Friday, 5 April 2013

# Afghanistan # Asia

How a brother tried to kill her sister in 'honor attack'

According to CNN News this morning

This Pakistani girl's life of misery and suffering began at the tender age of 12, when instead of going to school she was married to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She says: "My family married me off when I was 12 years old. My husband was 60. Every day he would beat me. I would cry and beg him stop. But he just kept on beating me."

When Gul told her family what was happening, they responded in a way that shocked her. "My family would hit me when I complained. They told me you belong in your husband's house -- that is your life."

After five years of abuse, Gul Meena met a young Afghan man and finally gathered the courage to leave her husband in Pakistan. In November 2012 she packed up some belongings and they made their way across the border into Afghanistan to the city of Jalalabad.

Gul knew she was committing the ultimate crime according to strict Islamic customs -- running away from her husband with another man -- but she also knew she didn't want to continue living the life she had since her marriage.

"I'd tried to kill myself with poison several times but it didn't work. I hated my life and I had to escape. When I ran away I knew it would be dangerous. I knew my husband and family would be looking for me but I never thought this would happen. I thought my future would be bright," she says.

Days later her older brother tracked them down. Armed with an ax, he hacked to death Gul Meena's friend, and then struck his own sister 15 times -- cutting open her face, head and parts of her body.

Assuming she was dead, her brother escaped back to Pakistan. Authorities are yet to catch him, but his family denies that he tried to kill Gul.

Hearing the commotion, a passer-by discovered Gul Meena lying in a pool of blood in her bed, and rushed her to the Emergency Department of Nangarhar Regional Medical Centre.

With part of her brain hanging out of her skull, neurosurgeon Zamiruddin Khalid held out little hope that the girl on his operating table would survive.

For two months Gul stayed in the hospital thanks to the generosity of doctors who donated the money to pay for her medicine. Finally the American-Afghan organization Women for Afghan Women was informed of Gul's situation and took her in, transporting her back to a shelter in Kabul to give her the love and care she so desperately needed.

"When she first came to us she couldn't talk or walk she was barely conscious -- she couldn't eat by herself. She had to wear a diaper. If we hadn't got her when we did, she wouldn't have survived," says Manizha Naderi, the executive director of Women For Afghan Women.

Gul Meena doesn't think about the future -- and in fact, she wishes she had died the day she was attacked.

"I've tried to kill myself several times since arriving at the shelter but they won't let me. When I look at the mirror I put one hand to the side of my face. People tell me not to do that ... but I'm so ashamed."

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