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Afghan Rape Victim Forced to Marry Rapist

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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
December 7, 2011|3:49 pm

The Afghan woman who received a presidential pardon last week after spending roughly two years in jail for committing “adultery” will marry the man who raped her, even if she “can’t look at him.”

Gulnaz was raped by a cousin’s husband a little more than two years ago. When she finally mustered up the courage to report the attack she was sent to prison over claims of adultery.

The Afghan court that saw Gulnaz's trial said that her rape accusation was impossible.

According to the court, getting pregnant on a woman’s first sexual encounter was an incredible accusation and the court determined that Gulnaz must have had a consensual sexual relationship with her violator.

She was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for her “crime.”

“I’m obliged to marry him, even though I can’t look at him,” the 19-year-old victim told NBC News.

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Gulnaz will marry her abuser in order to restore honor to her family name and she told the new agency that she does not know why she was imprisoned.

Although Afghan President Hamid Karzai offered a presidential pardon to the young woman, the pardon was based on the condition that both she and her attacker consent to marriage.

Respect for human rights has been continuously lauded as one of the victories of the post-Taliban era in Afghanistan, but in the decade since the fall of the ultraconservative militant group, access and respect for the rights of women have been both ignored and downplayed.

“While there have been improvements, the rights situation is still dominated by poor governance, lack of rule of law, impunity for militias and police, laws and policies that harm women, and conflict related abuse,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

As such, half of the women and girls that fill Afghanistan’s prisons are behind bars over “moral crimes.”

Moral crimes are crimes against culture and religion and can include anything from running away from home to something as ambiguous as bad behavior.

Although some analysts view Gulnaz's pardon as a step forward for women's rights, many more fear that women’s rights, already in a fragile and virtually non-existent state, will be compromised to ensure a 2014 international forces pull-out from the conflict-ridden country.

Compromising women's rights to ensure an end to the war in Afghanistan would leave women like Gulnaz at the mercy of a patriarchal and unjust justice system.

 

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