Archaic Crap: Legalizing Rape

afghan_lawThis is one of those posts I wish I didn’t have to write. Its one of those topics that I shouldn’t have to contemplate. But its also one of those things that happens in the world and when you read about it you just can’t not think about it or say nothing. To be honest, when I read it in the news, I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. Maybe that is because I just finished posting about one of the worst and ongoing atrocities toward women in the world – honor killings – or maybe its just that this ongoing battle of fighting for something that is so basic its hard to comprehend why we’re still fighting for it – women’s rights.

A new family law has been approved in the Afghanistan government which further limits the rights of Shia women there. Now it will be illegal for them to leave the house without their husband’s permission, to have custody of their children, and (this is the real kicker) to refuse sex from their husbands. TO REFUSE SEΧ FROM THEIR HUSBANDS! This is a LAW that is being passed in a GOVERNMENT! To some, I suppose, this may not be surprising. We are talking about Afghanistan after all – the place that made “burka” a known term in households across Canada. But I guess I thought now that Afghanis have emerged, barely, from the clutches of the Taliban, the new government would be moving away from tribal laws and customs. If not for doing the right thing, at least to get their country back from the brink of collapse.

But Politics is a tricky beast. One that’s motivations I’ve never fully understood or, quite frankly, stomached. Elections are around the corner in Afghanistan (in which I’m sure the Shia women won’t be voting) and the government in power is trying to appeal to “ethnic Hazaras — a Shia Muslim minority that constitutes a crucial block of swing voters” (CBC). So what’s a mammoth step backward in human rights for the opportunity to stay in power? So a few women are put out? It’s all in a days work. Of course the Canadian government is all up in arms. And they should be. But what bothers me is that this has become a topic in parliament because Canada is there in Afghanistan as supporters and defenders of the new government not because of a grave concern for the women’s rights there. In some context, yes, by defending the new government (as an alternative to the Taliban) one could claim Canada is defending women’s rights there but lets look at it in a different context. If our soldiers weren’t there cleaning up after the Americans how much discussion do you think this issue would have gotten this week? Do you think Stephen Harper would have stood before parliament and suggested that something be done for the women of this Shia minority? The uproar is more about our connection there than the effect of the law on the Shia women. Please, tell me I’m wrong. I would feel a lot better.

On the positive side, an uproar is an uproar and, regardless of the motivation, perhaps its outcome will safeguard the already frail rights of these women. Perhaps if enough of the G20 rail against the law, there will be sufficient pressure on Karzai to withdraw his approval and to have the law overturned. But my hope is limited. Because when you get right down to it, its ludicrous that in this day and age we should even have to think about this – that such archaic crap is still happening somewhere in our world. Yet, here we are and I’m sure we shall be again.

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10 thoughts on “Archaic Crap: Legalizing Rape

    1. I agree, Qwaider, it is very sickening. It like think of the worst possible law you can come up with…worse as in completely disregarding human rights…and I’ll bet you can find some government somewhere to approve it. Its nuts. Its got to stop!

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  1. Isobel, I saw this one (and the one about women in Dubai needing a husband’s permission to get birth control) and just about screamed.

    Strange that men are allowed to punish their wives by withholding sex, but women aren’t? Not that I would, but you know, when a child is being naughty, if you take away their fav toy as consequences, behavior catches up quick.

    Will there ever be time when men get it: the key to having a wife who is always willing & ready is having a wife who is cherished, well rested and adored.

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    1. I did scream, Kinzi! I went mental when I read the news report. My kids thought I was crazy, yelling at my monitor! But seriously…why don’t people get it? What’s the old saying “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”? Give people a chance to live an existence free of fear, hatred, and oppression and they will be a lot more responsive and productive. Its so basic and yet so many people just don’t get it.

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  2. Archaic Crap!

    The world is so full of it.
    The least I desire is to hold office anywhere, anytime. But for the sake of argument, If I ever hold power in a place where people have this mindset…

    1) Men have to wear the burka. Any man showing his disgusting face or a strand of his filthy hair will be buggered in public.
    2) Men can only have sex with their wives after they get my personal approval. They need to petition their cause to me and I will grant them monthly permits after consulting with their wives. Any man who breaks this rule will be buggered in public.
    3)Any man who imposes his will on a woman, whatever it is… will be buggered in public.
    4) Every Friday afternoon, until all women intervene on their behalf, all men will be buggered in public.

    The only way to cure a man who happens to be an “asshole” is to bugger him in public.

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    1. The world according to Abu Fares! I feel your outrage, my friend. I really do. My only reservation with your set of “laws” is that some may enjoy the buggering a bit too much…

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  3. Good post Isobel. Of course the uproar is mostly politically driven. After all, horrors are happening all over the world and, as a country, we don’t seem to care. But, in this case, it could be mud on our face as we are helping that government, so Steven stands up. Not that it will change a lot I am sure, whether there is a law or not, women will continue to suffer. I wish I could find a positive spin but I really can’t.

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    1. Richard, we must have been reading and commenting on each other’s posts at exactly the same time!! Thanks for your comment. You’re right I don’t think there is a positive spin and that’s why writing these kinds of posts are so hard.

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  4. No, in fact you’re absolutely correct. Harper and his gang are trying to save face, after this ridiculous move by the Canadian-backed government.

    I listened to a very touching interview on the CBC with a mother of a soldier who died in Afghanistan. She now questions whether the mission in Afghanistan is truly a humane one as the government keeps repeating.

    Thanks for your post.

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    1. Well, Omar, thanks for your comment and welcome here. I’ve been questioning the Afghan mission since it started. I don’t think any “war” is as humane as reported even if the rationalization is that its to help rebuild a country. Its war and therefore inherently inhumane…

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