Nakedness: Punishment or perversion?

Posted: July 31, 2017 in A post a day
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Hey everyone!

So I’ll try to make this quick. How are you? Good weekend? I had a really busy last 10 days, but lots of learning and successes. More about that later. And I started my morning by going to the gym! I haven’t been in about a month so I was really excited about the 47 minutes spent trying to whip my body back into shape. Gosh, such a struggle!

So, as I headed out of our estate about 7am this morning, I saw two young men surrounded by a mob. Both men had been stripped naked, and had car batteries on their heads. I was told these men were in the habit of stealing car batteries from parked cars in the estate. The estate security had set a trap for them and voila. They looked like they had been beaten, but they also had been told to “start going”. So I asked the security man where they were going, and why they had to be naked. His answer? “Madam dem be thief na, dem go waka the whole estate today”.

As I drove off, I thought about the fact that in that entire mob, no one mentioned the police or any law enforcement agency. Shame because it shows the distrust in our systems, where people take laws into their hands because justice from the state is too slow, or a mirage. I also started thinking about nakedness on a few levels:

I also started thinking about nakedness on a few levels:

  1. There has got to be something about stripping a person naked that takes away their power and confers it on the mob.
  2. I didn’t see anyone molesting the men, touching their private parts or assaulting them sexually in anyway. Also, no one was filming. The opposite would be the case if the criminals were female. They would have been groped, fingered, and people would film. There was one horrible case last year where two women had ground pepper poured into her vagina by a mob. Horrifying stuff. One of them died. Another woman who stole at a mall was stripped and had an iron rod inserted into her vagina. Google is replete with stories like this.

Why? What is this need to remove the clothing of an offender?

I did a quick skim of Wikipedia, trying to find roots of this madness, and this article on public humiliation is interesting. From wearing badges to getting their feet unshod and flogged, to getting them to recount their crimes in the market square or some other public place, humans seem to have devised several ways of punishing offenders.

Going back to Bible times, nakedness was used as a form of punishment. There’s the tale in Ezekiel 37 about a woman who was essentially whoring about, and she got her comeuppance in the form of nakedness, losing her children, and then death.

Islam also cites nakedness as a punishment for offenders, going back to the days of Aadam and Hawwaa (Adam and Eve). Apparently when they disobeyed, listened to the serpent and ate of the fruit they had been warned not eat of, they were made (aware of their) nakedness. Longer narration here.

Away from religion and back to history, Hesiod, a renown Greek poet implored people to “Sow naked, and plough naked, and harvest naked if you wish to bring in all Demeter’s fruits in due season.” Demeter was the goddess of seasons and harvests. Now, this was optional, but there are records of men (and women) ploughing their fields without a thread on.

Back to this morning. I hope (for the sake of the men caught stealing), that they are handed over to the police. And I hope that we slowly start move away from humiliation and on to rehabilitation, or at least punishment that leaves people’s clothes on.

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