Thirteen years after the fall of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan continue to suffer oppression and abuse.
Research by Global Rights estimates that almost nine out of 10 Afghan women face physical, sexual or psychological violence, or are forced into marriage. In the majority of cases the abuse is committed by the people they love and trust the most – their families.
In one such shelter, in a secret location in Kabul, around 20 women have found a temporary place of refuge, having travelled here from across Afghanistan, each with their own horrific story of abuse.
Some have left violent husbands. Others have been raped or are fleeing forced marriages arranged by their parents. All of them are terrified that they will be killed by their families.
The fortunate women can escape and find refuge in the shelters, but there are only 14 protection centres across Afghanistan and most are in urban areas. Many women simply cannot reach them.
According to a survey by the Thompson Reuters Foundation, Afghanistan is ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be born a woman.
Under the Taliban, women were banned from going to school and working and they were not allowed to leave their homes without a male relative or be seen in public without a burqa. For defying the regime’s repressive laws, women were openly flogged and executed.
But 13 years after the fall of the Taliban, and despite the influx of billions of dollars in development aid, many Afghan women are still living in terror. A report by Global Rights estimates that almost 90 percent of women experience physical, sexual or psychological abuse or forced marriage. Overwhelmingly, it is their families who are committing these crimes.
“It’s a question of control and power,” said Sima Samar, a prominent women’s rights activist and chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “You use religion, you use culture, you use tradition, you use gender to keep the power, to keep control.”
- Pray for women in Afghanistan, for protection for them and for many to come to find shelter under the everlasting arms of the Father who loves them dearly.
- Pray for a change in attitude in Afghanistan towards women and girls, to see them as having great worth.
- Pray for Afghanistan, for peace and protection for this fledgling democracy from the forces of the Taliban and ISIS.
Galatians 3 vs 28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”