It really blows my mind when I think of the countless ways mankind has found to inflict violence against women around the world.
Acid attacks are one of the violent forms of assault that is most common in countries like Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. A recent story from Afghanistan left four women – 3 daughters and their mother – disfigured from an acid attack.
The perpetrators were after the family’s oldest daughter because her father had denied one of the men’s requests for her hand in marriage. The girl’s father said he rejected the man’s offer of marriage at the time because his daughter was too young. Forced marriage of young Afghan girls is not uncommon today which makes the father’s protection notable.
Rejected, the man and his brothers, who are suspected of being members of a local militia, broke into the house to attack the girls and their mother in revenge. The men involved in the attack have since been brought to the capital by the Interior Ministry for investigation and potential prosecution.
“The attackers defamed Afghanistan in the eyes of the world,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Sediq Sediqui. “It was the harshest violence they could ever carry out.”
He said that the Afghan police were warning “those who commit such brutal acts that they will be brought to justice at any cost.”
The Elimination of Violence Against Women law, which was passed last year, specifically prohibits chemical attacks against women. Such offenses carry a punishment of at least 10 years of imprisonment and at most life in prison.
Given the law and the ministry’s quick arrest, one would hope that the men will be adequately punished, but history has proved differently. Since Afghanistan enacted the law banning violence against women there have been 2,299 complaints of gender-motivated abuse registered with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission from March 2010 to March 2011 only 7% of those crimes have been prosecuted.
This is very unsettling. Acid attacks are a violent and inhumane form of violence against women that should be prohibited and punished under the law strictly. We have such laws for a reason; let’s make sure they are enforced so fewer women have to suffer.
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Photo credit: Photo by Sand Paper used under a Creative Commons license.