Friday, January 24, 2020

The Pottery Barn Solution To Rape: You Break It, You Bought It.

Or put in politer language, an age-old solution to rape in many cultures has been to make the rapist marry his victim.  That way the cracks the rape caused in the local cultural networks are healed and both involved families can go on with their lives.  The psychological costs of this are, of course, for the rape victim to bear.  But the solution is a win-win for everybody else.

The reason for my harsh language is that Turkey, again (this was tried in 2016, too), considers the introduction of a marry-your-rapist law* which would allow men who are accused of having sex with a minor to avoid further prosecution by marrying that minor.  Its purpose, in this specific case,  may not be only the furthering of the rights of rapists but also the furthering of child marriage:

United Nations agencies warned the bill would generate a landscape of impunity for child abuse and leave victims vulnerable to experiencing additional mistreatment and distress from their assailants.
Marry-your-rapist” bills have been seen across the world and are pushed in the name of protecting and safeguarding family “honour”.

While the legal age of consent is 18 in Turkey, a 2018 government report on child marriage estimates a total of 482,908 girls were married in the last decade.
Bolds are mine and point to the Pottery Barn analogue.


*   Specifically, the proposed law would:

...give men suspended sentences for child sex offences if the two parties get married and the age difference between them is less than 10 years.

There's a Wikipedia page about all the countries which currently have such laws or have had them in the past.  Many Middle East and Latin American countries have such laws, and certain US states have legal loopholes which allow the same outcome.  For a case study of one woman who was married to  her rapist in this country, see here.

The general worldwide trend has been toward the repeal of marry-your-rapist laws, not toward introducing them.  Turkey's Erdogan has chosen the latter path. Turkey's old marry-your-rapist law was abolished in 2005, only to resurface as a proposal in 2016 and again now.  The proposal was defeated in 2016.  Let's hope it can be defeated in 2020,  too.