News24

Afghan rape victim forced to marry

2011-12-17 18:54

Kabul - She was jailed for adultery after being raped, then pardoned and set free. But now her brothers are threatening to kill her and with nowhere else to go, Gulnaz is resigned to marrying her attacker.

Gulnaz, who does not know her exact age, but is 20 or 21, spoke in a quiet voice with her blue burqa pushed up over her face. Her baby daughter, the child of her rapist, played on the floor at her feet.

"I have to marry him, I need a father for my child. I need somebody to take care of my daughter and give us a home," she said.

"I don't have any other place to live. My brothers have vowed to kill me and my attacker and my daughter."

Gulnaz was freed from prison on Tuesday, two years after she was jailed for a so-called moral crime - being raped by her cousin's husband.

Persecution

President Hamid Karzai pardoned her on December 1 following an international outcry, but even then it was almost two weeks before she was released.

And now, in ultra-conservative Afghanistan, she faces great pressure to marry the man who attacked her, to provide security for her baby and restore family honour.

Campaigners describe such persecution, all too common in Afghanistan, as a "remnant of the Taliban era" highlighting the poor state of women's rights, 10 years after the US-led invasion sought to put the country on a democratic path.

Gulnaz was jailed after reporting the rape to the police.

"I petitioned and asked the government to arrest the man, but they arrested me. Why was I put in jail innocently?" she said.

"I don't know why we have this kind of government here; they don't even care about a poor woman. I brought up the case to seek justice but I was put in jail."

Gulnaz was raising her child in a prison cell in Kabul. And although she was released, she is still confined. With fears for her safety, she has moved to a women's shelter in a secret location.

Second class citizens

Her US lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said Gulnaz was "trying to figure out the best way she can protect herself and her daughter".

But with her attacker still in jail for another five years, it will be even harder for Gulnaz to marry and move on.

"Unfortunately the culture quite often decides that even if a woman is violated or a victim the best way to find protection is to embrace their attacker and marry them," Motley said.

"Often women are treated as second class citizens and don't have a voice. The best way is to have a male figure to protect them and I think Gulnaz is wrestling with those issues."

She said by issuing the pardon, Karzai and the prosecutor's office recognised that rape victims were not to be persecuted.

"But unfortunately this is the remnant of a Taliban era which still has an influence in Afghan culture," Motley said.

There is little sign that violence against women in Afghanistan is decreasing, despite billions of dollars of international aid which has poured into the country during the decade-long war.

Attention

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission logged 1 026 cases of violence against women in the second quarter of 2011 compared with 2 700 cases for the whole of 2010.

Some 87% of Afghan women report having experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage, according to figures quoted in an October report by the British charity Oxfam.

In November, the UN said that a landmark law aiming to protect women against violence in Afghanistan had been used to prosecute just over 100 cases since being enacted two years ago.

Gulnaz was grateful for the attention her case has received. Others are not so lucky.

"I'm not afraid. He has accepted me, and I have also accepted him," she said.

"I want to send my daughter to school; I want her to become a doctor."

Comments
  • An observer - 2011-12-17 19:09

    This is typical of the kind of depravity that is going on on this planet. Everyone has a voice and no matter how timid, the voice must be heard. It is the only way. When people on this planet realize and embrace their sovereignty then we will be able to stand together against this kind of madness.

      Squeegee - 2011-12-17 19:18

      Barbarians,

      Jameel - 2011-12-17 22:27

      Almost everyone sais i dont trust the media but by the comments alot do, its called brainwashing... Theres three sides to the coin myside yourside and the right side but we'll never know cause evryone has hidden agendas...

  • boownz - 2011-12-17 19:25

    WTF!!????? Seriously WTF????? Eh

  • Enlightened - 2011-12-17 19:37

    And we have to respect this? This is but one of millions of reports of blatant rape of human, womens, childrens rights in the name of Islam. I am sorry, there are simply too many reports worldwide with live graphic coverage to make this some kind of conspiracy to discredit Islam. I say: this kind of philosopphical approach can not be tolerated in a democratic and free society, particularly in South Africa where we are trying to champion womens rights and gender equality. Why is Islam excempt? anyone?

      Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-17 20:08

      Islam is not even mentioned in this article. What you are saying is what you percieve islam to be when in Islam looks down on this type of behaviour. Please clear your mind as it seems your not able to differentiate between religion and culture

  • eedgan - 2011-12-17 19:38

    My heart bleeds for this woman :-) I cannot imagine her pain - her fear

  • Col - 2011-12-17 19:51

    Her brothers and the rapist should be gang raped by Orcs in Middle Earth. Then be forced to marry the Orcs.

      Isabel - 2011-12-17 22:40

      Nah! Throw him into the lake of fire in Mount Doom. But very slowly...

  • Yar - 2011-12-17 19:56

    These flippin "tribesmen" are sick. Their sense of justice, right and wrong is truly disgusting. They need to be re-educated or exterminated.

