June 10th, 2010
03:40 PM ET

Shelter tries to help abused child brides

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2010/06/10/robertson.afghan.child.brides.cnn"%5D

In disturbing video images, a 14-year-old girl is purportedly being flogged. She is alleged to have run away from a forced marriage in a remote village.

Just as disturbing to Dr. Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission? "The other sad part I have to say was the reaction of the people," she says. "The lack of sensitivity of the people."

The video was given to Samar's Human Rights Commission. She says police promised her they'd prosecute the man, but so far nothing despite the country's laws that ban not just forced marriages but matrimony for girls under 16.

Many men, Samar says, including some government officials just don't get it.

"They still think that women is the property of the men and they should be treated how they want," she explains.

Samar was Afghanistan's first government Minister for women but was pushed aside for being too outspoken. Little has changed since then.

"It's 8 years," she says. "We have new system in the country and new government in the country; they should have been more pro-active on these issues."

But the central government has a lot of political issues to deal with, primarily making peace with the Taliban, and needs support from the conservative outer provinces.

No one has an exact figure exactly how many girls are forced into marriage. Estimates vary as high as 60 percent or more and attitudes here are so engrained that one government minister was recently reported as saying shelters that try to help these girls and women are an evil.

At one shelter in Kabul, they deal with the fallout of these everyday attitudes about women.

"Since January alone we've had 115 cases of forced or underage marriages," says Manizha Naderi, with the Women for Afghan Women organization who runs the shelter. 

Sukaini is typical of the recent cases. She is 15 years old now but was 13 when her family forced her to marry her 45-year-old cousin.

She says that her husband shaved her head and threatened to kill her and drop her body in a well. So she says she ran away.

Sukaini is one of the lucky ones. The shelter is helping her get a divorce. She says she doesn't want to marry again, but just get the education she never had.

But even at this shelter, not everyone can be helped.

One of the newest arrivals is a 15-year-old girl who ran away from a forced marriages. Within hours of arriving at the shelter, several parliamentarians called the shelter to demand she sent back to her family. At the shelter, though, they fear if they do that, she'll be killed.

Police put her in a juvenile detention facility for some time, but prosecutors authorized her return to the shelter as of now.

But the shelter's problems are only just beginning.

"The family has said that they are definitely going to take her back and that means even if they have to bring the whole province to stage a demonstration in front of our doors they'll do it," says Naderi. "... We have about 60 women in our shelter right now and 22 children. So it's not just her safety - I have all these other people to worry about as well."

The shelter is powerless, no one to defend them. In the city as in the countryside, she says, too many people sit back and do nothing. And that's all it takes.

• Here are some organizations helping women that are part of CNN's Impact Your World project:
Women for Afghan Women 
Women for Women International
Vital Voices Global Partnership

Related: Afghan widows struggle for survival
Related: 'Shaming' her in-laws costs 19 year old her nose, ears
Related: Officials say numbers of child brides in Iraq growing

soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. JACKSON

    trolls??? religions??? whatever..but when you're ignorant and know no better than what has been 'accepted' for the last centuries, you can't blame a country or a religion or a person. A few of you posting have got it right. It's education, pure and simple. But for a society that for the most part is isolated and uneducated and been at war for generation after generation, it will take many, many years for the Afghans to reach what you or I might consider a civilized level of society. This is a societal matter that time and education can overcome, but only if and when the Taliban are defeated or killed, as they continue to convey this way of life as the way to leads one life. They, the Taliban, are messengers from hell itself.

    June 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry

    rational chick, obviuosly you are the one who has not read the Quran and does not know history of Islam. Mohammad married a six year old girl. She was NOT an orphan. As a matter of fact, the girl's father, Abu Bakr, became the leader of muslims after Mohammad dies. He basically sold her daughter to secure his power.

    June 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sam

    WAIT A SECOND!!!!!

