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 (No Responses)

Comments are closed.