Beaten, Abused, and Raped By Their Families

Violence against women is a worldwide problem that sees no boundaries.

The small Central Asian state of Tajikistan is no exception. Here it is common for women to be beaten, abused, and raped by members of their own families.

A new report from Amnesty International, Violence is not just a family affair: Women face abuse in Tajikistan, estimates that one-third to one-half of women have regularly been subjected to physical, psychological, or sexual violence at the hands of their husbands or in-laws.

“Women in Tajikistan are beaten, abused, and raped in the family but the authorities tend to reflect the societal attitude of blaming the woman for domestic violence,” said Andrea Strasser-Camagni, Amnesty International’s expert on Tajikistan, in a statement. “They see their primary role as mediator, to preserve the family rather than protect the woman and to safeguard their rights.”

By placing a greater importance on preserving the “family” rather than protecting the woman, the government of Tajikistan leaves women with no where to turn for help.

Furthermore, in Tajikistan a woman’s is identity is limited to that of a wife and mother and girls often drop out of school at a young age to enter polygamous marriages. With little to no education, they become economically dependent on their husband and his family and as a result often become victim to abuse from their in-laws. For many women the humiliation of enduring violence at the hands of their own families combined with the helplessness of having no where to turn leads to suicide.

“Women are being treated as servants or as the in-laws’ family property. They have no one to turn to as the policy of the authorities is to urge reconciliation which de facto reinforces their position of inferiority,” said  Strasser-Camagni.

She adds: “By writing off violence against women as a family affair the authorities in Tajikistan are shirking their responsibility to a large part of the population. They are allowing perpetrators of such crimes to act with impunity and, ultimately, denying women their human rights.”

Amnesty’s report calls on the Tajikistan government to:

  • prevent and prosecute violence against women in the family through the introduction of an effective domestic law and nationwide support services;
  • carry out a nationwide public awareness campaign in order to address the unlawful practices of unregistered, polygamous, and early marriages;
  • remove all barriers to girls’ education and address the root causes of girls dropping out of education.

Violence against women should not be dismissed as a “private family matter” in Tajikistan or anywhere for that matter. Women have a fundamental human right to a life free from violence and it is the responsibility of governments around the world to ensure that these rights are protected. It’s time that the Tajikistan government start taking that responsibility seriously.

Photo copyright: Image from Amnesty International -


Chana B.
.8 years ago

Abo Ahmed,
I know the Prophet taught compassion, but when the church/mosque/synagogue cannot or will not control people and families allow abuse to happen, there there need to be strong laws to protect the weak.

Ian MacLeod
Ian MacLeod8 years ago

One thing more I would like to add, Abo:

الحب لا تدمر ؛ لو أنه يدمر ، فإنه ليس من الحب وكان أبدا.

"Love does not destroy; if it destroys, it is not love and never was."


Ian MacLeod
Ian MacLeod8 years ago

I will never understand those who claim to worship The Creator, and then insist on destroying people and things this Creator made and cherished. Religion becomes the excuse to do what one wants to do and put God's stamp of approval on it, but it changes nothing of what was written, or of how it was first practiced. I hope I get this right: الذهاب مع الله


Ian MacLeod
Ian MacLeod8 years ago

Abo Ahmed,

Anyone from any culture who has a little caring in him does not do such things even if he is told his religion allows it, and in some places, some who claim to be religious do allow it. These are usually very old cultures in which women have always been treated as the property of men. There are many men in the world who wish, even NEED, to feel powerful, and having power over women, especially when they are told it is given to them by God, makes even poor men feel greater, stronger, more manly. It is a poor teaching. When men and women are kept apart this way, the society loses more than half of it's wisdom, men learn little about gentleness. Islam is guilty of this is many places, and Christianity is even more so because it is older. There is wisdom in both books, and instead of forcing children to memorize the words, then telling them what those words mean (and somehow it always benefits the priests, or imams or whoever does the interpreting), people should be taught to read the words and not to twist them to mean something they do not. There are Christian, or so they call themselves, who worship a "warrior Jesus," the opposite of everything the man said and taught. Nonetheless, people have always been willing or even anxious to "kill for Christ."

I will never understand those who claim to worship The Creator, and then insist on destroying people and things this Creator made and cherished. Religion becomes the excuse to do what one wants to do and put

Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r8 years ago

Personally shocked while reading the artickle,It is terrible and unjustice, it is crime.
I voted no for family laws and I do not see it is needed, althoigh I never heard in my country permits violence for both women and men... family traditions do not allow and do not agree to violence... and if it happens which rarely with ignorate not educated couples(they are little and by time they will disappear), all families members and the family laws supports the women and blames the man for such practises...(I donot say my community is ideal but this is a fact that the man or woman practises violence they are judged by the family and if the family canot help they are reffered to court and judged.I voted no becauef we have a court

Secondly which very important ...
I disagree with all posted comments and blamming religions
Nothing written in holy bible as far as i know and never heard from christian families that violence happens,and bible does not allow it.
I n Islam Koran and Profit ( Sona and Hadith) asked the people to respect mothers and womens and there are many versus and speaches which speak about respectting women and to be treated as human being with dignity and rights...if nonreligious group ignorants does some thing they must be judged by law.
Islam asks to be copasionate with animals and who is compasionate will be forgiven and go to heaven ( Al Gana ) and who is not will be punished and go to Hill(Jahanam).I comparison asks to be human with humans.

Janine Kaczynski
janine Kaczynski8 years ago

There is more to this than meets the eye. Particularly the fact that people use sex to manipulate others.

Tammie S.
Tammie S8 years ago

Can't these women appeal to their families for help? I can't imagine a father no matter what his religion wanting to leave his daughter in a family bound by rape and abuse. I still think this is pathatic but I thought Islam did give women half the rights of men so they do have some even if still allocated unfairly can't a brother or father speak up against the abuse of a female family member?
I'm against any human violating another I just was wondering if there was a way to work with in there culture to help bring about change.

Deborah M.
Deborah M8 years ago

To Juliet:

"First, this is the most pointless poll I've ever seen.
"Raped by family members" - who, exactly? If you mean husbands rape wives, that's worldwide and sanctioned by both Islam and Christianity.

The author specifically stated 'in-laws'. What people speaking about religion fail to recognize is that there's no "ONE WAY" in any religion. They are all contructs, and change with culture. Humans use religion as a tool to create moral structure, a tool that utilizes fear of redemption as its main force.

Saying that "Christianity" or "Islam" sanctions rape is wholly untrue. Super sick men at the helm of religious institutions try to make people believe that, by creating false laws. The religion itself is not in question, it's a simple matter of who's in power, and how they maintain their power.

Monica D.
Monica D8 years ago

An excellent article. I agree completely with the statement:

"Violence against women should not be dismissed as a "private family matter" in Tajikistan or anywhere for that matter. Women have a fundamental human right to a life free from violence and it is the responsibility of governments around the world to ensure that these rights are protected."

Well said.

Tarcisio Praciano-pereira

It is difficult to add something new over all that is said above, I only want, as man, strike under, yes, with all energy this campaign to stop worldwide the violence against
the woman. Let's say that I am explaining my vote when I
make the choice that violence against the woman cannot be
considered a family question.

And there is no other way than through education of the women, so they may have a choice
between to be a pure servant in a house or to have companion for life, a real partner
to her life. Of course, in the mean time we have to denounce the governors which turn to be an accomplice of the crime of violence against the woman.