burqa

I have been following this ongoing battle by human rights activists to change some of the horrific laws that have been instituted in Afghanistan. In March, one such law was signed into legislation by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, which legalized the rape of Afghan women as long as the rape occurred within a marriage. The law passed both houses of parliament and slipped through, unannounced and barely recognized until human rights activists caught wind of it.

This week, a new law has been attached. Afghan men now have the legal right to deny their wives food if their sexual advances have been denied. As Human Rights Watch has outlined:

The law gives a husband the right to withdraw basic maintenance from his wife, including food, if she refuses to obey his sexual demands. It grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers. It 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.

I drove through McDonald’s on my way home from campus today for a quick McChicken. How trivial to grab 99 cents out of my change cup and toss it into the drive-thru attendant’s open hand. I had that thing eaten before I even hit the street I live on.

Afghanistan feels like a world away. Something as simple as fate can impact so much. In 13 days, our campus will come to life with the buzzing of the new semester. Just saying.

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