emerge.

Somalia Somalia has become a byword in the international community as a textbook example of a nation without a government. This is somewhat unfair. As in the Central African Republic, there is a central government, but its ability to enforce the will of the state rapidly wanes as one leaves the capital city of Mogadishu. Class stratification is extremely high, with chronic malnourishment an issue for many in the population, particularly children, and wealth concentrated in the hands of a few warlord elites and their immediate families and business associates. However, the gender bargain is rigidly enforced by the traditional authorities outside the reach of the central government. It is enforced so rigidly, in fact, that Somalia is ranked 4th highest in the world for gender inequality by the United Nations Development Programme. [14] Infibulation, the most damaging form of female genital mutilation, is performed here, with 98  percent of females undergoing the ordeal, usually between the ages of 4 and 11. Only about a quarter of Somali women are literate, and less than a quarter of Parliamentary seats are occupied by women. [15] With such a solid gender bargain in place between elite and non-​elite men, it is unlikely that vigilante gender violence will emerge in Somalia anytime in the near future.

India The textbook example of vigilante gender violence used in the first chapter of this book to illustrate the characteristics of attackers and attacked took place in India’s capital city. The outlining of the theoretical model in the second chapter is perhaps most applicable to Indian society, which is undergoing a national rural–​urban transition that has seen the formal beginning of the end of the gender bargain at the same time that social stratification has expanded. When looking at official Gini statistics for India, inequality seems moderate when compared to the other nations we have discussed in this chapter. But there is a big problem with this picture:  the most recently available estimates for the Gini statistic for India are from 2011. This lack of reporting data on the part of the Indian

124  Where We Go From Here

government is not unique to India; indeed, many other nations ceased reporting even further into the past (Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Mali, for example, haven’t reported since 2009, while Japan’s most recent official indicator dates from 2008). To compensate for the missing data, Lucas Chancel teamed up with famed economist Thomas Piketty to estimate how income inequality has grown over nearly a century. They found that, by several different metrics, India’s Gini coefficient today is higher than that of China. In fact, they found that the coefficient is about as high as that of Kenya or Zimbabwe—​though not yet as high as that of South Africa. [16] India also has a government that is instituting social change around gender norms more rapidly than many men in India would like. Within a century, the apparatus of the state has transformed itself from a reliable formal oppressor of women to the agent (on paper at least) most responsible for breaching the gender bargain. Patriarchal customs have often been formally outlawed, and women’s rights given priority in constructing new laws. In particular, the abolition of dowry practices has been a sore point for patriarchal traditionalists. While the practice has been banned in India since 1961, enforcement of anti-​dowry laws has been selective and spotty. In recent years, violations of dowry laws have been linked to the abuse and torture of women (in an attempt by the perpetrator to gain more dowry from a victim’s family) and murder of women (to gain the ability for the perpetrator to remarry to acquire more dowry). The destruction of parts of the patriarchal prerogative in the context of widening class inequality has offered fertile ground for the seeds of vigilante gender violence. Why, then, was a chapter not dedicated to the case of India, given that its social characteristics fit perfectly with the phenomenon of vigilante gender violence, and the acts themselves are being committed? Because, unlike the other national cases profiled in previous chapters, the circumstances surrounding individual instances remain murky. Gang rapes and murders of women remain common, but often in reconstructing a crime, it is difficult to assign a motive for the violence, and cases that, on first glance, appear to be instances of vigilante gender violence often turn out to be intercaste or interreligious violence, as in the 2018 case of the 8-​ year-​old girl recently gang raped and strangled in the contested territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Other cases, such as the 2019 gang rape and smothering of a 26-​year-​old veterinarian near Hyderabad

Can We See the Problem Coming?  125

by four truck drivers and their assistants, fit the profile of Jyoti Singh’s case more closely. As the evidence for the presence of vigilante gender violence mounts in India, better collection of data on the part of law enforcement and the state can help quantify the picture. We will revisit this question of data collection in the next chapter.

Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia does not provide Gini coefficient data to the World Bank; therefore it appears in gray in Figure  7.1. It is safe to say, though, that income inequality is very high in this nation, which essentially has a two-​tiered citizen population and a vast non-​citizen worker underclass population.The citizen population consists of the approximately 2,000 members of the royal family of the House of Saud, and everyone else. The Saudi royal family is the single richest family on the planet, largely due to its iron grip on the nation’s petroleum assets. Revenues from oil exceed $200 billion annually, and the portion of treasury revenue coming from oil profits exceeds 80 percent.These profits flow to the central government in the capital city of Riyadh, where the royal family is based. While the Saudi royal family retains control over most national assets, it manages to tamp down dissent in the citizen population by maintaining generous subsidies, including in the form of highly lucrative public sector jobs. This arrangement has increased the expectations of the average Saudi citizen to the extent that manual labor is now seen with contempt; 90 percent of all workers in the private Saudi Arabian sector are now foreign non-​citizen employees. By contrast, these non-​citizen workers are imported from a variety of different South and Southeast Asian nations and often live in abject poverty, sometimes in forcibly segregated worker camps. They have few rights, often have their passports confiscated upon arrival, and are paid very little when compared to Saudi citizens. Nevertheless, due to the conditions of poverty in their home nations, they keep coming, attracted by the comparatively higher wages offered in Saudi Arabia. Like China and Russia, the government of Saudi Arabia maintains the gender bargain by limiting progress on women’s rights and status. Saudi Arabia far outstrips most other nations in this aspect; in 2018, a national outcry was heard when an initiative to let women drive was implemented. Women are still expected to cover themselves with a full-​body abaya when in the public

126  Where We Go From Here

sphere, and violation of the edict can result in harassment by the religious police. Women still require a male guardian, or wali, to file important legal documents, and can still be legally executed by beheading for adultery or witchcraft. Such a draconian upholding of the gender bargain must relieve the status anxiety of men in this highly unequal country; there have been no attacks of vigilante gender violence to date. At some point, the Saudi state will have to bring its norms around gender into parity with the rest of the world; as it moves toward this point inexorably, the appeal of vigilante gender violence will grow commensurately. In a nation where 40  percent of people aged between 20 and 24 lack employment, the gender bargain will become more appealing. It is possible that social class stratification may lessen before women gain rights and status in Saudi society, but if it does not, this nation will be at a greater risk than most for widespread vigilante gender violence.

