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 (501 Responses)
  1. Danielle

    In which time they are living? This is terrible............

    August 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Luis A Prenda

    Sometimes I think in the future then to be more humain or go to respect humain rights!

    August 9, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Juan Tamad

    Animals don't even treat each other this way. Pigs, the dirtiest of all creatures according to a muslim wouldn't treat a fellow pig like the way muslim men do their women.

    A muslim woman with half a brain, should just twist the head of her male baby when it comes out, especially if he's just going to grow up and be disrespectful to a woman.

    August 4, 2010 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. AJ

    What is wrong with that man? Is there any need to hit the poor little girl like that? Does he even have a mind? And what are the other people doing, video taping the scene and just letting the man torture the girl? You gotta be kidding me...Things must be done to help these unfortunate souls...

    July 23, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. qwerty

    1st of all, afghans aren’t necessarily muslims, so cut the crap about islam and all, these people are butchers!
    2nd, watch the flogging carefully people…it seems that the person being flogged wore many clothes…maybe THIS WAS A SET UP!
    3rd, we cant see the girl’s face…it can be a MAN.
    4th, do you think a 14 year old GIRL can resist and stand still and not yell when being flogged???
    5th, afghan men having digital cameras?? Oh c’mon! they live in a REMOTE village as the reporter said, from where did they get it? E-bay? Haha
    Use ur brains and eyes people…

    July 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. windsorcat

    JESUS took 8 ROMAN ass whoopins!! not 1 not 2 not 3 not 4 not 5 not 6 i wonder if he felt a lil mistreated, unloved n tortured????..........Maybe we could just shut the hell up n utilize the suffering for someone to get the hell atta the DARKNESS!!!!
    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!
    and from my recollection as far as my beliefs n faith go i i believe Jesus was so scared to die this way he agonized n sweat blood just at the thought of his final BARBARIC ROMAN!! BEATING!!!! not an english tickle torture bty!!!!!
    ROMAN!!!!!!!!ASSS WHOOOPINS WITH lottsa sik ways you wont even grasp !! guess ya had ta be there!!!!
    and how do you suppose his MAMA felt having to witness this?
    by HIS stripes I am healed!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karen

    How can anyone say it is not our business to protect these women and children, that we should not be involved in 'cultural issues'? This is a human decency issue, about the right of all people to live their lives in peace, to have choices, to be happy. It's a matter of protecting women and children and educating ignorant men. If we are going to bring peace, democracy and the rule of law to Afghanistan, it must be to all citizens, not just those fortunate to have been born with make genitals.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Whocares

    Cut the ties with them; let the people stay as they want. I don't believe we have the right to tell another country they need to step up to the level we are at. It's their country, let them be. They want to live the way they want to, the way they believe is the correct way. Who cares what they do with their women, children while they are in their country. Stop any aid that we supply and let them ask their own government for support. End of discussion, cya, bye bye.

    June 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tahera Nassrat

    Animals in human body

    June 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marz

    There are way too many grammatical errors in this post.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. khan

    can i ask from all of you a question? have you ever thought the reality? who is playing the game? who is doing what? i request all to please first of all go deeply understand the situation than judge...
    ohhh this world, find the real players please

    June 15, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Alf

    And my question is where is the father (or any real man) to put a stop to this!

    June 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bilz123

    U of T medical Seminar.I am myself son of Christian Priest but here I introduce Great French man Muslim Convert and I Promote Quran with Modern day invention.This is to see and determine baby f or M embryo and advanced thing of the Holy Prophet and via U of T or western.Islam grew from 1 to 1.5billion in such a short time. methodology.In the beginning even for finding elegible bachelors amid setting up democracy with minsters PM city hall property tax day care unemployment insurance zakat finding grooms for brides young to widows and finding solution for marriage loneliness and young graduates Job skill business finance.World 's existing oldest University in Cairo or female athelet
    towork force nurses in war to family law and divorce came .Enemy of Islam make fun of two important female and develop own amid caricature.How stupid these educated people vs Holy Prophet (illiterate) until Gabriel pressed chest and gave Quran verses and skill out of this world.It is said follow the footsteps and succeed (never short
    of even in marital life professional or anything .Easy said than done with Lord Present .

    June 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bilz123

    up until 1956 with USA help to build a Dam in Kanadahar , Afghanistan or Mughal India had fruits vegies clean waters green lands birds bees animals and young brides like elsewhere with capilleries hand made canals university doctors medical college and zoo.we made Afghanistan pre Civilization and with 9/11 lies invaded and now blame Afghan.From India to Thailand from Indonesia to Australia New Zealand London to EU Canada to USA and South America, Child brides or common Law is Oldies to newest thing.People pretend with tendency to blame Muslims across globe (even all those mentioned above). They are saying they have Muslim Background.It is not true.In fact,Islam came to rescue girls from across globe.Even in 2010 thousands of none Muslim girsls who had been abused in their own culture with own people are converting to Islam.Some even wants to wear full veil.Islam needed to be promoted in right format for the solution of everyone including Muslims who tend to follow none Muslims and participate now in Gay pride insulting Muslim Regime Ayatollah Regime.Walk in London(UK) and see young child mothers.They ignore in UK.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Irina

    I cannot believe what I have just seen, where are we living that women are still being treated this way...

