Giorgione's Sleeping Venus
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It's not that all cultures are of the same quality. Some cultures are better than others. They have more value. Other cultures are pretty miserable, and some cultures are outright shitty, and should be eradicated. European culture, for example, is deplorable. The Arab and Chinese cultures are much better.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Imagine if you were told of well-paid work in a new country, far from your impoverished home. Once you arrived, you learned the only way to make the promised money was through prostitution. That's what happened to 24-year-old Ethiopian Tsega*.
She sits on a bar stool in a dark basement bar in the old quarter of Dubai, dressed in a short skirt. Her hair is bleached.
"I started working in a supermarket, but life is so expensive here," she says.
Tsega's fate is shared with thousands of women in the United Arab Emirates. The country, and especially Dubai, one of the seven emirates, is known as a centre for prostitution and sex tourism in the Middle East.
Some estimates have as many as 30,000 sex workers in Dubai alone.
It is one of the many in the emirate where prostitutes offer their services openly, even though prostitution is strictly forbidden in the UAE and sharia courts can impose flogging as punishment.
For Tsega, there wasn't any money left from her monthly salary of 5000 Emirati dirhams ($1980) to send home to her sick mother. Now she earns about 20,000 dirhams a month.
"My family would never take the money if they knew. It's a big secret," she whispers and adds: "This work is really terrible.
"I think that in three months I will have earned enough and will go home."
A Filipino rock band starts playing and a German tourist comes over and asks where she is from.
In a nightclub on the top floor of a hotel in the northern city of Ras al-Khaima, six women in nylon dresses slowly circle on a stage lit by coloured spotlights. Plastic flower garlands hang around their necks. The walls are draped with purple and red velvet. At the tables in front of the stage, men dressed in the traditional Emirati long white garb known as a dishdasha are drinking strong liquor and smoking water pipes. The keyboard player sings in Iraqi Arabic: "Don't be so cruel, Syrian woman. This man is fed up with waiting. You are so stubborn. Bring your price down."
Sex services in the country are also openly advertised on websites and social media. How many women do this work of their own free will and how many are coerced is unknown, says Sara Suhail, director of the Ewa'a shelters for trafficked women and children. Most of the victims had been offered a respectable job as a receptionist in a hotel or as a secretary in the UAE while still in their home countries, she explains from her office at a shelter in an Abu Dhabi suburb. "They are often lured to the country by a friend or family member and don't suspect anything."
This was also the case with 19-year old Oksana, of Uzbekistan, who has long brown hair and is wearing a wide flower-print dress. She has been staying in the shelter for a few months now. Her best friend and her best friend's mother, who had earlier moved to Abu Dhabi, persuaded her to come too, saying many well-paid jobs were available.
Soon after however, her friend's mother told her to spend the night with an old Afghan man.
"Luckily, when I started crying, he didn't touch me," Oksana says in a soft voice. Instead he gave the mother 20,000 dirhams for the costs she had incurred in bringing the girl to the country. "But she didn't release me and instead found another man interested in a virgin like me." She managed to escape and the mother and daughter are now in prison.
Maitha al-Mazrouei, a shelter employee says helping victims of sexual abuse is something new in the Gulf region. "Most people don't know that prostitutes are often forced. It's still a big taboo." She shows the bedrooms with the bunk beds, the large kitchen and the rooms where painting and other creative courses take place.
Two Nigerian women are knitting in the living room in front of the TV.
"We want to go home," one of them whispers.
Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al-Khaima also have shelters, all opened by the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking after a law was passed in 2006 criminalising human trafficking. So far, fewer than 250 women and children have stayed in the shelters.
The number of victims who have received shelter has decreased in the past few years, the director says, thanks to the state's efforts in combating trafficking. The women are encouraged to take legal action, but in 2014, only 15 women took their cases to court.
