UN Study Declares Violence against Women a Widespread Problem in Afghanistan
A new report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is shedding light on the extent of violence against women in Afghanistan. Uncounted and Discounted is based on over 1,300 incidences of violence against Afghan women between January 2003 and June 2005. Among the main conclusions of the report are that women are subjected to physical and psychological violence, often from an early age, and that neither employment, education levels, or marital status determines who will be victimized.
Intimate partners are often the abuser and often act “with impunity,” as there are few repercussions, either legally or within families. Furthermore, Afghan women who are suffering violence at the hands of family members often have nowhere to turn to for support. The report suggests that while further research is necessary to understand the full extent of violence against women, the state must step in immediately to provide support to those against whom acts of violence are committed.
Meanwhile, a resurgence of the Taliban in recent months has brought an increase in militia bombings, burnings of girls' schools, and the killing of teachers. Under the Taliban regime, education for Afghan women and girls was banned. Attacks on girls' schools began immediately following the reopening of the schools by the new Afghan government in 2002, but the current situation has reached crisis proportions, undermining the rights that Afghan women and girls were just beginning to enjoy.