Some women have a hell of a nerve

Just in case you missed this – Afghan woman is killed ‘for giving birth to a girl’:

A woman in north-eastern Afghanistan has been arrested for allegedly strangling her daughter-in-law for giving birth to a third daughter.

The murdered woman’s husband, a member of a local militia, is also suspected of involvement but he has since fled.

Senior officials told the BBC that the mother-in-law, known as Wali Hazrata, tied the feet of the 22-year old woman, who was known as Stori, while Stori’s husband strangled her.

He is thought to be a fighter with an illegal armed militia which is is believed to have some political support. Local villagers say that Stori often urged her husband to lay down his arms.

“She lived in a hell not a house. But then she also asked her husband to stay home and avoid going out with these thugs,” one neighbour who wished to remain anonymous told the BBC.

Those three girls are in for a nice life.


  1. says

    So the husband fails to contribute a Y chromosome, baby is female, wife is blamed (and murdered).

    It just keeps rolling around in my head, ‘if only the education were better, the misogyny could improved and then the education could get better so that the…’

    How does it ever even start to get better?

  2. steve oberski says

    Today on the CBC radio morning show an Iman and a representative of an Afghan women’s group were interviewed on the sentences passed down in the Shafia “honour” killings case and both claimed that violence against women was in no way a part of the Afghan culture or the religion of Islam.

    They both seemed to reserve their outrage for the bad press Islam was getting and seemed quite unconcerned over the actual murders.

  3. says

    I can’t begin to imagine the nightmarish home life this woman must have had with such a worm for a husband. Her murder is sickening.

    I’m relieved that her story has at least made global headlines, but how many more women are abused and killed in that part of the world, whose names we’ll never know?

  4. Dorothy says

    My apologies for being off topic, but here in Canada we have been paying attention to an “honour killing”. The Toronto Star has been carrying the ball.
    The charged individuals have been found guilty today. And, facing the editorial page this article:–atheists-should-make-more-noise
    Who’da known?
    But, then, we are Canadians, and certain things don’t get talked about – your sex life, your pay-cheque, and your religon.

  5. says

    Dorothy says:

    “But, then, we are Canadians, and certain things don’t get talked about – your sex life, your pay-cheque, and your religon.”

    That is a wild generalization, and even if it were true that Canadians don’t talk about religion, they certainly see signs of peoples religious affiliation everywhere.

    The first 13 minutes of today’s “Connect with Mark Kelley” are instructive. The social worker and activist that Mark Kelly interviews wants the government to take measures to prevent crimes committed in the name of religion, but she doesn’t mention what religious leaders should do.

  6. michaeld says

    3 girls that’s 3 fertilizations so 1/2^3 so really 1 in 8 women will give birth to 3 girls…. lets hope they aren’t killing an eighth of their women >.>

  7. Hamilton Jacobi says

    Why do the BBC and other media organizations never mention X and Y chromosomes when reporting such stories? What a waste of a good opportunity for education.

  8. Rudi says

    Is there any mechanism whatsoever to get these poor children into protective care? Can amnesty international do anything at all? I can’t live with the thought of kids growing up in such a living hell their whole lives. Hell, I’d be happy to adopt them if it’s possible (seriously).

  9. Brian says

    So the husband fails to contribute a Y chromosome, baby is female, wife is blamed (and murdered).
    Ok, missing an important, though factually false, belief here.
    Mohammed, be upon him whatever deserves to be upon him, in his genius revelations, regurgitated the ideas known from the Greeks and one of them was that both the male and female contributes something like sperm and the stronger, after a tussle, decided the sex. It’s no worse than the borrowed idea, also from the Greeks, that sperm comes from the spine. So, if you have 3 girls, you’re basically saying that your husband has weak sperm and is not a man. There goes his ‘imaginary’ honor, and her real life….

  10. says

    Rudi, they will grow up being taught that their mother was evil and deserved to die. Not just them but their playmates and everyone in their extended family will agree. For most people psychological escape would be impossible and even if they manage this, physical escape is virtually impossible. So each of them may end up as the mother who helps her son strangle his wife. This is the reality of such societies.