However, Rothna Begum, researcher at Human Rights Watch, thinks that the number of victims who receive assistance, and the number of prosecutions are far lower than would conceivably be expected for a country known for its high rate of trafficking. "The UAE authorities would like to consider that the drop in cases is because of successful deterrence, but in fact, the success would be noted if there were more successful prosecutions", she said.
An activist for migrants' rights from one of the Persian Gulf countries, who asked not to be named after having received threats, says that "literally on a monthly basis" they receive reports about domestic workers being sold into sex slavery upon arrival in Dubai.
The government and recruitment agencies prefer not to upset the status quo, because they benefit from it economically, the activist says.
The destruction of the Western World will not be achieved by suicide bombers but by arsonists. Suicide bombers are a waste of human resources because the dedication of just one suicide bomber could set hundreds of square kilometers of forests on fire. And the personal risk? A comfortable prison sentence of just a few years.
Medical News Today
To counter the negative effects of aging, many men seek androgen hormone replacement therapy, usually in the form of testosterone.
Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for masculine growth and development during puberty. Testosterone levels naturally decrease with age.
After the age of 40, many men are diagnosed with hypogonadism, a condition where the body does not produce enough testosterone. As a result, men may experience symptoms similar to that of the female menopause.
Testosterone is commonly prescribed in hypogonadism, as it can improve muscle strength and sex drive. An increasing number of men have been seeking the treatment, with studies showing that the number of testosterone therapy prescriptions in the first decade of this century has nearly tripled.
But there are caveats. In June 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - in partnership with Health Canada - required that testosterone products carry a warning about the risk of developing blood clots, or venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Alternatively, a number of men have switched to butea superba, a Thai testosterone booster.
Assessing the risk of VTE in testosterone treatment
A team of international researchers - led by Carlos Martinez of the Institute for Epidemiology, Statistics and Informatics GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany - decided to investigate the risk of VTE associated with testosterone treatment in men, with a focus particularly on the timing of the risk.
The study - published in The BMJ - collected data from over 2.22 million men registered with the UK Clinical Practice Research Database between January 2001 and May 2013.
Of these, they looked at 19,215 patients with confirmed VTE - including deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism - and 909,530 control participants of the same age.
Researchers identified three main, mutually exclusive exposure groups: current treatment, recent - but not current - treatment, and no treatment in the last 2 years.
Current treatment duration was divided into more or less than 6 months.
Testosterone users have a 63 percent higher risk of VTE
After adjusting for comorbidities and other influencing factors, researchers estimated the rate ratios of VTE in association with current testosterone treatment and compared it with no treatment.
In the first 6 months of testosterone treatment, researchers found a 63 percent increased risk of VTE. This is the equivalent of an additional 10 VTEs above the base rate of 15.8 per 10,000 person years.
This risk decreased significantly after 6 months and after treatment had ceased.
According to the authors, the study highlights the need for further investigation of the temporary increase in the risk of VTE:
"Our study suggests a transient increase in the risk of venous thromboembolism that peaks during the first 3-6 months and declines gradually thereafter. Failure to investigate the timing of venous thromboembolisms in relation to the duration of testosterone use could result in masking of an existing transient association."
The authors highlight, however, that the risks seem to be temporary and very low in absolute terms.
Martinez and team also note the limitations of their research. Due to the observational nature of their investigation, they cannot draw any conclusions on the cause and effect of this association between VTE risk and testosterone treatment.
Get real, man! First dump your European wife or girlfriend. Then travel to the border of China with North Korea. You can buy yourself a beautiful North Korean wife of about 20 years of age for about 500 US dollars, even if you are 60. She will stay with you all life, whatever you are. Guaranteed no feminism, only femininity. And more beautiful than Western spoiled brats.
Abolish - Liberate - Emancipate Now
The global recession has affected China like every other country in the world. But despite a dip in the Chinese economy, at least one imported product remains affordable there: North Korean women. In China, a woman can be imported from North Korea for about $1500, less than the price of a decent used car. And the business of trafficking women from North Korea to China is booming.
