Ariel Castro and the Ohio locked up girls

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The fate of kidnapping rapist Ariel Castro will be watched by millions of men around the world who have done similar things, says Bob Ellis.

Ariel Castro (screen shot from ITN YouTube video.)

IT IS LIKELY that Ariel Castro, the Cleveland Ohio bus driver who kidnapped, raped, impregnated, aborted and chained up for years three girls and fathered – and, in some sense, raised – another, will be executed for it in four or five years’ time.

His fate will be watched keenly by hundreds of millions of men who have done similar things in religious and secular contexts around the world.

Teenage brides are delivered, protesting, to older husbands by Amish, Mormon, Scientologist, Pitcairn, Aboriginal, Catholic and Muslim community leaders, occasionally after genital mutilation, and sometimes discarded after enjoyment by all-powerful males. Aboriginal girls were thus ill-used by their white owners for two centuries in Australia.

Secular westerners have forced abortions on their girlfriends and, sometimes, wives, in numbers that approach, by now, a billion. Two-thirds of all Rwandan girls have been raped. Children are trafficked and enslaved throughout Africa, and young girls sold into prostitution in the Philippines by impoverished, eager parents who then receive a percentage of their earnings until they die of AIDS.

Hundreds of millions of girls are thus ill-used every day. Yet only Ariel Castro will go to gaol and be killed for it. He suffers for them all.

A case can be made that Hugh Hefner acted similarly — acquiring, paying, accommodating, seducing, photographing, shaming and discarding hundreds of beautiful young women who did not know what they were in for. And Darryl F Zanuck, who had a new ‘starlet’ at three p.m. almost every day. And Howard Hughes and David Lean and Mao Zedong and many a Catholic priest.

The enslavement by the Magdalene Sisters of girls who had their babies taken away from them is an echo of what Castro did, unpunished and often applauded in Catholic Ireland for nigh on a hundred years. What has been done to girls for thousands of years echoes Castro ninety percent of the time. The prostitute saved from stoning by Jesus has equivalents in Africa today, deprived by AIDS of her parents and risking it to make money to raise young siblings by schtupping truck drivers as in the great film Life, Above All. It is the blind-spot of most societies.

And only Castro of Cleveland will die for it. Had he been not Hispanic, but Anglo, he might have got off more lightly. Had he been Joe Kennedy or Jack, or Grover Cleveland, or Thomas Jefferson who first impregnated a mulatto slave Sally Hemings when she was fourteen, and sent his light-skinned male progeny away, and out into the world, never to be seen again, when they were grown.

It is centuries of slavery and slave rape and miscegenation that America is punishing today as they rail against Castro so earnestly and righteously. It is their primal eldest curse and they will never be free of it.

How will the six-year-old girl, the child of rape like so many million others, feel when her father is killed for having improperly fathered her? When she is thus informed she should never have been born? She will be ten or twelve by then, and not likely to take it well.

The fine Fowles novel, The Collector, is about such things and was popular because it touched on fantasies, both male and female, that are common to humankind. The leather-and-chains of S and M, legally available in most western cities, the dildos and whips and nose-rings and studs, show how prevalent these thoughts are.

And only Castro will die for them.

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