Other Nations that are Breaching the Gender Bargain but have Low Social Class Stratification When discussing the themes of this book with colleagues and students during its writing, one nation came up repeatedly as a likely location for finding episodes of vigilante gender violence: Pakistan, which currently ranks at the bottom of the list of South Asian nations for gender equality. [17] However, when examining the public record for instances of vigilante gender violence, they just aren’t there—​with the exception of one small region which has more in common culturally with Afghanistan than Pakistan:  the region known until 2018 as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Granted, family-​conducted honor killings are frequent in Pakistan, but they tend to hew to the older, family-​centered model of an honor killing previously discussed in Chapter 4, and thus, they do not meet the textbook definition of vigilante gender violence. Pakistan consists of several different regions, with widely varying ethnic compositions and degrees of economic development. The only place in Pakistan where recent years have seen genuine vigilante gender violence is the former FATA area bordering Afghanistan. It is in this area where Malala Yousafzai was attacked, making her perhaps the world’s most famous survivor of vigilante gender violence.

Can We See the Problem Coming?  127

What has prevented these types of attacks from spreading to the rest of Pakistan? There are a few nations that have low enough social stratification to mitigate somewhat the appeal of the gender bargain, despite the low status of women in traditional society. Pakistan is one such nation; Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia are also in this category. Another factor may also be the pace with which the governments of these states are breaching the gender bargain; it is happening more slowly in these nations than in some others. [17] While levels of social class inequality are lower in these nations than in some other states, this of course could change in future. If social class stratification were to rise in any of these nations, it would present an enhanced risk factor for vigilante gender violence.

Toward a Typology of Nations and Vigilante Gender Violence In conclusion, among the many nations discussed in this chapter, we find six general types with respect to vigilante gender violence. Type A, in which social stratification is high but the state either covertly or openly defends the gender bargain, thus reducing the appeal of vigilante gender violence, includes Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. Type B displays the condition that the state is in fact moving to increase women’s status but the level of social stratification is not yet high enough to move the lever toward widespread vigilante gender violence, and includes Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia. Type C has very high social stratification, but there is no functional government to enforce the will of the state, thus ensuring that traditional norms around gender will prevail. This third type is exemplified by Central African Republic and Somalia. Type D, where social stratification is very high, but has been decreasing rapidly in recent years and the weakening of the gender bargain by the state has definitively not yet resulted in vigilante gender violence, is typified by Bolivia and—​to a lesser degree—​Brazil. Type E, where social stratification is high and vigilante gender violence may possibly be emerging but it is difficult to tell at this juncture based on the available evidence, includes Honduras and Chile. Type F, where social stratification is high and vigilante gender violence clearly has emerged or is emerging includes India, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and the nations profiled more extensively in the previous individual chapters of this book. That the model theorized here is predictive is demonstrated by the emergence of reports of vigilante gender

128  Where We Go From Here

violence in Chile during the writing of this very chapter. Now that we have identified a predictive model for vigilante gender violence, the question of what can be done, if anything, to mitigate this type of violence will be addressed in the last chapter.

References [1]‌ Jain-​Chandra, Sonali, Khor, Niny, Mano, Rui, Schauer, Johanna, Wingender, Philippe and Zhuang, Juzhong. Inequality in China  –​ Trends, Drivers and Policy Remedies. Report of the International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC, 2018. WP/​18/​127. [2]‌ Qin, Amy. ‘A prosperous China says ‘men preferred,’ and women lose.’ The New York Times. July 16, 2019. [3]‌ Parfitt, Tom. ‘Putin praises sexual prowess of Israeli president.’ The Guardian. October 20, 2006. [4]‌ Higgins, Andrew. ‘Russia’s police tolerate domestic violence. Where can its victims turn?’ The New York Times. July 11, 2019. [5]‌ Widmer, Mireille and Pavesi, Irene. A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths. s.l.: Small Arms Survey, 2016. Research note 63. [6]‌ Nazario, Sonia. ‘Someone is always trying to kill you’. The New York Times. April 5, 2019. [7]‌ Pública, Datafolha/​ Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança. Visível e invisível: a vitimização de mulheres no Brasil. 2017 [Online]. www. forumseguranca.org.br/​wp-​content/​uploads/​2017/​03/​relatorio-​ pesquisa-​vs4.pdf. [Cited: July 26, 2019]. [8]‌ Phillips, Tom. ‘Bolsonaro in spotlight after photo with Marielle Franco murder suspect surfaces.’ The Guardian. March 13, 2019. [9]‌ Carranca, Adrianna. ‘The women-​ led opposition to Brazil’s far-​ right leader.’ The Atlantic. November 2, 2018. [10] Organisation for Economic Co-​ operation and Development. Available at:  https://​data.oecd.org/​inequality/​income-​inequality. htm. s.l.: Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-​ operation and Development, 2019. [11] Rucks, Silvia. Disiguales: Orígenes, cambios y desafíos de la brecha social en Chile. Santiago, Chile: Programa de las Naciones Unidas Para el Desarrollo, 2017. [12] Mohan, Megha. ‘The Red Zone: A place where butch lesbians live in fear.’ BBC.com. June 24, 2019. [13] Mudge, Lewis. ‘Central African Republic:  Events of 2018.’ New York: Human Rights Watch, 2018. [14] United Nations Development Programme Somalia. Somalia Human Development Report 2012: EmpoweringYouth for Peace and Development. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Development Programme, 2012.

Can We See the Problem Coming?  129

[15] Inter-​Parliamentary Union, ipu.org. [Online] October 2019. https://​ d ata.ipu.org/ ​ women- ​ r anking?month=10&year=2019. [Cited: November 29, 2019]. [16] Chancel, Lucas. ‘Indian Income Inequality, 1922–​ 2015:  From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?’ S.l.:  World Inequality Database, 2018. Working Paper. 2017/​11. [17] World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report. Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2018.

Chapter 8

Preventing Vigilante Gender Violence What Can We Do?

