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Situation of Women in Afghanistan; Reasons behind Violence and the way forward

Published Date: February 7, 2016

The Afghan Ministry of Women Affairs said that it has recorded almost 4 thousand cases of violence against women in the current year. If in this regard we consider the past years statistics, the recorded cases of violence against women is on the fall; however, some violence-related tragic events also happened in the recent years that have caused this issue to be considered as a serious problem in the country.

On the other hand, the Afghan woman, affected by the Western Civilization and due to uncontrolled freedom and misinterpretation of Islam, is becoming scapegoat. Therefore, positive and negative intemperance positions made both sides to be sensitive and the Afghan woman is being sacrificed.

The situation of women in the world, comparison of them with Afghanistan, is Afghan woman being sacrificed by positive and negative intemperance? And eventually, what are the basic reasons behind and the solutions for violence against women in the country? They all are being analyzed below.

Violence against Women in the World

The problem of violence against women is not limited to a region or a country, but this phenomenon is everywhere, especially it is widely present in the Western world. For example, only in 2013, about 13 million women were physically abused and 3.7 million others faced sexual aggression in the European Union[1].

Also, every 9 seconds in the US. A woman is assaulted or beaten. On average, near 20 women per minute are physically abused. 1 In 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of sexual abuse in their life time[2]. According to a report by the FBI, 79770 rape cases were recorded in 2013 only[3].

The reason behind the abovementioned statistics is to show that violence against women is not limited to a region, but women are facing problems in the west also; however, presenting these statistics does not mean to become silent about violence against women in the country.

Afghan Women; a Victim of ultra-liberalism and ultra-conservatism!

Afghanistan is a traditional and religious society and most of its people are illiterate and they are unaware of women rights in Islam. Therefore, women are excluded from their natural and Islamic rights, even it is considered a “shameful action” and “taunt” if women ask for their legacy!

In the Afghan society, another liberal extremist reaction came to ground against the current extreme situation, which has made the Afghan woman to enter in an alien situation other than their values, traditions and natural situation and made “the woman, stranger to their society” to upraise against her society. Instead they work for peace, the negatively impacted the voice of the defenders of the women rights who were struggling in order for their voice to be heard; hence a lot of people in the country are suspicious about their efforts.

Until now, the Afghan woman is yet to be provided with her rights the Islam has given her; on the other side, liberal circles try to alienate Afghan woman from her society and natural situation. Both of the situations are pernicious for Afghan woman and she should be taken out from this whirlpool.

Violence against Women in Afghanistan

There was violence against women in Afghanistan in the past; but there was not a system for recording these cases and a lot of these cases were kept hidden. Of course, the cases of violence against women are being enlightened and recorded by counter-violence administrations, laws and media.

A separate ministry became established for women in 2001 after the new system under the supervision of the Bonn Conference formed in Afghanistan, and Seema Samar was the first minister for the Ministry of Women Affairs. Besides that, the share of women increased in the new system compared to the past regimes and Afghanistan is even forerunner from a lot of western countries in this regard. For example, the share of women in present Wolesi Jirga and Meshrano Jirga is more than it is in France, Pakistan, India, Japan and Russia[4]. There share is also increased in education, government and ministries compared to the past.

Despite this situation, 5939 women recorded their violence-related complaints with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) from 1391 (2011-2012)-1393 (2014-2015), of which the most of them (2159) were recorded in 1392 (2012-2013) and the least of them (1750) were recorded in 1391 (2011-2012). (See the Figure-1)

En-1

The recorded cases of violence against women were on the rise from 1391 to 1393, and they were at their highest level in 1392; however, this decreased year-by-year and it is now in its lowest level in 1394 (See Figure-2)

En-2

On the other hand, if we consider the statistics related to women rape, these statistics increase year-by-year. 109 cases of rape were recorded in 1391; in the case, this number increased by 139 in 1392 and 179 in 1393.

Hence, the cases of violence against women increased in the country, a law tackling violence against women had been made in 2009, then. This law, instead of being useful, divided the country and made the voice raised for defending women rights “suspicious”, that lest there would the West’s hands behind these efforts. A number of articles in this law are clearly against Islam. Therefore, this law was rejected by the Afghan parliament, then.

The Tragic Incidents of Violence against Women

Some of the cases related to violence against women were so tragic. These are the incidents that took place in big cities or public places and are widely covered by media, specifically by social media. Some of the incidents covered by media are as following:

On March 19 2015, Farkhunda, 27, was savagely murdered, in front of police, by a rampaging mob after she was falsely accused of burning Quran. It was later determined that Farkhunda had not burned the Quran and the claims were baseless and this issue has wide reaction on national and international level.

On 28 January 2016, a man chopped off his 20-years old wife’s nose in Northern Faryab province. Several similar incidents are happened and covered by media as well. Besides, so harsh and tragic incidents than that are also happened in remote areas, which are not heard by the nation and are not covered by the media too.

The government is yet to take an effective step to prevent violence against women in the remote areas. There is a belief in the country that the government and the international community, despite not tackling the issue, has encouraged women to promiscuity and due to this, it paves the way for extremism. In this regards, there are also various criticisms on some programs of the media.

Reasons behind Violence against Women

The main factors behind violence against women in the country are as following:

  • Unawareness of people about Women Rights in Islam: most of the countrymen are unaware of the rights and position of women Islam has given to them. Due to this, the Afghan society is involved in violence against women from one hand, and from the other hand, it makes laws under the banner of defending women rights that is contrary to the Islamic prescriptions, and provokes harsh reaction in the community.
  • Ignorance or lack of Knowledge: the most dangerous incidents of violence against women are happened in rural and remote areas and they are so tragic. Most of these incidents took place due to ignorance.
  • Impact of Align Culture: From 2001, due to the uncontrolled freedom of media, the alien culture is being promoted in the country and it still has had very negative impacts on our community. It is due to this strange culture that the rate of divorce is increasing, women are being abused in the streets and the cases of rape are also on the rise. Such incidents even also took place with relatives and children.

How to Prevent Violence against Women?

  • Public Awareness: raising public awareness regarding women rights and their position in the society through TV, radio and other means.
  • Education: whatever the level of education increases in rural and remote areas, that much the incidents of violence against women decreases.
  • Role of Ullema (Religious Scholars): Ullema can play a key role in decreasing violence against women. Ullema should make people aware of women rights as accordance to Islamic prescriptions and they should encourage them to treat women well. Besides that, it should describe the position of Islam and Afghan Culture regarding violence (including rape, abusing women on roads and streets and etc.), also.
  • Decreasing Corruption in Judiciary System: a lot of abusers of women rights are being liberated by judiciary organs in exchange for bribery and corruption. If the level of corruption is decreased in the judiciary organs, it is possible that the harsh crimes of violence would somehow decrease.

The End

[1] See online: http://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra-2014-vaw-survey-main-results-apr14_en.pdf

[2] See the statistics of American national coalition against domestic violence in the link below: 
http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics

[3]See the details for statistics of rape issue in the official website of FBI:
https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/1tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_1_crime_in_the_united_states_by_volume_and_rate_per_100000_inhabitants_1994-2013.xls

[4] See the statistics of inter-parliamentary union in the link below:
http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm

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