chapter  11
10 Pages

Anthropology

WithKalpana Elizabeth Dein, Simon Dein

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.”

Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so no one who found him would kill him.

Genesis Chapter 4, Verses 8-15 (New International Version of the Bible)

The story of Cain and Abel is one of the oldest written descriptions of a homicide. This well-known story identifies many pertinent characteristics of violence. The victim is a relative of the offender. Not only the emotional bond but also the proximity to the victim make the latter vulnerable to violence. People who have committed serious crimes respond to their own criminality through cognitive distortions, namely denial of the crime and justification. This passage also identifies the deep and inherent instinct of human beings to offer justice to the victim, although deceased. The  crime leads to the criminal being marginalized and “driven from the ground” irrespective of his or her cultural background. Crime leads to the victimizer becoming a part of a new offender subculture. Offenders’ groups are a vulnerable population and paradoxically need protection as a minority; all progressive societies will recognize the basic rights of offenders to protection and care (including psychiatric care).