Afghanistan: Woman Released from Jail on Condition of Marrying her Rapist

An Afghan woman is set to be released from jail under the condition that she marry her rapist. The 19-year-old woman, Gulnaz, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of adultery after a relative raped her. She gave birth to a child while in prison. Her case received international attention, prompting the Afghan government to reduce her sentence from 12 years to 3, with the stipulation that Gulnaz become the second wife of her attacker. In Afghan culture, a child born out of wedlock is perceived as a dishonor upon the woman and her family. However, marrying the father, even in cases of rape, is viewed as a way to “legitimize” the child.

The case of Gulnaz is not unique within Afghanistan. Of the 600 adult females in Afghanistan’s prisons, approximately half are imprisoned for similar “moral crimes.” Many women who are victims of forced marriage, physical and sexual violence are often treated like criminals when they report these crimes.

Compiled from: Afghan Woman to be Freed from Jail after Agreeing to Marry Rapist (1 December 2011).