Her Own Words
The Taliban dramatized for the world that women around the world are too often victims and survivors of egregious human rights violations and abuses. Violence against women is pervasive throughout the world. Approximately one in three of the world’s women will experience violence in her lifetime, with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries. The World Health Organization estimates that globally one woman in five will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. And in Africa, it is estimated that one in three women will be raped in her lifetime.
Amnesty International has found that discrimination is a root cause of violence and that impunity perpetuates violations and abuses. The Treaty for the Rights of Women can be a useful tool to reduce violence and discrimination against women and girls, ensure girls and women receive the same access as boys and men to education and health care, and secure basic legal recourse to women and girls against violations and abuses of their human rights.
following are excerpts of statements made by Afghan women who fled the
Taliban's gender apartheid rule and compiled
by the Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid
woman who was a teenager when the Taliban took control of her village:
"The Taliban's rule in Afghanistan has been the most terrifying
experience in my life. I remember with fear that day in 1995 when the
Taliban took over my city, and life for women forever changed. I remember
the day that I was forced to wear the burqa, the day schools were closed
to women, the day learning and work became forbidden to women, and darkness
engulfed the lives of all women living in Afghanistan. I remember that
I was beaten by the Taliban for going to the public bath and the day
women in my city demonstrated against the closing of public baths and
schools. The Taliban retaliated by murdering ten of those women and
arresting forty others, who since that day have not been seen."
Afghan woman beaten by the Taliban:
"During the first week of the Taliban's capture of Kabul,
friends and neighbors helped my family with shopping because I only
had sisters and no brothers and my father was dead. One day I decided
to go for shopping alone because my neighbors could no longer help with
our shopping. I wore a long dress and covered my face and head with
the chador. I went shopping for food at a market near my home. When
I arrived at the market I was approached by a man with a long beard,
a black turban, a gun on his shoulder, and a long stick in his hand.
This man was Taliban. He asked me why I was out alone and who else was
with me. When he saw that there was no man with me, I immediately tried
to explain that I had no man in my house and that my family was without
food to eat. The Talib would not listen to my explanations. He began
to beat me with his stick as he shouted at me to go home and leave here.
My entire body ached from the bruises and slashes of the stick.
Afghan woman who escaped a Taliban death decree:
"The Taliban's take over of Afghanistan affected women more
than any other sector of Afghan society. Women suffer in Afghanistan
because they are forced to abandon their social lives and live as prisoners
in their own homes. Women suffer in Afghanistan because they no longer
have their freedom of movement, freedom to work, freedom to be educated
and the right to live free from violence. Widows, often times, are the
sole providers for their families and suffer even more because of the
Taliban's edicts that outlaw women's employment. Women watch their children
suffer from malnutrition, disease, and even death. Women in Afghanistan
suffer from war crimes because they are raped, murdered, trafficked,
kidnapped, and forced to marry against their will."
Following is a statement by Meme Isaac, a client of the Tahirih Justice
Center, Falls Church, VA:
name is Meme Isaac. I am a Nigerian citizen, Christian by religious
affiliation, and a secretary by profession.
community in Nigeria believes that if a girl is not circumcised, she
will have loose morals, she will bring dishonor upon her family, and
be unable to find a husband. (Circumcision) is performed by tribal elders
in small villages in the most dangerous and merciless conditions. No
anesthesia is permitted, no antiseptic is allowed, and no antibiotics
are used. The instruments used - a dirty, rusty knife, razor or broken
glass - are not sterilized.
me, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has meant excruciating pain, miscarriages,
and other numerous health complications. For my sister, it meant death
as a young child. For my aunt, it meant death from complications related
to her mutilation during a pregnancy. For my cousin, it also meant death.
is just one of the many forms of violence against women that exist in
the world today. It is my culture's manifestation of the inequality
of women and men, but all cultures around the world have their own manifestations
of the subjugation of women. Women have been the most consistently and
extremely oppressed group throughout the world's history.
is time to change that. It is time for humanity to evolve and to enable
the two distinct wings of women and men to be equally strong, so that
together, they may fly towards the apex of prosperity. The international
community must unite in its voice of opposition to the subjugation of
United States must be a part of the chorus supporting women in their
struggle for equality. Without the United States' ratifying the Convention
on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the United States
will fail to fulfill its potential to lead the world spiritually in
doing what is right and just. Rather, it will lag behind, along with
Afghanistan and Sao Tome, in failing to formally recognize the rights
have faith that the United States will, eventually, do the right thing
and take its rightful place in the world as the upholder of the rights
of the downtrodden. It must. It must for the sake of its own dignity
and for the protection of women throughout the world."