The World According to M.I.S.S.: Afghan Rape Law

April 17, 2009

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Note: This post was written for and published by online women’s lifestyle magazine M.I.S.S. Crew. You can view the original post HERE.

Sometimes I forget how fortunate I am to have been born in a country where my rights as a woman have been fought for and upheld through my entire lifetime. Sometimes I take for granted the fact that I’m able to do whatever I want with my body, work where ever I want, have children when and if I please, and the fact that in the eyes of my government my worth is equal to that of a man. But then I read articles about women all over the world that do not have the same rights as I have and I am reminded once again how lucky I am.

Afghani President Hamid Karzai is being accused of trying to win votes in Afghanistan’s presidential election by supporting and pushing a law that the UN says legalizes rape within marriage and apparently bans women from even stepping outside their homes without the permission of their husbands. This said law was signed earlier in March despite it being heavily protested against by human rights activists and Afghan women alike.

Critics of this law are forecasting that the treatment of women in Afghanistan will be “worse that during the Taliban.” In addition to legalizing marital rape, the law is said to also require Afghan women to obtain permission from their husbands to do simple things like go to see a doctor, go to school or work, and is even said to eliminate to child custody rights of women if the marriage dissolves or she is left as a widow.

The legislation is said to apply to the Shia people and contains this provision:

“As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night,” Article 132 of the law says. “Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.”

President Obama describes the law as abhorrent (just a fancy word for disgusting), and I completely agree. I think it’s sickening that women are being forced to comply with laws and legislation that do not mean well for them in any way. Wherever you are, I think we should take a moment to relish in the fact that some of us have it better than most. My heart goes out to these women…

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