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‘Mother sold me to 94-years-old man for 100,000 afs’

‘Mother sold me to 94-years-old man for 100,000 afs’

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On
Dec 31, 2016 - 17:49

KABUL (Pajhwok): A 20-year-old woman, who is married to a 99-year-old man, says she has been suffering from mental illness and is worried about her and her children’s future.

Hailing from Nijrab district of central Parwan province, she was 14 years old when she was married to the old man in southeastern Khost province. His two other wives had died and has around 20 grandchildren.

The woman who provided her name as Zakia told Pajhwok Afghan News: “My husband is now 100-year-old. He is bed-ridden and in terrible health condition and when I think about her death, I fall to the ground and become unconscious.”

“On return to senses, I see myself in terrible condition and signs of self-inflicted torture on my body,” said Zakia, who looked sad and tired.

She got married at a young age of 14 and she knew nothing about marital life and never thought about her future. “But now there is no way out and I have to accept it.” “I don’t want to marry someone young because in our society widows are not allowed to get another marriage.”

The mother of two sons and a daughter, when asked why she did not marry a young man, said she never thought about marriage and it was her mother who sold her to the old man for 100,000 afghanis.

She said her father had died and her mother had married another person. She has a sister and four brothers who never knocked at her home’s door to inquire after her.

She said her mother, after her second marriage, gave birth to two daughters and three sons and cut off relations with her.

Zakia, now 20, said when her husband fell sick, his sons accused her of not taking proper care of their elderly father.  She said her husband was bronchial asthma patient and needed oxygen every night.

Shams Rahman Farotan, a religious scholar, said injustice had been committed to the girl who was 14 and her husband 94 at the time of their marriage.

He said her husband might not survive for a long time and would die soon, but the girl might not be allowed to decide about her future and would be married to another man in the same family.

The religious scholar cited a hadith: “Harming yourself or others is against the teaching of Islam.”  He said forced marriages destroyed lives and Sharia required the consent of girl and her father in marriage.

Najibullah Babrakzai, child rights coordinator at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHR), said adult age was 18 in national and international laws while girls were married in Afghanistan before the age of 16 and for boys 18

He said nobody could force a girl or a boy into marriage if they were under 18 years of age and were not agreed to the union.

The article 71st of the civil law says: “When the girl does not complete the age provided under Article 70 of this law--which is 16, the marriage may be concluded only through her father or the competent court. The marriage of a minor girl whose age is less than 15 shall never be permissible.”

Ghanizada, about inheritance rights of women after husband’s death, said: “The woman is entitled to inheritance in both the inheritance law and the civil law.”

According to inheritance law, when a husband dies and leaves behind wife and children, the wife takes eighth part of legacy but when there is no child the wife then takes sixth part of the husband’s legacy, he added. 

Third chapter Article 33rd of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW), says: “A person who denies a woman her inheritance, in addition to restoring her legal share, he/she shall be sentenced to short term imprisonment not exceeding one month.”

Meanwhile, the 34th article of the EVAW says, “A person who possesses personal property of a woman or prevents her from acquiring it, based on the circumstances he/she shall be sentenced to short term imprisonment not exceeding 3 months and the property shall be given back to her.”

Ghanizada said if wife, daughter or sister were denied their rights, they could approach the legislation department of the Justice Ministry or the rights’ department of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Shohla Farid, a women’s rights activist, said the main issue of women in Afghanistan was that they were considered inferior. Men considered women as their property and denied them the rights what the men enjoyed themselves. “Even God-granted rights of women are not respected.”

She said in most cases women were not permitted to decide about fate and were married without considering their age.

She said age 16 was minimum age for girls and 18 for boy to get married under EVAW law. She said it was a great injustice to give in marriage a 14-year-old girl to a 94-year- old man.

Farid said for getting rid of the problem, literacy and awareness level of women should be increased.

Another issue of women in Afghanistan is cultural restrictions. Afghan women are unaware of their rights and men do not recognize their rights and dignity that result in crimes against women. Denial of inheritance to women is an obvious manifestation of this reality.

Sharafuddin Azimi, psychology professor at the Education Faculty of Kabul University, said age of girl and boy before wedding was an essential issue which needed serious attention.

“Whenever the age of woman during wedlock is three years lower than the husband, the emotional growth of wife in this situation is faster compared to the husband,” he said.

He said a man at the age of 23 could comfortably marry a girl aged 20, because the couple from emotional, moral and social point of view were well grown and their union could result in a prosper family.

“When a girl at 14 weds a man at 94, the social relationship between them and their sexual characters don’t match at all. And we cannot call such wedding a family; this connection could be termed a cruel relationship.”

Psychologists believe if the age difference is larger, then a parental and maternal relationship occurs. For example, if the age difference is 10 or 20 years, the couple actually doesn’t have a sense of spouse.

They believe the relationship between the 20-year-old girl and the 100-year-old man is like a father and a daughter.

They say if girls are married before 20 years of age, their children are born twins and in bad shape. The girls couldn’t rear children properly, children die and born with health related complications. 

nh/sns/ma

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