Afghanistan is slowly, but surely, coming out of the abyss that it was plunged into during the Taliban's rule. But still, it's not unusual to see only a smattering of women in streets, as laws confining them to their homes, practically eliminating their role in government, are revoked.
Consider the video below:
Vice correspondent Isobel Yeung was in the country recently to assess Afghanistan’s progress on women’s liberation. One thing that came under discussion was an anti-rape law, which, like many other things that promise to change lives for the better, has been opposed by hardline clerics.
Afghanistan is one of the many countries where rape is not defined simply as non-consensual sexual acts. The lines are blurred and clerics assert, often with theological justifications, that there is no such things as marital rape. In such murky waters, women themselves have difficulty accepting assault.
Yeung interviewed an Afghan member of Parliament, Nazir Ahmad Hamafi, who is very vocally against the anti-rape law. Keep in mind, this man is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the women in his constituency. When quizzed if a man should be punished for raping his wife, he asked Yeung to define rape.
Then, using a strategy all too common for apologists, he said, "There is a kind of rape you have and a kind we have in Islam."
When Yeung pushed the matter further, he told her to "stop it now."
He then smiled, and said, “Maybe I should give you to an Afghan man to take your nose off.”
Now this is one of the most powerful men who exercises influence not just over his constituency, but in the country on a whole. He believes that the best way to deal with a woman who talks too much, asks too many difficult questions, is to have her nose taken off.
Centuries of unrest and invasions, first by the colonial masters and then by the superpowers, meant that the all-powerful of the world allowed this kind of distorted view on religion to nurture and take root in society. The only way out for a country like Afghanistan, is a gradual evolution, a strengthening of democracy and the judicial system.
Watch more from the interview below: