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« Forced Marriages and Secret Abortions | Main | Word art »

June 24, 2008

Re: Forced Marriages and Secret Abortions

Anne, I see your point about the hedonism of teen life in Western countries and how that gets overlooked in these stories. It's an important and often neglected point.

But regarding the point about family matters, here's how I see it: There is a principle at issue here, and that's the importance of consent. The fundamental principle on which the Western world (or the Judeo-Christian code of ethics, if you prefer) bases its ideas about forced marriage, underage marriage, human trafficking, statutory rape, bestiality, and more -- the reason Christians and others fight these abuses -- is the principle that non-consensual sex is always unlawful -- that it is in fact rape. And these parents are effectively forcing their daughters into non-consensual sexual relationships. That's a violation of the girls' human rights, and thus a justification for rescuing them.

(One could argue that Islam does not acknowledge the Judeo-Christian ethical code. But as the Post points out, not even Islam endorses forced marriages. In addition, these parents are engaging in all sorts of other behavior that none of these religions or cultures officially endorses, including deceit, death threats, theft, and other forms of abuse, to force their children into this essentially unlawful arrangement. All of these things take this beyond a simple, cut-and-dried parental rights case.)

As for what the girls do after they're rescued, that is indeed a matter of grave concern. But I think it's a different type of concern. That goes under the heading of why the Western world no longer tries to live up to its own code of ethics, and what needs to be done to change that.

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