O tempora, o mores

Times change. Customs change. Views on morality change. Customs and views on morality also vary from place to place. An older person from one place may well have different views on morality from younger people in another place.

But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to say about the customs and the views on morality, or that none are better or worse than any others, or that people who do cruel things have not in fact done cruel things. It may be understandable that they have done cruel things – but ‘understandable’ is not the same as ‘okay.’

[B]ehind closed doors the grandmother imprisoned her three daughters-in-law and used one as her slave for 13 years…The three women, who cannot speak English, were married to her three sons, who were also their first cousins. Preston Crown Court heard that the three women would be subjected to constant beatings and abuse and were made to sit behind a sewing machine for 13 hours a day.

Constant beatings and abuse and slave-labour may be customary in some places but they are not okay.

Shop owner Jamil, who knows the family, said he was shocked that this could happen to “such a nice family”. But he condemned Bibi’s abusive actions, saying: “It’s acceptable to treat women like this in other countries but not in our country, in England no, it’s not acceptable.”

It is not acceptable to treat women like this in other countries. Not anywhere, not nohow. Let’s get that straight. It is not.

Jamil may have meant it is considered acceptable to treat women like this in other countries; let’s hope so.

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