When the Afghan government announced Thursday that it would pardon a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after she reported that she had been raped, the decision seemed a clear victory for the many women here whose lives have been ground down by the Afghan justice system.
But when the announcement also made it clear that there was an expectation that the woman, Gulnaz, would agree to marry the man who raped her, the moment instead revealed the ways in which even efforts guided by the best intentions to redress violence against women here run up against the limits of change in a society where cultural practices are so powerful that few can resist them, not even the president.
The solution holds grave risks for Gulnaz, who uses one name, since the man could be so humiliated that he might kill his accuser, despite the risk of prosecution, or abuse her again.
As the article makes clear, every time a woman is helped by forces outside of Afghanistan, the Afghanis retaliate against women.
In 2010, there was widespread publicity of the case of Bibi Aisha, a Pashtun child bride, whose nose was cut off by her Taliban husband; it backfired. Conservative Afghan leaders started a campaign against the nonprofit women’s shelters, one of which had helped Bibi Aisha. They came close to shutting down the shelters, which would have been a huge loss for abused women who have no other refuge.There is no way any woman can win in such a truly evil culture - any culture this evil deserves to die - time to remove women from the evil.
more at the NYTimes