Just 21, Gulnaz had been released that week from prison, where she had given birth to her daughter Moska. Gulnaz seemed younger than her years, but she held my gaze almost defiantly as she told her story.
She had been imprisoned in a Kabul women’s jail after her cousin’s husband raped her.
The crime came to light when the unmarried Gulnaz became pregnant.
The police came and arrested both Gulnaz and her attacker. Under Afghan law she too was found guilty of a crime known as “adultery by force”, with her sentence increased on appeal to 12 years.
Oh, I see! Afghan law doesn’t have a crime of rape, apparently, it has “adultery by force” and both parties are the perps as opposed to one party being the perp and the other being the victim.
That’s interesting. Usually we* think of serious crime as being a crime because there are victims; that’s why laws against actions that can be considered “victimless” are contested.
Imagine everything rearranged in a way comparable to “adultery by force.” You would get…”Suicide by force.” “Redistribution of wealth by force.” “Cosmetic surgery by force.” “Home visits by force.” “Account transfer by force.”
In what we would call murder, it’s not one person doing a bad thing to another person, it’s two people teaming up to do a bad thing to…….to whom? The owner of one of them? The owner of both of them, “god”? “The community”?
Never mind. I’m just playing silly buggers. I know that’s not how it works with other crimes. It’s just rape that works that way, because rape involves a woman (except when it doesn’t – there are those dancing boys in Afghanistan), and women always belong to men, so whatever is done to a woman is actually done not to the woman but to the man she belongs to. It’s not an assault on the woman, it’s adultery which is a bad thing done to the woman’s husband (certainly not to the rapist’s wife – don’t go getting that idea).
I suppose Gulnaz’s daughter – the one conceived as a result of the “adultery by force” – is guilty of “birth by force” and will be sentenced to 12 years in prison as soon as she’s old enough to use the potty by herself.
*By “we” I mean people who try to think about things, not “we in the West” or the like.