Hundreds of Rape Victims and Abused Afghan Women Jailed for “Moral Crimes”


Women who survive rape and domestic abuse face both extreme physical and emotional turmoil. For women in Afghanistan enduring this violence and fleeing for a better life often means imprisonment.

According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, “I Had to Run Away,” hundreds of Afghan women have been jailed for “moral crimes” like running away from abusive or forced marriages or fleeing after being rape, kidnapped or forced into prostitution.

Women who have sex outside of marriage known as “zina”– even when they are forced to – are considered to have committed adultery which is also a “moral crime” that leads to arrest and imprisonment.

Judges often convict women who cannot read or write without the presence of a lawyer which makes their “confessions” problematic.

The stories of the women and young girls imprisoned are tragic.

Take for example, Aisha, 20-years-old, who was sentenced to three years in prison for running away from a physically abusive man whom her father forced her to marry as a second wife. “I just want a divorce,” she says. “I can’t go back to my father because he will kill me. All my family has left me behind.”

With a husband who beats her and a family who has disowned her, for Aisha there is no going back.

Aisha is not alone. So many of the women and young girls who are imprisoned have nowhere to turn. Running away was their means of survival. Now in prison they must carry out sentences – some as long as 10 or more years – for “crimes” they committed to save themselves.

“It is shocking that 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban, women and girls are still imprisoned for running away from domestic violence or forced marriage,” said Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

It is shocking. It’s time for women’s rights to become a priority in Afghanistan.

What do you think about women being imprisoned for “moral crimes”?


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Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB


John G.
Richie Pilopilas6 years ago

This is a message to AMERICA. If you invade a country, you do not free it from it's grippling politics, or dictators, your to free it from unequality. What a pointless war to start, to use the slogan for ensuring peace and liberty, yet take the liberty only to bring destruction into another homeland, yet more chaos into the cauldron of whirlpool, freedom is ensured by law and right, not by a gun, and I'm yet to understand the red white and blue ideal that is fading from it's true meaning. That's another war lost, another one to be found.

Brenda W.
Brenda W.6 years ago
I just started this on and I'm looking for advice on where to go with it...any suggestions

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


Sasha M.
Past Member 6 years ago

Makes me sick.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Any funds directed to countries like Afganistan should be earmarked. To get the money, they should sign a pledge to defend women and enforce it. If not, take the money away till they comply. Women consists of more than half the world's population. That is more than 3,5 billion individuals that have the same rights as men, but in most cases are treated worse than livestock. This has to stop. NOW!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

so sad it makes me physically ill

Melania Padilla
Melania P7 years ago

Sick of these kind of stories... They make me so sad and so mad!
Hope they burn in hell, sorry guys.

Lori E.
Lori E7 years ago

ugh, I feel so bad for the women that live in the Middle East.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A7 years ago

US had their man in power for over a decade. Their forces have been treading the land and destroying houses, crops and lives ever since. Their intellectuals (Bushes, Channies, Ramsfelds) have come and gone.

What did they change???

More rapes now than ever, more drugs, more killings and all under the gazes of the world.

TELL KARZAI TO STOP THIS NON SENSE AND BRING SOME HUMANITY TO THE PEOPLE (instead of looking after his own and US interests)

Bruce Dame
Bruce Dame7 years ago

Rana, I'm sorry, but I don't know who AFP is. Enlighten me?