Speaking about Rape on Afghan TV

It’s funny how we provide forums for people to talk about infidelity, prostitution or drugs on shows like Jerry Springer with the protection of giant bodyguards and a voyeuristic audience to relish the “shocking” and “shameless” controversial topics.

We sit and watch the scandals unfold without blinking an eye. Nothing surprises us anymore. It’s reality television. Reality is raw. Our guard is down.

In Afghanistan, the idea of a groundbreaking new talk show called Niqab, will allow women to talk about abuse, rape and other topics swept under the rug–the catch?

The women will be wearing blue and white masks and chadors.

I find this show’s concept fascinating and hope it will be able to offer a safe, open environment to take away the stigma that the women face in addressing violations of their rights. Problems can’t be solved if the Afghani people are not comfortable discussing them head on.

Obviously, the different culture will not be as receptive to the idea as it would be in other liberal or Western countries, where the public is generally unafraid to support victims of abuse whether on television or in books.

Issues of rape and abuse certainly need to be humanized, because it is those men who have lost touch with their humanity that wage these crimes as tools to embolden themselves with no remorse or shame. A talk show could help inspire accountability and reconciliation.

My only question is whether the format of the show is going to be provide solutions and relief for domestic violence and the worldwide degradation of women or become more  exploitative and define these problems as strictly religious or cultural.

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