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Woman in Afghanistan; Widows abused in Governmental Agencies


Sexual abuse of women in Afghanistan is an important hot social topic that sometimes, with the publication of some news, political controversies, disagreements among leaders, leak to the social scene, affecting the public opinions. One of the challenges emerged in Afghanistan in recent days, is the issue of widows remained from those who were killed in Kabul’s latest events. Perhaps, the public opinions have heard some short, unclear news on this and have affected some people as well.

Although, this is not a fresh issue for the public opinions, but has a particular importance to the social status of today’s women in Afghanistan. The fact that widows cannot defend their rights in a patriarchal society, be marginalized or forced to take prostitutes, is a notable issue.

In a democratic government, Women like men have the right to enjoy citizenship rights. They should equally enjoy security and justice; this reflects the well-being of a community. But in a political establishment, if women cannot have the equal rights and are forced to commit prostitution for their rights, or their moral and existential security is distorted, then, one cannot claim that a step toward the development of social and gender equality have been taken.

In fact, children and women are more vulnerable than other groups in wars and critical situations. For example, in the Second World War, women paid a heavy price in different fields. If we take a look at East Asian women, many Korean women tolerated oppressions that overwhelmed their lives. About 200,000 Korean women were forced by the Japanese to have sex with that country’s soldiers. This issue is still the subject of women’s movements in Korea.

In some cases, this factor has collapsed the family system in the Islamic countries. For example, the widows who survived the war between Iran and Iraq was one of the problems in that time. To address the problem, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Imam Khomeini suggested the believed Iranian [those who have faith in concubine] to temporary marriage with these women. Therefore, according to them, they put an end to the corruption and difficult situation of widows. But the issue itself reflected as a problem in the political system. Many men who had been working for the political establishment and were faithful too, allowed themselves to benefit from the situation by justifying the command of leadership, and some even ended many political games in their own favor.

Today, women do not enjoy their natural rights in Afghanistan, the issue that can affect their social and political rights, is “sexual harassment”; the fact is that they must choose the proposals being offered to them, in order to get their rights, specially those women who are suffering from social and economic problems after they lost their spouse in war.

Sexual harassment and women

There are fewer women who have not been sexually harassed in Afghanistan. While many men are working in the community or claim that they are defending the women’s rights in the political and social arenas and refer to women as a vulnerable being as well as simultaneously, they believe that women should be protected and to respect their rights.

Eyewitnesses see women being harassed in large and small cities as well as in public parties or at the workplace. Many women believe that Afghanistan is not an appropriate country for them. Many women serving at the governmental agencies, are heavily under pressure of their fellow men, because they have a gender perspective and try to abuse these women. These women have repeatedly vowed that they are being sexually abused at their workplace.

Every year, a lot of women are beaten or are victims of their family violence. Before anything else, women are subjected to violence by their father and brothers. Some girls suffer violence by doing their brothers’ day-to-day affairs. They have to carry out their father and brother’s affairs as a daughter of the family. Meanwhile, there have also been cases of sexual assaults by their close relatives.

Moreover, there are some examples in Afghanistan that have created debates over women’s rights. Fathers who use their daughters as sex tools, even having babies from them or use them as sex slaves in darkrooms they have created. In 2015 (1394 solar year), a girl claimed that her father raped her for ten years and the result of this relation is her two children.

Forced marriage of girls with old men is another type of violence against women. Last year, a six year old girl was forced by her father to marry a man, who is 55, over a small sum of money. There are many examples of such cases in Afghanistan.

The rape of baby girls, sudden death, and suicide of young girls are in most cases, rooted in sexual harassment or their unlawful relations with their relatives or family members. In many cases, administrative corruption and lack of attention to women’s rights have played a very important role in not addressing these issues. Many families hide these issues by persuading judiciary and law enforcement officers to maintain their honor and social status.

In such cases, one cannot claim that widows have better status. Before anything else, these women have lost the ones who provide them security. On the other hand, the family necessities have forced them to play two roles: playing the role of a man, who guarantees the security and the economy as well as the role of the housewife, who protects the children and the social life of the family.

Despite the issue, these women are not only being helped in order to improve their family status, but also have been put in a more critical condition, and their security is not the only thing being affected, but also a lot of problems have been created in their ways. Under such circumstances, it is hard to say that Afghan women can achieve their legal rights. Consequently, in a country where women cannot achieve their social rights, we cannot speak about gender equality.

Dr. Fakhera Mousawi

Translated by Taher Mojab

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