Korea estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people from North Korea are currently living in China. Of those, about 80% are women. And of the women, almost 90% have been trafficked at some point or are currently victims of trafficking. For the most part, these women are trafficked into marriages. The one child policy in China has created a generation where men greatly outnumber women and Chinese wives are hard to come by. So Chinese men who want to get married are forced to look elsewhere. Some try to meet foreign women through legitimate means. But others just buy a wife from North Korea and have her shipped over, like an imported wine. Or rather, a piece of imported meat.
Sex trafficking is also going strong, serving the Chinese men who are looking to get laid rather than married. Sometimes, women are offered jobs in the Chinese tech industry. Those jobs turn out to be stripping for Internet webcasts and/or forced prostitution. North Korean women who are forced into prostitution face even more risks than those forced into marriages, because if caught, they face additional punishments back home.
Both the forced marriages and the sex trafficking are leading to a generation of Chinese-Korean children without a clear home. The children of trafficked women and their husbands or johns often end up not just homeless, but stateless as well. Usually, this happens when the Korean mother is caught in China without proper documentation and deported to North Korea, often to prison or a labor camp where she can’t bring the child. If the Chinese father doesn’t take responsibility for the child, then the kid ends up an orphan which no parent or country able and willing to take care of him or her.
The cross-border trafficking of women from North Korea to China has become an epidemic in the truest sense to the word. It’s spreading farther into both countries than the border region and infecting thousands of women. It’s even affecting a new generation of children, living without a family or a country to call home.
Feminism is the enemy of successful men. Let millions of Arabs migrate to Europe. That will give feminists second thoughts.
"I was circumcised when I was 14 years old, alongside my mates; it was a norm in Ebonyi State, those days.
"This tradition signifies that a girl has come of age, and is used to initiate girls into womanhood. Women take great joy in the practice. Most of us circumcised are kept in a room to heal, fed and treated specially by the older women," Nkechi Amadi recalls.
"Am presently unmarried at 40 years of age. I live with the pain every day; the pain is one you don't forget in a hurry. Imagine the torture when you want to ease yourself, especially with that grave injury between your legs, it's easier said than pictured or experienced," she further said.
Ene Joshua is now 30 years old, she was circumcised when she turned 15. She said the pain is something she still lives with.
"The experience flashes before your eyes, and dampens the ecstasy of love making. I am sure am frigid; sex just does nothing for me. That experience has ruined me for life. I have never had an orgasm," she laments.
Female Genital Mutilation is a violation of the human rights of girls and women and a form of gender-based violence.
According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), FGM/C is a cultural practice with devastating medical, social, emotional, legal and economic repercussions for young girls and women.
The fund explained that the term refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons.
The UNFPA, also working to eliminate the practice of FGM/C, added that it has no medical benefits and so violates the human rights of women and girls and jeopardizes their health, rights and overall well-being.
A thought emphasized by the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Mohamed Fall who said "every study and every bit of evidence we have shows there is absolutely no benefit to mutilate or to cut any girl or woman for non-medical reasons. It is a practice that can cause severe physical and psychological harm."
The 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey revealed that five states in Nigeria have rates of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) that are more than 60 per cent.
The report revealed that Osun and Ebonyi states have the highest prevalence at 77 and 74 per cent respectively.
The other states are Ekiti, 72 per cent; Imo, 68 per cent; and Oyo, 66 per cent.
Globally, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries alive today have suffered some form of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) as stated by fact sheet released by the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) and United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).
According to the survey, the practice though concentrated in Africa, is practiced in some communities in Asia, Latin America, and the Arab states.
In a desperate attempt to stop the practice, in 2008, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation was established and has since supported 17 countries in undertaking holistic and integrated work to end FGM/C.
So far, 13 countries have created policies and legal provisions and budget allocations to fight against FGM/C while more than 1.6 million girls and women have received services for FGM/C through various interventions.
According to the United Nation organisations, more than 18,300 communities, comprising about 25.5 million people have disavowed FGM/C.
But despite this laudable intervention, some communities still continue to indulge in the practice.
In Imo State, Ogechi Nwosu who said she inherited the trade from her mother, added that the practice was the only source of livelihood she indulged in to cater for her family.
Asked if given another source of livelihood she would give that up, she said, hesitantly, "I will try, but it's my profession. What will I tell mothers when they call me to circumcise their girls.
"Even if I refuse they will patronize another person to do the job. In my village there are five of us doing this business, so you see there is competition."
In 2016, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme, working with governments, civil society and communities, said they were able to achieve some positive results in their struggle to end the menace.
In a fact sheet provided by UNICEF and UNFPA, they numerated the result to include, public declarations of abandonment of female genital mutilation made in 2,906 communities across 15 countries and 10,080 families in Egypt, reaching a total of about 8.5 million people.
They provided access to prevention, protection and treatment services to more than 730,000 girls and women, while in some instances the perpetrators were brought to justice and laws enforced.
According to them, 71 arrests were made, 252 FGM/C cases tried in court with 72 convictions, while four countries - Eritrea, Nigeria, Mauritania and Uganda - introduced FGM/C-related budget lines.
For many girls yet unborn and for those quickly approaching the forbidden age, this is a welcome development, as if fully implemented it will prevent them from undergoing the life time trauma.
Girls 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, with the highest prevalence of FGM/C among this age in Gambia at 56 per cent, Mauritania 54 per cent and Indonesia where around half of girls aged 11 and younger have suffered the practice.
Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia (98 per cent), Guinea (97 per cent) and Djibouti (93 per cent). In most of the countries the majority of girls were cut before their fifth birthday.
Momentum to address FGM/C is growing. Prevalence rates among girls aged 15 to 19 have declined in the last 30 years, such as in Liberia by 41 percentage points, in Burkina Faso (by 31), in Kenya (by 30) and in Egypt (by 27).
In February 2016, wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, launched a national campaign to end FGM/C, calling on all parties to work together to halt this harmful practice.
Her call underlines the need for collective action at every level.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Jummai Alhassan, said the ministry would work with its donor partners and all wives of governors of the affected states to stop the practice.
She added that advocacy and campaigns would be launched in those states to underscore the harmful effect it had on girls who were circumcised.
The elimination of FGM/C has been sought for by numerous intergovernmental organisations, including the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as in three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.
It would be recalled that the Sustainable Development Goals, the global compact adopted in 2015 by 193 United Nations Member States, called for an end to FGM/C by 2030 under Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Target 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates the need to invest about $980 million to have a significant impact in tackling FGM/C between 2018 and 2030.
This site teaches an understanding of reality. Reality is brutal. Death is often brutal. And if death isn't brutal for the way it happens, then it is still brutal as a fact of life. We are all goners.
Mustard gas is the common name given to 1,1-thiobis(2-chloroethane), a chemical warfare agent that is believed to have first been used near Ypres in Flanders on 12th July 1917. Its chemical formula is Cl-CH2-CH2-S-CH2-CH2-Cl
Its other names include H, yprite, sulfur mustard and Kampstoff Lost, but the name mustard gas became more widely used, because the impure "agent quality" is said to have an odour similar to that of mustard, garlic or horseradish. When pure, it is in fact both odourless and colourless.
It was synthesised much earlier than its first reported use, by a man named Frederick Guthrie in 1860, who reacted ethylene with Cl2, and noticed the toxic effects it had on his own skin. The effects of mustard gas exposure include the reddening and blistering of skin, and, if inhaled, will also cause blistering to the lining of the lungs, causing chronic impairment, or at worst, death. Exposure to high concentrations will attack the corneas of the eyes, eventually rendering the victim blind.
