Home LATEST NEWS In Afghanistan, women victims of violence abandoned to their fate

In Afghanistan, women victims of violence abandoned to their fate

69
0

After yet another flight, she is now hiding in one of the rare women’s shelters that have remained open in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power in mid-August.

With tears in her eyes, the 22-year-old tells about domestic violence, like this time, at 10, where my head crashed into a nail in the wall and my skull cracked.

I almost died of it, she adds.

In Afghanistan, where patriarchal traditions, poverty and a lack of education have hampered women’s rights for decades, 87% of them have already experienced some form of physical, sexual or psychological violence, according to theUnited Nations Organization.

Under the former government, the country of 38 million people had only 24 shelters, almost all funded by the international community and frowned upon by part of society. Already very imperfect, this system of protection has collapsed.

If Fatema’s refuge closes, she will have nowhere to go: her father is dead, her in-laws want to kill her. In her home, twenty other survivors hide from their former torturers.

On condition of anonymity, the director of a Non-governmental organization says he followed with concern the gradual takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

A group of women are eating.

Even before the Taliban took Kabul, many female victims did not know where or how to receive help, and serious failings were often blamed on state institutions.

Photo: AFP / ELISE BLANCHARD

In the most unstable provinces, it has prepared months in advance, sending back residents who want it to their families and transferring others.

Then, in panic, around 100 women and employees had to be moved to Kabul. When the capital fell, the last returned to their families, left with friends or with the staff.

We have to start from scratch, deplores the director, who has not yet obtained permission to reopen her shelters.

The Taliban, however, claim to have changed. In late November, movement spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Amnesty International that battered women could go to court.

Their supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, denounced forced marriages in December.

Islamist fighters have not officially commented on the shelters or ordered their closure, even offering their protection to some Non-governmental organization, which was insufficient to reassure them. Most have closed their centers.

The Taliban paid several visits to the one hosting Fatema, leaving a mixed impression and theuncertain future, according to an employee. They say it is not a safe place for women, that they belong at home.

Another is less worried. They came, looked at the rooms, checked that there were no men, she says. It was much better than we expected.

According to several sources, some officially closed centers continue to house women who have no point of fall.

A deficient system before the change of regime

Two women cook at a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Kabul.

Several workers at women’s shelters say they have been threatened over the phone by the Taliban looking for family members.

Photo: AFP / ELISE BLANCHARD

Even before the Taliban took Kabul, many female victims did not know where or how to receive help, and serious failings were often blamed on state institutions.

Zakia, threatened with death by the father of the husband who beat her, remembers that the employees of the Ministry for Women, theoretically responsible for protecting her, didn’t even listen to me and told me my situation wasn’t that bad.

The ministry, shut down by the Taliban, accused her denysays Mina, 17, who fled an abusive uncle at 15 with her little sister.

But now, many women, but also workers in shelters, risk violence and death, according to Amnesty International.

Several employees say they have been threatened over the phone by the Taliban looking for members of their families. An official from the former Women’s Ministry said that the Taliban tried to obtain the addresses of shelters from her.

The hour is all the more critical as the situation worsens. When the economy worsens, men are out of work, cases of violence increase, describes this official.

A concern shared by Alison Davidan, representative ofUnited Nations Organization Women in Afghanistan: The situation has probably worsened […] but services have generally declined, she said, specifying that theUnited Nations Organization negotiates the reopening of shelters.

This is also the mission that Mahbouba Seraj, a central figure in the fight for the rights of Afghan women, has set for himself. His refuge, which remained open, was inspected by the Taliban, who somehow left alone.

Ms. Seraj wishes to continue discussing with Islamists, hoping that there will be changes.

But she is especially worried about the victims, who no longer come forward: No one will take care of them.

* The names of witnesses have been changed.

Previous articleMore than 2,000 flights canceled at midday in the United States | Coronavirus
Next articleThe EU wants to classify nuclear and gas as “green” energies