Funny thing….

From New Matilda today,

The man who will review last week’s violence on Manus has previously said sexually abused detainees on the island are treated better than Australian rape victims…..

Cornall also questioned whether rape was simply part of Iranian culture.

“…well people have said to me that in Iranian culture, male rape or male sexual intercourse is more culturally acceptable… And also that it is a way of more mature males dominating young men. Is that in accordance to your understanding,” he asked.

When St George replied “But we are not in Iran”, Cornall said, “No, is it just Iranians or is it Middle Eastern?”. He then changed the topic.

As shocking as Cornall’s comments might be, perhaps we need to examine the idea  that some practices we might find repellant are better judged from within their cultural context.  Indeed, through the prism of ‘cultural relativism’ we can find parallels closer to home.

After all, I’ve been told that it’s commonplace for senior public servants operating at the behest of an Abbott government to receive ritualised reacharounds from department heads and other dominant figures. Although seemingly impromptu or random, these events are actually embedded within a rich context of cultural understandings, often expressed through codified practices, such as the ritual ‘stinging’ of stubble rash and hand sanitiser, or the complex regime of values associated with humourous coffee mugs and occasionally, vigorous anal rape.

Who are we to judge?

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