- Politics and Social Issues
Why Does Afghanistan Hate Women?
Does Afghanistan hate women that much? There is seldom any good news coming from Afghanistan about its women. In that country, they are the most oppressed and always the target of hate crimes only second to Westerner's. They are the dirt of that society despite them claiming to be in a "Islamic protected and revered" status.
While the status of women has improved with the influence of Western culture, the resistance within the men of that country continues, soaked in traditional behavior, women are still forced to do things they do not want to do because a "man" told them to. For instance, take Sabul, an 18 yr old teenager who refused to marry a 52 yr. old man who had five kids. Sabul's parents disowned her, kicked her out of their home and she ended up on Kabul. There, she slept on the streets, begged for food, took refuse in a mosque until a Western aid worker rescued her and took her to a nearby women's shelter. The Kabul adventure, for Sabul, was terrifying for she had never ventured any further than the corner bazaar where she lived all her life. Many girls and teenagers end up like Sabul. Despite their "revered" status as claimed in this Muslim country, they are raped, beaten, imprisoned, burned, for simply defying what a "man" tells them or what their family wants.
Women's shelters in Afghanistan began with the arrival of Western Human Right agencies and now 14 exist in Kabul. They are there to provide a safe refuge from the cruel ways of Islamic law and life. Afghanistan women have generally embraced them as their way out of religious hell. Rightly so, but many men in Afghanistan feel they subvert their way way of life because they encourage women to be bold and leave situations they hate and go to a shelter. It is a clash between Afghanistan culture and the modern world. Some men think they are also brothels. Like parents and their children, they view the same thing or incident entirely different based on their reality and feelings.
Take the case of Bibi Aisha, a child bride whose nose was hacked off by her husband after she was caught trying to flee from home. We know about her because a photographer from Time took a photo that was on the cover of Time magazine last year while Bibi was at the Afghanistan Women's shelter. This greatly embarrassed the Afghan government and how the world see's its society.
Since then, President Karzai and Mullah Netatullah Sharani, a leading figure, has revised the rules of the Women shelters by having the government now run them and under their control and they decide who will be admitted. Prior to this, the Western agency that funded a refuge, operated and controlled it. Now, in cases like Sabra, she would have to appear in front of a panel of men to justify her being at the refuge. She could face being sent back home, where she would be whacked with a stick or worse (like Bibi), sent to jail or allowed to stay at the center. Worse, she has to go under a physical exam to prove she is still a virgin!
President Karzai is doing this because he is trying to appease the Taliban that he is fighting and to show that he is a true Afghani. Hate crimes against women still are rampant in the areas outside of cities and they go either unpunished or they approved like, public floggings, mutilation of women, girls forced into marriage at age 12, stonings.
Part of the crackdown on women's shelters is that the 11 registered shelters spend $11 million and took care of only 210 women. That alone was a red flag for a country famous for bribes and corruption. It is the financial issue that now has changed life for the worse in a country that hates women.