A court in Saudi Arabia has condemned the victim of a gang rape to 200 lashes with a whip. Her seven assailants were sentenced to two years in prison, but she is also being punished for being out with a man not her relative.
There was a time when we acknowledged certain culture’s practices as “barbarian,” “savage,” or “uncivilized.” Now that we are supposed to be multi-culturalists, we are not allowed to use those terms. I hasten to say that many if not most cultures in less-developed and non-western parts of the world are highly civilized, full of restraint, courtesy, and a finely-tuned sense of what is appropriate. In fact, we postmodern westerners are often the ones who behave most like barbarians. So I prefer to use the word for individuals. But societies that legally punish not just the criminals but the victims are, literally, lacking in civilization.