Speaking in the broadest possible sense, humans have made decent strides toward a fairer, better, less miserable planet. Nevertheless, there are some select corners of the globe that make your bumblefuck snooze of a hometown look like the gates of paradise. We're talking about places such as ....
In ancient times, hunting was a way of bringing people together (also, not starving to death). The buddies that slay together, stay together. However, times have changed. Whenever you want to hang out with the squad and accomplish goals or whatever the hell everyone's talking about, you don't make plans to hit a deer over the head. You hit a bar.
Things are, to put it lightly, a little different in the Faroe Islands, all thanks to something called the "grind." And no, that's not their equivalent of Tinder.
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"Swipe left! Fuck, swipe left!"
The grind is nothing short of a sea creature massacre. Between July and August, villagers on the islands use small boats to herd packs of migrating dolphins and pilot whales into a shallow lagoon in order to stab the shit out of them. There's no mercy, just straight-up animal genocide. It's shit like this that makes animal attacks happen; when the dolphins rise up and go all Treehouse of Horror on us, we'll make sure our last act is to travel to these islands and boot everyone in the groin so hard that their junk will orbit the planet long after we've all been flippered to death.
Supporters argue that this practice both strengthens community relations and provides food. Which sounds fair until you realize that for the past three fucking centuries they've been killing an average of 838 pilot whales and 75 dolphins a year. That's a lot of whales, especially for a hunting season that lasts three months, tops.
However, as shitty as this is, it pales in comparison to the dolphin hunts of Taiji, Japan. Heads up: Don't plan a vacation there between September and March, unless you want your seaside snaps to resemble a scene from The Shining: Little Mermaid Edition.
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Ariel's not a natural redhead.
In Taiji, the locals are given special permission from the government to hunt an annual maximum of 2,000 dolphins and porpoises for no other reason than tradition. If it isn't terrible enough, some of the poor aquatic bastards are captured and sold to aquariums, which is certainly no worthwhile porpoise for these majestic creatures. (And don't bitch about that pun. It's the most levity you're getting from here on out.)
It's fair to say that we're all finally on board with the concept of menstruation, right? It was a rocky few years, but we've gotten to the point where no one thinks that vaginas spend a week of every month serving as portals to hell. Wait, what's that? Nepal? Goddammit.
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Looks like Nepal is home to the world's highest mountain of bullshit, too.
Despite being made illegal in 2005, it's commonplace for women in the Nepal's western regions to spend their periods quarantined outside of their villages as part of Chhaupadi (translation: "untouchable being"). According to this tradition, menstruating women are so impure that they can bleed death and destruction down onto their homes. How? By attracting snakes, infecting temples with impurity so bad that the gods would rather raze the buildings, and basically fucking everyone's shit up with eldritch vagina magic. It's actually kind of metal.
At the risk of going Dark Phoenix on their loved ones, these women lock themselves outside in shitty ramshackle huts which redefine the words "shitty," "ramshackle," and "huts." They're glorified floors on stilts. Along with the threat posed by local wildlife, it isn't unheard of for occupants to die of hypothermia from extreme cold or asphyxiate after lighting a fire to stay warm. If that isn't enough, there's also the danger of rapists, because, and this might come as a total shocker, physically isolating women and girls from their community of loved ones makes them vulnerable to rapists.
Despite the fact that 95 percent of women in these regions are forced to undergo Chhaupadi, the authorities have shown dick-all interest in cracking down. That's left the job to aid agencies, and although progress is slow, they're making good headway on teaching the populations about the true realities of menstruation: It's a thing, and it's killed no men so far.
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If we were to tell you that there's a country where sexual assault is legal, you'd probably imagine we're referring to some godawful, repressive, backward-ass hellhole. Surprise! There are excellent odds that you're living in that country right now. Rape is bad, we can all agree on that. Marital rape, on the other hand, is morally up in the air for way too many countries, including the U.S.
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"She promised to have AND to hold. Consent granted 'til death do you part!"
Although rape is illegal across the board in the United States, several states treat marital rape as an entirely different crime from "standard" rape, complete with loopholes so big that you could fly a zeppelin through them. In Ohio, it's legal to drug and sexually assault your spouse. In Virginia, you can get off scot-free if you and your victim agree to undergo joint counseling. Picture a world in which you sit across from a therapist with your rapist. Now picture it in Virginia. Good job, you've pictured a scenario that could really happen.
In South Carolina, victims only have 30 days to report the rape, and even then, the rapist will only face 10 years in prison, max. If that sounds harsh, fuck you. Also, rapists who aren't married to their victims can get 20 years for the same crime in the same state.
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"The extra 10 is for robbing her husband, who's the real victim here."
If you're among the infinitesimal percentage of our readership which lives overseas, don't get too smug. Countries that are known for being socially progressive have a hard time reconciling the concept of marital rape with their shiny reputations. That includes Norway, aka "the South Carolina of Europe," where one survey reported that 9 percent of Norwegian women in Norwegian relationships have experienced some kind of sexual assault, and it's estimated that 60 percent of the victims never press charges. Which was why it was weird when Norway recently released pamphlets telling Islamic refugees not to rape their women. Homegrown Norwegian men appear to have this covered.
Good news, single ladies: You don't have to be married to be ignored by the state when it comes to sexual assault. In the aftermath of a German New Year's Eve celebration where multiple women reported getting molested by entire gangs of men, journalists discovered something odd about Germany's laws regarding sexual harassment. Namely, there weren't any. It seems that in Germany, it's perfectly legal to kiss, grope, fondle, or molest any random person one meets on the street, so long as the assailant doesn't pose an immediate danger to "life and limb." If victims can't demonstrate that they fought back against their attacker (with defensive wounds and such), no crime was committed in the eyes of the German law. So if you are vaginally penetrated by an organized crowd of German strangers, there are no German laws to cite when you go to the police. The laws don't exist.
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As we've shown time and time again, old-timey sayings don't make any fucking sense, especially when it comes to the one about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. According to science, the only way you're rewarding your child for bad behavior by 'sparing the rod' is by leaving them with functioning brain cells. If God could do it over again with modern science in mind, He (or She?) would probably go with "Spare the rod, period. Your children will end up dumber otherwise."
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"I want them to be able to learn to read my book, assholes."
In the U.S., there are still 19 states that support the right for teachers to spank the shit out of students. But could it just be one of those niche things that they keep on the books for purely bureaucratic reasons, like incest laws or civil rights? Not a damn chance. Between 2011 and 2012 (the most recent statistics we have), 167,000 students received a paddlin' for their troubles. Worryingly, 70 percent of that was the work of only five states. Also, fun fact! That figure doesn't include information on restraint or seclusion (essentially, corporal punishment for disabled people).
The true kingdom of corporal punishment, however, is rural Texas, where only two types of children live: children who receive paddlings and nonexistent children. Between 2011 and 2012, 30,000 children were disciplined in this way. Surprisingly, everyone's cool with this. Parents who don't want their children to be punished have to sign a special form opting them out, while it isn't unheard of for school administrators who ban corporal punishment to receive angry letters from parents demanding that they change their non-child-beating ways.
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"What? I'm not going to discipline the kid. I'm his parent. It would get weird."
To clarify, this isn't a statewide problem. In most urban areas, corporal punishment is banned. It's thought to have lasted in rural communities this long because of a combination of tradition, scripture (that's where the 'sparing the rod' quote comes from), and good old-fashioned ideas about keeping Big Government out of their children's asses. Attempts at banning corporal punishment don't go well, either, but -- truth be told -- we're not exactly confident in legislative ability anyway, seeing as Maryland still practices despite a ban in 1993.
For several decades, the students at Wilcox County High in Georgia were forced into segregated proms. Not by the school, mind you, but by the local community. This "Black Prom" and "White Prom" is a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of integration, wherein the community banded together to rebel against the idea of black and white students being allowed to awkwardly dance with each other, and so began to hold their own unofficial proms outside of the remit of the government.
It is rumored that these proms also featured modern dancing and loud music.
That is, until 2014. That's when the student body resoundingly went "Fuck this noise" and started to plan their own shindig. The school agreed with their idea, flipped the bird at the inevitable swarms of angry old people, and funded the whole damn thing. After news reports brought the town into the national spotlight, money (and jokes) rained down, finally allowing the students to have a prom that was ... okay. Usurping a racist demagoguery is nothing compared to having to dance with a member of the opposite sex at that age. Or at least, popular culture tells us this, anyway.
Ritual sacrifice is such an ancient idea that the closest point of reference that most of us have is Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Hearing that someone is bringing that shit back is like finding out that you now have to believe that a new Sun dies every night and the Moon is God's luminous asshole. And although most of the world got this memo, Uganda's was lost in the mail.
Over the last several years, local authorities and charities have reported instances of children being abducted from schools and roadsides and sacrificed by witch doctors. We'll repeat the statement, in case you fainted and thought you woke up in Cotton Mather funny hat times: It's the 2010s, and legitimate sources are reporting real-life child sacrifices and mutilations in Uganda.
There are actual scars and corpses to back up the reports, and depending on whom you listen to, between 12 and 77 children were sacrificed in 2013. At the end of the day, pinning down a precise number of victims is impossible, because A) witch doctors don't advertise their murderous remedies, and B) would you snitch on the local child-murdering cultists?
In 2006, there was only one report of a child sacrifice. What changed since then? A hunger for money, apparently. The country's elite are trying to make bank by hiring witch doctors to sacrifice children as part of, for real, spells to increase their wealth, because somehow, being party to gruesome child murder is less stressful than late credit card payments.
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