5 Horrifying Laws It Took WAY Too Long To Fix
Every country has a dark past; we know and accept that. History was just an awful place to be. But you can define "past" in a lot of ways -- one hopes that when nations refer to their bleak history, they mean centuries ago, and not "earlier this morning." One hopes ...
In New Zealand, Women Could Not Be Charged For The Sexual Abuse Of Children Until 2005
New Zealand is Australia's Canada: They're like a quieter, more polite version of their occasionally insane neighbor. NZ ranks 10th on the world's Social Progress Index -- which measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens -- plus they gave us both Flight Of The Conchords and Middle Earth. They're doing a fine job at country-ing, and it would take a lot to sully their quirky image. Well, how's this: Until 2005, New Zealand had no laws preventing adult women from sexually abusing children.
"Any child between three and five feet is considered an adult hobbit legally."
In 2003, a 21-year-old swimming instructor named Stacey Friel admitted to having sexual relations with one of her 13-year-old pupils. Her punishment? A one-year suspension from coaching, because she undertook an action that drew negative attention to the team.
The team with all the statutory raping.
"There's no 'no' in 'team'!"
It turns out that women couldn't be charged for statutory rape in New Zealand because they couldn't be charged for rape. Period. The country's criminal law only applied to men. And Friel knew it -- she checked first to make sure the law was on her side.
Efforts to expand the legal definition of rape to include women have since been rejected in New Zealand. But at the very least, they finally outlawed the sexual abuse of boys by adult women -- way back in 2005.
Women still can't be charged for rape, mind you, but they can be charged with "sexual violation," which is more lenient, but at least gives courts an option with which to prosecute female predators. But if you were a child sexually violated by a woman in New Zealand any time before Batman Begins came out, the NZ justice system has a shrug and a very polite "sorry" for you, and that's it.
No word yet on whether 11-year-olds pay child support to the 36-year-olds who rape and get pregnant by them.
In Denmark, You Could Have Sex With Animals Until 2015
Denmark has top-notch education, public services, and ample civil liberties -- such as the right to fuck a lion, so long as you capture and subdue/romance said lion humanely. Yep: Bestiality wasn't outlawed in Denmark until last year.
Or seven years ago depending on your point of view.
In 2007, two undercover Danish journalists infiltrated an animal brothel -- an idea which necessitates us carving a new notch in the stick we use to measure how low humanity can sink -- in Jutland, where they were offered such in-house delicacies as the initially innocent sounding, but progressively more disturbing when you think about it, practice of "horseplay." And in 2014, Vice (of course it was Vice) interviewed a Danish zoophile who nobly refused to rent out his dog, but only because he didn't want to contract STDs when he himself fucked it.
One of the biggest problems with legal bestiality (besides everything) is the medical world's inability to properly treat animals who have been affected by it. Though the law did previously specify that bestiality was illegal if the animal was harmed, Rover couldn't tell the veterinarian that he's walking funny because his owner is really lonely, and his owner probably didn't print that on his business cards, either.
But if Rover doesn't like fetching sticks or balls, that's a red flag.
None of these issues were actually of concern when Denmark finally banned bestiality in 2015, though. They seemed less worried about the well-being of animals and more concerned with the possibility of being the last European country to come out and ban it -- proving once and for all that peer pressure gets results, dammit.
In America, Banks Refused To Issue Credit Cards To Women Until 1974
Back in the good ol' days, when men were men, and women were strange, shapely obstacles that sometimes made noises almost like talking, banks could simply refuse to do business with you on the basis of your gender. Credit cards and loans were more or less exclusively issued to men. If a woman wanted one, it would almost always be issued under her husband's name, because ... something about periods ... we guess?
"The magnetic stripes will be ravaged by the iron of their blood!"
To the old men in charge, every scenario was a no-go: Married women couldn't be counted on financially because of their baby-plopping habit, which kept them from consistent work and income; divorced women had apparently failed at making a household work and would probably just get divorced from their money if given the chance; and single women were financially unstable, because they didn't have men to put babies in them, which would keep them from consistent work and-
You get the picture.
Millionaire women would spend it all on shoes, etc.
The policy barred most women from owning homes or starting businesses outright, as most people need to take out personal loans in order to afford to do so. Single women had a hard time buying anything on credit, and married women never really truly owned anything they got on credit, because it would legally belong to their husband. This also made leaving a bad marriage -- or an abusive husband -- incredibly difficult. And it was all completely legal until 1974, when the Equal Credit Opportunity Act finally made it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of, among other things, sex and marital status. Yes, your shitty 1973 AMC Gremlin is just slightly older than an American woman's legal ability to do pretty much anything.
In Australia, Aboriginal People Were Legally Considered Animals Until 1967
All the way up until two years before the moon landing, Native Australians were treated like animals -- literally. Before a referendum in 1967, Aboriginal Australians came under the Flora and Fauna Act of governance, meaning that they were handled by the same departments that dealt with rogue koala rampages.
Haven't heard of koala rampages? That's because they leave no witnesses.
Native Australians were not counted as part of the official human population, and so were provided none of the benefits that human beings typically enjoy, like voting and citizenship. South Australia's Aborigines Act even made it illegal for Aboriginal Australians to socialize with white people, which ... actually can we still use that as an excuse the next time Gary from Accounting comes around?
It wasn't until 1967 that Aboriginal Australians officially became people in the eyes of the Australian Constitution.
Pictured: Not a fucking kangaroo.
And while the reform did make the national government responsible for all Aboriginal matters, some nasty laws stuck around on the state level, like New South Wales considering most Aboriginal artifacts to be property of the British Empire.
It's almost enough to make you go on a rampage, like the dreaded koala.
In Sweden, They Forcibly Sterilized Citizens Up Until 1976
Sweden is widely considered to be one of the most enlightened countries on Earth. But up until 1976 -- the same year David Bowie's Station To Station was released -- they forcibly sterilized around 62,000 of their own citizens: A record second only to the Nazis. Sweden's State Institute for Racial Biology began in 1922, as a pro-Aryan eugenics program intended to study race in Sweden. And when your program begins with the descriptor "pro-Aryan" you just know it's not going to end well.
After WWII, Sweden, unlike most other nations, actually stepped up their eugenics and forced sterilization programs. They figured they'd eliminate the issue of welfare moms and wandering drunks by sterilizing basically anyone who seemed like they were having a bad day: "Troubled" youths for the crime of being moody teenagers, orphans in exchange for being released from reformatories, pregnant women in exchange for abortions, poor people, the mentally ill, and of course people of mixed race, because when has that ever gone wro-
Oh, right. The whole Nazi thing we just barely defeated. Right.
They even had government forms that the general public could fill out and hand in -- like a suggestion box -- to nominate their neighbors and coworkers for forced sterilization. Basically, Sweden was a crazy dystopian nightmare, complete with inhumanly beautiful blondes lurking around every corner.
Their last forced sterilization took place in 1976 -- the year before the first Star Wars movie came out. Oh but that was only the forced sterilizations. Coerced sterilizations are a whole other thing! Because until 2013, Sweden made transgender people looking to legally change their sex get sterilized first. We hate children as much as anybody -- with all their goddam hope and potential, the snot-nosed little punks -- but seriously, Sweden: Take it down a notch.
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For more reasons to be fearful of the people making our laws, check out 22 Insane Laws You Won't Believe Exist In The Modern World and 5 Insane Laws Written Specifically To Harass Poor People.
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