South Africans reacted with shock and outrage to the news that seven young men had not only gang raped a mentally disabled girl, but had the audacity to video the horrific scenes of a helpless girl pleading for mercy whilst the youngsters cheered each other on.
Every media house ran the story, some claiming that a second video of the girl being gang raped existed, others highlighting claims that the mother of the girl was guilty of neglect and had not reported the girl missing. Even CNN gave coverage to the issue as its second lead story.
There was an outpouring of outrage with many asking questions such as “What kind of a society do we live in?” “What is happening to our country?”
However they all missed the point in my opinion! Everyone seemed to be focusing on the “how” but no one seemed to be asking “WHY”?
Why would a human being do this to a defenceless girl? Why would they spur each other on, video the heinous deed and boast about it by forwarding the clip? Why would a human being want to watch such a clip and search for it on the internet, and share it with friends?
Joan van Niekerk of Childline was very appreciative when I posed the “WHY” to her at the onset of a Radio Islam interview on the issue. She spoke about the lack of respect for the law, lack of respect for fellow human beings, physical, emotional and sexual violence in the home, deficient parenting, glamorization of violence, and an ineffective and inadequate response system as some of the contributing factors to such behaviour.
She however stressed that primarily two factors were at play here: The need for instant gratification and no fear of accountability.
As she was expounding on her views, a number of thoughts started to race through my mind. What share of the blame should society shoulder? Is a hedonistic lifestyle not promoted in the movies we watch, the heroes we worship, the magazines we read and the dominant ideologies of the day?
Is this not the same society that ridicules the concept of modesty, scoffs at those who believe in the hereafter, and laughs at those that claim that there is a God who is omnipresent and rewards for good and punishes for evil?
Is it no wonder then, that a fourteen year old will do whatever it takes to achieve instant gratification,as long as he can escape the law of the land?
Is this the price that society is starting to pay for promoting a free lifestyle, accepting an agnostic approach to life and making material progress the ultimate and in the process eroding the marital relationship, family structure and basic human morals and values?
Did Nabi SAW not warn 1400 years ago “When modesty is abandoned, each of you will do as he pleases!”? Is it not better when the Creator determines what is right and wrong rather than to leave it to the discretion of man? Is firm belief in the hereafter not the only mechanism that holds a person in check, reminding him that even if you get away with wrongful behaviour in this temporary world, you will have to stand before your Creator and give account in the everlasting afterlife?
Are such beliefs and morals not the solution to the contributing factors mentioned by the likes of Joan van Niekerk?
I recently read a very apt quote: “Living in a twisted world is painful. The greater pain though is that we accept & conform to the twists rather than straighten them out.”
If modern society does not realize its folly in changing the system of Allah, there will be no end to the consequences!