    I am a guy, 180 pounds and 6.0! If someone would flog me as it show on the video, I would fall down or at least my body would show some reactions. BUT on this video the person who is flogged shows no movement at all! SOMETHING IS VERY FISHIIIII HERE!!!!!!!

    BTW, I am afghan as well. What you see here is the bad reality in our country. It is just sad to see how badly we managed this country in the past 30 years. All our "friends" helped us to grow in the wrong direction!!

    June 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kim

    Who wrote this? It's full of colloquialisms. And you misspelled "definitely".

    June 11, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bella

    Why do you need a bible, quran, etc. to govern how you live your life and treat people? Are these men that stupid and insecure? Animals. Why is it so difficult to fathom that it's not acceptable to put your hands on another human being. Mark Twain once said, "Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it." Nothing could be truer.

    June 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JPX

    Wow what a great culture. It's impossible to deal with people who are a thousand years behind in modern thought.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JamieinMN

    This just breaks my heart. 🙁 These poor girls have NOWHERE to run, NOWHERE to hide. They're just children for fu**'s sake.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. heh

    I was born in afghanistan. these are not human. these are all terrorists.. screw them and kill them all... drop a nuke already. stupid idiots.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phil

    Nuke these primitive morons into oblivion.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vic

    This has to be a fake video. This gal has so many layers of clothes on how could it hurt? She does not flinch or move and the swings of this man appear to be very light.......

    June 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sco-Sco

    WHAT is this? WHy is this still happening?

    June 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nat Turner

    I agree with you Tommy, That so called "masood" is probably more American than anybody on this blog! Yet, these idiots believe it because they hate muslims too!

    June 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Patty

    That prearranged marriage still exists in this day and age is astounding to me. No one should be forced to marry let alone be forced to marry someone they do not love or possibly even like. I must admit I do not know exactly how to fix this issue but there has to be something we can do to help these young girls.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bob

    If you take the cover off the mans head you will see it is George Bush beating that girl, Chaney is standing in the crowd telling him to do it.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. curley

    I hate to say it but if these people know they will have to sell their kids for marriage because they cannot afford them when they get older then why have kids and why put your family through this?

    June 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  16. skeptical

    This looks staged, she is bundled up in thick garmets and not reacting to the blows. I know much worse really happens but when apparent stunts are passed off as real it weakens the real issues and brings into question the motives of those who overlook its authenticity. As for the general topic of this type of treatment, it is uncivilized and barbaric.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Nat Turner

    Americans have no right sticking their noses into other people's cultures. There are plenty of things done here that I'm sure Afghans would disapprove of. Who made the United States the police of the world?

    June 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  18. bob

    It is probably important to teach all these child and wife beating foreigners a lesson about what it is like to be beaten. I propose attaching a bunch of chains to a V8 engine and force these cavemen to walk into it. It will take them down to the bone in about 3 seconds.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Come On Now... Get Real

    Here's my problem with this wife beating issue: In all realistic terms, this is the year 2010. It seems to me that these third world countries act as if they are just stepping out of the 1800's and into the 1900's. Is this serious? Do these middle eastern countries not realize that, in this day and age, there are such things as women's rights, acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour, and also common sense. Hey, let's beat our wives to punish them for not wanting to partake in a forced mariage. Now that's just ridiculous thinking and behaviour.

    Here's my question. Will there ever be a time where these middle eatern countries get with the program and act "more 2010"? I really do wonder sometimes if I will be sitting there in the year 2025 and I will still have to hear about people being stoned to death, wives being beaten, women having to wear full facial scarves, and other ridiculkous behaviour that is soooo 1800's.

    I am so baffled by the behaviours of these middle-eastern countries. It's so far from common sense that it's ridiculous.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  20. marie

    why are we at war with these peole? leave them their oil and save them kids from their noneducated people!! this is worse than appartheid!!! this is non humanity....