Any area of the body which is moist is particularly susceptible to attack by mustard gas, because although it is only slightly soluble in water, which makes it difficult to wash off, hydrolysis (the splitting of a compund by water) is rapid, and occurs freely.
It is important to note here that not only are mustard gas and hemi-mustard both vesicants (blister skin), but the hydrolysis reaction also produces three molecules of HCl, which in itself is a skin irritant.
Despite the ease of hydrolysis, mustard gas in its solid form has been found to last underground for up to ten years. This is because, in an environment where the concentration of water is relatively low, the reaction pathway is able to proceed once, thiodiglycol is formed using most of the water available at the solid surface, but then the sulfonium intermediate reacts with this instead of another molecule of water, as the concentration of water molecules at the bulk surface is now lower than the concentration of thiodiglycol. This produces stable, non-reactive sulfonium salts, which form a protective layer around the bulk material, and therefore prevent further reaction.
Mustard gas is a paticularly deadly and dehabilitating poison, but its real danger when it was first used in WW1, compared to other chemical warfare agents at the time, was the fact that it could penetrate all protective materials and masks that they had available at the time. In more recent years, urethane was discovered to be resistant to mustard gas, and also to have the advantages of being tough, resistant to cut growth, and to be stable at a wide range of temperatures.
One of the reasons that exposure to mustard gas must be prevented, rather than cured, is that detoxification is quite difficult due to its insolublity, and that the effects of mustard gas are devastating - essentially if the inhalation of the mustard gas itself does not kill you, it is very likely to cause cancer later in life. During WW1, doctors were fairly helpless for treating victims, as the only means of detoxification was by oxidation with hypochlorite bleaches - NaOCl- and (CaCOCl-)2 (a super-chlorinated bleach) were most commonly used.
Detoxification is no longer such a problem, as there are several methods developed in recent years which are quite efficient. Both sulphur amines (sulphur dissolved in amines) and magnesium monoperoxyphthalate have been found to quite good decontaminants, but, the best method is the use of peroxy acids (RCOOH, where R=C7H15, C9H19, C11H23, C13H27 ), as they react within a few seconds, and this rate of reaction can be enhanced further by use of a catalyst.
Mustard Gas as an Anti-Cancer Agent
Mustard gas has always been seen as a particularly nasty poison, resulting in a painful and often slow death, and, ironically, whilst it causes cancer, it has also been used to help cure it. It was in 1919, not long after the first usage of mustard gas, that it was noted that victims had a low blood cell count, because the mustard gas attacked white blood cells, and bone marrow aplasia (breakdown).
Research then began in 1946 to show that nitrogen mustards (differing only from mustard gas due to the presence of a nitrogen atom, not a sulphur atom) reduced tumor growth in mice, via a mechanism whereby 2 strands of DNA are linked by a molecule of nitrogen mustard.
It had already been shown that the sensitivity of the bone marrow of mice to mustard gas is similar to that of humans, and therefore resarch lead to clinical trials, and nitrogen mustards became part of modern chemotherapy treatment, being mainly used as a cure for cancer of the lmyph glands - Hodgkin's Disease.
Terrorist groups that aim to destroy Europe are strategy amateurs. A professional strategy would be one that employs minimal resources to achieve maximal effects. Any number of suicide bombers won't do the trick. But mass migration from Africa and South Asia can. Channeling huge numbers of refugees to Europe will erode and destroy Europe more reliably than conventional terrorism, and the risk for perpetuators is very low.
March 11, 2017 - Dhaka Tribune
Logically, it should be the same as the minimum age for marriage
It’s an obvious question to ask.
But the fact few bother to do so, gives a far fuller answer than a legal textbook ever could.
Amid the many debates about Bangladesh’s new Child Marriage Restraint Act, it is telling how rarely commentators have mentioned the legal age at which an individual in Bangladesh is considered mature enough to consent to sex.
