Because marital rape is still rape

I could have included this in the morning news report, but the feminist in me thought this matter needed its own post.

The Afghan government announced it will change a law that critics say legalizes rape within marriage for Shia Muslims, CNN reports.

President Hamid Karzai, who signed the measure into law last month, said he and others were unaware of the provision in the legislation, which he said “has so many articles.”

The law prevents women from declining their husband’s request for sexual intercourse and essentially legalizes marital rape, critics say. The measure applies to the 20 percent of Afghans who are Shia Muslims and was part of a nearly 270-page piece of legislation that was written to solidify the identity of the Shia minority in Afghanistan.

Women from various parts of Afghanistan marched in the capital Wednesday to protest the law, which has also been criticized by human-rights groups and Western leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

“I think this law is abhorrent,” Obama said. “We think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture, but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.”

Being sensitive to different cultures is imperative and I do think that we Westerners tend to call things oppressive — such as wearing hijab, for example — when we don’t know enough about the practice to pass judgment. But rape is rape. Period. So I celebrate this victory for my sisters in Afghanistan.

1 Comments

  1. I don’t even know if I should get into this. What the hell do you mean if a woman wants to say no that she can’t?? Whoo wheee! Did they ever stop to consider that she might not just have a headache but a migraine? She could be having internal issues? Or that the man just might be funky and she doesn’t want to be with him because he needs to brush his teeth?? OK, that was taking it a little far but seriously, that is trifling. This is one of those instances where in my mind it has nothing to do with respecting a culture but it’s more about the government in that country sticking it’s nose where it just doesn’t belong and I have an issue with that period, either here in America or elsewhere.

    I am glad that it will be changed. To me it’s about respect and if they had allowed that law to remain, it would have said to me that they looked at those women as no more than sex objects and had no respect for them. And what else does that say…that you have no respect for your mother, sister, daughter, etc if that is a law you continue to abide by and that is just sad.

    So I’m with you Jai…yeah for the victory!

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