[totally off topic]
Hal, I found the second link you provided to be quite informative.
I remember reading about this crime in news magazines just after it happened, like most of America. I was just troubled as the next guy by the accusatory attitude directed at the victim.
It was only when I read your linked article that I made the connection between the location of the crime and the heavily Portuguese New Bedford/Fall River areas of Massachusetts.
Seen in the context of the heavily male-dominated Portuguese society, where a woman was expected to stay home and cook and make babies, it becomes easier to understand exactly why many of the locals responded as they did. Apparently, the women were more harsh on the victim: “Local women have been much more severe on the victim than local men”, and this fits the culture too.
Even men and women in the “machista” Brazilian culture say that Portugal is far worse.
Of course, just because a culture says something is acceptable doesn’t make it right.
I was reminded of a Portuguese man who we knew who was having trouble with his teenage son. His son was constantly defying his father’s authority, getting into drugs and other things his father didn’t approve of. Whenever his father was ready to have it out with him, he threatened to call the police and tell them his father was abusing him.
He told us that the family went for a vacation in Portugal that year. A few days after they arrived, the father calmly explained to his son something to the effect of “You are in my country now and I will treat you the way you deserve. Call the cops if you want and see what they say.” And then he proceeded to beat the tar out of the boy.
I’m not sure if it was a tall tale (perhaps wishful thinking) or not, but it does reveal one area of strong cultural difference.
[/totally off topic]