Women are mostly suffering from violence in formal of forced marriages where rape and unfair cultural practices - like the exchange of girls to resolve conflict - are common. Continued violence poses a serious threat to the physical and mental health of women and girls. Some women in difficult situations even kill themselves to escape such a heinous situation, while others burn themselves to death to draw attention to their plight.
The loneliness experienced by a fair number of women is exacerbated while living with their husbands’ families being separated from their own family. The authority to punish a woman verbally, physically or emotionally may well extend to others than merely her husband; mothers-in-law are often the perpetrators of violence against their daughters-in-law.
The interventions of HealthNet TPO are targeted at the community level and promote individual and cultural appropriate solutions to improve the well being of women and girls. Keywords within the different programmes of HealthNet TPO are ‘women empowerment’ and ‘gender equity’; women are supported to undertake new initiatives, to increase income, to get education and to take care of themselves and their children.
Raising awareness and providing information about family violence related issues among the population at large, are also very important and essential steps towards the elimination of family violence on a broader scale. Making use of the mass media is seen as a valuable medium in order to reach this goal as long as the rules and regulations of the Islam are respected. As part of various programmes aiming the empowerment of women, TV spots are broadcasted on the Afghan national TV.
TV spot 1: A woman who suffers from family violence tries to talk with her husband; unexpectedly she gets the support from het her mother-in-law which is quite unusual in Afghanistan; mothers-in-law are often the perpetrators of violence against their daughters-in-law. Having themselves been suppressed in their youth, they often encourage the repression of their son’s wives.
TV spot 2: A young girl hears that her family is planning to marry her to a rich man in return for money. The girl gets the support from her father who succeeds in convincing the other family members to abandon this idea. Selling women for monetary gain is not as common as years ago but is still frequently reported in Afghanistan.