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05 April 2009 @ 18:06
Abhorrent laws  

"Abhorrent" is the word that President Barack Obama used to describe the new Afghan law that denies women certain extremely basic rights, such as the right to leave their houses on a whim, or the right to decline to have sex with their husbands. This law would, in effect, place all Afghan women under a particularly malign form of house arrest in which their captors would be permitted to rape them with impunity.

I have to agree with Obama here; abhorrent is definitely the word for it. And while we're on the subject of abhorrent laws, it is perhaps worth noting that in many states in Obama's own country, spousal rape has been outlawed only quite recently—1993 in the case of North Carolina, to take one example. Even now that spousal rape is illegal throughout the United States, it is still the case in many states that a woman who has been sexually assaulted by her husband has less recourse to legal protection than one who has been assaulted by a stranger. In some cases, the period during which such an assault can be reported is shorter; in some, a narrower range of unwanted sexual contact is prohibited; in some, the standard for demonstrating that force was used is stricter.

I think that this, too, is abhorrent. I suppose the idea behind these laws is that a husband has some cause to expect that his wife will consent to have sex with him—but then surely a wife has some right to expect that her husband will not assault her, and isn't this a rather more important right? And, of course, these laws are different from the Afghan law in their gender-neutral reference to spouses—in general, they give a wife just as much latitude to sexually assault her husband as they give him to assault her. But this is not, I think, the sort of equality that does anyone any good.

Abhorrent is the only word for it. I hope that with all the moral outrage going around, there's enough there to fix more than just the Afghan law.

harkalark: thinkharkalark on 5. April, 2009 22:46 (UTC)
Eryneryn_ on 6. April, 2009 02:33 (UTC)
A long time ago, I said we [USA] didn't need to go halfway around the world to fight a war against religious extremism, we've got plenty here and the shipping/transit costs to Kansas are a lot lower.

But no one else seems to think this is a problem. In fact, Kansans are frequently on the news protesting military funerals because the country "deserves" to lose soldiers in a foreign war since the country hasn't killed off all the gay people living in it. I complained about them and was told (by otherwise rational people) that they were "good Christians" and it's not up to other people to judge them. ((I have not yet heard these horrendous people stating outright that there would not be any unemployment if there was a decimation of the population, but I'm sure they're going to say the ~10% unemployment and ~10% homosexual statistics are the same because "God wills us to kill them all." They really say things like that. Really. And they're given equal time on most news programs.))

It's actually unclear to me why anyone would want to get married when viewed with this issue of spousal rape in mind. There aren't a lot of plusses legally that outweigh this caveat. Also in many states a married person cannot get reproductive treatments without spousal consent; some of those laws are not gender neutral either--- man wanting a vasectomy, no one asks his wife to sign anything.

I think, if we explained this situation to souls before they were incarnated as human beings, there would not be any women. As a woman, I think it sucks rather a lot. But what I really don't understand is women who are living in these oppressive conditions who want to have babies. Wouldn't you think people would choose not to damn their offspring into apparent slavery? But maybe that's why spousal rape is legal. Wouldn't want the livestock undermining the farm.
Eryneryn_ on 6. April, 2009 02:34 (UTC)
(er, slow weekend, and you're a friend of a friend (merle_) with an interesting topic.)
Henrytahnan on 6. April, 2009 04:51 (UTC)
Kansans are frequently on the news protesting military funerals because the country "deserves" to lose soldiers in a foreign war since the country hasn't killed off all the gay people living in it.

Come now. There are loonies everywhere; the difference is that these people aren't actually the ones in power in Kansas. I mean, all right, there are religious conservatives in Kansas (and many other states) who ensure that laws get passed, or fail to get repealed, that encode certain religious beliefs. But the ones in power aren't remotely comparable to groups like the Taliban, and the ones comparable don't remotely have the power that groups like the Taliban do.
Vizcachachillyrodent on 6. April, 2009 12:56 (UTC)
Kansas takes a lot of heat, and rightfully so, but I'm not sure it's fair to say Kansans protest military funerals when it's actually a tiny, loud, whacko fringe family who is doing this stuff.

I also think fundamentalism is a big problem in this country; just look at the destruction the last eight 28 years has caused. But, Fred Phelps has not yet seized control in Topeka and God Hates Fags is not yet the state motto. We've got a lot of work to do, but we're starting a long way ahead of Afghanistan.
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