Monday, February 27, 2012
Storm Silhouette (Homage to Bibi Aisha)
Recently I came across the story of Bibi Aisha, the young Afghani woman subjected to horrific domestic violence by her husband and in laws. Married off at 14 (after being 'promised' to a Taliban fighter at 12), Bibi entered a life of abuse and she eventually fled at age 18. As punishment she tortured and abandoned - left to die. But she was found and rescued. Her story isn't wholly unique as domestic violence occurs across all cultures, in all countries and amongst all factions of society.
Madeleine Bunting underlines:
What has also been ignored is any understanding of how Afghanistan's long history of conflict affected gender roles. There is plenty of research on the impact of conflict on women, who are increasingly among its primary victims. They experience violence from both enemies and friends. The common pattern is that conflict polarises gender roles: masculinity becomes more aggressive and women are idealised as "the bearers of a cultural identity", in the words of the World Health Organisation. Their bodies become part of the battle field. This is as true of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as of Afghanistan. In the latter, foreign intervention ultimately only exacerbates such deeply destructive trends. (theguardian.co.uk)
Bibi arguably became the face of the forgotten side of the conflict in Afghanistan and the absolutely abhorrent disregarded or at least 'less talked about' issue of the subhuman treatment of women. You might of seen her face on TIME magazine, but I recommend reading up on her story here and her subsequent reconstructive surgery.