Saturday, April 04, 2009

Two sad things

I have been reading the news and blogposts about how marital rape is supported by the law in Afghanistan. HT Kurk and Jim. I also received an email from a woman leader who told me the story of her experience with marital rape.

I know that in the west women are protected by law against any assault of her partner. We live in a time of unprecedented protection and provision. I am overhwelmingly grateful for this every day, that I live in a western country in this day and age, in a country where the laws have been influenced and shaped by the participation of women. I just want to say that I know how fortunate I am to live in the time and place that I do. I am not an ungrateful wretch. (wench)

But here is a real story. About 15 years ago a woman came to me and told me how she had gone to the elders of our church and told them how she was raped in front of her kids. The elders told her to be more nurturing and bake pies, etc. One of those elders was a provincial court judge. This was in Canada. Fortunately the woman's doctor supported this woman in court and the story has proper ending for her.

I would like to think that the spiritual leaders of the west would want a place beside the legislators in upholding the equal dignity of women. It makes me sad to think that although the laws have given women the opportunity to experience the dignity of being human, many Christian leaders exert their influence in the opposite direction.

This is a disservice to women in other countries, where the spiritual leaders there can point to spiritual leaders in the west and prove that a true Christian woman must also submit. Does the preaching of submission in North America have a detrimental affect on the condition of women in other countries? I wonder.


Kate Johnson said...

While the US does have laws against marital rape, it only became illegal in all 50 states in 1993. There are still states that have exemptions to the mariltal rape law. For instances, if she is incapacitated in some way, he cannot be accused of rape.

Still boggles the mind. We still have a way to go, and if our spiritual leaders do not speak up, who will? Isn;t that what God calls us to do... for the oppressed and downtrodden.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks for pointing out that for us, in our age range, the laws were not there for us. I don't think people realize this. It is as if this was just about some medieval past. No, were were in our 30's in those days, and the law was not adequate.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

But you are saying that the law is still inadequate.

Lin said...

" For instances, if she is incapacitated in some way, he cannot be accused of rape."

What? Can you give an example of wht you mean?

Kate Johnson said...

In many states, if a spouse has an illness causing an inability to sexually respond, the other spouse may engage him or her in conjugal relations without criminal liability.

30 states still have some exemptions from prosecution for rape, e.g. when the husband does not need to use force because the wife is most vulnerable (temporarily or permanently, physically or mentally legally unable to consent)! Such marital privileges are also extended to unmarried cohabitants who sexually attack their partners in CT, DE, IA, MN & WV.

These are some further examples and explanation. So say, a husband knocks his wife out and then rapes her, since she is incapacitated, he cannot be charged with rape. he can, however, be charged with battery because he knocked her out... Makes sense, huh?!

Kate Johnson said...

so yes, many of the state laws are still inadequate

Suzanne McCarthy said...

That's amazing. I was unaware of this.