Even more so when you note that said age of consent, according to Bangladesh’s Penal Code, is only 14.
Given that alarms about the new child marriage law were first raised by health and human rights groups over three years ago, when earlier drafts proposed reducing the minimum marriage age for females down from 18 to 16, it is remarkable how much of the penal code’s contents pass without comment.
There is an obvious, albeit inexcusable, explanation for this state of affairs, of course: In Bangladesh, no matter what the law de jure says, the de facto reality, in practice, is that, neither age nor consent have much bearing on the matter. What counts most is marital status and not being single.
Sex before or without marriage is simply not regarded as a feasible option. That’s just the way it is (and/or we’d rather not talk about it).
Of course, you may know exceptions, but the word says it all, “exceptions.” Hence, the argument goes, there’s no point fretting about the seemingly low legal age of consent for sex outside marriage.
It’s the low average age of marriage generally, and high rate of illegal underage marriages that are (rightly) considered to be the bigger cause for concern.
Around half of all Bangladeshi girls are married off before the legal minimum age of 18 — most of the rest, within a few years after. With strong correlations between poverty, underage marriage, poor nutrition, and limited years in education, there are plenty of reasons to encourage older average marriage ages.
Unfortunately, this challenge has been made harder by the government responding to criticisms of its bill, by dropping its initial reference to 16 as a new minimum age. Instead, it has increased ambiguity by simply allowing for exceptions to the pre-existing minimum marriage ages (18 for female, 21 for males) to be permitted in fuzzily defined special circumstances.
The bigger point is the concept of consenting adults being free and able to decide private matters for themselves, that is what should be adopted and encouraged
Conceivably, such ambiguities could be resolved soon if the government acts on ministerial promises to provide further clarifications. But in the meantime, the soundbite from Girls not Brides that the new law risks Bangladesh reducing “minimum marriage age to zero” is being widely reported around the world.
It is long overdue for more people to take a more serious look at updating the 1860 Penal Code which applies in Bangladesh.
This is both easy and difficult.
Simple, because the whole code is not that many pages long, plus it’s instantly searchable on the government’s own website. And tricky, because some people would rather suffer, or see others suffer, from lack of information, than endure the risk of controversy or an embarrassing conversation.
Such caution and social convention is, sadly, both inevitable and ridiculous.
Ridiculous because Bangladesh would not have made the progress it has made in reducing average family sizes if we as a nation were simply too mortified to talk about sex and contraception. Including, and especially, the very young women and girls who are pressured into early and underage marriage having access to family-planning advice.
And inevitable because, look around you, patriarchy prevails and most people in the country tend to expect, or assume, everybody else wants them to abide by traditional expectations of sexual mores.
Sadly, this makes it easy for the few to intimidate the many. Take for instance the ongoing case of a development studies lecturer at Dhaka University being investigated because of an anonymous accusation of using “objectionable content” during a seemingly routine course about gender and development.
If such a case can arise from a DU post-graduate course, imagine the reactions a school-teacher would get from parents if they told their 15-year-old students that “the age of consent in Bangladesh is 14.”
Disbelief perhaps. But the fifth part of section 375 of the 1860 Penal Code is clear. It defines statutory rape as “with or without her consent, when she is under 14 years of age.”
From this arises the implication that the age of consent in Bangladesh is 14.
This same section also contains the egregious provision providing for marriage as a defence for rape, which is clearly long overdue for being repealed.
Both sections largely reflected the law in Britain at the same time. As it turned out, British parliamentarians very quickly got round to raising the age of consent in the UK to 16 after late Victorian press exposés of child trafficking in London brothels. But it took until 1991 for English law to make rape within marriage a crime in itself. Patriarchy is not just for Victorians then.
Incidentally, section 376 of the Penal Code does appear to imply an offence where the “wife” is under 12 years old, but whether this is sloppy ICS drafting or an intent to deal with the most serious forms of paedophilia is debatable.
