Violence against women in Afghanistan continues to rise despite government efforts to implement the law on elimination of violence and the establishment of a High Commission for the Prevention of Violence against Women.
Afghan women are no strangers to gender-based violence. For decades now, violent crimes against women have been heading for epic proportions, as young girls are forced into marriage, wives and daughters are abused, and women are dealt harsh punishments for ‘moral crimes.
Human Rights Watch also decried violence against Afghan women in its recently released annual report, highlighting domestic abuse as a major problem in Afghanistan:
The incarceration of women and girls for "moral crimes" such as running away from home -- even when doing so is not prohibited by statutory law -- also continues to be a major concern, with an estimated half of the approximately 700 women and girls in jail and prison facing such charges.
A government-proposed regulation in 2011 would have prevented NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] from independently operating shelters for women and jeopardized the existence of Afghanistan's few existing shelters. Afghanistan at present has 14 shelters, each able to house an average of around 20 to 25 women and their children. This does not meet even a small fraction of the need in a country where an estimated 70 to 80 percent of marriages are forced and 87 percent of women face at least one form of physical, sexual, or psychological violence or forced marriage in their lifetimes. Although the regulation was significantly improved following strong domestic and international criticism, it exemplifies the hostility felt by many parts of Afghan society, including within the government, to women’s autonomy and ability to protect themselves from abuse and forced marriage.