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Violence against women plummets in Afghanistan: Report

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Terming physical, sexual, and psychological violence as common cases of violence against women in the country, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said Sunday that violence against women had declined in 2014 in compare with the previous years.

Revealing its summary of findings, the AIHRC said that at least 4,873 cases of violence against women were registered in 2014, while the figure was 6,611 in 2013 and 5,701 in 2012 which shows more than 26 percent decline in cases of violence against women in 2014.

The report also said that number of complainants who registered their cases in the AIHRC had decreased by 6.3 percent with 2,026 complainants in 2014 while the figure was 2,159 in 2013.

The report reveals that the main type of violence against women was physical violence, particularly beating. Out of the total registered cases of violence against women, 1,268 of them are related to physical violence which makes 30.1 percent of the total cases.

According to the report, a total of 412 of other cases which cover 8.5 percent of all cases of violence against women occurred during this period are related to different types of sexual violence while 1,482 cases which constitute 30.4 percent of all the registered cases are related to verbal and psychological violence. Similarly, 1,024 cases which form 21 percent of all the cases are related to economic violence against women. The remaining 487 cases which included 10 percent of the registered cases are related to other types of violence against women.

Moreover, physical violence had occurred in various forms. Out of 1,468 cases of physical violence against women, 1,290 cases were beating in different ways. It covers 88 percent of physical violence against women.

The report unveils that Injuries include 87 cases and 38 other cases are related to forced labor, 19 cases have resulted in the killing of women. Setting women on fire is another type of physical violence that includes 13 cases. In 11 cases body-members of the victims were cut.

One of the shocking types of physical violence that led to murder of women is honor killing perpetrated with a justification of preserving family honor. During a national inquiry launched by the AIHRC in this regard, 243 cases of honor killing were documented which had occurred between 2011 and 2013. Out of 120 cases of honor killing in 2013, most of them occurred in Herat, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces.

The AIHRC registered a total of 162 incidents of murder cases in 2014 out of which 92 cases were related to honor killing and 70 cases were related to other types of killing. The areas under the coverage of Herat regional office witnessed the most incidents of honor killing in 2014. Out of 92 cases of honor killing, 44 cases occurred in Herat. After Herat, Balkh, Kandahar and Paktia provinces witnessed 14, 13 and nine incidents respectively. Nangarhar, Faryab, Helmand, Kunduz and Uruzgan also witnessed such incidents of honor killing.

Sexual violence against women is another serious problem in Afghanistan. A large number of girls and women fall victims of this crime every year. Sexual violence is considered as a taboo in Afghan society; therefore, it is usually kept secret. For this reason most incidents of sexual violence remain unreported, though around 412 cases of sexual violence have been registered by different offices of the AIHRC in 2014 which cover 8.5 percent of the case of violence against women. In 2013, 453 cases of sexual violence against women have been recorded which make seven percent of all cases of violence against women during that year.

Sexual violence occur in various types such as sexual assaults, unusual sexual relations, sexual insults and humiliation, forced prostitution, forced abortion and so on. Sexual assault is the most serious and disturbing type of sexual violence in the country. Most incidents of sexual assault are usually combined with other types of violence which result in killing of the victims. The recorded statistics of violence against women in 2014 including 54 cases of sexual violence are differentiated from other types of sexual violence against women. If forced sexual intercourses and forced sodomy are counted as sexual violence, then the total cases of sexual violence amounts to 179 cases in 2014. This figure makes up more than 43 percent of all cases of sexual violence which is an appalling figure, the report said. Out of the figures of sexual violence in 2014, in addition to cases of sexual assault, 75 cases of sexual harassment have been reported. At least 36 cases of forced prostitution and 67 cases of husbands’ illegitimate relations with other women have been recorded by different offices of the AIHRC.

According to the report, out of the total cases of verbal and psychological violence in the year under coverage, 868 cases are insulting, degrading, and intimidation, which make up 59 percent of the total cases of verbal and psychological violence. This statistics indicate that insulting and degrading women are prevalent issues. In 1392, in 708 cases of verbal and psychological violence include mockery, degrading remarks, such as abusive words against women.  Out of other remaining cases, 38 cases have been committed on streets, 24 cases at work place, office and hospital, 3 cases have been committed in educational center, school or university, and 8 cases have been perpetrated in detention center or prison. Likewise, 34 cases have not been specified.

The report termed street harassment as one of the main problems for women in the country. However, it added that no accurate research had been conducted in this regard, and the overall overview to the situation indicates that street harassment take place mainly in the cities. The report said that since the general understanding of violence against women is the severe forms of violence, the mentioned types of violence were not considered seriously as violence, and were not recorded at the responsible authorities and organizations.

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