Of marital rape and other laws

It appears that all the protests have paid off. The Afghan government has revised and amended its, now infamous, rape law but, as expected, is yet to come out of the Stone Age. The new and improved Islamic Shariah law for Afghanistan’s Shia minority does not anymore make women submit to their husbands’ once-every-four-days sexual advancements but merely gets them to do so by allowing husbands to starve their wives if they refuse to have sex with them. Apparently this guy “was not happy” but has agreed to make concessions to sanity in this regard. Also this ayatollah believes that it is all in line with “freedom”, “rights of women” and “shariah of the prophet”.

Consent or otherwise, the concept or marital rape is non-existent in Afghanistan. It’s is generally accepted that marriage equals a lifetime of consent for men and submission by women.

... wish this would happen

... wish this would happen

According to activist Wazhman Forogh, “There have been a few little changes, but they are not enough. For example, if the wife doesn’t accept her husband’s sexual requirements then he can deny her food.”

In addition, there is room for rapists to go free if they offer to marry their victims. Razia Jan, who is currently building a women’s center in Bamiyan said: “Violence against women is already endemic. Men pay thousands of dollars for young girls and they are treated like slaves. Women here are already so vulnerable.”

This recent report by Reuters rates rape is a huge problem in Afghanistan and claims that it is an everyday occurrence with perpetrators usually tied to local militias, mullahs and elders. The plight of victims is almost always ignored by the shuras and jirgas led by elderly illiterate villagers.

RAWA reports a few of the cases here and here.

Malalai Joya is busy promoting her newly published memoir Raising My Voice. She made a few good points on the topics of the presence of international forces in Afghanistan, the fate of democracy in Afghanistan and the bandwagon rise of the Northern Alliance and others during her interview.

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