In the November 21, 2013 article “No prison for rape – an illegal sentence?” written by Sanny Cevallos on the CNN Opinion webpage, a rape trial ended without any sentence against the offender.
Rape is a crime but not in Alabama.
Women have been fighting for their human rights for centuries. In 1848, in Seneca, the first official gathering of women in the USA took place. The women who particpated demanding their rights as citizens. This meeting ended up with the writing of the Declaration of Sentiments based on the American Declaration of Independence. Since then, women have been very active in requesting the respect they deserve in society. Nevertheless, it seems that part of the population is not ready for this civil rights movement.
From The principle of Coverture of the 1800’s to Representative Todd Akin speaking about “legitimate rape” in 2012, the American citizen has been exposed to the Conservatives’ idea of what the place of women is in society. The Republican party stopped the ratification of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at the Senate level, that has been supported by 3 American presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
The history of the country is full of immoral stories like the one in Alabama.
One of the arguments that the Conservative party put forward is that it will “force the U.S. to pay men and women the same for “work of equal value” thus going against our free-market system.” Such a position coming from the most powerful country on Earth, a country that fights for freedom and democracy worldwide, sounds so unreal.
Unfortunately for women, some religious organizations are backing the politicians by interpreting some verses of the Bible. For instance, 1 corinthians 14: 34-35 is one of the most used verse to back women’s discrimination: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church,” but what about verses such as Galatians 3:28 King James Version (KJV)28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In the 1990’s a judge who raped 5 women was not found guilty because the Constitution of the United States does not address this issue. The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to give “equal protection under the law” but to “male citizens.” Maybe it is time for the country to start an honest discussion regarding equal and fair treatments of all the citizens as stated in the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of human Rights.
The battle to equal rights is an ongoing journey and a bitter reality in a global world, where changes occur on a daily basis.
A point to reflect on: the U.S. is the only democracy that has not ratified CEDAW.
Editorial by Kadidia Doumbia