Perpetrators of rape and other sexual assaults are motivated to commit their abusive crimes for a variety of reasons. Just as the Islamic State beheaded Journalist James Foley and many others to send a message to the world, the abuse of Kayla Mueller as a sex slave to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was intended to demonstrate the supremacy of the ISIL leader over Western powers. In the case of Kayla and an unknown number of victims in the hands of sexual predators, the act the modern world calls rape is also intended to psychologically transform a person into an object.
A husband can rape his wife, or vice versa, if the spouse is forced to engage in a sexual against her, or his, will. Although this notion has gained traction in the West, the idea that a married woman has a choice when it comes to sex is not universally accepted. For traditionalists who believe a married woman should feel obliged to satisfy her husband’s sexual whims, marriage is a means of legitimizing the mistreatment of a woman as a living object. For the Islamic State, both marriage and slavery are simply an attempt to legitimize the rape of women and girls while denying the reality that these self-proclaimed religious men are sinning against women.
In Islam, women are supposed to be respected and honored above all. Whether looking at a monogamous or polygamous relationship, marriage is a means of demonstrating respect for women and Islam. By thoroughly disempowering, abusing, and treating woman and girls as objects then using marriage and a self-proclaimed right to own a person as an object to legitimize the dishonoring of Allah’s Children, the Islamic State and other fundamentalist groups shame Islam to fulfill their own sexual desires. In essence, they are the infidels who they proclaim to fight. True Muslims need to stand up against them to defend the integrity of Islam and their way of life.
Meanwhile, it is important to recognize the Islamic State is not the only group perpetuating the sexual abuse of woman and children. Millions upon millions of people are harmed by human trafficking, the sex industry, and those who treat their sexual partners as sexual objects. Where sex is simply an act of pleasure to some, most individuals view it as a personal and emotional experience that affects their very identity. When someone is raped, sexually assaulted, or just used for sex, they are being treated as an object. It is this objectification that can thoroughly destroy someone’s sense of personal security, identity, and worth.
To the Islamic State, Kayla was just an object. To her parents and the world, Kayla Mueller was a caring defender of the weak who devoted her life to serving others. Where the brutal murder of James Foley became a call to arms against the Islamic State, Kayla Mueller’s story should also rally the world to the aid of those imprisoned as sex slaves, trapped in the sex industry, and treated as little more than sexual objects. The Islamic State has been very successful at capturing global attention for its atrocities, but the devastation of slavery, rape, murder, and all forms of abuse is the same for all victims in need of defense.
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