“Would you?”

In class two days ago, we were studying the treatment of women in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban. As part of our lesson, we watched a short news clip about the treatment, and in it an female Afghan MP was shown a video of a woman being executed after being charged with ‘adultery’ (it was revealed that what actually happened involved two Taliban officials disagreeing who the woman belonged to after they had both raped her; to settle the dispute they decided execution was the best solution). After watching, the MP displayed her reaction to the footage. Tears, a look of utter despair, and a call to action to stop such injustice.

On my table were sat three boys, all around 17 years old. Whilst the MP was talking in the news report, I noticed one of the boys turn to his friend and mutter quietly under his breath,

“Would you?”

“Only if she stopped crying”, he responded with a sickening smirk.

To say I was astounded is an understatement. Here is a politician’s reaction to the ultimate punishment of a defenseless woman for a crime she had likely not committed, and all they could think about was if they would do it with the MP. Voluntarily, or not, I don’t know, but probably the later. It made me want to be physically sick. I found it incomprehensible that their minds could be so twisted.

This is not a first; the second-class treatment of women is all around us, and what’s worrying is that is often disturbingly sexual comments on women and their bodies are just being passed off as “banter”. The rape jokes that feature so heavily in ‘lad’ culture are not okay. Is that all women are to them? An object to be subject to whatever they desire? If these comments and jokes were made about their mothers and sisters, how would they react then?

This frankly disgusting attitude of the “second sex” needs to stop. How is society able to progress if the next generation to enter adulthood already holds these views of women when they haven’t even reached the age of 20?

What would our society look like then?