After the previous chapter’s inventory of nations in which vigilante gender violence is either at risk of breaking out or has already done so, the situation may seem discouraging. How can gendered lynchings be avoided? As we have identified two primary criteria driving this new phenomenon—​state laws about gender that outstrip prevailing social attitudes, and social class inequality—​there are consequently two potential avenues toward addressing the issue. The first, which will have occurred to readers by now, is for states to dial back their support for gender equality and reengage in enforcing the gender bargain; in other words, to fight inequality on one axis of the matrix of oppression by increasing it on another. This is the strategy that the governments of China and Russia have actively decided to follow, with the result that vigilante gender violence has not yet erupted in these highly unequal nations. While this strategy is arguably successful from the perspective of prevention of violent mob attacks on women, from the point of view of this author, this strategy is a non-​starter for addressing vigilante gender violence. This chapter will instead focus on the second of the possible avenues for prevention—​in which the gender bargain is made significantly less appealing by reducing the social class stratification that causes non-​elite men to look elsewhere to establish dominance hierarchies. We also explore the possibilities for better data collection, which is paramount for establishing the existence and prevalence of vigilante gender violence as a concept in a national context.

132  Where We Go From Here

Redistributive Policies One place where redistributive social policies have worked well to reduce class inequality in the twenty-​first century is Brazil. In particular the Bolsa Família policy has been effective, especially in rural areas of the country. Bolsa Família is a cash-​transfer program, directed at increasing the incomes of poor Brazilians who vaccinate their children and send them to school. It has widely been credited with not only reducing the Brazilian poverty rate but also helping to reduce somewhat the economic racial divide between Brazilians. [1] While the Bolsa Família has worked better for white Brazilians than for Brazilians of color, its benefit is undeniable, and has also likely resulted in the reduction of suicide rates and child labor rates among low-​income Brazilians. Brazil’s Gini coefficient has fallen every year on record since 2003. It is possible that this reduction of class inequality over the past 15 years has mitigated the appeal of the gender bargain for low-​income men, as Brazil has, as yet, experienced no attacks of vigilante gender violence, despite having the highest Gini coefficient in South America as of this writing. Bolivia has been even more successful than Brazil at reducing its social class stratification. From an apex of a South African level of inequality (an identical Gini coefficient of .63) in 2000 to a greatly reduced (.44) coefficient in 2017, the transformation of Bolivian society has been astounding: in that period, absolute poverty in the country has been halved, according to IMF and World Bank data. Figure 8.1 below demonstrates the decline in inequality during the twenty-​first century. At the same time, the economy has been expanding; during most of this same time period, it has averaged a 5 percent growth rate. These changes can largely be attributed to the policies of one man: Evo Morales—​the president who radically reshaped the role women play in the Bolivian political system and also oversaw the implementation of policies that, at the same time, greatly reduced class inequality, which is closely tied to the consequences of colonization for the indigenous majority. The result has been a success story that has gone largely unpraised in Western media; unlike the autocratic policies of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, to whom Morales is often compared in conservative media outlets, Bolivia’s way forward under Morales has been a blend of capitalism with an eye toward strengthening the welfare

What Can We Do?  133 70 60 Plot area

National Gini by year

50 40 30 20 10

20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 20 11 20 12 20 13 20 14 20 15 20 16 20 17

0

Figure 8.1 Gini Coefficient for Bolivia, 2000–​2017 Source: Alexis Álvarez, 2019. Data from the World Bank.

state and redistributing wealth and income in a more egalitarian fashion. As of this writing, he has been ejected from the country in what some term a coup. It remains to be seen whether the opposition government that has seized power will continue the reduction of social inequality, though it seems unlikely given that the party in charge is emblematic of the light-​skinned elite that has dominated the Bolivian economy and political sphere for centuries. The psychological impact of the first indigenous president of Bolivia cannot be underestimated for understanding the perceptions of low-​income indigenous men that things were getting better, not worse. As is the case in Brazil, Bolivia has not yet experienced vigilante gender violence. The theoretical model of vigilante gender violence points to the impact of the redistributive policies of the Morales government.These include not only small cash transfers to the poor, but more importantly, massive investment in public infrastructure. This investment, in diverse sectors of education, universal health care, power plants, electrification, and irrigation, has done a great deal to mitigate the pre-​existing class inequality, and therefore, the appeal of the gender bargain.

134  Where We Go From Here

Universal Basic Income The Bolsa Família has functioned as a form of universal basic income in Brazil. Though the first modern universal basic income experiment was conducted in Canada from 1974 through 1979, academic conversations about such programs have, until recently, been regulated to the fringe. As inequality within nations has grown for most nations since the seventies, research interest has renewed. At the moment, several experiments in universal basic income are being conducted at the local levels, with basic income programs in Oakland and Stockton in the United States, Ontario in Canada, and in several locations in Finland recently commanding significant attention. [2] There are many competing agendas over both the structure and function of a universal basic income; a common radical critique of many existing universal basic income programs is that they are supplementary rather than sufficient to live upon, thus potentially exacerbating conditions of precarity and inequality. [3] And indeed, there are many libertarian supporters of a universal basic income in the United States who argue that a state-​provided stipend should be substituted for the healthcare system, food stamps, etc., with the aim of abolishing the existing welfare system. [4] Such a substitution would create the conditions necessary for government to be reduced to the size where it can be dragged into the bathroom and drowned in the bathtub, to paraphrase Grover Norquist. What I  am advocating here is a universal basic income meeting the three criteria as defined by Hoynes and Rothstein in their 2018 review of existing universal basic income proposals: (a) it provides a sufficiently generous cash benefit to live on, without other earnings; (b) it does not phase out, or phases out only slowly, as earnings rise; and (c) it is available to a large proportion of the population, rather than being targeted to a particular subset (e.g., to single mothers). [5] Such a universal basic income has a real potential to radically decrease social class inequality, if funded by heavy taxation on the wealthy, as discussed later. We have seen it do so in Brazil.

What Can We Do?  135

Investment in the Social Safety Net and Public Infrastructure As mentioned previously, a large part of Bolivia’s phenomenal success in reducing social inequality is attributable to massive investments in public infrastructure: new public schools, cable cars that bridge the gap between poor hillside communities and urban centers, and thousands of miles of new roads. [6] The investments have also been in the social safety net; in early 2019, Bolivia introduced its new universal healthcare program, the Sistema Único de Salud (Unified Health System), under which a majority of the Bolivian population will be covered. While the effects on class inequality of the new health program are yet to be seen, the Renta Dignidad (Dignity Pension) has been in effect in Bolivia since 2008. It is more extensive than Bolsa Família in Brazil; while the Bolsa Família costs around half a percent of national GDP and is distributed to only the poor, Bolivia’s Renta Dignidad guarantees a universal pension of about $350 each year to everyone over 60 and is about one percent of national GDP. Its primary funding source is taxes on hydrocarbons. While many of the nations profiled in previous chapters have been busy stripping the social safety net, Bolivia has been occupied with strengthening it, to great effect.

Heavy Taxation of the Wealthy The question of how best to level class inequality and stave off the social conditions that produce vigilante gender violence is inherently political in nature. However, the solution is a fi ­ nancial question: programs of income redistribution are expensive. Regardless of whether one prefers a universal basic income approach, a strengthening of the social safety net, or some combination of the two, one must address how to fund such interventions. As the goal here is to decrease the gap between rich and poor—​and the very rich have made gains at the expense of the poor and middle classes in many of the nations profiled in this book—​higher income taxes on the very wealthy are sometimes proposed. The difficulty of this approach is that most of the gains that the ultra-​rich have made in the last decade have come in the form of capital gains wealth appreciation, not of income in the pedestrian form of a paycheck. This is the logical outcome of the famous r > g equation, in which the rate of return on capital investments over time in a capitalist

136  Where We Go From Here

economy is always greater than the growth of the economy as a whole over time. [7] A more precisely targeted approach would be a wealth tax, an approach favored by the economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. [7, 8, 9] Various different rates and thresholds for a wealth tax have seen timorous attempts at implementation in France, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland, of the 12 European nations that have experimented with wealth taxes. A bold version of such a tax, if implemented properly, would serve as an effective—​and necessary—​redistributive mechanism. [10]

Collection of Data The expansive theory of vigilante gender violence that is outlined in this book cannot currently be tested with quantitative data. Though the evidence presented here points overwhelmingly toward a relationship between the level of class inequality in a society and the appeal of the gender bargain, it cannot be conclusive until social scientists are able to conduct research with reliable data on the dependent variable: vigilante gender violence. This is not a new problem; the great activist, journalist, and parasociologist Ida B. Wells-​Barnett ran into the same issue with the public availability of data on lynching. Newspaper accounts might indicate that a homicide had occurred in the South, but the accounts would portray what was, in fact, a lynching as an extrajudicial execution for a rapist or a murderer. It took the tireless efforts of Wells-​Barnett to track down the details of each lynching and tie the attacks to white anger about Black economic successes or perceived violations of the racial order of the time. As law enforcement officials in the U.S. Deep South during the worst excesses of the lynching era either deliberately or negligently did not collect accurate lynching data, so too, do law enforcement officials neglect to collect data on vigilante gender violence.To be sure, there is some growing public awareness of the issue; the United Nations Economic and Social Council has defined the problem of femicide as “the killing of women and girls because of their gender.” [11] It has also done an excellent service in publicizing the problem of honor killings, which, while not strictly speaking instances of vigilante gender violence, have at least in Afghanistan sometimes begun to take on aspects of ‘true’ vigilante gender violence. But the public lynching of women as so defined in this book is not on the international radar. Even in the more general case of femicide, the small body of solid data that is

What Can We Do?  137

currently available is largely from European nations [12], which are among those least likely to see vigilante gender violence erupt, due to lower comparative levels of class inequality. In order to collect data involving the specific phenomenon of vigilante gender violence, the crime must be recognized by law enforcement for its special characteristics, which include multiple attackers that typically do not have a close relationship with the victim or victims, a public sphere of attack, and a targeting of the victim or victims for a perceived violation of gender norms. Law enforcement officials must be trained to identify crimes of vigilante gender violence, or they will not record them as such.

A Vigilante Gender Violence Database for the Twenty-​f irst Century As an ultimate solution to the issues of both measurement and prevention, it is imperative to develop a global database for the collection of reports of vigilante gender violence. Since in most cases, law enforcement officials will not have the necessary training to identify cases of vigilante gender violence, national-​level data relying on crime statistics provided by law enforcement are unlikely to prove productive, at least in the short term. In the longer-​term, especially in combination with efforts by international organizations and non-​profit groups to educate the public, data collection by law enforcement officials and national governments may well be successful.What, then, could serve as a stopgap measure until public awareness becomes sufficient to make the state-​level collection of data feasible? The answer, I believe, is a crowdsourced international database, relying on members of the public and non-​profit agencies to report suspected instances of vigilante gender violence. Crowd-​ based reporting apps have emerged as an innovative tool for investigating issues that are hard to target with traditional data collected by law enforcement. Most famously, the idea has been used to gather data on public corruption in the developing world, with the largest anticorruption effort taking place in India with the crowdsourced reporting tool I Paid A Bribe (IPAB). The tool allows people interacting with government officials to report when they have been asked to pay a bribe, where geographically the bribery took place, which agency the bribe was associated with, and the identifying information of the official(s) involved. The tool also allows the public to see, using a sort of data ‘heatmap,’ where

