Thursday, October 26, 2017

Honor Beatings in Portugal

A man beat his wife, allegedly after she had an affair. He was not sentenced to any prison time. Now, a Portuguese court has upheld that decision because the woman's affair "dishonored" her husband. The court cited the Bible as justification for its lenient sentence, noting that under biblical law adultery was punishable by death (so what's a little beating?).
"Now, the adultery of the woman is a very serious attack on the honor and dignity of the man," the ruling, signed by Judge Joaquim Neto de Moura, said. "It was the disloyalty and the sexual immorality of the plaintiff that made (the defendant) fall into a profound depression, and it was in this depressive state and clouded by the revolt that carried out the act of aggression, as was well considered in the judgment under appeal."
[...]
"This case is far from having the seriousness that, generally, is presented in cases of mistreatment in the context of domestic violence," the ruling says. "On the other hand, the conduct of the defendant took place in a context of adultery practiced by the plaintiff."
In addition to that, the court also cited a 19th century Portuguese law which recommended only symbolic penalties if a man kills his adulterous wife.

In conclusion, because the nation is European and predominantly Christian and the religious text cited is the Bible, we'll never hear about this case again.

1 comment:

Joe in Australia said...

I presume you're implying that many of the people who circulate reports of misogyny in Middle Eastern countries are racist or Islamophobic. You're probably right, but the reports you cite say that the verdict has outraged people in Portugal; that Amnesty International has issued a statement about it; and that there are (forthcoming?) public protests against the verdict. Also, CNN says that the prosecutors may appeal, and I presume that the 1866 law would be contrary to EU human rights laws and therefore might be found invalid. These things aren't sufficient, obviously, but they're at least some sort of obstacle to state-sanctioned misogyny. Instead of saying "what about honour crimes in European countries" it might be more useful to point out that people who oppose misogyny will necessarily support human rights laws and judicial scrutiny of legislation. I suppose it might perversely drive some Islamophobic misogynists to support the "Sharia law" they complain about, but at least it will encourage others to direct their outrage productively.