Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 28th, 2020

Violence Against Women by Women

In the traditional structure of Afghan society, the bulk of the violence Afghan women suffer is believed to be imposed by themselves. Within the families, Afghan women adopt offensive approach towards one another.
Since a large number of Afghan women lack education, they are busy with household chores such as washing, cooking, and cleaning. Meanwhile, Afghans live in extended families with a number of female members. Women start skirmish over banal issues such as breaking a cup, staining a carpet, and burning food. Those women, who are involved in daily chores within the families, think at the level of walls surrounding them. Their strong claim to fame is not to let water be spilt on a carpet, not let a child walk on it with their dirty feet, and so on. The question may arise is how do all these relate to violence against women.
Almost all women, within a house, argue with one another over these little issues and use the harshest and most sarcastic words against each other. They create the most painful wounds in the hearts of each other and fill their opponents with an outpouring of anger and grief. In some cases, their arguments lead to physical fight and injuries, their divorce, and fragmentation of families.
The legal bigamous system in the country, compounds violence against women. For instance, the two women, who are married to a single person, exercise strong hostility against each other. Mostly, they view each other as sworn enemies. Meanwhile, those women treat their stepdaughters with great cruelty as I have witnessed. That is, they make their stepdaughters do the most backbreaking chores from dawn to dusk. Moreover, those women make their stepdaughters marry to anyone even in early ages. In other words, those girls who have stepmothers are prone to violence, underage marriages, and marriages to elderly men and sometimes even addicted individuals, which will generate further violence within families.
In some families, mainly in villages and tribal areas, mothers-in-law are the ruler of the families and their daughters-in-law have to obey them in all cases. Disobedience to mothers-in-law will be deemed a disrespect and ensue harsh punishment, which is also a clear example of violence against women by women.
Since women are busy within the four walls of their families, they exercise burning jealousy towards each other, mainly if they are married to a single man. Smoldering with jealousy, women simply start fighting and using foul and sarcastic languages against each other. They insult each other and trample upon each other’s rights and dignity.
If women seek to mitigate violence against themselves, they have to respect the rights and dignity of their peers and stop revenging each other over little issues out of jealousy. I know a woman who sustained the harshest violence by her peer, and a girl who was mentally tortured by her stepmother on day-to-day basis.
It should be noted that these issues are strongly linked to culture and not reported. It will be extremely weird to see that a girl complain against her stepmother for her cruel acts. Meanwhile, judicial organs are least likely to pursue such cases. In Afghanistan, it still seems an iconoclastic move if a girl or woman sues a case in judicial organs. In other words, if a girl or woman reports a case of violence to the media or sues against her peer’s cruelty, her life will be in danger since it will be viewed tantamount to threatening the image of the entire family.
Doing research in this case is highly difficult since women do not tend to disclose the issue. They deem the violence and harsh acts of their peers as private case.
The advocates of women’s rights and the organizations who seek to empower women do not consider this aspect of the issue.
With this in mind, it is really hard to mitigate violence against them in the traditional structure of the society.
It is believed that educating women, creating jobs for housewives, and establishing schools in remote places, where all women could have access to education, will be crucial in mitigating violence against them. Their horizons should be broadened through educational programs and awareness so that they could think beyond the surrounding walls and areas of their houses. That is, if women are aware of their rights and get education, they will respect the rights and dignity of one another.
Considering the abovementioned facts, it is wrong to attribute all violence against women to men. Seemingly, women themselves are large, if not the main, violators of their rights and dignity, which has not been reported or viewed.