Afghanistan Law Effectively Legalizes Rape

[Trigger warning.]

This is a dreadful turn of events in Afghanistan, and I have yet to find if there has been an official White House response, but it needs immediate action (emphasis mine):
Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalises" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.

In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.

"It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century," fumed Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation. "It is totally against women's rights. This law makes women more vulnerable."

The law regulates personal matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and sexual relations among Afghanistan's minority Shia community. "It's about votes," Ms Karokhail added. "Karzai is in a hurry to appease the Shia because the elections are on the way."

…The most controversial parts of the law deal explicitly with sexual relations. Article 132 requires women to obey their husband's sexual demands and stipulates that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least "once every four nights" when travelling, unless they are ill. The law also gives men preferential inheritance rights, easier access to divorce, and priority in court.

A report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Unifem, warned: "Article 132 legalises the rape of a wife by her husband".
In this Telegraph article on the new law, opponents say the legislation, the full text of which has not been made public outside limited parts of Afghanistan's parliament, is "worse than during the Taliban" and reportedly stipulates that "women can only seek work, education or doctor's appointments with their husband's permission."

There's more at the Guardian here, including the depressing revelation that some female politicians are considering the law as passed a minor victory since the original proposal was even worse, and they at least succeeded in changing some details, like raising the minimum marriage age of girls from 9 to 16: "It's not really 100% perfect, but compared to the earlier drafts it's a huge improvement," said MP Shukria Barakzai.

Contact the US State Department and politely request swift action.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus