Afghanistan: Child Bride Finds Justice Amidst Dangerous Situation for Women

An Afghan appeals court upheld 10-year prison sentences imposed on three in-laws of a young girl who faced gruesome torture at the hands of her husband and his relatives. This site previously reported on the survivor just after police rescued her. 

After the girl's stepbrother sold her illegally to be married at the age of 13, she refused to consummate the marriage and resisted the family’s alleged efforts to prostitute her.  She suffered severe abuse due to these refusals.  The husband's mother reportedly tricked the girl into taking a sedative  and she woke up to find that her husband had “used her,” according to her lawyer. The girl ran away to a neighbor’s house at one point, prompting a warning from the police, but the abuse continued until her stepbrother brought the police to the husband's home and found her in the cellar.  While the husband and his brother remain at large, his parents and sister were all arrested.
 
Despite the support that President Hamid Karzai voiced for bringing about justice in this case, the climate in Afghanistan is still dangerous for women, and the fear is that this type of justice will be an exception rather than the rule.  Religious conservatism and the fact that a 2009 law outlawing violence against women has not yet been adopted serve as obstacles to improving the situation.  A conservative justice minister referred to women’s shelters as “brothels,” which is indicative of the attitudes that endanger these shelters.  Advocacy groups warn that the progress they have made on women’s issues will be reversed if Western funding withdraws from the region with NATO forces. 
 

Compiled from: Wed and Tortured at 13, Afghan Girl Finds Rare Justice, The New York Times, (August 11, 2012).