For a moment, I really thought I am in a dream. But then I pinched myself and realized, NO! I am wide awake. And yes, I am reading it clearly.
The new the Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2017 will now essentially legalize underage marriage in Bangladesh using the excuse of “special circumstances”. Now under the so-called ‘special provisions’, child marriage can indeed take place.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier defended the law, saying the critics “know nothing about Bangladesh’s social system”.
Explaining the ‘special circumstances’, the prime minister said, “We’ve fixed the minimum age for girls to marry at 18. But what if any of them becomes pregnant at 12-13 or 14-15 and abortion can’t be done? What will happen to the baby? Will society accept it?”
She said the girl could go for marriage with her parents’ consent in such circumstances in order to give the baby ‘legal status’ in society.
What I find most disappointing is the very justification that it is in accordance to the ‘social reality’ of Bangladesh. Hence, what do we do about young girls who are victims of rape and pregnant perhaps? Simply wash off hands by getting them married to the rapist! Then everyone lives happily ever after. Perhaps, someday she falls in love with the rapist!
Or is that so? Will our dear parliamentarians for a second pause and reflect upon the consequences of child marriage, early pregnancy and the long-term impact of the bill being passed? And how can one even justify getting a girl married to her rapist? Given that often rape cases are settled by getting the victim married to the rapist, such law will only encourage such actions; getting a girl married to the rapist to restore the ‘honor’ and ‘dignity’ of the family, community, and girl which was lost because of the act of a perverted lowly creature!
Is it not a step backwards to go back to the stone age? I grew up reading classics where some of the heroines are merely 12/13 and already married. At that point of time, I could not fathom the idea. At 12 or 13, I only cared about going to school and about my grades. Now, with the law being passed, I feel we have taken a step backwards, to the time when women had no voice, when women were merely treated as machines to do household chores and to produce babies, especially ‘precious sons’!
It is indeed all the more disappointing when the prime minister is a woman herself, who has been acknowledged internationally as a champion for women empowerment!
This is perhaps a fantastic news for all the pedophiles out there, since they can easily escape trials and prisons by marrying the victims. As a friend lamented on facebook “Rejoice pedophiles everywhere!”
“They are far away from reality. They never live in villages and don’t have any idea about the social system. The social pulse cannot be understood by staying one or two days in a village,” she said, adding that if the law was too rigid and did not allow exceptions in special cases “particularly unexpected pregnancy,” it would be “disastrous for the society.”- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shuns the activists who criticized her stand. (Source: https://qz.com/905956/sheikh-hasina-bangladeshs-prime-minister-calls-out-the-hypocrisy-of-rich-nations-critiquing-her-child-marriage-policies/ )
Indeed, I agree with her. Yes, I know our society is conservative. We still look down upon rape victims, and not upon the rapists. But when a state decides to pass a bill as regressive as this, is it not opening up the possibility of more unexpected ‘incidents’ happen? Let us reflect upon the statement by the prime minister herself. Yes, indeed it is difficult to understand the social pulse of villages without firsthand experience. But, when we justify and legitimize certain actions, it only leads to rise in occurrence of those actions again and again.
Therefore, pedophiles out there, you may rejoice!