The condition of women in Afghanistan has always been pathetic and controversial. The patriarchal tribal values and the extremist religious beliefs have always underestimated the women and have convinced the people to mistreat them. They have been the victim of their own close male-relatives. Though the interference of International Community in Afghanistan has changed the situation a bit, there are many serious concerns that are disturbing and unjust.
The so-called improvements have been observed only in some of the urban parts of the country, while in most parts of the country the scenario is not very different. Even in the urban areas there have been many cases that have depicted the biased nature of Afghan society.
The recent case of Gulnaz in this regard is one of the same kinds of incidents that depict the inclination of Afghan Society towards the dominance of men. Gulnaz, 19 years old woman, who was jailed for 12 years (Her sentence was afterwards reduced to 3 years because of pressure.
She has now spent about 2 and half years in prison and has given birth to a daughter as she was pregnant as a result of the rape.) for 'moral crimes' and was publicized because of being the subject of a documentary funded by European Union but was not broadcasted because of the fear of deterioration of relations with Afghanistan.
It is interesting to note that Gulnaz's crime was that she was raped by a married man. But even more interesting is her release. The condition set for her release by the 'Presidential Decree' is that she should marry her rapist.
However, there are reports that she abhorred this prospect. According to the statement by Clementine Malpas, the documentary's British director, "She (Gulnaz) has told me that the rapist had destroyed her life because no one else would marry her after what happened to her.
She feels like she has no other option than to marry him and it's the only way to bring peace between her and his family. I know she wants honor but I also know she doesn't want to marry this man. And of course I am worried about what the future holds for her because of this decision."
Though marrying her rapist may not be her most willing choice, Gulnaz will be eyeing for the compensation she wants to make through this marriage. She definitely sees the future of her child through this marriage.
Her child would be 'legitimised' through it as it has been Afghan 'culture'. However, it is sure that her life would be a very difficult one; even more difficult than the one she has been spending. Kimberley Motley, Gulnaz's lawyer has said, "My concern is that an illiterate woman, in the face of high-level government officials, all men I believe, would be a very intimidating situation for her."
Unfortunately, the case of Gulnaz is not very unique of its kinds. There are hundreds of other Afghan women who have been the victims of 'moral crimes' and most of them have been receiving the punishment for the crimes they have not done but have suffered.
Heather Barr, a researcher for Human Rights Watch has observed, "I have interviewed 58 of them in the past month and have heard the same types of stories of forced marriages, beatings, sexual assaults, and when they flee these abuses and report them, they are locked up."
Gulnaz and her likes really deserve proper treatment by law. They require justice and have to be given that. Many Afghan authorities claim that conditions of Afghan women have changed, but tangible changes are yet to be seen. Only the ways of victimizing Afghan women have changed, while the nature remains the same.