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Afghan Women Light Themselves On Fire to Save Themselves: Women in Afghanistan Commit Suicide to Gain Freedom (90% of Afghan women are abused)

January 11, 2010
Against rape
Image by Toban Black via Flickr

Now you know that something is wrong with a country when rates of suicide soar, when suicide is the only means to escape abusive situations.  In Afghanistan, women are committing suicide at high rates to escape the abuse they suffer at the hands of men.  It’s a situation that makes me feel sick, and yet in literature, women have often chosen suicide as the best “choice” when their other option is unbearable.  Look at Cleopatra, Virgina Woolfe’s characters, and others who choose the freedom of death as opposed to a life of abuse.

Women have a lot to escape in Afghanistan, particularly since the Afghani government instituted a rape law, legalizing a husband’s “right” to rape his wife with the government’s permission. What no one is really talking about is why the US should be working to save such a government that legalizes rape, treats women like chattel, and then turns a blind eye to women lighting themselves on fire to escape the life of pain that they know.  Think about this, if women (and  we are talking multiple women here) feel that lighting themselves on fire is preferable to living the life they have, what kind of life is that? I have written about the Afghan rape law, and it is a sick piece of work.

Burn clinics are seeing more women come in as terrible burn victims, but most eventually die.  I wonder how a woman who is so abused that she would rather light herself on fire than continue in her life makes it to a burn clinic.  I suspect a huge majority of these suicides are kept secret, the numbers are probably vastly under reported. The majority of Afghan women live a life of slavery and abuse:

A British study, cited in the Foreign Affairs report, said 87 per cent of Afghan women complained that they were the victims of violence, half of it sexual.

“The report added that 60 per cent of marriages are forced, and 57 per cent of marriages involve girls under the age of 16. Due to both social norms and lack of access to justice, women rarely report widespread abuse against them, particularly rape or sexual abuse.”

Women in Afghanistan may be slaves under the guise of marriage, but it is slavery for most nonetheless.

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