Sharp rise in violence against women in Samangan
AIBAK (Pajhwok): Some 200 incidents of violence against women took place during the ongoing solar year in northern Samangan province, showing drastic increase in crimes against females compared to last year’s incidents.
The violence against the gender increased at a time when most women still don’t have access to local human rights officials and their plight goes unreported.
Registered incidents of violence
Women’s Affairs Director Khadija Husni said 199 incidents of violence against women were registered during the first 10 months of the ongoing solar year.
They included 77 incidents of torture, 33 of domestic violence, 14 of non-payment of alimony, 10 denial of hereditary rights, three cases of murder and one incident of rape.
In addition, 16 engagements were broken, 13 women escaped from their homes, 12 women were divorced and 19 transferred to the Women’s Office for Women.
The women’s affairs director said of the 199 cases, 70 had been resolved through consultations with the Hajj and Religious Affairs Department and the provincial council and the remaining had been referred to the judicial department.
Police spokesman Mohammad Munir Rahimi said police had registered 10 incidents of violence against women so far this year and had arrested 12 individuals.
The cases included eight incidents of violence, one incident of adultery and one incident of robbery.
But an official at the appellant court of Samangan, who wished to go unnamed, said 21 incidents of violence had been registered with the attorney’s office during the ongoing year and at least 22 individuals had been arrested in this regard.
He said the incidents included 12 cases of torture, two of sexual attacks, two of adultery, one of murder, one of attempted murder, one of attempted rape, one of suicide and a single incident of harassing.
He said these cases had been referred to the court, but stopped short of going into further details.
At least 122 incident of violence against women occurred in the previous year in Samangan.
Khadija Husna, the women’s affairs director, said only those women who were aware of their rights registered their cases.
She said hundreds of women might be subjected to violence but they could not register their complaints under pressure from family members and others.
Meanwhile, Halima Khaliqi, head of the Women Office for Women, said the level of violence against women had not increased but awareness among women about their rights had increased, leading to registration of more cases.
“Thousands of women in Samangan are still unaware about their rights and they do not register their cases whenever face violence,” she added. She said the Women Office for Women was created two years ago to support women and aware them about their rights.
Khaliqi added her office had addressed 150 cases of violence against women so far and currently seven cases were being addressed.
The seven women included an 18-year-old, who was repeatedly sexually abused by her stepfather.
This scribe was not allowed to interview her in the Women Office for Women. But an official at the attorney’s office, who wished not to be named, said her stepfather had been sentenced to 16 years in jail and fined 400,000 afghanis by the primary court. He said the attorney’s office not satisfied with the verdict had moved the appellant court.
The 18-year-old woman registered her case with the Samangan police headquarter in September, 2015. At that time, she had told Pajhwok Afghan News that her stepfather was a powerful individual.
The girl and her mother had asked relevant government organs to punish the accused.
Causes of violence against women
The women’s affairs director said the prolonged war, abject poverty, illiteracy, patriarchy, increased psychological problems and negative traditions were main causes of violence against women.
She called on people to respect women and said: “Respecting women is a fundamental law in Islam, those who respect women will be rewarded based on Islam.”
A women’s rights activist, Zia Gul Nasri, also listed the continued war, poverty and non-enforcement of law as main causes of violence against women.
“When a man finds a weapon, he becomes arrogant and pressurize his family to bring them under his own control,” she said.
Nasri said law enforcement, increasing public awareness about women rights from Islamic point of view and adding the issue to the education curriculum could decrease the violence.
The violence against women remains endemic in other provinces of Afghanistan.
According to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, more than 3,600 cases of violence against women were registered in 2015 nationwide.
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