The Suffering of Sahar Gul

I just read a news report about a 15-year-old girl from Afghanistan that was held captive and brutally, systematically tortured for 6 months by her in-laws.  Sahar Gul has finally been freed, and is being sent to India for treatment.  Her husband is in hiding, but her mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been arrested. I’m sure, as women, they will be severely punished. Call me a cynic, but I doubt they’ll be searching too hard for her husband. He will probably just end up re-marrying some other poor girl and getting away with his crimes.

It sickens me that this kind of abuse commonly exists in parts of the world. The Taliban may no longer be in control of the government in Afghanistan, but the mindset and lack of respect for women remains. Why hasn’t the UN community worked harder to effect change?

The girl was rescued after her uncle reported the torture to local police. I’m glad he finally stepped in to help, but I wonder, what took him so long?  Are women so devalued in that society that a person would hesitate to put a stop to this level of abuse? Six months is an eternity for someone enduring this kind of agony on a daily basis.

Officials noted that this case was an extreme, one of the worst they’ve seen.  The fact that any level of abuse is deemed acceptable by a society is disturbing. According to news reports, the government rarely follows up on the abuse cases that are reported to them. I’m grateful that this young girl has finally escaped from the hell she was in, but I can’t help but think about the thousands of other Afghan women who are still suffering.

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