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Archive for the ‘Religion & Abuse’ Category

Sometimes a statistic is all you need to tell a story.

90% of Afghan women suffer from domestic abuse.

Tell this to Shameen, an Afghan woman who now, after years of abuse (including rape and torture), found her way to a shelter called Women for Afghan Women (WAW).  While there are hundreds of domestic abuse shelters in the United States alone, Afghanistan has barely a dozen.

Shameen’s story shows the depths of human depravity instilled in a culture.

Afghanistan is a country where for centuries women have been considered property — not equals, like the constitution states. They are often beaten, raped and even sold to the highest bidder. There are very few places women can turn to.

Thanks to the work of Manizha Naderi, an Afghan-American who returned to Afghanistan to direct WAW, 54 women and children are currently provided with the necessary comfort and care that they deserve.

Click here to read the full article. (CNN)

Do you feel like there is nothing that you can do to help these Afghan women in need?  We all do.  What can we do for a country that is run by fear of the Taliban and lacking a strong central government?  In the eyes of the Afghan women, all they deserve is abuse — which we know is a pure fallacy.  We can start helping out these women by assisting the few domestic abuse shelters that exist in Afghanistan.  What better place to start than Women for Afghan Women?

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Typically, adolescents under the age of 18 are treated as juveniles for petty crimes and misdemeanors.  For Stephen Tuopeh, a 14-year-old from Phoenix, he is facing criminal charges as an adult for his heinous crimes against an eight-year-old girl.

After luring an eight-year-old girl into a shed with bubble gum, four boys aged 14, 13, 10, and 9, brutally raped her for approximately fifteen minutes.  While the younger three boys are being charged as juveniles, Tuopeh, assumed to be the ringleader, will be tried as an adult for his offense.

The additional salt in the 8-year-old’s wounds is the fact that her father places no blame on the boys and, in fact, has “disowned” his daughter for bringing shame to the family.

“The father told the case worker and an officer in her presence that he didn’t want her back. He said ‘Take her, I don’t want her,”

This blame stems from the family’s Liberian background.  “In many parts of Africa, women often are blamed for being raped for “enticing” men or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Girls who are raped often are shunned by their families.”

Read the rest of the story here (Fox News).

Since the girl’s father has disowned her, a non-profit called Childhelp, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, has stepped up to take care of and rehabilitate her in this disastrous time of need.

Bethany House of Northern Virginia cannot legally provide rehabilitation to girls under the age of 18, however we do offer referrals for other specialized programs in the Washington DC area.

We wrote a similar article pertaining to this a couple days ago: a strict family and religious values destroying a woman’s (or in this case, a young girl’s) human rights.  In rape cases, a woman is absolutely never to blame for what happens to her — especially an 8-year-old girl enticed by bubble gum.  Steps must be taken to ensure that the offenders are punished severely for their severe crime and intent.  This clearly was not a random act of passion; the four boys planned their actions and now must understand that rape is as brutal as murder.

Our prayers go out to this little girl and the life she must now lead.

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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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