    June 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  21. bob

    It is probably important to teach all these child and wife beating foreigners a lesson about what it is like to be beaten. I propose attaching a bunch of chains to a V8 engine and force these cavemen to walk into it. It will take them down to the bone in about 3 seconds.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  22. LizardMom

    Read The Bookseller from Kabul by Asne Seierstad. Those of you who thought this video was phony will surely think otherwise. This flogging is but one incident that occurs on a daily basis in this brutal culture. The men are not alone in their abuse of women. Mothers smother their daughters if "shamed" by their behavior–like if a young woman is seen alone in public making eye contact with a single man. God forbid if she accidently brushes his clothing with her shroud! And American lives are being lost to preserve this heinous society!

    June 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  23. James86

    3.2% of Adult Americans (1in30) our in some part of our prison system. Who are we to be talking about other peoples rights when we can't even address out own problems. the United States leads the world in both the number and percentage of residents it incarcerates, leaving far-more-populous China a distant second, according to a study by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waco

      The reason why america has the most people in jail is because most countrys kill people for there crimes. They don't have to pay taxes for the dead. In china if you are convicted of murder you are shot to death aginist a wall and your family is billed for the bullet. I'm not against this either.
      In some parts of the world many things that we give 20 years for instead they are awarded a town hero such as this acticle where that man will be viewed and a manly man for putting his wife in line. Maybe you want America more like that but i'd shot my nabor for whipping his wife in public like that less then whipping her at all. That man is a coward and there culture is vastly currupted with idea's that women are not human.

      June 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Ahmad

    dirty stinkin muslims.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Ahmad

    dirty stinkin muslims

    June 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Ahmad

    Unfortunately for these girls, this pattern of events happen all over the muslim world..

    June 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Ahmad

    Unfortunately for these girls, this pattern of events happen all over the muslim world.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  28. BSD

    Hey leftist liberal ultra femnist...why arent you speaking out about this? Why is it that the military which you hate and disregard as ignorant and so on, are the only ones risking life and blood for these abused women?

    June 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  29. wiseoldowl

    Did anyone else see the gun over the guy's shoulder? Not only was she to stand there and be beaten, while others ..all men..watched...one of them had a gun on his shoulder. I wonder what has become of this child.
    I think we could go on and on about women's rights and fighting for laws to protect women..and children, but it seems to me that until the women who are living in subordinate situations rise up and actally fight, that nothing will change. Are there any deterents to beating a woman now? Oh...wait..it's agains the LAW...right..and that was clearly deterrent..with the men watching and slinging guns over their shoulders..hmmm. She didn't have a leg to stand on. Where were the other women to protect her? I'm sure they were in their " places" wherever that may be, afraid that the same might happen to them if they were to intervene.
    I would never call for violence, but it appears to me that the women MUST make a stand for themselves. I pray that they will be able to do something to make it better...AND I thank the people running the shelters for their concern and bravery. At least there is somewhere to go..

    June 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  30. WOLVIE

    (o o) could this be
    -II–/ is it possible
    II yes it is it's mohammed the image hold hold hold 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
    yep i'm still here. Come beat me you little cowards. Take that southpark. NO teddy bear suit. ROFLOL

    June 11, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • WOLVIE

      AWWWW they cut it up

      June 11, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  31. Edwa

    It's God's fault..God dictated the punishment...See how much better off humanity is with GOD!!! I wish God would just leave us alone so we can take responsibility for our own actions.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • boocat

      Surely you jest....everytime something bad happens or something cannot be explained, "God" gets the blame. "God" has nothing to do with the crap that goes on in the world.....get real!!

      June 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Lunella

    Either give every girl over the age of 13 a gun and ammo to defend herself or drop a few big bombs and wipe out the entire region.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  33. Rahul Shukla

    That little girl just stood there and took every hit by that coward of a man without flinching. She has more courage and character than all those bearded @ssholes put together. I hope all the men watching and especially the one hitting her live the most miserable life possible and die a horrible, prolonged, painful death and suffer in hell for eternity. They deserve nothing else!