138  Where We Go From Here

the reported instances are clustered geographically, thus providing a sort of public shaming of officials and agencies where bribery is widespread. According to the nonprofit organization coordinating the effort, [s]‌ince its launch on 15 August 2010, I Paid A Bribe (IPAB) has received around 15 million visits, recorded over 1,40,000 [sic] bribe reports amounting to over Rs 2800 crores from more than 1000 cities and towns in India. It has also been scaled to 30 countries, with 3 more in the process of launching their own IPAB sites. [13] Closer to the type of data we are interested in here, in Egypt, a tracker tool for street harassment, Harassmap.org utilizes the crowdsourcing reporting platform Ushahidi to generate geographic maps of sexual harassment occurring in the street. Another organization, Women’s Media Centre, uses the Ushahidi platform to monitor instances of sexual violence occurring in Syria. The chief critique of the data produced by these tools lies in its validity; those who are reporting are a self-​selecting population who tend, on average, to be better educated and who have the income to have access to a mobile device or a computer. No one argues that any of these tools proffer a complete portrait of the phenomenon they measure, whether it be public corruption, street sexual harassment, or sexual violence. But they do provide an idea of the scope and distribution of the problem. Vigilante gender violence is fortunately not nearly as common as public corruption, street sexual harassment, or generalized sexual violence. Therefore, it stands to reason that, since the incidents themselves are more rare, it would be easier to be sure that a greater proportion of the incidents are being reported. A  crowdsourced reporting format would also have the advantage of bypassing law enforcement or government officials who might be motivated to suppress or diminish reports of vigilante gender violence for various different reasons. Bystanders could report as well as victims the details of vigilante gender violence attacks:  the questions of who, when, where, why could be answered, allowing the database to weed out duplicate reports. Such a database would be open to all, but in practice would likely be most frequently used for reporting by women’s rights non-​profit groups. For them, this would be an improvement on the current method of getting the news out about

What Can We Do?  139

attacks, which consists of issuing press releases and hoping to find a sympathetic reporter. The data could also augment the Femicide Watch Platform, which unveiled its prototype in 2017. The Femicide Watch Platform is the brainchild of the collaboration of the Academic Council on the United Nations System, the Vienna Femicide Team, and the United Nations Studies Association. It aims to answer the question of femicide more generally, and does not currently include a vigilante gender violence component, though it could benefit from one. Ida B. Wells-​Barnett found that her arguments about the causes of and circumstances surrounding the lynching of African-​Americans were taken much more seriously after her data were presented in her groundbreaking work Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, 1892–​1894. [14] After the data had been collected and published, the theoretical arguments that she made had empirical value in the collective mind of the scientific establishment—​and the collective opinion of the general public. Such a quantitative endeavor is necessary with vigilante gender violence, too, in order to identify further solutions for a problem that has not yet had a name. It is the intent of this book to identify and name the problem, but the mission will not be complete until the problem is known and measured in every nation where women are attacked by mobs for breaching gender norms. It will not be complete until the problem ceases to exist.

References [1]‌

[2]‌

[3]‌ [4]‌ [5]‌

Soares, Sergei Suarez Dillon. ‘Bolsa Família, its Design, its Impacts and Possibilities for the Future.’ Brasília: International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, 2012. Working Paper 89. Kangas, Olli, Jauhiainen, Signe, Simanainen, Miska, and Ylikännö, Minna (eds.). The Basic Income Experiment 2017–​2018 in Finland: Preliminary Results. Helsinki: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 2019. Martinelli, Luke. Assessing the Case for a Universal Basic Income in the UK. Bath: Institute for Policy Research, 2017. Murray, Charles A. In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State. Chicago, IL: American Enterprise Institute, 2016. Hoynes, Hillary W. and Rothstein, Jesse. ‘Universal Basic Income in the US and Advanced Countries.’ Washington, DC:  National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019. Working Paper No. 25538.

140  Where We Go From Here

[6]‌ Faiola, Anthony. ‘Socialism doesn’t work? An emerging middle class of Bolivians would beg to differ.’ The Washington Post. October 16, 2019. [7]‌ Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-​ First Century. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014. [8]‌ Saez, Emmanuel and Zucman, Gabriel. The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay. New  York: W. W. Norton,  2019. [9]‌ Zucman, Gabriel. The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2015. [10] Piketty, Thomas. Capital and Ideology. Cambridge, MA:  Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2020. [11] Vienna Symposium on Femicide. Vienna Declaration on Femicide. Vienna: Academic Counsel on the United Nations System, 2012. [12] Corradi, Consuelo, Baldry, Anna Costanza, Buran, Sümeyra, Kouta, Christiana, Schröttle, Monika, and Stevkovic, Ljiljana. ‘Exploring the Data on Femicide across Europe.’ Shalva Weil, Consuelo Corradi and Marceline Naudi (eds.), Femicide across Europe: Theory, Research and Prevention. Bristol: The Policy Press, 2018. [13] See www.janaagraha.org. [Online] Available at:  www.janaagraha. org/​i-​paid-​a-​bribe/​. [Cited: December 17, 2019]. [14] Wells-​Barnett, Ida B. A Red Record:  Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, 1892–​1894. Chicago, IL: Donohue & Henneberry, 1895.

Index

Note: Page numbers in italic denote figures. abortion, sex-​selective  114 abortion rights 32–​33 Academic Council on the United Nations System 139 acid-​burning attacks  9–​11 adolescent birth rates 89, 91 Afghan Women’s Council (AWC) 60 Afghanistan 8–​9, 57–​68; acid-​ burning attacks 10; domestic violence 58–​59; education of women and girls 8, 59, 60, 65; gender bargain 61–​62; honor-​based killings 58–​59, 63; mediation 66–​67; national women’s soccer team 66; social stratification 60–​61, 62; traditional role of women 59; U.S. invasion 8, 10, 57, 60–​61, 67; vigilante gender violence 9, 10, 14, 62–​64; women’s rights 8–​9, 57, 58, 59–​60, 62 Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission 63 African National Congress (ANC) 75, 83 African-​Americans: lynchings 11–​14, 18, 26, 67, 136, 139; maternal mortality 91; racial bargain and 17–​18 agrarian societies 19, 20, 20, 22, 23–​24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 74–​75, 76 Algeria 127 Ali, Esraa 10

alt-​r ight movement 93–​94, 96; see also online gender vigilantes Amanullah Khan, King of Afghanistan 59 Anthony, Susan B. 32 anti-​domestic violence legislation 116–​117, 118, 120 anti-​dowry legislation, India 124 anti-​fascist activism  96, 97 anti-​femicide legislation 118, 120, 121 antirape device 81 apartheid, South Africa 74–​75, 83 Ashley Madison website 27 Asian Development Bank 47 Asperger’s syndrome 101, 102 Auhelawa people, Papua New Guinea 53 Australia 42, 46–​47 Bahamondes, Nicole Saavedra 122 Beck, Woody  12–​13 Belize 117 Berndt, Ronald 51–​52 Bieirle, Scott 104–​105 bin Laden, Osama 58, 60 Blackstone, William  24 Blumberg, Rae 22 Bolivia 119–​120, 127, 132–​133, 133, 135 Bolsa Família policy, Brazil 132, 134 Bolsonaro, Jair 120–​121

