My overwhelming reaction to my life is this: grateful.
It’s not just because I work for a company that values people but it’s partly because of that. It’s not just because I live a lifestyle of relative wealth compared to our fellow Canadians who are in squalor up north while the government wrings its hands. But it’s partly because of that too. And it’s not just because I had a brush with life’s possible early end this year but of course that’s part of it as well. It’s mostly because no matter what you think of our government or democracy or the many things that we all agree need fixing, we’ve got it pretty damn good.
A 21-year-old woman in Afghanistan was pardoned this week. Her crime? “Adultery by force.” She was raped by her cousin’s husband and therefore she was found guilty of committing adultery. The court agreed to let the charge slide if she would marry her rapist which she agreed to do. However he is serving a prison term for the rape so she is unable to fulfill her end of the legal deal. It’s unclear whether they will have to marry now.
After her trial, she was found guilty and sentenced to two years. She appealed and the sentence was increased to 12 years. She appealed again and the deal was struck: serve 3 years in prison or marry your attacker for the crime of adultery. Meanwhile she became pregnant from the rape and had a daughter. It’s unfathomable to me that women, or any humans at all for that matter, are treated this way anywhere, ever.
We are supposed to be a tolerant society. We tolerate religions and faiths and perspectives. But there is no way, no God, no how to justify blaming a woman for being overpowered and sexually assaulted by a man. Ever. In the part of the world I am lucky to live in a victim is just that: a victim. And for that I’m intensely grateful.