The echoes of the cries of poor Rukhsana could still be heard around, when the news reports revealed that Taliban along with some criminals attacked her house and stole all the belongings of her family. Rukhsana was stoned to death mercilessly a couple of weeks earlier at Ghalmeen, an area about 40 kilometers from Ghor for having eloped with a person whom she liked. She was married against her will; therefore, she was not happy with the decision. Though the incident got enough media coverage and the graphic video of her stoning was also uploaded in social media, her family could not get justice; instead they were robbed by the same culprits.
It can be easily observed in Afghan society that women become the victim of all sorts of violence. They are forcefully married, mostly to the aged men, when they are still children. It is not unusual in Afghan society to arrange the marriages of the girl before they are mature and in most of the cases before they are ten years of age and they really do not understand the dynamics of marriage and are sandwiched in the complexities of life. Another aspect of traditional marriage system in Afghanistan is that the girls after marriage are basically considered as a commodity that has been bought by the men so as to utilize it the way they please – in most of the cases they are no better in their parents’ houses as well.
It is not necessary that the men should have the capability to shoulder the responsibilities of married life. On many occasions, the women are married to the men who are unemployed and drug addicts. Though while being married, different qualities are sought in women, for men there are no strict inspection. It is enough that they are men and they are old enough to marry.
Women are required to be docile and obedient. They are required to be able to work hard along with having beauty and chastity. The suitability is searched only in women, while men are above all such considerations. Moreover, after marriage women are asked to compromise with men in every situation and condition. They are required to sacrifice their entire lives for the betterment of their husbands’ houses and lives. When they want to change such a scenario and want to pursue a life of their choice, they are stoned to death.
This situation has given rise to every sort of discrimination and violence against women. The unjust and ill-treatment of women in our society has given rise to every sort of trouble the women face. The whole social structure and behavior are designed in such a way that supports discrimination against them and they are expected to tolerate all these without even raising their voice.
The incidents violating women rights in Afghanistan have not been stopped though there have been comparative developments made in the last 13 years or so and billions of dollars spent. In fact the changes are prevalent only on the exterior while from within the Afghan society still lacks the modernity and development it needs in order to reach to a respectable position. The support and assistance of the international community has only been able to provide clean and beautiful attire not a praiseworthy soul to Afghan society and this attire is going to get dirty very soon. The Afghan social structure has been vehemently dominated by religious extremism and tribal nepotism. Most of the self-designed religious doctrines and tribal norms are against the women and discriminate their basic rights. Unfortunately, these norms and doctrines have even gone to the extent of violence and have tortured women physically – mostly in the public. They, in the name of dignity of women, have in fact degraded them.
In the ordinary course of action, women are discriminated but the situation gets worse when a society goes through instability and disorder. The instability and disorder, though influence all the strata of society, are bound to effect the weaker strata the most and unfortunately women form one of the same strata. They bear the brunt of the conflicts and war and have to give sacrifices in different ways. The same can be observed in our country Afghanistan. Decades of conflicts and wars have influenced them to a large extent and today, when there has been some sort of development in different fields of life, there is still margin of considerable development regarding the emancipation of women.
There is no doubt that the social and economic conditions in Afghanistan, to a large extent, are responsible for the deteriorating standard of living for all the people but the negligence of women’s rights and dignity are also a dominant reason. On most of the occasions the rights of women are not only violated by the mere compulsions; rather they are choices made by the people.
With such a situation prevailing around, it is really difficult to see improvement in condition of women who have been suffering discriminations since ages. Afghan authorities and all the Afghan people, especially women themselves, must strive to change the scenario as it would benefit the society as a whole as women are an integral part of it.