Just a week ago, a 28 year old female student was found dead in the small, and otherwise boring, city of Umeå, in north Sweden. The girl has been beaten, caned and then suffocated to death. She appeared to be victim of an extreme (and somehow consensual) sexual game better known by the acronym BDSM.
Now, do not play innocent and tell me you never heard about such practice. If it is really so, do not read further.
The case is no news, though. Recently, a girl was killed in Italy in similar circumstances. The victim was hanged with another girl to a pipe on the ceiling of a garage. The perpetrator, a male friend of the two girls, was supposed to take pictures of the scene they created. All the circumstances were consensual.
Except the deathly outcome.
Maybe. Maybe not.
I do not know about the actual statistics, but the web is populated by websites with violent sexual content. Young — and not so young — women abused and martyred, their bodies receiving the most unimaginable violence. There are also, even if in smaller number, websites dedicated to violated male bodies. Those examples are maybe extremes and these practices are just perversions, you will now think. Yes, maybe. Maybe not.
A long standing tradition
Torture has been a widely practiced human activity for the past few thousands of years. Now-a-day, torture is still dramatically used as a mean of terror, extortion, punishment. And as a powerful sexual surrogate.
Cultures where free sexuality is morally condemned tend to indulge in public or private tortures, abuses, violence and corporal punishments. Good Muslims and good Christians are alike in their old fashioned practice of beating — and raping — their own daughters. A punishment for indulging in sexually immoral practices, such as talking to a guy, or wearing a skirt. Oh, yes, also good Hindus and good atheists are not more innocent.
Private and public violence goes hand by hand. Stadiums were full of ecstatic spectators, in Roman times, when people were fed to hungry lions. The Catholic clergy inflicted public punishments for centuries, and countries governed by Sharia law continue in this long standing tradition.
The excitement in their eyes
The terrible fact is that we, yes we, human beings, enjoy the view of pain and suffering. We love humiliation, we feel erotic arousal, and carve for more. Otherwise, I could not explain the number of people attending public executions in countries where these are still allowed.
Oh, you will say, they are forced to attend. Yes, maybe. But explain me this: are they also forced to take pictures and make videos with their mobiles? Next time a newspaper publish a photo of a man hanged, or a woman stoned, take a closer look at the public. And see the excitement in their eyes.
A way to control our lives
I do not know why humans get (sexually) excited by violence. Some controversial Swedish feminists say that all man are, by their own nature, rapists. If it is true that most victims of rape are female, it is also true that also women have their share in perpetrating violence. Do you remember the smiling female soldiers in the Abu Ghraib pictures?
I want to think better of humans. I believe we have the possibility to choose, and to control our instincts. The fact is that, often, states, religions and cultures use our instincts to control our lives. Deprivation of sexuality and sublimation of violence are two of their most powerful instruments. And they seem to work.
An example: sublimation of rape
A scene from the television series Spartacus, blood and sand. An example of sublimation of rape. The slave, is actress Laura Surrich. She is cute, isn’t she? Do you feel disgusted by this scene? Really?