The Afghan government has drafted new rules which would severely harm women who are the victims of domestic violence and greatly impede their ability to leave their abusers. Local women’s shelters run by Afghan women would be turned over to the control of the government and subjected to new misogynistic rules. Women for Afghan Women writes:
The government of Afghanistan has recently introduced a bill that wrests control of women’s shelters in Afghanistan from the local Afghan women’s NGOs that have founded and run them, and transfers that control to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA). This bill could become the law of the land ANY DAY NOW.
If this bill becomes law:
Women and girls seeking shelter will be required to plead their case before an eight-member Government panel, including conservative members of the Supreme Court and Ministry of Justice. This panel will determine whether a woman needs to be in a shelter or should be sent to jail or returned to her home (and her abuser).
Women will have to undergo “forensic” exams (virginity tests) to determine whether they have had sex and therefore committed adultery. The tests are medically invalid.
Once admitted to a shelter, women will be forbidden to leave. Their shelter will become their prison. If any family member comes to claim her, even her abuser, she will be handed over to that person, in most cases to be subjected to the harshest retribution for shaming the family.
I can’t add much more than what has already been said, but this is a horrifying assault on women’s rights, and it would result in making countless victims far less safe than they already are. It needs to be stopped, and women need to remain in control of their own organizations and their own lives.
Women for Afghan Women has a petition to save the women’s shelters. Please take a moment to click through and sign.
Thanks to Claire for the link