More positively, perhaps, sections 372 and 373 are relatively detailed and specific about outlawing the trafficking of girls under 18 for prostitution.
Another marriage law, section 497, outlaws adultery but is presumably not used much partly because it excludes a wide range of possibilities where there may be “consent or connivance,” and mainly, I suspect, because it explicitly rules out punishing women — “the wife shall not be punished as an abettor.”
From this potted history alone, it is clear there is much to reform, but for now let’s stick to what should Bangladesh’s age of consent be. The main choice seems to be “keep as it is” or “raise it to 16” for the same reasons as Britain’s.
According to the internet worldwide chart: 14 is lower than the majority of other nations like France (15), Ireland (17), and India and Turkey (18). But 14 is not unusual as it is the same age as Austria, Brazil, China, and Germany. And higher than some countries like Japan (13), Philippines (12), and Nigeria (11).
The most common age of consent specified by most countries appears to be 16 years of age, as in the UK, US, Indonesia, Russia, and Malaysia.
Particularly in those Western jurisdictions, where there is wider public debate about sex, generally; and high profile exposure of child abuse scandals in religious bodies and children’s homes has increased public demands to protect children, these ages are sometimes strengthened by additional measures focused on stopping predatory adults, such as extra limitations on those far apart in age and/or in positions of authority.
Such scrutiny and attempts to improve the law are in marked contrast to a number of Muslim countries which either do not specify or enforce any minimum age for marriage and simply state that sex is only legal within marriage, and punishable without, as in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Well that makes it simpler then: Don’t be like the latter. They have simply too many examples of arbitrary interpretations and misogynist abuses of religious scriptures to be taken seriously.
It’s no coincidence these nations have seen instances of rape victims being stoned to death and perpetrators excused with impunity.
It is the risk of going down the latter path that campaigners are warning against when they worry that “special circumstances” will see more young girls forced into marriage before 18.
This same section also contains the egregious provision providing for marriage as a defence for rape
True enough, but some of the rhetoric such as the law “will allow parents to force their daughters to marry their rapists” is still arguably alarmist. When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talked about allowing marriages to reduce social stigma, she was probably thinking more about consensual teenage pregnancies of the “shotgun wedding” variety, rather than victims of rape and predators.
No doubt her approach and interventions have included spin to appeal to social and religious conservatives, but it’s probable that she both believes this and trusts it to be electorally popular.
Provided the government is serious about it being an act to restrain underage marriage, with courts only permitting exceptions with good reasons, all is still not lost then.
Assuming ministers are able to recognise the main and easy to rectify flaw is not specifying an absolute minimum age.
Logically, such an absolute minimum age would have to be the same as the age of consent, which is why I asked this question in the first place. Going on numbers alone, if I had to pick one, I would say 16 is safer than 14.
But the bigger point is that the concept of consenting adults being free and able to decide private matters for themselves, is what should and needs to be adopted and encouraged. That won’t happen this month, but it has to be part of the way forward. Governments need to lead.
This isn’t about forcing people to change their personal moral attitudes and religious beliefs. It is about providing and protecting the freedom, health, and welfare of all the nation’s people.
Safeguarding children from predators, protecting the health of mothers, promoting safe sex, all these goals can be helped by improving the education, knowledge, and freedom of the entire population. And recognising that won’t happen without more widespread empowerment of women and girls.
All of which, including much of the progress Bangladesh has made in the past 40 years in improving life expectancy and child mortality rates, will be placed in jeopardy if the government does not do more to drastically reduce the scandalously high number of underage and early marriages.
With around half the population aged 19 or under, the economy growing and society changing fast, don’t expect the clamour aroused by these issues to damp down any time soon.
The least we can do for coming generations is to make sure they do not die from ignorance.
