Thursday, July 9, 2009
Rape Rampant In Afghanistan
I've long questioned where the women's rights organizations are on the treatment of women in much of the Muslim world. Is it because they are afraid to speak out against religious practices? Or that they believe suppression of women is OK if it's in the name of religion?
The fact that, in general, the female victim of a sexual assault is considered the guilty party in Muslim countries is, in itself, deplorable. But what the UN is warning about Afghanistan goes even further.
A Reuters story quotes the United Nations' human rights representative in Afghanistan as saying unreported and unprosecuted rape is a "huge problem" in that nation.
The yet unreleased report to which Norah Niland refers says that rape is a daily experience. And, more often than not, the victim is not only the one who is vilified, but is often forced to either marry her assailant or face prosecution for having sexual relations outside of marriage.
Here's another interesting fact. The report says a full one-third of the rapists are government officials who can sexually assault women with impunity.
This is, remember, a government that is supported and even lauded by the United States.
It's interesting to note that in the debate over treatment of women in much of the Muslim world, there are those who say Muslim women are protected. That they are not sexually objectified as are women in the western world. That's why women in many countries - including Afghanistan - are covered by burqas.
But if that's the case, why then is rape such a huge problem in that nation?
More importantly, it's time the world speaks out against this barbaric treatment of women. Respect for and tolerance of religious differences and practices is one thing. But when those traditions translate into human rights violations it's time to speak out.