Afghan girl ‘locked in lavatory for 5 months’

Yesterday’s UK Telegraph has a horrendous story about the human rights abuses taking place against many woman in Afghanistan …

Afghan police have rescued a teenage girl who was beaten and locked up in a lavatory for over five months after she defied her in-laws who tried to force her into prostitution, officials said on Tuesday.

Sahar Gul, 15, was found in the basement of her husband’s house in northeastern Baghlan province late on Monday after her parents reported her disappearance to the police.

“She was beaten, her fingernails were removed and her arm was broken,” district police chief Fazel Rahman told AFP.

Three women including the teenager’s mother in-law had been arrested in connection with the case but her husband had fled the area, he added.

The case highlights how women continue to suffer in Afghanistan despite the billions of pounds of international aid which has poured into the country during the decade-long war.

You can read the rest of that story here.

The thought strikes me that regardless of who is in power, and regardless of the type of regime it is, democratic or theocratic dictatorship, this will continue to happen because some do not consider woman to be equals. During the rule of the Taliban (1996 – 2001), women were treated worse than in any other time or by any other society. They were forbidden to work, leave the house without a male escort, not allowed to seek medical help from a male doctor, and forced to cover themselves from head to toe, even covering their eyes. Women who were doctors and teachers before, suddenly were forced to be beggars and even prostitutes in order to feed their families. Since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, many would agree that the political and cultural position of Afghan women has improved substantially, but stories like this latest one illustrate the depth of the challenge they still face.

The repression of women is still prevalent in rural areas where many families still restrict their own mothers, daughters, wives and sisters from participation in public life. They are still forced into marriages and denied a basic education. Numerous school for girls have been burned down and little girls have even been poisoned to death for daring to go to school.

Here are some stark statistics for you to ponder over …

Fact Box

  • Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies during childbirth
  • 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate
  • 30 percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan
  • 1 in every 3 Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual violence
  • 44 years is the average life expectancy rate for women in Afghanistan
  • 70 to 80 percent of women face forced marriages in Afghanistan

Source: IRIN

Consider the idea of being involved. You can do so in many different ways such as speaking out, blogging about what is going on or adding your support to groups such as Amnesty International.

Here is a link to get you started.

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