My last message on twitter/facebook/identica caused a little bit of a stir with some of you. It turns out that some of you (you know who you are) were offended by it :-( That was not my intention - if it caused offence, please accept my apologies.
But before you leave, let me explain the context and what I meant....
The message read:
is http://is.gd/iW5KvW - a raped woman is guilty of adultery?! But not if she marries the attacker. Also in bible: Deuteronomy 22:28,29..
Unfortunately I was limited by 120 characters, so some of you read it as if I was condoning the "rape = adultery" logic. That was definitely not my intention. Sorry if I mislead you.
The URL is a link to a BBC news article entitled "Jailed Afghan rape victim freed but to marry attacker" - the summary reads:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned a rape victim who was jailed for adultery, after she apparently agreed to marry her attacker.
Basically this woman was raped, which rendered her "unpure" (I disagree with that) but according to the local law this made her guilty of adultery (which I also disagree with). And adultery is apperantly punished by a TWO YEAR jail term (which I also find wrong). Her attacker was given a 7 year jail term, which sounds much more reasonable.
But that is not the worst bit.
The bit that I REALLY find wrong is the fact the law only gave her two very bad options:
- serve the jail term
- marry her attacker !!!
The local law gave her no other choices! I find that incredibly wrong - my sense of ethics is in uproar over this. I cannot imagine any scenario where it would be right (or even fair) to force a rape victim to marry her attacker. And yet, such is the Afghan law!
Luckily, I'm not the only one who finds that abhorrent - some 5000 people signed a petition for her release, which probably factored in president Karzai's decision.
It turns out that this part of Afghan law is derived from the Quran:
28: If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered
29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[c] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
The passage originally comes from the jewish Torah, from which both the Quran and Bible have inherited it. For example, the King James version of the Bible has this passage: Although the wording has changed slightly (translation isn't an exact science), the meaning remains the same:
28 If a man finde a damosel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found:
29 Then the man that lay with her, shall giue vnto the damosels father fifty shekels of siluer, and she shalbe his wife, because he hath humbled her: he may not put her away all his dayes.
So, even according to the bible, the attacker is obliged to marry his victim!!! Surely, nobody can agree with this!!
- rape is wrong
- forcing a rape victim to marry her attacker (or forcing her attacker to marry her) is wrong
- if you read the Quran, Torah or Bible: Please don't take it literally. You'll end up having to condone such laws