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Troubling stories of street harassment

One day we were on our way to the university when some boys in a car started to harass us. Our patience crossed the limit and decided to teach them a lesson. We threw bricks at them and broke their windshield. They drove away very quickly. –Husnia Mohseni, Balkh


One day, while I was passing by a mosque in front of our house, I saw an old man of around 60 years of age who had come there for his Friday prayers. I saw that he was abusing and harassing a girl of about 12 years old. When I asked him what he was saying to the girl, he walked away without answering me. How unfortunate that a 60-year-old man was harassing a 12-year-old girl after he had just stepped out of a mosque. –Anonymous

Every time I leave my home, I am faced with harassment. I can bear it when people harass me, but it is disappointing when I see the police harass women. –Hamid Wafayee, Daikundi

Street harassment is everywhere in Afghanistan. If a woman is waiting for a taxi, every taxi driver will slow down and make remarks about her looks, her clothes, the way she walks. This is wrong. Women are not only harassed on the street, they are harassed at home. They cannot say what is on their minds; they always have to be careful, to keep peace in the home. — Negina Yari, human rights researcher, Kabul

Street harassment is one of the main issues faced by Afghan women. It does not matter whether or not you wear hijab (scarf), you still get harassed. Men follow you to your workplace, or to university, or they follow you home. This often results in families not allowing their daughters to get a job or go to university. Many women do not complain, because they know that their voices will not be heard by the authorities. —Shamayel, Baghlan

It is not only young boys but old men and sometimes even women who harass us. They enjoy it. That’s why they talk about us and criticize us. It is very hurtful, and causes psychological torment.— Zahra Hussaini, Bamian

I work at Kabul International Airport as a security screener. I was being harassed by a member of the Afghan Border Police until I told the management. Every day when I came to work, this ABP officer would follow me from the first gate and ask me to be his girlfriend. One time he even touched a friend of mine, but she never said anything. If she had, no one would ever marry her. The officer is still working at the airport, but he does not talk to any girl from our company, because he knows that our management will inform his commander. But who knows whether he is still creating problems for other girls who work at the airport?—Sadia Moradi, Kabul

Awhile ago I was coming home from university, when I saw some college boys harassing a girl, saying really inappropriate things to her. The worst thing was that a policeman was standing right there and doing nothing about it. This was right in Kabul, in Kart-e-Chahr.—Zafar Salehi, Kabul


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