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-17 19:58

    As i muslim all i want to say is this is not islam. It stems from a society where women have always been abused despite what the quraan(muslim holy book) teaches which is to love an honour al women and not cause of what islam preaches. Huge difference difference between a culture that suppresses and islam

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-17 19:58

    As i muslim all i want to say is this is not islam. It stems from a society where women have always been abused despite what the quraan(muslim holy book) teaches which is to love an honour al women and not cause of what islam preaches. Huge difference difference between a culture that suppresses and islam

      Isabel - 2011-12-17 21:16

      Sorry, but I have never met a moderate muslim, and sharia law, courtesy of your prophet,is just barbaric and unfair to women in particular. I have no respect for fundamentalists of any faith, particularly as all faiths are man made anyway, but I reserve my special loathing and disrespect for any faith that practises these outrages.

  • Odicito - 2011-12-17 20:13

    This right here is pretty DISGUSTING!Its too disgusting.

  • Talana Basson - 2011-12-17 22:09

    marry my rapist???? serious?? i would never dive so low within myself. you raise your voice, but no one is hearing you!! your welcome go come to south africa with your child! send the rapist to china!!!

      Isabel - 2011-12-17 22:48

      Some women have no choice, Tallana. These poor women aare brought up in oppression and know no other life, though it's hard for us to understand. I feel desperately sorry for her.

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-17 23:05

    These people were doing this before islam even came into existence. African tranditions there are bad ones an good ones they follow christianity but hold onto there belief in ancestors. These people in arab peninsula are exact same. They do what do not because of islam bear in mind there are jews an christians as well.

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-17 23:26

    There are sick people everywhere priest abusing kids. Random shootings happen everyday. Religion is not mentioned all we hear is that a sick individual done a crime. When a muslim does a crime the whole muslim community is seen as guilty

      Isabel - 2011-12-18 12:58

      Them how come the women there are forced to cover themselves all the time? This is an infringement of a basic human right? How come a woman's word does not carry the weight of a man's? How come women are stoned for adultery and men are not? (On the flimsiest of evidence) How come women in Saudi Arabia, the biggest muslim country there is, are not allowed to drive or leave the house without a man? What about "honour" killings where fathers and brothers kill their sisters for some imaginary form of disgrace against them? These are all done in muslim countries and lately its perfidious influence is already spreading to Europe. Where you ge a gender imbalance you will not have protection. You will have bullying and exploitation. Don't even compare yours to other religions. They're bad enough but I have a hard time even tolerating yours.

      Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-18 16:57

      U are clearly already set with a mindset that islam is responsible for the things u mention but fact is there behaviour has been encouraged amongst the men in the area for generations irespective of religion muslims jews christians gals have all fallen to the whims of there men. Our prophet pbuh came with a message of equality.

      Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-18 16:57

      U are clearly already set with a mindset that islam is responsible for the things u mention but fact is there behaviour has been encouraged amongst the men in the area for generations irespective of religion muslims jews christians gals have all fallen to the whims of there men. Our prophet pbuh came with a message of equality.

      Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-18 17:06

      Another thing thats fact is that islam is the fastest growing religion in the western world including the us and uk. The majority of the converts are women. You really think so many educated people would welcome oppression into there lives? Btw google wahabism it is a system of belief practiced only in arabia

      Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-18 17:15

      Last thing i wana point out is that indonesia is the largest muslim country. Arabia is considered most important only because it is the birthplace of islam an has our main religious sites

  • Cristina - 2011-12-18 06:34

    I work in Afghanistan and all I can say ..its not easy being a woman in this country, not easy at all! And yes Jameel, you should believe it, nothing to do with the media, but lief HERE..it happens far more often in this country than reported and far worse!

  • Rashaad Hendricks - 2011-12-18 19:24

    Do u know what a fatwa is isabell? Its a consesus of opinion between scholars. The fatwa was cos he insulted the prophet pbuh. And again women fall victim to the whims of men an a society which views them as inferior. There is nothing not one word in the quraan that says woman are less than man

      Isabel - 2011-12-18 22:58

      But it has been used to organise "hits" on people. So he insulted the prophet. Get over it. The fact that you will choose to kill someone who is living now for insulting someone who lived thousands of years ago says a lot. It's no reason to kill someone. Writing something in a holy book and practising it in real life are two different things, and it's no accident that women's rights in the countries that practise islam are among the worst in the world. All relgion is evil. We'd be better off without any of them. Count all the 'likes" and "dislikes" on this page. Not many on your side, are there?|

  • Mike - 2011-12-18 22:03

    . My only question is why the National Organization of Women in the US is NOT raising a Holy Hissie Fit From Hell over this barbaric 14th Century Moslem degradation of Woman-hood-ism-ness-tude. Gloria Steynim, Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, Where are YOU!?!? .

  • mzijimmym - 2012-05-04 13:13

    Poor and without rights,raped, jailed and forced to marry the person who violated her!That quadraple oppression!God bless her soul.

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