No Honour – The men have to wash their shame with blood

A 10 year old girl was raped in Afghanistan by a Mullah within a Mosque.

[warning]TW – Rape, Medical[/warning]

The problem with people who think the zenith of human endeavour was reached during the reign of a tribal leader in the Middle East circa 600 is that they ignore real progress humanity has made since then. Yes I know what people will say.

Mohammed is a Paedophile and this man was simply emulating him.

Yes. But so is the Judeo Christian god. Jehovah? Remember, Mary was a minor by our standards. The notion of age limits for sexual relationships is a novel once. Why? We have no qualms about child marriage in our populist shows. How many Game of Thrones fans here forget the fact that most of the women in the show were married off at a very young age? The sign of “adulthood” is menstruation as it has been for nearly all of human history. The notion that girls can menstruate and NOT be adults is a positively new idea.

Gabriel – “Morality shouldn’t progress beyond this point. You are doing great!” Gabriel is the angelic equivalent of cocaine

Mohammed and Jehovah took child brides because they were both written by people who didn’t consider this as a real evil and harmful as a practice. I can write an entire diatribe as to why such a practice is harmful based on psychology and indeed Obs/Gynae and the empirical damage this causes to children and the economic damage… but we all know that.

In most Muslim nations, the age of consent is around the same as most western nations (16 to 18), the big outlier is Saudi Arabia of course but Saudi Arabia is not all of Islam. Mohammed is a paedophile by our light. So is my grandfather who married a 14 year old while being 18. At the time such marriages were common and my grandfather was a soldier who met his bride at war. It was considered quite normal. My grandmother was treated as an adult back  then.

Looking through the lens of history the only reason we like sticking to the “Mohammed was a Paedophile” argument is because we forget that most of our ancestors were also paedophiles by the same practice and that we have progressed to a point where the state of a woman’s menstrual cycle is not a valid reason for sexual intercourse legitimacy. Yes, our line in the sand is more arbitrary but it is based on the notion of equality and personal development to the point where educated decisions can be (hopefully) made about life altering decisions or even just decisions that have to do with one’s body. Afghanistan has had no such development and is in the hands of religious fundamentalists who belong to a faith where the defence of paedophiles HAS to occur as Mohammed cannot be immoral or a product of his time but must be the epitome of morality in the same way that Jehovah and Jesus must. While the later Christians quietly ignored the pro-slavery parts of the Bible, the Taliban are fundamentalists and so think our notion of a woman’s right is an insult to their culture and their Prophet. It would be the same among Christians if we brought up Jehovah’s rapey paedophilia considering the power dynamics in that thing.

I wrote about the problem of Women’s Shelters in Afghanistan. While a woman’s shelter in the west is operated for women, by women, in Afghanistan there exist a slew of rules that force shelters to kowtow to the government. A family can put a woman into a shelter but they can also take her out of one.

The story goes as follows. A 10 year old girl was raped by Mullah Mohammed Amin in a mosque. The mullah claims it was consensual which is puzzling. Since this is rape and in Afghanistan? The spectre of honour crime raises it’s head. Family members openly planned to kill the girls. In order to protect her, the rapist agreed to marry his victim.

The girl was moved from the local shelter where she was staying and returned to her family. The legal ruling in Afghanistan is that no shelter can keep a woman if her family demands her back. The workers at the shelter believe that she is at risk.

Dr. Hassina Sarwari runs Women for Afghan Women. Remember how A Voice for Men guffawed about the lack of feminists in Afghanistan? Hassina Sawari is such a feminist.

Hassina has been recieving death threats from… pretty much everyone. She is one of the people who ran the shelter. In order to play down the rape, both sides have gotten involved as such a case brings great shame to the family and the Mullahs (for reasons only understandable to Pashtun honour culture). Sarwari was forced into hiding by threats from the girl’s family and mullahs. The Mullah defence is that the girl is actually older than 10. She has recieved threatening text messages.

Dr. Sarwari wishes to flee Afghanistan, her life in peril.

And she isn’t the only one. Nederah Geyah tried to protect the young girl from her family. Her life was threatened forcing her to resign and flee to another part of the country.

This is no aberration in a society where women are routinely downtrodden. This is the norm, Malala was an aberration.

