Monthly Archives: January 2010

Imagine…

My mum reminded me the other day that I haven’t written on the blog since November, and she’s right, but it’s not because I’ve forgotten or have been too busy, it’s because sometimes it’s too hard to know how to put on paper what I’m thinking and feeling inside about the things I hear and see around me. And there’s always a certain fear that I might write too much… The subject of the blog has always been known… but how to start…

Imagine…

All over Afghanistan there are women living in absolute fear. They’ve brought shame on their family and for that they will have to die so that honor can be restored.

Imagine a young woman who has had to marry a man her family has promised her to, perhaps a relative, perhaps a man who’s owed money. She marries him but does not love him. But then she meets another man and falls in love. They decide to run away together.  She gets caught and is forced to return, her fate is sealed. Even if her family were to accept her, society will not…

Imagine the young teenager girl, begging door to door, and unknowingly knocks on a door where a group of men await her. Lured inside she is gang raped. She falls pregnant. If her uncles find out she will be killed, because who’s to say she didn’t incite the violence – atleast that’s what the neighbors might think. And so she runs away, and hopes to find someone that might help her. Or she stays, knowing that her life and the life of the unborn child will soon be taken…

Imagine a young woman who is raped by a stranger who has broken in to her home. Because of fear of shame for her family, she runs away with him and marries him. He takes her home where he already has a wife and multiple children. She becomes a victim of constant abuse at their hands, but cannot go home… it’s too late…

Imagine a woman who asks to be put in prison rather than return to her family, because it’s the only place she can feel safe…

These are the silenced voices of many Afghan women.  

We want to help… We want to be heroes and rush in and save her… But this isn’t a fairytale with the guaranteed happy ending. This is Afghanistan.  Their culture is not our own, the shame and honor so deeply ingrained in family and community life is foreign to us. But do we then turn our back and say we cannot help? No… but it’s clear that for each woman reaching out that crosses our path, wisdom will have to be our guide… Some we will be able to help, others not, and that’s something we will have to live with…

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