    This is part of the reason why I am not a secularist. Religion does not deserve the privilege of being able to hide behind a “wall of separation.”

  11. oeditor says

    I’ve heard of the male/female sperm thing, but in the main I think “Islamic science” relies on:
    “Man we did create from a quintessence of clay. Then we placed him as a drop of sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; then we made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot we made a lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. (23:12-14)”
    No mention of competing sperm and certainly not of ova. So it’s the bloke wot did it (or, rather, didn’t). They strangled the wrong one.

  12. says

    All this stuff about chromosomes etc is irrelevant. Suppose we discovered a planet on which there were beings almost the same as us, one of the differences being that in their case the ovum not the sperm determined the sex of the offspring. Would it be OK for them to kill women for not giving birth to sons?

  13. peterh says


    The people you’re aiming at are not capable of abstract reasoning. “Shoe on the other foot” for them is not a rhetorical device and would confuse them utterly.

  14. Marta says

    Story makes me ache. Not the first time.

    Many days, it’s painful to read your stuff, Ophelia. But if you can keep writing about these horrors, I can keep reading.

    I mean to be encouraging and grateful; I’m making a mess of it.

  15. eric says

    Even in the urban US, sexism when it comes to girl babies persists (though obviously with less murder). I talked to a nurse that did sonograms on pregnant women, and she had some real horror stories about people’s reactions. The men storming out. The (pregnant) women storming out. Both parents refusing to speak to her. The men screaming at the women. The women agreeing they did a horrible thing. Just awful.

  16. Godless Heathen says

    eric – That’s awful. I can’t believe that happens still in the U.S. I’d like to have kids some day, but I’m glad that I’ve never really cared about their gender. I mean, I’d prefer to have a boy and a girl, but really, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t…

  17. says

    Well…the mother-in-law has been arrested, and the husband flew the coop, so…there’ll have to be someone else to raise those girls. The article doesn’t say anything about the missing husband’s father. Presumably he’s already died.

    So: any news on who’ll raise the three daughters? I like to picture them being adopted the heck out of Afghanistan, but let’s be realistic here.

  18. Brian says


    According to Ibn Kathir, the first Muslims understood S. 86:5-7 to be referring to the sexual fluid provided by both the man and the woman in producing a child. This implies that the first Muslims believed that women contributed actual sperm necessary in determining the characteristics of a child.

    The hadiths provide additional proof that both Muhammad and his followers did in fact assume that a child’s characteristics along with its gender was the direct result of the sperm contributed by both the male and the female. Muhammad declared, ”

  19. Amy Clare says

    Eric, that’s really sad but I can believe it, one or two pregnant friends of mine have confided to me worries about their male partner’s reaction if their baby turns out to be a girl, as the men would prefer sons and would be ‘disappointed’ (charming) with daughters.

  20. eric says

    I think everyone has preferences. I think it would be unrealistic to say that ‘equality’ would require that we don’t. We’re human, we’re going to. I wanted twins. Didn’t get them. Does that make me twinnist?

    So, I would not be too hard on those men for suffering some disappointment – just as I wouldn’t be too hard on anyone that wanted a girl and was momentarily disappointed to learn they are having a boy.

    I think that its how you handle the result that has more to do with sexism. Do you quickly get over your disappointment and love the child exactly as you would your ‘first choice?’ Or does it impact everything from pre-natal care to college funding?

    The yelling, blaming, etc… are indicators to me that the child may be in for a rough time. A momentary frown followed by a big smile is probably not such an indicator.

  21. Godless Heathen says


    I think yelling and blaming type reactions are what Amy’s friends are worried about.

    That’s also the disturbing part. Clearly, momentary disappointment that doesn’t affect the parent’s love for the child is much different.

  22. kim says

    Eric, the woman who did my ultrasound told me people get upset as well. I was shocked! When we found out we were having a boy, my husband confided in me that he kind of wanted a “daddy’s little girl”. We are both totally in love with our son though, but yes, people do have preferences..

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