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Legalizing rape in Afghanistan

April 1, 2009

So it appears to be true that Hamid Karzai’s government is planning to support legislation that would legalize rape within marriage. Oy – this is the country where we’re spending billions of dollars on our military involvement alone. The public outcry (starting in earnest from what I’ve seen on the web today) is understandable.

Two important things to keep in mind though:

1. The number of children in Afghan schools is going up.

2. Canada only outlawed rape within marriage 26 years ago.

And then, even further caveats for both those facts: first, new school attendees in Afghanistan are overwhelmingly male (if the article is correct). Also, while we allowed men to rape their wives right up until the 80s, we never condoned another key element of Karzai’s new legislation: forbidding women to leave the home or see a doctor without their husbands’ permission.

Oy is all I can say. We desperately need creative ideas for how to approach these kinds of intense cultural differences. I don’t suppose anyone has any lying around?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2009 7:14 am

    ask for Canada’s ten billion dollars back from them

  2. April 2, 2009 10:05 am

    I’m not sure how much this shift in Afghanistan law, directed at the Shia minority is cultural. I believe it is deeply political and reflects Karzai’s desperate attempts to secure the support of the Shia clerics going into the election.

    I was pleased to see that each of the political parties in Canada condemned this law. It stands in direct contradiction to the commitments made by the Afghan government to uphold human rights and improve the situation of women. I would like to see the Canadian government continue work with other countries in pressuring the Karzai government to reverse this law. I believe that time is of the essence.

    There are many gains that women have made in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Most of these have been in the North and West. As a country that has contributed to these gains, we can’t allow this return to legislated misogyny.


  1. Afghanistan’s “Rape Law” In Context « Canada’s World

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