Afghan women seek death by fire

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    Increasing numbers of Afghan women are committing suicide by setting fire to themselves to escape difficult lives, according to NGOs based in the country.

    They say women forced into marriage or suffering chronic abuse are killing themselves out of desperation.
    Although estimates are difficult to make, one group says cases of self-immolation in the capital have doubled since last year.
    Cases are said to be reported every day in the western city of Herat.
    In Kabul, some 36 cases of self-immolation have been recorded this year.

    Forced marriage
    Delegates from countries like Bangladesh, Iran, India and Sri Lanka - which have similar female suicide rates - discussed the problem at a conference in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
    Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission chief Sima Simar told the meeting: "It [self-immolation] is the final decision for women who don't have any other way to solve their problems."
    One Afghan survivor, a 16-year-old girl, told the summit she had endured beatings from her drug-addicted husband, a man 25 years her senior and whom she was forced to marry.
    "When he did not have access to heroin and narcotics, he tortured me. After midnight he would hit me," she said.
    "That night he hit me and hit my head. Blood was coming from my nose. I asked him why he was doing it and he hit me even more."
    Following the attack, she doused herself with benzene and lit a flame. Since then she has divorced her husband and undergone a series of operations.

    'Act of frustration'
    Experts say many such women believe they have no protection from their abusers or the cultural practices that makes their lives unbearable.
    "These are young girls at their most productive ages," Ancil Adrian-Paul, a spokeswoman for NGO Medica Mondiale, told the BBC.
    "These young girls are killing themselves from frustration and because they feel that there is no way out for them."
    She said the choice of self-immolation may be influenced by the fact that many of the women sought shelter in Iran, where the practice is more common.
    Campaigners say illiteracy and an incompetent justice system contribute to women deciding to take their own lives, because they can see no way out of their problems.
    Women and girls are also often given away to settle conflicts in the country. A recent Human Rights Watch report said many gains made by women since the fall of the Taleban had since been reversed.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghan women seek death by fire

    Published: 2006/11/15 10:05:20 GMT

    © BBC MMVI
  2. I feel so bad for these women. They live in a Country where they have no rights and no help. I would kill myself too if it meant escape from a forced marriage/beatings etc. How desperate they must be to actually be able to light themselves on fire! It's heartbreaking!! These men deserve to be shot in the face. I'm not kidding.
    This makes me feel very lucky to have been born where I was, because fate could have brought all of us somewhere else.
  3. How awful, to have no other way out except a slow, painful death. :crybaby:
  4. How sad:sad:

    That would be a horrific way to die.
  5. I feel sorry for these women but couldn't they find a "better" way.
    I know that probably isn't the word to use but.....
  6. That is so sad.....poor people.....:sad:
  7. besides the poor-to-no education and illiteracy factor, lack of real choices, etc., they probably chose to suicide that way because they felt like they were in hell (i say this with all seriousness). this is really awful.:sad:
  8. This is really sad. Hard to believe we live in 2006 and things like this are still happening.