    It is unbearable to see this helpless innocent girl being treated so badly. May God bless her and get her out of that hell-hole of a place. She has sufferred enough!

    June 11, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  34. Tom

    Question to any/all Muslims on here..Why havent i seen groups and hoards of you up in arms, shaking fists, burning Afghan flags, marching to Washington, storming Embassy's around the world, denouncing these barbaric acts that are done everyday in the name of your "Peaceful" Religion? And dont tell me you are not all capable of protesting against something you strongly are against as we all saw the swarms that came out to protest the killings of the Turkish aide ship just last week..
    I for one, would feel much better about your Religion if some of you would just stand together, form assebly's, flood websites, stage protests, etc, etc,etc against these acts and denounce your association to them, let us hear your disdain for the acts of these pitiful greasy swines..

    June 11, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  35. The third stooge

    Hey CNN, it looks like you could use a good editor. Shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss my fees.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  36. Mex

    To All,
    It is not religion or cuture. The problem with all of those people from those countries is that they keep marring their own family members and with time they have become stupid. Their genes have become too weak.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  37. WOLVIE

    I suppose hanging the 7 year old child because his dad spoke out about the taliban. Is not common practice for mohammed?

    June 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  38. PA-Pilot

    These people are barbarians. How can the modern world allow this kind of thing to happen?

    June 11, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  39. WOLVIE

    Kill em all. Let GOD sort them out.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      Yes, that'll do. I'm sure God would be so proud of your hatred. Do these extremists deserve to rot? Perhaps. But if you're going to bring God into it, shouldn't he have the final say?

      June 11, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
      • WOLVIE

        Your right dear lord forgive me. Kill em all and let DC603 sort them out.
        Happy now?

        June 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Ahmed

    Why People in Afghan, Pakistan are like this?

    June 11, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  41. MuslimsLackTolerance

    Yes Muslims lack tolerance. Anything blasphemous has to be resolved with violence. They are living in the stone age living their lives according to a book where as the rest of have moved on.
    Believe it or not most Muslim men and women even in America would defend the beating of the girl in this article. If you go to their homes you will still see that pardah system where the men socialize seperatly (in the living room) from the women(in the kitchen). Muslims will never admit this to you since now they would be scared but this just how they are. Muslims should be deported from America.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  42. Adam Baker Mississauga

    Perfect reason to continue a endless ilegal war! America ?!@?$ yeah.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  43. Granny

    That guy has to sleep sometime.. There would be a terrible accident coming his way.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • wiseoldowl

      Ya know what granny? That's what someone told a particular man that I know of...and it worked...he stopped hitting her.

      June 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Bob

    Let's hope the US airforce turns this backward cesspool of a country into one huge parking lot!!

    June 11, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  45. Brad HD

    CNN, you could use a proofreader. This looks as professionally written as a high-school newspaper. I'm not going to bother pointing out all the grammatical mistakes, but seriously: "matrimoney"? "begining"? "definately"? Terrible!

    June 11, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  46. DC603

    I think what you have to remember here, is that there are Muslims, and Muslim extremists. There are Catholics, and there are abusive Catholic priests. There are Christians, and extremist Christians.

    Just because a handful of folks act out of character and happen to also follow a certain religion does not make the entire religion an extremist organization.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  47. Angela

    Still waiting for the Muslim outrage on this story and the hanging of the 7 year old boy.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • AmeriCanadian

      As Mal from Firefly said "That's a long wait for a train that don't come."

      I would deeply enjoy shoving that stick up the ass of every devil-worshipping man in the video of beating of that kid.

