I admit I don’t pay as much attention to the news as I should, (it’s typically so depressing), so it came as a surprise when I learned via the 2009 Harper’s Magazine Yearly Review that in August of last year, a law was passed in Afghanistan allowing wives who refuse their husband’s sexual advances to be starved. No, we haven’t fallen into a time warp and landed in the middle ages. And yes…I said starved.
From an article I found at the U.K.’s Guardian:
The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work. It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying ‘blood money’ to a girl who was injured when he raped her.
Many things ran through my mind while I read this. One of the first things (and something I call on everyone reading this to consider) is my belief that the opinions and actions of the men who endorsed and passed the bill, the fundamentalist Shia leader Ayatollah Mohseni and Afghanistan’s president, do not represent the majority of those who follow the Islamic faith. (This is reasonable as only about 20% of the country’s population regards Mohseni as their spiritual leader.) These two (Mohseni especially) are conservative religious freak shows who have elevated themselves places of power and influence, similar to the Pat Robertsons, Dick Cheneys, and Anita Bryants of America’s past and present. What’s so unfortunate is how much harm the whims of two men are inflicting on Afghanistan’s 15 million+ women.
Does anyone know what the status of this law is today? Is it still in effect?
Other interesting and informative links:
Total population of Afghanistan and population by gender (use filters to sort): NationMaster.com