by: Mahwash Ajaz.
It’s one thing to enjoy watching dead people dancing on Thriller on the big screen.
It’s quite another to enjoy their presence in real life.
Recently in Karachi, a man was arrested for necrophilia. To most Pakistanis, the word is as strange as the act itself. A man called Riaz defiled graves of women and apparently got caught by the police who were expecting to catch a robber or a thief, but instead met a man who liked his women very, very dead.
The darkness of human nature is a huge part of the study of psychology. So to most psychologists/psychiatrists who have thumbed along researches that have documented facts much stranger than these, the term necrophilia is a rare, but accepted phenomenon. To the common man, however, the idea of people enjoying a sexual episode with a dead partner is nothing short of baffling, even disturbing. There is small wonder that people of the neighborhood, after discovering what Riaz did, were ready to tear him to pieces. Those who read/heard about the man’s shameful need to satisfy himself with corpses were equally disgusted. They went as far as to say that he should be hanged.
But let’s just hold on to releasing all the anger and disgust.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, necrophilia is listed under paraphilias, or sexual disorders that are mostly uncommon. The fact of the matter is that necrophilia is simply less common than let’s say, rape or child abuse. Most perpetrators or those individuals suffering from sexual disorders choose the living to be their key cues and causes. Necrophilia is defined as, a sexual act or fantasy stimulated or instigated by a corpse/dead body. This means there are two important things that need to be understood.
1. Necrophilia is a psychological disorder and not an act that is spurred by greed or financial/physical gain. It is a disorder that needs to be addressed by professionals and it is something that requires proper treatment.
2. Necrophiliacs are not to be treated as any more perverse than someone who is charged of rape, murder or incest. The fact that people consider a necrophiliac to be near alien is a result of the lack of awareness that the masses usually have about psychological disorders. Calling a necrophiliac diseased may be somewhat correct, but, calling him/her inhuman is not. Lynching of a person or the impromptu ‘Hang the swine!’ reflex, is actually overdoing the dramatic bit.
Like most tales our friends and family like to tell us, stories that feature a certain person getting possessed and suddenly speaking to invisible beings is a tale that we have all heard at some point or the other. This reaction to necrophiliacs is also a clear indicator of how little we know about the mental health of our people. A person who can suddenly ‘talk in tongues’ or exhibit bizarre behavior can be suffering from a psychotic breakdown (a psychological disturbance that has strong physiological basis) or even schizophrenia. A person who is afraid of heights, crowded places or even clowns can be suffering from a specific phobia. A person who cannot recall certain parts of his/her life may be suffering from a dissociative disorder of some kind.
Now that we have found a necrophiliac amongst us does not mean we are a morally decrepit society (even though some of our moral standards do leave much to improvement.) History has had many instances of necrophilia and the abhorrence of the act dates back to 400 BC in the times of ancient Egyptians. The idea is not new, nor is the darkness of human nature. The only thing that can help man deal with the perversity is to understand the ways to treat the disease and rehabilitate the individual back into function.
Take note, that this blog is not an attempt to justify the acts of a necrophiliac, nor is it a justification for the act. On the contrary, it is an explanation that necrophilia is as bad as a cancerous tumor in the lungs or a dying organ in the body. It needs to be treated and it needs attention of professionals. The mobs may kill/lynch a necrophiliac today and the police may arrest the man and put him in jail for a few months but that does not hide the fact that the society is filled with mental health disorders that need to be sought, treated and explained.
This post was originally published here at The News Blog.