      June 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  48. James

    This is the nation of islam for you people. And you really want this coming to the USA? It hit Britain big time, and they can't stand it, and are being forcefully taken over by islam injustice. Now who has the biggest set out of them all? The Netherlands, AKA Holland. Geert Wilder says "enough with islam", just yesterday. He will not allow any more muslims come to Holland, and I support him 100% I will move there some day because of it.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  49. tonya

    This is horrifying regardless of where it takes place. Unfortunately for women EVERYWHERE, this is the humanity that is thrust upon us time and time again. It's not specific to a culture, a race or socio-economical groups. If this crap were still legal in the good ole US of A – it would STILL be happening. Women and children are at the lowest of priority in our OWN country – get the statistics – Woman kills her husband – she's a black widow, Man kills his wife and children – he must be crazy and needs 'help.' It will never change....because we are counting on the good ole boys to fix it.... Women – we need to raise our Sons to be "human beings", not just men! It's gotten better for women on the 'outside' but we have in NO WAY overcome the discrimination and won't until we decide it's UNACCEPTABLE to be treated less than any other human being. WE GROW LIFE IN OUR BODIES FOR CHRIST'S SAKES!! Use your voices by standing up for your rights ALL the time and support each other!

    June 11, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      I'm sure there are many men in the US that feel this way, but I don't think for a second it's a majority.

      "get the statistics – Woman kills her husband – she's a black widow, Man kills his wife and children – he must be crazy and needs 'help.'" That's not a statistic. That's your perception of things.

      I don't like when certain groups of women lump all women into one group – To quote you = "It will never change....because we are counting on the good ole boys to fix it." Why do you say "we" like all women are helpless and pathetic and can't fend for themselves?

      Also, if you DO want to talk about facts (rather than perception), your statement "Unfortunately for women EVERYWHERE, this is the humanity that is thrust upon us time and time again. It's not specific to a culture, a race or socio-economical groups." Actually, it is. Educated women with incomes are less likely to be in this sort of situation.

      June 11, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
      • tonya

        Don't get so defensive young man!! This is an opinion page...right? With a graduate education, I find the discrimination takes on new roles....I still have to fight for equal pay, but I do twice as much as my male counterparts. It's a FACT, boy, and until you and people so willing to ignore the truth or who are unwilling to ACCEPT that which is true, it WILL go on.

        June 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • wiseoldowl

        Actually DC603, abuse of women and children is not specific to educational, financial, ethnic, racial, or religious groups.
        There may be more visible abuse in some cultures who do not declare it illegal or immoral, but unfortuately, when something is made illegal...the perpetrators find a way to HIDE it. That is, if the consequence for the crime is a deterrent to it.
        Have you ever sat in on a abuse survivor meeting? You might be surprised by what you learn. I agree with you in ways also..women are not pathetic, helpless people..but children mostly are. The case featured in this article is more than a violence against women story..it's a child abuse and endangerment story. Furthermore, the deep seeded cycles of violence endured by women and children in these situations causes " Learned Helplessness"...look it up.

        June 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Bull

    We really need to walk away from that rock pile.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  51. svscnn

    Weird that they would even run away in the first place. You'd think these girls would be more appreciative of their slave master husbands. Some people are just so selfish.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  52. salman zuberi

    I am a muslim and this is beyond disgusting. What form of man-made islam these guys are following? For everybody's information, i would like to quote the following verse from the Quran that makes it clear that you can not marry anyone except of their own free will:

    "O you who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit from the women by force. And do not make difficulty for them so that you may take away some of what you have given them, unless they commit a clear lewdness. And live with them in kindness. If you dislike them, then perhaps you dislike something while God makes in it much good (4:19)

    The story of the Prophet getting married to a 9 year old comes from the FAKE and FABRICATED books outside of the Quran. The Quran has no such nonsense in it but most muslims do not realize this. They are still living in blind and misguided love of the Prophet who has nothing to do with all this nonsense and crap.

    I feel so absolutely disgusted by this video that i dont have words to describe how i feel. God damn these people and give them a punishment that they may never forget. The government officials are equally responsible for such crimes against humanity. God damn such animals in human form.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • desi

      It is pure islam. please search google for ali sina OR faith freedom international. That site help thousands of dilutional muslims to help out of islam.

      June 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Nikki

    We need to get all females the heck out of that area. I'd be happy to help kidnap them all at birth.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
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