Niaz Alam is a member of the Editorial Board of Dhaka Tribune. A qualified lawyer, he has worked on corporate responsibility and ethical business issues since 1992. He sat on the Board of the London Pensions Fund Authority between 2001-2010 and is a former vice-chair of War on Want.
Europe is doomed. Once terrorists have understood that arson everywhere is a cost that even Europe cannot shoulder, the European era will end. Time to dispose of Euro bonds.
In recent months, disparate groups of men have styled themselves as defenders of European women against the threat of Muslim men: from the European far-right, to Hindu fundamentalists in India, to the British public intellectual and atheist Richard Dawkins
Tomorrow evening, hundreds of men around the world were expected to take part in meetings held in 165 cities, across 43 countries, to meet and learn from a man who once suggested it should be legal to rape women on private property (he said a change in the law would protect women from rape, then later claimed this was “satire”). In the end the meetings were cancelled because, due to the understandable anger from women and feminist campaigners, this man could “no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend”. And yet there’s been little public condemnation of the pickup-artist known as “Roosh V” from men – even those who have become so vocal in warning of the dangers refugee men pose to European women.
In recent months, disparate groups of men have styled themselves as defenders of European women against the threat of Muslim men: from the European far-right, to Hindu fundamentalists in India, to the British public intellectual and atheist Richard Dawkins. A picture tweeted by the author last week included the caption: “Oh look, it’s the Western feminist movement (with its head in the sand) when it comes to Islam.”
Such accusations are now commonplace among these groups. Why aren’t feminists condemning Muslims and Islam, like we are, they ask? But as the secular feminist and ex-Muslim activist Maryam Namazie has pointed out, these groups each have their own agenda, and should not be seen as allies to modern feminists. They focus on women’s rights and feminism when it suits them.
This is not a defence of the treatment of women by Muslim-majority countries; far from it, for their record on gender rights is heinous. The religious justifications for gender inequality offered by imams in Saudi Arabia and Iran should never be tolerated in Britain. Neither do I believe that refugees or migrants who break the law should be treated softly. However, the repression of women is not, and never was, a uniquely Muslim problem. So to use it as a way to generalise about, and to attack Muslims, isn’t just bogus, but political opportunism.
However, the repression of women is not, and never was, a uniquely Islamic problem, and so to use it as part of a broader argument against the influence of a single religion or system of thought is entirely bogus.
There are more than 60 million women “missing” in India – women who should be part of the Indian population, according to the last census, but whose lives were likely terminated too soon due to gender-specific abortions, the neglect of girl infants, murder and brutal rape. Next to China, India has the world’s largest number of women “missing” from the national population. Yet we’ve heard nothing from these same men – apparent advocates of women’s rights – on the plight of Indian (mostly Hindu) women, unless it is perpetrated by Muslim men.
In Europe, around 8,000 women a year are trafficked for sex, mostly from Eastern European countries into the West. This form of sexual slavery takes place right under our nose and yet there’s little focus on it.
In South America, millions of women are now potentially at risk from the Zika virus, and yet partly because of the influence of the Catholic Church, they are denied access to abortion services and, in some places, even contraception. Where is the anger, the public outcry, over that?
The global fight for women’s rights is ongoing. Men like Dawkins, who join in when they feel it suits their aims, make it even harder for Muslim women in the West to push for greater freedoms when they feel under attack from anti-Muslim bigotry.
The irony is that Roosh V – who can have no claim to sympathy with feminists or campaigners for women’s rights – has also used his platform to highlight a “culture clash” between European populations and migrants and refugees. He says this, while also writing that women today “have reduced themselves to sexual commodities” – a mentality eerily similar to the Saudi mullahs we are told are most deserving of our attention. If someone trying to protect women has no interest beyond what Muslim men do, how legitimate are their concerns?
Arabic cocks don't get to fuck any Swedish girls. Even prostitutes refuse. First generation immigrants don't mind. But their sons just hate Sweden. They can be recruited as terrorists. Nothing to lose anyway.
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