142 Index Brazil 120–​121, 127, 132, 134 bribery, crowdsourced reporting 137–​138 brideprice systems 30 camionas, Chile 121–​122 Canada 103–​104, 134 Carter, Clare 79–​80 Case, Anne 73 Centers for Disease Control, United States 101 Central African Republic 122–​123, 127 Chagnon, Napoleon 49–​50 Chancel, Lucas 124 Charlottesville,Virginia  96 Chavez, Hugo 132 childbirth, death in 90–​91 Chile 121–​122, 127–​128 China 113–​114, 127, 131 Christian missionaries 41, 42–​43, 53 Civil Unions Act, South Africa 76 civil war, Papua New Guinea 44 class inequality see social stratification climate change 46 colonization: Papua New Guinea 41–​44, 53; South Africa 73–​74, 83 corrective rape, South Africa 7–​8, 77–​81 corruption, crowdsourced reporting 137–​138 couverture 24, 25 Cox, LaVerne 82 credentialing 91 critical race theory 17 crowdsourced reporting tools 137–​139 data collection 12–​13, 14, 136–​139 Deaton, Angus 73 DeGeneres, Ellen 81 Deng Xiaoping 113 DepressionQuest game 97–​98 Devlin, F. Roger 101 Diamond, Jared 41, 44, 50, 53 Doan-​Minh, Sarah  77 domestic violence 5, 58–​59, 95 domestic violence legislation 116–​117, 118, 120

Douthat, Ross 105 dowry systems 30, 124 dress codes 6–​7, 9–​11 DuBois, W. E. B. 17 Dutch East India Company 73–​74 economic participation of women 22–​23, 24–​25, 30, 91–​92, 114 Economist, The 45 education: Afghanistan 8, 59, 60, 65; postindustrial societies 23, 25, 91; South Africa 71–​72 Egypt 10, 127, 138 Ehlers-​Bryant, Sonnet  81 Ehrenreich, Barbara 13 Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee 78–​79, 80 El Salvador 117 Elam, Paul 95 English, Deirdre 13 Errington, Frederick Karl 45 Esmati-​Wardak, Masuma  60 eugenics movement 20 Europe: abortion rights 32; femicide data 136–​137; immigration 46; wealth taxes 136; witches 13, 54 evolutionary psychology 27, 99 extractive industries 44, 45, 47, 75 Fana, Mvuleni 79–​80 Farrell, Warren  95 Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan 126 female genital mutilation 123 femicide data 136–​137 femicide legislation 118, 120, 121 Femicide Watch Platform  139 feminism 95, 101; see also women’s rights activism Finland 91, 134 Franco, Marielle 120–​121 Fundamentalist Latter-​Day Saints (FLDS) 29 #GamerGate vigilantes 97–​99 gang rape: corrective rape, South Africa 7–​8, 77–​81; hunter-​ gatherer societies 49–​50; India

Index 143 3–​5, 124–​125; Papua New Guinea 50–​51, 54 gender bargain 18–​19, 25, 33, 111, 131; Afghanistan 61–​62; Bolivia 119, 127; Brazil 120–​121, 127, 132; Central African Republic 122–​123; China 114, 127, 131; India 124; Malaysia 115, 127; Russia 116–​117, 127, 131; Saudi Arabia 125–​126, 127; Somalia 123, 127; South Africa 75–​76 gender inequality: defining 26; labor force participation 22–​23, 24–​25, 30, 91–​92, 114; maternal mortality 90–​91; polygyny 22, 27–​29, 59, 115; in postindustrial societies 19, 20, 23, 25, 88–​92, 88, 89, 92; property rights 21, 22, 23–​24, 25, 30–​33; reproductive property rights 32–​33; sexual dimorphism 26, 28–​29; sociocultural evolution and 19, 20, 21–​25; wage gap 22, 23, 25, 30, 89, 114; women as property 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 62; women’s health 90–​91 Gender Inequality Index (GII) 25, 92, 92 gender wage gap 22, 23, 25, 30, 89, 114 geographic determinism 44 Germany 42 Gewertz, Deborah B. 45 Gini coefficient 71, 111–​113, 112, 115, 117, 119, 120, 121, 123–​124, 125, 132, 133 global financial crisis 75 Great Britain: colonization 41, 42, 60, 74; gender inequality 23–​25; maternal mortality 90–​91; property rights 23–​24, 25 Guardian,The 103 Guatemala 117 Hanson, Robin 105 Harassmap.org 138 hate crimes 81 health, women’s 90–​91 healthcare systems 72–​73, 91, 135 Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin 10

Heyer, Heather 96 Hezb-​I Islami  10 hijab 9–​11 Hitler, Adolf 20 HIV/​AIDS  72–​73 Hobbes, Thomas  39 Honduras 117–​119, 127 honor-​based killings 58–​59, 63, 126, 136 horticultural societies 19, 20, 20, 21–​22, 23–​24, 31, 40, 47, 58, 73, 76 Hoynes, Hillary W.  134 Huli people, Papua New Guinea 48 Human Development Indicators 88, 88, 89 Human Rights Watch 40, 81, 122 hunter-​gatherer societies 18, 20; gang rape 49–​50; gender inequality 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 30–​31; Papua New Guinea 39, 40–​41, 47; ‘savage’ image of 39; South Africa 73, 76 Hunter-​Gault, Charlayne 78–​79, 82–​83 I Paid A Bribe (IPAB) tool 137–​138 impunity, expectation of 13–​14 incels (involuntary celibate) 100–​106 income, universal basic 134 income inequality see social stratification India 3–​5, 14, 28, 32, 123–​125, 127 industrial societies 19, 20, 20, 22–​23, 24–​25, 29, 31–​32, 44–​45, 47, 75 inequality see gender inequality; social stratification infibulation 123 inheritance of property 30 International Association of Athletics Federation 82 International Children’s Peace Prize 65 Iran 10, 64 Islam 11, 62; sharia law 115 jelasy, Papua New Guinea 47–​49, 53 Johnson, Chalmers 60 journalism, investigative 12, 14 journalists, assassinations of 65

