A new law in Afghanistan permits men who are Shia Muslims to deny food for their wives if she won’t satisfy his sexual longings. According to the Guardian, the law states:
“Tamkeen is the readiness of the wife to submit to her husband’s reasonable sexual enjoyment, and her prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband’s permission. If any of the above provisions are not followed by the wife she is considered disobedient.”
In April, the international community balked at a draft of the law and the Afghani president, Hamad Karzai, said he would review it to make possible changes. The good news is that another awful provision—legalizing rape within marriages—was taken out.
But the U.S. charity, Human Rights Watch, discovered last week that the law permitting Shia husbands to basically force their wives to be sex slaves remained. The new law also gives guardianship of children exclusively to dads and grandpas, requires wives to get permission from their husbands to work, and allows rapists to avoid punishment if he pays the woman or girl he raped. [Guardian UK, Human Rights Watch]
Even if Shia Muslims only make up 10 to 20 percent of Afghanistan’s population, these reactionary laws are too, too depressing for words. Even if Americans don’t always handle sexual assault in the best possible way, I, for one, feel very grateful for being born a woman in this country after reading about the s**t these Afghani women have to endure.