Skip Nav
Celebrity Interviews
Jillian Harris's 4 Signs That He's "the One"
Get Ready For "Drama and Intrigue" in J.R. Ward's Hot New Paranormal Romance: The Thief
Everything You Need to Be AHS's Mysterious Winter Anderson For Halloween

Afghan Women Fleeing Abuse Often Wind up in Jail

When the Taliban fell six years ago, it was thought that a new government would offer women in Afghanistan a greater freedom since their rights are now guaranteed in the new Afghani constitution. The women of Afghanistan can now go to school and find employment, yet except for a small number of wealthy, urbanites, a woman who escapes a setting of domestic horror can end up in jail.

The reality for most women parts of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan is less than free: a woman who runs away from home is usually assumed to have taken a lover and can be prosecuted for adultery. Simply leaving her house without her family's permission may be deemed a jailable offense. To see what's happening,


Kamala Janakiram, a UN human rights officer in eastern Afghanistan claims that 70 to 80 percent of cases where a woman escapes a setting of domestic violence, she is charged for running away from home. Compounding this atrocity is the fact that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime have stated that many rape victims are forced to marry their rapists or even imprisoned for adultery because they could not prove they were raped.

These aren't isolated instances either — there are countless stories of women who are horribly abused and disfigured at the hands of their husbands only to be either left to die or thrown in prison — and the blame lays squarely on the justice system. A chief prosecutor of the eastern Nangarhar province, Abdul Qayaum said: “If my wife goes to the bazaar without my permission, I will kill her. This is Afghanistan, not America.”

The man makes a point. Just last week we were debating who was on the wrong side of the Equal Pay bill — and though that inequality might not be great, the true depth of the cultural divide and how women live this very day on this planet that's really not so big — is shattering. At what point does the dominance of culture end and universal human dignity begin?


Join The Conversation
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Jennifer76, :medal:
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
What progress? The rights to education and employment and the ability to receive available medical care even if the doctor is male are somewhat available to women in Afghanistan now. They were not at all under any circumstances under the Taliban. The majority of the path to reasonable rights has yet to be traveled, no doubt about it. But, I think to sit back in our comfortable houses and sniff "what progress?" is a serious insult to the people who have risked everything to achieve even the most basic dignities.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
Exactly, bailaoragaditana!
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
I'm not at all surprised from the abuse listed in tihs article. The more information I recieve about this culture, the more grateful I am that I'm not involved.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
"If my wife goes to the bazaar without my permission, I will kill her." What progress?
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
And the sovereignty of one's own body, I forgot to mention.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
"At what point does the dominance of culture end and universal human dignity begin?" The point at which life is at stake, I'd think.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
I agree it is an awesome organization. I think it's great that you say so much about them.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Ha ha ha, I like pimping them out. :howyoudoin: They are so totally awesome. Actually, it was Marie Claire for me. But, yah I remember the convo.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Yeah, I totally agree with you Jenn. We've had these convo's before and talked about RAWA you and I. You said you got involved with them when you read about these violations in Glamour mag. I brought up reading about the Taliban in Glamour and you said, "...RAWA...." You're a good spokesperson! :)
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I know things have gotten a little better for women since the fall of the Taliban, but they are still nowhere NEAR regaining the freedoms they had before the Soviets invaded. I do think there are absolutely lines that can be drawn in the sand regarding human rights that everyone is entitled to. I don't agree with a lot of their customary treatment of women but can respect that their own culture is their own culture. But, some things - like young girls being jailed for being raped, women forced to marry their rapists, women being imprisoned for trying to escape physical abuse - these are not justifiable by any standard. Some of you are asking what can be done to help. Support RAWA - The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. They are a group of amazingly brave and dedicated women who have fought for so long for basic rights. And they sell kick ass t-shirts. They have a link on their site with suggestions of what you can do to help them.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Kris, that disappearing act of the first comment isn't just other computers. At first before I noticed it got mixed up in the ad, I thought it was a deleted comment. LOL, like someone said something bad. Anyway, yeah, was is up with that?
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
I don't know what we can do to help. But, I do know what not to do, is ignore or stop talking about it. I think, that is why it is so important to have these conversations. I'm so glad that you find these things and post them Citizen. I'm so glad that this isn't just a cite about fashion and makeup. I'm also so glad that there are others from other countries who are able to give their input and hear our input. I just think those things are least something. If at least people are knowing what is happening in the world, then something will come of it. I hope anyway.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
When you intertwine religious dogma into social values, people tend to live in the dark ages. That's why I like my separation of church and state and, I believe, it is the reason why Western cultures are so economically successful.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Citizen, what is up with the first posts always disappearing under the ads? can you tell the geeks that it is a problem? maybe you guys don't see it on your end, who knows. Or maybe it's just some people's computers.
em1282 em1282 9 years
Citizen--I definitely don't think there's a solution. Not when people are so nonchalant about killing their spouses just to keep up with cultural ways...
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
The original article linked in the piece is just...shocking. I know there are different cultures and beliefs but and a Western perspective isn't always correct, really makes you feel helpless to think that people--any people, not just women--are treated like this. What's the solution? Is there even a solution?
em1282 em1282 9 years
"At what point does the dominance of culture end and universal human dignity begin?" I think that any time when a woman has to worry about dying over buying food for dinner that night is when there should be major cause for concern, to put it lightly. Do women have to ask permission to breathe? Urinate? Sneeze? Blink?
Perks of Using a Menstrual Cup
Why It's OK to Be an Aggressive Woman
Best Compliments to Give a Woman
Why It's So Hard to Leave an Abusive Relationship
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds