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Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

One of the most difficult parts of working for a domestic abuse shelter is knowing that there are places beyond our reach that need just as much amelioration as those do here.  The only comfort we have is praying that there are others out there willing to establish comparative safe havens for those in need.

For Zahra, a 35-year-old Afghani woman, her options were sparse: live with a violent husband or commit “khod soozi”, which translates to “self-burning [to death]”.  Clearly, self-immolation may seem like the final solution to nearly twenty-one years of heinous abuse, but with her desire to get a divorce and break free of her bloody chains, the horrific act of “khod soozi” seemed like the only way out.

With the divorce leading to a mess of custody battles, financial turmoil, and property disputes, everyone including her own flesh and blood was after her.

“They wanted to kill me three or four times. Once they gave me rat poison … I cannot go out because of the divorce and my four brothers are looking for me; they are after me to kill me.”

Even though Zahra lives in the once-Taliban-controlled western province of Herat, the laws of men still reign highest.  In this devoutly Muslim area in Afghanistan, a man divorcing his wife can be as simple as signing a single document; a woman divorcing his husband does not carry the same ease.

“A woman can appeal for a divorce on grounds that her husband is absent for a long time, he cannot adequately provide for the family, either financially or because he is physically incapable, or if he is impotent or abuses her to the point where her life may be at risk”.

After a failed attempt to burn herself to death, Zahra luckily found refuge with Suraya Pakzad, who runs a safe house for women in the Herat province.

Please follow the rest of the article here (Yahoo! News).

Zahra is truly lucky to be alive.  In February 2009, a television executive by the name of Muzzamil Hassan beheaded his wife after she filed for divorce.  As shocking as this is, the atrocious murder occurred in Orchard Park, NY, just outside of Buffalo.  This isn’t the first case of an “honor killing” by an outraged husband/father in the United States.  In Irving, TX, on New Year’s day in 2008, Amina and Sarah Said, both 18 and 17-years-old respectively, were both shot to death by their father because he found out they had boyfriends.

Domestic abuse comes in all cultures and religions.  Thankfully for our friend Zahra in Afghanistan, she finally found a safe home.

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