    June 14, 2010 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  16. Heather Franek

    If only the U.S. Army could be sent in to defend shelters for battered women and abused children, we would be making much more progress in Afghanistan and other places around the world.

    June 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Missor

    This approch began to inflect a certain attraction and reaction at even restict geoup of muslims in the west! Some acts to show up lovecouples at public places!? Any way; the core part is the folish holy surroundings descretly provided up to date Osama Bin Laden with prety much unbrooken safe haven of whereabout the caveman flowrish with his own ideas of hatred to the west, and of course it`s values!?...

    This, certinly, is publicity. Could be of inflict even to rebuck and by certain means that even affect Bahgdad (the last tow days), they have their own sticks and they showed it. Some will come and say to Mr Nic Robertson: This sheep don´t belong to you, allready grapping in the hand the difficulty of the cultural atmospherethe NATO dealing with, where in the world exist child spy but in a very peculair mind of TALIBAN

    One thing about the true bride of ISLAM, and also it`s bride bride, that Mohamad had changed the miserable treament which the women suffered before. OSAMA BIN LADEN and his Mujahediin, with what so ever CLISHE (Name) they use,
    just insisted obviously to inflict a different habits and restriction against the interrest and goodness of Islamic Women; this by itself a sunshine proof that Osama hase not by any mean the capacity nor the talent to care for the Islam and it´s values.

    June 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  18. EliteAfg

    I wonder what Bill Maher would say about this issue since he had read the Quran too.

    June 12, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  19. FT

    Americans...You are so funny. I am Afghan and have been to US too. So you want to say what? that we are stone age and you are civilized. that every American treats well and Afghans can't understand morals. No! Your country never wants peace and justice in mine. Go read the history! research how Afghanistan was 30 years ago. We are not idiots. Afghans are very good nations. Women are valued like treasure and we never hit women but a few who won't make 5 %. You made the image of my country drak by supporting Taliban financially and military so they will fight with Russia. I love my country and I don't care what you say because you are all people who have so much time to waste on internet but our people are those who work hard, they don't have time for sitting by computer and doing childish games. they are people who are not afraid of your high tech weapons. And we love each other and are ready to give our life for each other and we know that US is just afraid of this. I went to US for school and let me tell you, I think that one Afghan child at the age of 7 works harder than your college kids who know nothing than getting drunk.

    June 12, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • American

      To my friend on the other side of the world.You are being very stereotypical of who we are as a people.You area strong patriot of your country and that is understanble but the ignorance of your statement is pathetic.My dear friend and surly respectfully disagree because in your remarks you stated that Americans can only sit by a cmoputer and i believe that you had to get on a computer in order to type your remark,so exactly how much time are you spending studying so dilligently.You remarks were disrespectful streotypical mostly because my parents have worked harder than anyone i know to come from teenage parents of 5 sons to be Multi-Milllionaires today; just because I have wealth doesn't mean i work less i work effortlessly and tirelessly to achieve greatness.So before you stereotype a country of generalize anyone you should be sure to NOT.You see a speck in our eye,while you have a log in yours.

      June 16, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  20. Hamed


    June 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Flanstein

    The death-cult of islam has these beatings planned for women around the world once they have bombed us into submission...

    June 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  22. usa

    bring them here to usa ...give them all welfare lol ..........

    June 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  23. chris

    Masood sounds like a democrat. Is that you Obama?

    June 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  24. stonedigga

    dear middle easterners,

    GET SOME GAME. then you wouldn't need arranged marriages and might actually find someone who likes you.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Katie

    That man needs to get the same number of strikes to his face with the metal part of a belt. And it needs to be infront of the villiage. Any 'person' that could treat a young girl so horrid is not a human anymore. Treat him like the animal he is.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jeff Higgins

    These "people" need to be dragged by their ears, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  27. arliss

    this is islam and nothing more. it's not an afghani or a 3rd world problem. it's their religion.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hannah

      Oh really? And what makes you so sure?

      June 16, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  28. suufa


    June 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  29. MrsFizzy

    Hmm, I was trying to reply to joanne kathleen farrell,author. Why is commenting so messed up lately?!

    June 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Johnny Utah

    'jeffman' – by far has the best comment here. Love it!

    June 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Tommy

    Baluchitherium, I think you made some really excellent points. I wish I had the time to actually discuss them, but I shouldn't be doing this at work right now anyways...

    June 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  32. ahmad

    re: bob
    unfortunately you sound more idiotic than your gov. what to take? lets see.
    strategic location, lots and lots of uranium, pipeline deal from central asia, having military presence against russia, china, iran and the whole middle east....
    and do you personally spend a penny on some thing that does not return a benefit? i don't think so.
    so open your eyes and think properly, why would a gov spend billions of $ for nothing. as far as bombing with B52, if your gov could do it they would have done long time ago but fortunately they can't.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  33. ghost

    This video makes me so mad. This is when I would like to be a sniper on a hillside. He would not be flogging anyone else and it would send a message. They need to start punishing these men, flogg them, whip them, show them what it is like. They are all pigs.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Joyce

    Agreed with your symopsis except for one thing – you cannot compair this disturbed behavior to animals – it gives animals a bad name that they do not deserve. Even animals do not engage in this kind of sick behavior to each other. Evil grows in the field of ignorance.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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