144 Index Kakar, Malalai 66 Kandiyoti, Deniz 18 Karzai, Hamid 62 Katsav, Moshi 116 Kenya 6–​7 Keram, Keramuddin 66 Khalo, Bontle 78–​79 Ku Klux Klan 11, 18 Kwa Thema, Johannesburg 78–​79, 80 labor force participation of women 22–​23, 24–​25, 30, 91–​92, 114 Leniata, Kepari 53 Lenski, Gerhard 20–​23 lesbians: Brazil 120–​121; Chile 121–​122; South Africa 7–​8, 76–​83 life expectancy: Afghanistan 8, 61; South Africa 72–​73; women 88 loss aversion principle 18 Lynch, Charles 12 McInnes, Gavin 96, 97 Malawi 6, 127 Malaysia 115, 127 Malikzada, Farkhunda 9, 14, 66 Mandela, Nelson 75 Mann, Michael 88 manosphere see online gender vigilantes Manus Island, Papua New Guinea 46–​47 Maria da Penha Law, Brazil 120 marital infidelity 27 marriage, same-​sex 7, 76–​77, 82 Masooa, Salome 8 maternal mortality 90–​91 matrilineal property inheritance 30 mediation, Afghanistan 66–​67 Medical Research Council, South Africa 81 Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) 96 men’s rights activists 94–​96, 99, 101 mental illness 94, 100, 101, 103 Mies, Maria 31 migrants 46–​47, 117 Minassian, Alek 103–​104 mining industry 44, 45, 47, 75 missionaries 41, 42–​43, 53

modes of production 19, 20–​25, 20, 40; Afghanistan 58; Papua New Guinea 39, 40–​41, 44–​45, 47; polygyny and 27–​29; property rights and 30–​33; South Africa 73, 74–​75, 76; see also postindustrial societies monogamy 28, 29 Morales, Evo 132–​133 Moresby, John 41 Mphelo, Sibongile 81 Murray, Sir Hubert 41 #MyDressMyChoice 6 mythopoetic men’s movement 95, 96 Nagle, Angela 101 Nath, Dipika 82–​83 National Organization of Women, United States 95 Nazario, Sonia 117–​118 negativity principle 18 neo-​fascism  96–​97 Nepal 27 Netherlands 41, 42, 73–​74 New York Times,The 103, 105, 114 New Yorker, The 50 Nkonyana, Zoliswa 80 Nobel Peace Prize 65 Nogwaza, Noxolo 80 nutrition 26 one-​child policy, China 114 online gender vigilantes 93–​106; #GamerGate vigilantes 97–​99; incels (involuntary celibate) 100–​106; Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) 96; men’s rights activists 94–​96, 99, 101; pickup artist (PUA) community 99–​100, 102; Proud Boys 96–​97; social stratification and 105–​106 overkill 13, 18; Honduras 117–​118 Pacific islanders 46 Pakistan 57–​58, 64–​65, 126–​127 Panama 117 Pandey, Awnindra 3–​4

Index 145 Papua New Guinea 39–​55; colonization 41–​44, 53; gang rape 50–​51, 54; jelasy 47–​49, 53; mining industry 44, 45, 47; missionaries 41, 42–​43, 53; population growth 44–​45; raskols 45, 48–​49, 50–​51; social stratification 43–​44, 45, 46–​47, 50–​51; traditional modes of production 39, 40–​41, 47; traditional role of women 47; witchcraft and witches 51–​54 Papua New Guinea Medical Research Institute 51 pastoral societies 19, 20, 20, 21–​22, 31, 58, 73, 74, 76 patriarchal bargain 18 patrilineal property inheritance 30 Paulus, Monica 48 pickup artist (PUA) community 99–​100, 102 Piketty, Thomas 124, 136 Pinker, Steven 41, 88 Poland, Bailey 94 political representation of women 89, 89, 91, 119 polyandry 27, 115 polygyny 22, 27–​29, 59, 115; intensity metric 28 population growth, Papua New Guinea 44–​45 postindustrial societies 18, 23, 87–​92; abortion rights 32–​33; defined 87; economic participation of women 23, 25, 91–​92; education of women and girls 23, 25, 91; gender inequality 19, 20, 23, 25, 88–​92, 88, 89, 92; maternal mortality 90–​91; monogamy 28, 29; political representation of women 89, 89, 91; polygyny 28, 29; property rights 32–​33; social stratification 25, 90–​92, 92, 105–​106; see also online gender vigilantes predictive model for vigilante gender violence 111–​128, 112; Bolivia 119–​120, 127, 132–​133, 133, 135; Brazil 120–​121, 127, 132, 134; Central African Republic

122–​123, 127; Chile 121–​122, 127; China 113–​114, 127, 131; Honduras 117–​119, 127; India 123–​125, 127; Malaysia 115, 127; Pakistan 126–​127; Russia 115–​117, 127, 131; Saudi Arabia 125–​126, 127; Somalia 123, 127; typology of nations 127–​128 prevention of vigilante gender violence 131–​139; data collection 136–​139; public infrastructure investment 133, 135; redistributive policies 132–​133, 133, 135–​136; social safety net investment 135; universal basic income 134; wealth taxes 135–​136 Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, South Africa 75–​76, 81 property inheritance 30 property rights 21, 22, 23–​24, 25, 30–​33; reproductive 32–​33; women as property 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 62 Proud Boys 96–​97 psychological wage 17–​18; see also gender bargain public infrastructure investment 133, 135 Putin,Vladimir  116 Quin, Amy 114 Quinn, Zoe 97–​98 Rabat, Afghanistan 62–​63 racial bargain 17–​18 racial terrorism 11–​14, 18, 26, 67, 136, 139 rape: Afghanistan 9, 62; antirape device 81; hunter-​gatherer societies 49–​50; India 3–​5, 124–​125; Papua New Guinea 50–​51, 54; South Africa 7–​8, 77–​81 raskols, Papua New Guinea 45, 48–​49, 50–​51 redistributive policies 132–​133, 133, 135–​136

