Kabol, Afghanistan — I want to share my insights with you and all people around the world. I realised how marginalized women are in most of the countries in the world, but this is very painful that children pay a high price for being a girl even in childhood. This is not acceptable in the context of human rights.
I am a researcher on women’s issues in Afghanistan, and I go around the country to find out how women are suffering as a result of their gender and being seen as inferior human beings in the Afghan cultural context.
Last month I was in a province in the southeast of Afghanistan. I met several women and discussed their lives and problems. I figured out how their rights are massacred under the shadow of men’s ignorance.
I met an old woman who introduced me to her daughter-in-law. A child of 7 or 8 years stood in front of me. I asked the old woman who is she? The old woman confirmed it was her daughter-in-law. I found a thin, depressed child dressed as a newly wed bride. I felt a harsh pain in my heart and I couldn’t stop my tears flowing down my face.
I requested to talk to the girl in private. I asked her: “Do you know you are married?” She said, “I was sold at R.s 5 Lacs by my father who is a preacher of the village to a 40-year-old man as his third wife.” I was shocked to hear such words from a child. She pleaded with tears in her eyes to convey her message to everyone out there and I promised her to do so.
This is her message to all:
We people call ourselves human and many of us are proud to be Muslims, but please bring me a verse of our sacred and holy book, which recommends selling of your daughter of 8 years when you are hungry.
The man I am married has the same age as my father. It is very hard for me to accept and fulfil his desires. I often don’t understand what he says, so he beats me a lot.
His mother and his other two wives torture me and say that if I was a good girl my father wouldn’t have sold me. But where is my fault? That my father sold me because he had nothing to eat and because I am a girl?
I ask all you parents, if you can’t feed your children, why do you bring them to this world and make them suffer without sin? I wish my mother had killed me after I was born rather than giving me this life that I am having now.
You people out there, please do something for us, for poor children, and save the innocent souls from such oppressions. Please educate future fathers, to provide equal opportunities for their children because God has given the same rights to sons and daughters.
Our religion commands believers to feed, educate and care for their children until they are adults. Please provide job opportunities for our mothers so that they can be among income earners at home and gain the right to make decisions.
I also want to tell religious preachers and guides to please learn and understand for yourselves what religion says and then teach others.
This was all she said. I know some will not believe that a girl of that age said all these things but believe it because these words have been spoken from the heart of an innocent victim, who has paid a high price for being a girl.
I hereby convey her message to you all since I have promised her that I will disseminate her message to all in the world as far as I can and I request you all to support me in this responsibility and publish or convey her message wherever you can. These are the words of a child in the real role of a woman at age 8.