An Elderly woman, normally a target in an unsafe neighborhood, carries a satchel of cash. It is the receipt of today's betting and the neighborhood knows robbing her would result in punishment that would be swift and certain, unlike the legal system. The retaliation preserves the mob's reputation and honor. The threat precludes an attack in the first place.
Ed Vega's "Spanish Roulette" is about retaliation to preserve honor after a rape. The story is about Sixto, a peace-loving Spanish poet. Lino, a local gang member and drug dealer, rapes Sixto’s sister Mandy. Sixto discusses the situation with his roommate Willie. If Sixto retaliates, he will lose his peaceful soul and any reason for living. He feels if he does not retaliate, he might as well be dead. The police and courts cannot resolve the issue. The family must retaliate to preserve their honor. Retaliation deters future victimization. The honor culture Sixto lives in demands revenge for his sister’s rape and for her loss of chastity.
“The Role of Gender and Ethnicity in Perceptions of Rape and Its Aftereffects” by L Schneider and "The Two Faces Of Revenge: Moral Responsibility and The Culture Of Honor" by Tamler. Sommers help me better understand in “Spanish Roulette” how, in a Spanish honor culture, rape is personal not police business, rape stains the honor of both family and the victim and how retaliation is thought to be required to avoid further victimization.
Rape is a crime of power, violence, and gratifications. Brownmiller tells us, "Public opinion perceives various motives (e.g., power, violence, sexual gratification) as underlying bases for rape (e.g., Brownmiller 1975; Donat and D’ Emilio 1992)" (Schneider 410). In "Spanish Roulette", power is the motivation for rape as Lino is pimp and has access to prostitutes. The perpetrator exercises a great deal of power by making the lives of the victim and their family miserable. The perpetrator also has power in knowing that he can make it happen again. Contacting the police may make things worse if the police cannot do anything. If the police lock up the perpetrator, the victim may not be able to achieve the closure that retribution would bring.
Tamler Sommers offers some examples where families think that police and prison is not the answer. Sommers offers "He who does not retaliate right away becomes a target for future offenses, including ‘‘contemptuous’’ attempts to sleep with one’s wife. And as expected, third party punishment is shunned in honor cultures. Albanians consider prison—the epitome of third party punishment—to be a ‘‘nuisance, nothing more than a delay…Prison isn’t satisfying for the family.’’ (Blumenfeld 2002, p. 72). A man complained about someone who turned himself into the police for killing his half-brother, ‘‘I would have rather him stayed on the street—and get some street justice…. I’m very upset that I can’t do nothing about it. I’m very upset that this dude took the sucker way out and turned himself...