146 Index refugees 46–​47, 117 religion 5–​6, 11, 28, 29, 62 religious terrorism 18–​19 Renta Dignidad policy, Bolivia 135 reporting tools, crowdsourced 137–​139 reproductive property rights 32–​33 Revels, Hiram 67 Rodger, Eliot 102–​103, 104 Rokhshana (Afghan victim) 64 Rosewood, Florida 67 Rothstein, Jesse 134 Rousseff, Dilma 120 Rumbali, Helen 52–​53 Russell, Kent 48, 53–​54 Russia 115–​117, 127, 131 Russian Orthodox Church 116–​117 Saez, Emmanuel 136 same-​sex relationships 29; Brazil 120–​121; Chile 121–​122; same-​ sex marriage 7, 76–​77, 82; South Africa 7–​8, 76–​83 Santa Barbara, California 102–​103 Sarkeesian, Anita 98 Saudi Arabia 64, 125–​126, 127 Schiltz, Marc 50 Schram, Ryan 53 sea level rise 46 Semanya, Mokgadi Caster 82 sex-​selective abortion  114 sexual dimorphism 26, 28–​29 sexual harassment 6, 27, 66, 90; crowdsourced reporting of 138 sharia law 115 Sigasa, Sizakele 8 Simelane, Eudy 78–​79, 82 Singh, Jyoti 3–​5, 14, 32 Singh, Ram 4 Sistema Único de Salud, Bolivia 135 slaveowner’s privilege 11 slavery 11, 31, 67, 74 soccer 66, 78, 81 social determinants of health inequality 72 social media 6–​7, 9, 14, 63, 64, 102–​103, 104 social safety net investment 135 social strain-​gauge theory 51, 52

social stratification 17–​19, 21, 23, 25, 28, 33, 111–​113, 112; Afghanistan 60–​61, 62; Bolivia 119–​120, 127, 132–​133, 133; Brazil 120, 121, 127, 132; Central African Republic 122–​123, 127; Chile 121–​122, 127; China 113–​114, 127; Honduras 117, 127; India 123–​124, 127; low levels of 126–​127; Malaysia 115, 127; Pakistan 127; Papua New Guinea 43–​44, 45, 46–​47, 50–​51; postindustrial societies 25, 90–​92, 92, 105–​106; Russia 115–​117, 127; Saudi Arabia 125–​126, 127; Somalia 123, 127; South Africa 71–​75, 82–​83; United States 91, 105–​106 sociocultural evolutionary theory 20–​25; see also modes of production Somalia 123, 127 Soraya Tarzi, Queen of Afghanistan 59 Sorcery Act, Papua New Guinea 54 South Africa 7–​8, 71–​83; apartheid 74–​75, 83; colonization 73–​74, 83; corrective rape 7–​8, 77–​81; education 71–​72; gender bargain 75–​76; healthcare 72–​73; land rights 83; lesbians 7–​8, 76–​83; mining industry 75; same-​sex marriage 7, 76–​77, 82; social stratification 71–​75, 82–​83 Southern Poverty Law Center 96, 104 Soviet Union 60 Stanton, Elizabeth Cady 32 status anxiety hypothesis 17–​18 symbolic vigilante gender violence see online gender vigilantes Syria 138 Taliban 8, 10, 60, 61–​62, 64–​65, 66, 67 Tallahasee, Florida 104–​105 Taraki, Nur Muhammad 59–​60 taxation of wealth 135–​136 Tibet 27

Index 147 Tok Pisin language 42, 44, 45 Tolnay, Stewart 12–​13 Toronto, Canada 103–​104 Touraine, Alain 87 tourists, Papua New Guinea 45, 46, 50–​51 transition periods 25–​26 Transparency International 61 Trump, Donald 17, 95, 116 Tunisia 127 Tutu, Desmond 65 United Kingdom see Great Britain United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) 63, 66–​67 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 61, 88, 88, 89, 121, 123; Gender Inequality Index 25, 92, 92; inequality-​ adjusted income index 92, 92 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 47 United Nations Economic and Social Council 136 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 66–​67 United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-​ General for Afghanistan 60 United Nations Studies Association 139 United States: abortion rights 32–​33; Afghanistan and 8, 10, 57, 60–​61, 67; immigration 46, 117; maternal mortality 91; political representation of women 91; racial bargain 17–​18; racial terrorism 11–​14, 18, 26, 67, 136, 139; Reconstruction period 67; social stratification 91, 105–​106; tripartite cultural split 32–​33; universal basic income 134; vigilante gender violence

102–​103, 104–​105; women’s rights activism 31–​32; see also online gender vigilantes United States Census Bureau 73 United States Supreme Court 32 universal basic income 134 Urame, Jack 54 Ushahidi platform 138 van Riebeeck, Jan 73 Venezuela 132 Vienna Femicide Team  139 Violence Against Women Act, United States 95 virtual vigilante gender violence see online gender vigilantes wage gap, gender 22, 23, 25, 30, 89, 114 wage stagnation 91 Wahabism 62 Wardlow, Holly 48 wealth taxes 135–​136 Wells-​Barnett, Ida B. 12–​13, 14, 136, 139 witchcraft and witches 13, 51–​54 Wodaabe people 31 Women’s Media Centre 138 women’s rights 23; Afghanistan 8–​9, 57, 58, 59–​60, 62; Honduras 118; India 124; Papua New Guinea 54; Russia 116; Saudi Arabia 125–​126; South Africa 75–​76 women’s rights activism 31–​32, 52 World Bank 71, 87, 132; see also Gini coefficient World War II  25, 42 Wu, Brianna 98 Yanomamö people 31, 49–​50 Yousafzai, Malala 64–​65, 126 Zimbabwe 6, 76, 127 Zucman, Gabriel 136 Zuma, Jacob 81