Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Violence against Women Roots in Cultural and Ideological Approaches

Violence against women has been rife in Afghanistan. The fundamental rights of women and their dignity are violated in some ways. Women are still restricted. The patriarchal system and tribal code of conduct hold strong sway in Afghanistan. A number of people seek to curtail the social and political role of women.
To view from the lens of religious hard-liners, women are inferior to men. Their role should be restricted within the four walls. That is, women should not engage in social and political affairs. They are not entitled similar to men and their liberties need to be curtailed. Meanwhile, women have to wear hijab and come out with their male chaperons, similar to those in Saudi Arabia.
The Taliban also practice upon fundamental ideology and approach women with misogynistic mindset. The Taliban treat women as pariahs and seek to restrict their role. From Taliban’s perspective, women should not be involved in social, political and economic activities. In Taliban-dominated areas, women are not allowed to go to school or work for the advocacy of their rights and freedoms. Moreover, women are punished in desert courts.
There also rules a conservative mindset towards women in the Afghan society. Women are bound in cultural restrictions and social taboos. For instance, based on Afghan culture, women need to be obedient to their husbands, do the household chores, speak softly, be patient to the ill-practices and misbehavior of their husbands and members of their families, and deem themselves inferior to their spouses. In short, the way of women’s walking and talking have to be different to those of their husbands. They should not often go to bazaar or walk on the street.
After all, violence against women is practiced to a great extent in the Afghan society. Women are discriminated on the grounds of their gender both at home and in public places. A large number of men treat women harshly, trample upon their dignity and punish them physically. They do not deem women as mankind, with inherent rights and dignity.
Meanwhile, women are harassed sexually on the streets and public places simply for the basis of their gender. Recently, reports about violence against women make the headlines in national media. Women still suffer domestic and social violence as a result of negative cultural traditions as well as tribal code of conduct.
In the post-Taliban administration, Afghan Constitution was approved to entitle women equally as men, eliminate violence and sexual discrimination, promote cultural values, and change the mindset of the public towards women. Constitutionally, there should be no sexual discrimination, and women should be able to play their social and political role similar to that of men. Marginalization of women has no room in the Constitution.  Meanwhile, Afghanistan has endorsed the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which strongly forbid violence and sexual discrimination. Both men and women should be treated equally and be able to exercise their rights and liberties without any discrimination. Men and women are born free with rights and dignity. It is self-explanatory that if women be able to play their social, political, cultural, and economic role, the society will promote to a great extent. On the contrary, if cultural traditions and social taboos restrict women’s freedoms and curtail their role, the society will remain backward. With this in mind, women should not be discriminated. Meanwhile, sexual harassment and domestic violence against women have to come to an end. There should be no honor-killing and women need to be able to exercise their rights and freedoms without being discriminated. Furthermore, the government, in addition to empowering women and conducting awareness programs about their rights and freedoms, has to enforce law and prosecute those who are involved in violence against women or sexual harassment. If law is enforced properly, criminal cases against women is believed to decrease and the graph of violence against them will decline. If corruption within the judicial system comes to an end, women will take the cases of violence to the courts and complain about the violators of their rights and dignity. Hence, the government has to build trust between the judicial system and victims of violence and discrimination. So, corruption and lack of law enforcement challenge protection of women’s rights and freedoms.
The public mindset also needs to change through spreading awareness about women’s rights and dignity. Subjects about women’s rights need to be included in school and university syllabus so that the legal knowledge of students be increased regarding women’s rights and status.