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.