Moving Backwards: The Proposed Iraq Child Marriage Bill Will Change Marriage Age From 15 To 9
Living in Boston for a year, I thought all those old Puritan laws forbidding happy hour specials were atrocious.
But the bill currently being introduced in Iraq is seriously sick — and if passed, it may sanction the marriage of girls as young as 9 years old.
The draft law, known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law, apparently does not set a minimum age for marriage, but it does introduce a tricky clause that sets up the divorce rules for women girls as young as nine in the lunar Islamic calendar (which, for us, would be around 8 years and 8 months... aka even worse).
Critics of the bill view this measure and not-so-secretly sanctioning the marriage of these children.
The current rule of law in Iraq allows for females as young as 15 to be married with parental consent. But if this new bill is passed, that age could drastically lower — and fathers would be the only parent whose consent is necessary for the union.
While women's rights activists are understandably aghast, the law doesn't stop there in violating basic human rights. This measure, as it is currently drafted, would legitimize rape in Iraqi law by attesting that a husband is allowed to have sex with his wife regardless of her consent.
I hope you're too blinded by rage to keep reading, but it does, in fact, get worse. The law would also add increased restrictions to a woman's ability to leave her house, and would (of course) make it easier for men to take more than one wife.
Lucky for us, the bill is not likely to pass before April 30, which means plenty of time to protest before then. Take to Twitter, people.
Support Human Rights Watch's efforts to stop it.
Because a law like this wouldn't just be a serious blow to the rights of women and girls in Iraq — it'd be horrible proof that the world will watch on as basic rights are violated and be willing to completely turn our backs on human dignity.
H/T: Huffington Post, Top Photo Credit: Getty Images