They are called “dancing boys” to the Afghans, but to U.S. service members in Afghanistan who have had to turn a blind eye to them, they are only known as one thing: sex slaves.
To college students, they would be known as something else: completely screwed up.
The Afghani subculture of “boy play” or bacha bazi is widely popular, especially among Afghan police commanders. “Boy play” is the act of having a token young boy entertain you. If you have one, you are respected. If you do not “have” a boy, you cannot compete with other commanders for higher authority.
The sexual abuse of these young boys is nauseatingly hard to stop, specifically because the abusers are U.S.-backed Afghan police commanders. According to the New York Times, the American military is equally to blame for the continuing of this Afghani subculture because they are ordering troops to turn a blind eye to the abuse in order to maintain good relations with Afghan forces.
Stepping in against these rapes and sexual slavery apparently undermines the local government that U.S. forces are trying to help Afghan forces build. And though there is no official rule in writing to ignore human rights abuses, many members of the U.S. Army have claimed it is implied.
Just a thought, but isn’t human respect a tad more important than bruising the ego of the Afghan government? Shouldn’t they be called out for their creepy, baffling, and utterly repulsive cultural behaviors?
It is always on us to stop rape.
Two U.S. soldiers thought so too until they were dishonored by the U.S. military for jeopardizing the relationship between the Afghan forces and the U.S. forces in order to save a young boy from enduring yet another rape.
Dan Quinn, a captain in the U.S. Army, and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland were relieved of their duties shortly after the confrontation between them and an admitted child rapist Afghan police commander.
Martland is now involuntarily separated from the Army.
I love being an American, but this terrorizes me.
We Americans have created movements against rape on college campuses, put child sex offender labels on child rapists for a lifetime, have developed rape tests in hospitals to keep victims safe and track down perpetrators, yet in another country, human rights suddenly take the back seat.
Rape is defined as the “unlawful sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim.” It is inhumane, revolting, and nonsensical to impose sexual intercourse on someone who does not consent to the act, especially a child. Even if the country's culture suggests otherwise, rape is never okay.
Overall, it seems the U.S. military stationed in Afghanistan could learn a thing or two from college students. Sex slavery or rape is never anything to turn a blind eye to, and it is on us, as other human beings, to step in against any dehumanizing acts. It is not just about fulfilling this moral duty on college campuses, but in all areas of life.
At the end of the day, saving a child’s innocence was more important to Charles Martland than his affiliation with the U.S. Army, providing an example for all to learn from, and really spreading the message of "It’s On Us" across the world.