July 12th, 2010
12:30 PM ET

When women set themselves on fire

(Time.com) — Fawzia felt like she had no way out. Married off to her cousin at age 16, she had been beaten routinely by her husband and in-laws in their poor rural home in Paktia province for the first three years of her marriage. She complained bitterly to her parents, but no solution seemed imminent. Marriage had become too much for her to bear. Then, after she saw her brother-in-law strike his wife on the head with a gun, Fawzia finally did what she had threatened to do many times before: she doused herself in cooking fuel and struck a match.

The Ministry of Women's Affairs has documented a total of 103 women who set themselves on fire between March 2009 and March 2010. No one knows what the real numbers are, given the difficulty of collecting data in the country. "More than 80% [who try to kill themselves in this way] cannot be saved," says Dr. Ahmed Shah Wazir, who runs the burn unit at Kabul's Istiqlal Hospital, one of only two such specialized wards in Afghanistan.

Read more from Time magazine's Abigail Hauslohner at Time.com

Filed under: Life and Culture • Women's issues
soundoff (One Response)
  1. walker

    This information is for idiots who believe that Hindu women set themselves on fire worried about other Hindus. This was necessitated by the Muslim hordes who invaded India and who killed the Rajput kings and took their women folk as prize for their Harem (a visit to Istanbul will clear your mind). These women applied the same logic that heroic Americans used before jumping out of the twin towers when the Muslims rammed aiplanes into the twin towers. Go to India and see the destruction (state by state, town by town, village by village and you will come to your senses) inflicted on Hindus by Muslims before letting lose in this forum. For the Rajput woman this was the last resort to defend her honour from the marauding barbarians. Hinduism is practised througout the world and Hindus value every life and equate it to the supreme power itself. There are no gradations of life, like that officially sanctioned by US' favourite allies S.Arabia or Pakistan.

    July 17, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |