We Must Do Better

Warning: this article contains SENSITIVE CONTENT

Recently, a six-year old* was found dead in Pakistan. The young girl, Zainab, went missing on her way to her Quran class and was found dead , in a dumpster, a few days later. When her body was found, it was quite clear that young Zainab had been raped. Pakistanis, and other people, were filled with outrage. According to the BBC, Police in Kasur, her hometown, stated that there have been over TWELVE similar cases in the past two years. Protests have erupted in Pakistan, and many people around the world have sent their condolences to Zainab’s family. I was disgusted when I first heard about this, and I cried for her because she was an innocent kid who had done nothing wrong, yet she was killed in a brutal way. You can read more about the heartbreaking story here and here.

Here are a few more Tweets related to Zainab’s story and people’s thoughts on it:

This horrible incident led me wondering whether incidents like this occurred in Ancient Rome. While my heart tried its best to reassure myself that it didn’t, I took an educational guess that they most likely did. According to Vice, a popular magazine, there was no legal term for rape nor was it against the law. After all, the myths of the gods had many tales of them sexually assaulting mortals. However, what’s even more horrifying is that if a married women was raped, she could be tried for adultery. Besides that, according to a Classics professor at New York University, Michael Peachin, “If one did not want a baby, one could, without any legal consequence, throw it away––literally, on the garbage dump”.

Reading about how sexual violence was treated in Ancient Rome horrified me almost as much as Zainab’s story did. Ignoring victims and culprits is not alright. Making headlines for a few weeks and then disappearing into the back curtain is NOT okay (think of Brock Turner’s story). We, as a human race, need to do better; we must do better.

*different news articles state different ages for Zainab; she was between the ages of 6 and 8.

There’s Only Ever One Side of the Story, Or Is There?

A facet is a single side to a person’s character, achievements, skills, interests, hobbies and/or other things.  The cube above represents the many sides of a person or event. History (and history books) are guilty of stripping down moments of significant events to fit their side of the story, or what that publisher and/or author is trying to teach you. Because of this, most students end up only knowing one side of  some of the most influential people in history.

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word “Einstein”? I immediately think of the equation E = mcand then stop thinking about it. That’s honestly all I remember on Einstein, and I literally wrote an essay about him a few weeks ago. What about people who studied him ages ago, or haven’t even started studying him? In the end, most people only remember that he came up with the equation for mass-energy equivalence. I didn’t know that he had different affairs with multiple women until recently. And it’s not just Einstein whom we only learn one side of. There’s other impactful people in history who have the same fate. Did you know that Amelia Earhart worked as a nurse’s aide? The only thing I knew about her was that she was one of the first female aviators. And what about wars? If you live in the Southern part of America, it’s very likely that you’d learn different things about the Civil War than what the people living in the Northern part would learn.

This led me to ask myself, “Why does this happen?” I, soon, ended up remembering something I learned in Latin class last year: the stereotypical jock. The stereotypical jock has a lot of brawn but no brains and vice versa for the stereotypical nerd. They’re either smart and weak, or strong and stupid. You can see this portrayed in all forms of media, from books to movies. But, where does that stereotype come from?

The all brawn and no brains, or all brains and no brawn, stereotype can be traced back to the myths of Hercules (Greek: Heracles). According to those myths, Hercules was a demigod, who had super strength, but he did not enjoy learning. Because of this, Hercules ended up killing his music teacher with his bare hands. Hercules was an all brawn and no brains type of dude.

Since the Ancient World, some historians have only recorded one side of the story, the winning side’s story, which is not okay. However, studying different sides of the same story also does not make any sense. If you’re applying for college, or any other beneficial opportunity, the worst type of candidate you can be is a well-rounded candidate. Most colleges don’t care if you can’t sing to save your life if you’ve achieved something big and are looking to go into that field. College, especially, is all about defining you with just one thing: your selected major.

So, what’s better; people seeing all of your sides ,or people only seeing your best one? I’ll let you decide.

However, do keep in mind that the President of the United States of America has many sides. So do many other influential politicians. In fact, three Congress members resigned after stories about them being sexual predators surfaced. And it’s not just politics; stories of sexual assault have also reached the music industry. Melanie Martinez has been accused of raping her best friend. Now, do you still think that we should only focus on these people’s professional lives, or do you think that we should focus equally on their personal lives? After all, one’s personal life greatly impacts their professional one.

(Side note: the word facet comes from the French word for appearance, facette, which most probably comes from the Latin word facies, meaning face and appearance).

 

(edited this post on December 11th, 2017 to fit recent events)

Oxford Dictionary

Etymonline