The anger on the streets has been focussed on the shelter and the feminists who run it. Many of these are funded by international donations and Women for Afghan Women are the same (Women for Afghan Women accepts donations BTW)

And the problem is people think it is a purely American shelter, despite the fact it is entirely run by Afghani people. Every single staff is from the community and their only concern is that women are protected and that justice is done. With the western withdrawal from Afghanistan, more funds are lost from such projects. The horrid fact is that our attention span is over. We aren’t donating as much to Afghanistan as before.

The gains of 13 years are slowly being rolled back as the Taliban and it’s influences regain lost ground.

The medical evidence so far supports rape. From what I have seen of the report?

The rape was so violent it caused a recto-vaginal fistula. A hole between the vaginal wall and the rectum. She only survived due to medical care and was bleeding so profusely she nearly went into hypovolaemic shock. And even this was delayed.

The Mullah claim she is 17, while her medical records show clear patterns of her being less than 12 years of age. Her dentition, bone growth and her lack of secondary sexual characteristics and menstruation all support her age.

So far WAW and it’s workers have received threats from the Mullahs, the Taliban, the Government and the various pro-government Militia in the region.

Dr. Sarwari’s photographs of the victim show a young child with pale skin and short black hair who weighed 18 Kg. The victim is severely undernourished and weighs less than 5%ile of her expected weight for age. She should be at the very least around 36 Kg. A testament to the gross negligence faced by women in Afghanistan.

Geyah (who is in hiding) overheard the parents discuss the pressure to kill the child. The mother and aunt were heard discussing the pressure being faced by the girl’s father to kill t he girl because she has brought shame to them. By this time a crowd of villagers from the girl’s home had mobbed the hospital. The girl’s aunt was found trying to sneak her out and deliver her to the mob outside. The plan was to kill her and dump her in the river.

The police deny the allegation, but considering their sympathies, many believe the police turn a blind eye to such honour crimes.

A little word about why this is a loss of honour. The girl is now unmarriable. She is broken because of a cultural emphasis on chastity. She is now a lifelong burden to the family and a reminder of dishonour. The only peace she will have is of the grave.

“The Men have to Wash their shame with blood” – Dr. Sawari

We have spoken about harassment and threats before. While in the USA the fear is that one of the myriad of threats faced by anyone posting online (more so if you are GLBT, PoC or indeed… a woman). may be a real threat. That lurking under all the bluster is a George Elliot. In Afghanistan? All threats are made by George Elliot. All of them are valid and all of them are serious.

“They call me and curse me, and threaten to kill me and my family, and say they know where I live, They say, once your American husbands leave Afghanistan, we will do what we want to you.” – Dr. Sawari

What Dr. Sawari has faced is the plight of any empowered woman in Afghanistan. Death. Empowered women are the enemy of the fundamentalist mindset. The world will end if women are powerful, that much is true. It’s just that we forget that the world that comes after is a better one. This isn’t a dear Muslimah, nor is this a “Dear AVfM, still think GWW was right about Afghanistan?” this is just about how things are in Afghanistan and the problem faced by people who oppose religious fundamentalism and a culture of silencing the victims of rape..

As of now? The victim of rape is in the cross fire of the honour of a rapist and his friends and the family. She faces death from two groups. The biggest threat to these powerful people is a 10 year old rape victim.

She finished the treatment for her fistula and was returned to her family. In this case in the UK I would have opted for institution care in a safe house followed by fostering rather than returning her to such a dangerous situation. The child was homesick but she doesn’t know the danger she faces. The police insist she is safe. So far? WAW have no idea of her safety.

“We will make you a bed of dust and soil. We will send you to the cemetery where you will be safe.” – Mother of the Victim

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  1. Pen says

    most of our ancestors were also paedophiles by the same practice

    And child brides…

    The only solution to this problem is to place the dishonour where it belongs – on men who are sometimes entitled or even abusive, but in this case, criminal. It’s a long haul.

  2. yazikus says

    “We will make you a bed of dust and soil. We will send you to the cemetery where you will be safe.” – Mother of the Victim

    How heartbreaking. How terrible. Thanks, Avi, for writing this difficult post.

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